Howard Webb and Danny Mills were at Wembley Stadium to launch the FA Carlsberg Referee Awards as part of their commitment to grassroots football.
The awards will reward referees, highlighting the good work they do, ensuring referees stay in the game and new talent is attracted to the game. The categories will include:
1. Outstanding contribution to Refereeing
2. The 18-25 Referee Award for Outstanding Performance and Contribution
3. Women Referee Award for outstanding performance and contribution in refereeing
4. Outstanding contribution to Refereeing from a local Partner league involved within the NRDP
5. Outstanding Contribution to Refereeing within a Development Setting (must be over 18 years of age)
6. Outstanding contribution to Refereeing from volunteers (mentors, tutors, coaches & assessors).
Webb, a Premier League and FIFA listed referee since 2005, said: “It is great for Carlsberg and The FA to be launching the annual awards, recognising the good work referees do up and down the country.
"Refereeing was in my family with my father who was a referee for 35 years and over my career I’ve progressed from the local Rotherham leagues to refereeing the biggest matches and top players in world football.
"I hope by highlighting the good work referees do at all levels encourages more people to be involved."
In addition to the six national categories, local awards will also be created for each of the 50 County Football Associations.
Mills said: “It is great to be here at the national stadium. I played for England 19 times but never got to step out at Wembley.
"I’ve got a huge amount of respect for referees, they are the unsung heroes of football and having these national awards will help tell the positive stories. It will also reward them for their work up and down the country on a weekly basis and attract more men and women to become referees”.
David Scott, Calsberg’s Director of Brands Marketing, said: “As a sponsor of all levels of the game, we are glad to launch these national awards for referees which fits with our brand positioning of recognising and rewarding people who go over and above.
There are 29,000 referees up and down the country who give their time to the game to ensure matches can happen and we want to highlight the good work they do."
Please contact your local County FA to make a nomination, which will run from 5 November until February 2013.
Judging will take place in March by a senior referee, an FA and a Carlsberg representative, with the winners awarded their prizes before an England international.
Please go to www.carlsberg.co.uk to learn more about the programme.
If you are interested in becoming a referee, find out how you can get involved by clicking here