Skip to main content


What’s Respect the Ref?
Every match. Every league. Every championship. It’s the referees who are integral to a smooth-running game. 

They work hard, train hard, show up and play hard – all to keep the game beautiful. They give their time and yet face negative attention and abuse in almost every match. Enough is enough. We can all play our part to show the ref some respect, to help make the game the best it can be. So, are you in? 
17 Nov 2021 0:42

About Respect the Ref

From the warm-up to the final whistle, see the game from your ref’s perspective

How we support referees
We’re committed to nurturing and developing new referees:  

- We offer support to our match officials in their first year. 
- Our new referee course features 90 minutes of online learning on Laws of the Game which is free to do, plus 11 hours of face-to-face training. 
- To qualify, you must referee 5 games, supported by your County Football Association (CFA). 
- Your CFA has funding to help support new referees on a local level. Find out more about local initiatives such as Cheltenham Youth League purple shirt initiative & Worcestershire FA’s #SeeTheSocks
No ref, no game
We’re also committed to developing the skills and experience of existing referees:
- We offer CPD modules to help you deepen or expand your skills, starting with Match Control.  
- Our flagship development programme, FA CORE (Centre of Refereeing Excellence) is for referees who show exceptionally high levels of potential and can progress to the highest levels of the game. 
- Through workshops and courses, we can also help you expand your refereeing experience to successfully officiate other formats, such as Pan-Disability football, Futsal and Walking Football. 
We’re committed to supporting mental health
- We’ve trained 44 Referee Mental Health Champions across 39 CFAs and counting to provide support to referees over 18. Their mission is to increase awareness of mental health in refereeing and break down stigma. Find out more & connect to your local RMHC through the CFA website.

- We’ve introduced ‘sin bins’ to all levels of grassroots football to encourage respect and fair play. In the 2016/17 season pilot, we saw a 38% reduction in dissent. In fact, participant behaviour improved, with players self-policing to prevent colleagues getting into trouble.