Referee

FA Referee Course

Get involved in refereeing

Overview

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.

Course Content 

Online Learning

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.

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 

If you’d like to book yourself onto the FA Referee Course, please contact your local CFA.