The FA Referee Course is designed to equip new referees with the key skills and knowledge they will need to be able to referee grassroots football matches safely and effectively. It is for people aged 14 and over who want to referee mini soccer, 9 v 9 and/or 11 v 11 football.
The course comprises online learning on the Laws of the Game and face to face training. You must complete the online learning before attending the face to face training. You will also need to complete online safeguarding training before attending the face to face training.
The online learning has five sections (modules) and will take approximately 90 minutes to complete. There are lots of videos to demonstrate how the Laws should be applied, activities to help reinforce the important points and, at the end of each module, there are some questions to test what you’ve learned.
The online learning can be accessed at https://falearning.thefa.com/course/view.php?id=1804
If you are under the age of 16, you might find the information at the refereeing help centre useful when logging in.
Please do ensure that you are logged in on your FAN so as to avoid the learning being recorded on someone else’s FAN. You can check this via My Account, or at the top of The FA Guide to the Laws of the Game course page where the name of the person logged in is displayed. Should you be logged in as someone else, please log out and log back in using the email address on your FAN and associated password. If you need any support, please contact us before starting the course.
Module 1 – Before the Match
This module covers the referee’s pre-match responsibilities and includes ensuring players’ kit is safe, how to carry out the coin toss and what a referee needs to take to a match with them.
Module 2 – Signals and Communication
This module contains short video clips (GIFs) which show every signal the referee and assistant referee might give during a match.
Module 3 – ‘Getting it Right’
This module deals with foul challenges, violent conduct, handball, unsporting behaviour, DOGSO offences and advantage. It uses video clips from football at different levels to show how the referee should manage common scenarios.
Module 4 – Offside
This module also uses video clips, this time to demonstrate what is and isn’t offside and how the referee should manage offside offences. The clips, like those used in the ‘Getting it Right’ module, are voiced over to explain the decisions the referees make.
Module 5 – Managing Restarts and Set-Pieces
This module covers restarts and set-pieces, including goal kicks, corner kicks, throw-ins, free kicks and penalty kicks. It uses both video and illustrations to clarify what players must do at each restart and set-piece and explains what the referee should do if players don’t comply with the Law.
Face to Face Training
There is 11 hours of face to face training (normally one evening, followed by a full day), which mixes training room work with practical activity on a pitch. Key messages from the online learning are reinforced throughout. The training room work includes:
• Fun, interactive quizzes
• How to establish rapport and build relationships with players and coaches
• Recognising and dealing with foul challenges and handball
• Managing offside
• Dealing with inappropriate behaviour
• Managing players
On the pitch, you will have the opportunity to turn your knowledge into skills through refereeing game based scenarios. You will practise:
• Communicating decisions
• Cautioning and sending off techniques
• Managing the kick off, free kicks, penalty kicks, corner kicks and throw-ins
• Positioning in open play and at restarts
• Being an assistant referee
Qualifying as a Referee
To qualify as a referee, you must also referee five games after you have attended the face to face training. You will then receive a certificate and an FA Referee badge.
You be supported through those five games by your County Football Association (CFA). As you continue your refereeing career, you will then be able to access further training opportunities, both online and face to face.
How to Get Involved
To find out more on how to become a referee, including how to book onto a referee course, visit your County FA website. You can find the details here