Eddie Preece gives Yellow Card to Player

How to Become a Referee

becoming a referee - step by step

Building a relationship with the league(s) you’ll be refereeing for is very important. 

The Referee Secretary will provide you with fixtures and support you through your refereeing journey. They are also usually experienced referees themselves who can offer support and guidance.

We want you to be able to go and get refereeing experience as soon as you have finished the course. Please look at our leagues and work out which is best for you, contact them and see if there are any opportunities to officiate within their league. Make sure that your availability times match up with when their games take place, and they are able to offer you games within a reasonable travelling distance to you.

If the league or area which you are from does not fall in line with our leagues, this doesn’t mean that we won’t be able to offer you a place on the course. However, our priority is to ensure that our leagues have sufficient referees to referee at a weekend, which is why we ask for this information.

If you haven’t made contact with a league and they have said there is availability, then it is unlikely that you will get onto a course.

If you have contacted a Staffordshire league please ask for the league discount code to reduce the course price by £20.00.



Please note: The course must be booked on using the referee’s FAN number - not the parent's. If you need help creating a fan for U18s, please view this guidance article HERE.

Check out the discount codes below prior to booking;

- Contact a league to receive the league discount code
- Bring a friend if you are 18+ book on with another adult and receive a personalised code for you and your friend for £35.00 off each, you must attend the same course. For more details please contact Staffordshire FA at support@staffordshirefa.com

Prior to the course there are steps to take to ensure that you can referee straight after the course, if these are not completed and not communicated then you may get turned away from the course:

1. If U18 ensure that a parent / guardian has created a FAN and you have been linked together using https://myaccount.thefa.com

2. If you need help creating a fan for U18s, please view this guidance article HERE - (It is imperative that an U18 has their own/individual email attached to their FAN, to ensure they can log on and access the online learning through their own account).

3. Complete the online Laws of The Game Module

4. Begin FA DBS check process (if over 16) – Please contact us and ask for guidance document – support@staffordshirefa.com 

5. Complete FA Safeguarding Children Workshop (16 or over) or FA Safeguarding For All (under 16). When doing so, make sure you are logged in as the referee - not the parent. 

6. Look into buying appropriate kit (not required for course, but will be needed for when you start refereeing).

Enjoy the course, ask questions of our experience and knowledgeable and mix with other trainee referees.

Through working with your league the Referee Secretary will try and arrange a day where you will be observed by a Mentor and give you feedback on your performance. Ideally this will be at a central venue, where there will be multiple newly qualified referees. This is not an assessment and is solely for your development purposes. This is also an opportunity to ask any questions which you have of the Mentor in person.

In order to become fully qualified Trainee Referees must complete five training games which once complete are sent to the County FA using this form. We will seek feedback from your league and promote you to being a fully qualified ‘Youth’ Referee if Under 16 or Level 7 if 16 or over.

The five training games must be games which include the use of the offside law, and therefore be 9v9 (U11&U12+) or 11v11 football (U13+). Mini Soccer (5v5 or 7v7) do not qualify as training games.

You will be invited to a Graduation Webinar, where we will explore information which has been provided on the Training Game Form and seek to offer advice and guidance around any questions or challenges faced. We will also have a guest speaker who will be an experienced high profile referee from Staffordshire, who can share their experience and journey and answer any questions which you may have. We will also share information around the Promotions Scheme, Referee Associations and Development Opportunities.