This information pertains to Lancashire and details may vary elsewhere. You are advised to confirm details with your local County FA. If you live in England but outside the Lancashire area, we suggest that you contact The Football Association. If you live elsewhere, try visiting the FIFA web site to find your national FA.
The Lancashire Referees Association
To begin with, we recommend that you join and come along to your local branch of the Referees' Association. See the "Branches and Meetings" page for local Referees' Associations in Lancashire that are affiliated to us. Benefits include advice and support, regular meetings, training sessions, the opportunity to purchase supplies, personal accident and kit insurance cover, contact with senior referees and so on. Most RAs' annual subscritions are about the same as one match fee and includes affiliation to the Lancashire Referees Association.
The next stage is to attend a New Referees' Training Course. This involves training sessions followed by a written exam on the Laws of Association Football. Courses are run by the Lancashire Football Association (LFA). You can now book onto courses online via their website. The course fee now includes your first year's affiliation to the LFA (which includes Public Liability insurance) plus mandatory fees for an Enhanced Criminal Records Check (CRC) and other required items.
On passing the exam, you then go on to start practical in-service refereeing training on local leagues. Your local RA can put its members in touch with local leagues, who will be extremely grateful for their services. On completion of all this training you become a Level 7 referee (or Level 8 if aged 14 or 15).
The next promotion is to Level 6. You must be at least 16 and serve one year at Level 7 before being eligible for promotion. The requirements for promotion to both levels 6 and 5 are normally as follows:
a) three practical assessments of your performance
b) to officiate in at least 20 games during the promotion season (1 March to 28 Feb)
c) to attend any in-service training sessions arranged by your County FA
d) to complete a written examination as required by your County FA
An assessment is when a senior referee (or retired referee) watches you and provides a constructive written report on your performance. They also send a confidential mark with your report to the County FA, and it is these assessors' marks which give the main indicator of whether you are ready for promotion. For exceptional referees, it is now possible to be promoted directly from level 7 to level 5!
Level 5 referees may then be eligible for nomination to Senior Competitions. This may involve refereeing in a supply league a nd being an assistant referee in the contributory leagues. A fitness test must be passed before each season. Examples of supply leagues in our area include the North West Counties League (Division 2). Contributory Leagues include the Unibond League, North West Counties League (Division 1) and some FA Youth Competitions, but appointments across all contributory leagues are now made directly by the FA.
The standard FIFA fitness test will involve:
The minimum age to be registered as a referee is 14.
Junior Referees aged 14-15 may only officiate in competitions where the players are under 16.
The minimum age for promotion to Level 5 and above is 17.
As at 1 June each year Referees will be classified at the following levels:
Good luck with your refereeing!