Football refereeing in England
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English football referees officiate matches in English football. The referees officiate matches that range from local football to Premier League matches. There are currently eleven different levels of referees that correspond to the ability, age and activity of the official. For a referee to move from one level to the next, both theoretical and physical assessments are taken.
Anyone over the age of 14 who is reasonably fit and [has reasonable eyesight] can train to be a referee. The course is split into 5 key modules, all of which must be completed to a satisfactory level before a referee is considered qualified. The first module concentrates on the laws of association football and this is closely followed by a second module on the application of the laws. Candidates must then complete the third module which is a ninety-minute theoretical examination based on the first two modules. If this is completed successfully, the aspiring referee moves onto the fourth module. The fourth module is a probationary period in which the training referee must complete six matches as a referee whilst being watched by a mentor (either an instructor or an assessor) for 3 of these. These matches must be completed to a standard that is acceptable to the mentor. The matches need not be adult matches but can be junior or school football matches, which requires offsides to be played.
The final module consists of the candidate attending one two-hour training session run by their local football association.
|International||FIFA List||Split into sub-levels A B & C, officiating in International Youth to Full International Matches|
|Select Group||Professional Referee||Premier League (Referee Only)|
|Level 1||National List||Football League (Referee Only)|
|Level 2a||Panel List||National League (full), Football League (Assistant referee) or Premier League (Select Group Assistant Referee)|
|Level 2b||National League North and National League South (full), National League (Assistant referee) or Football League (Assistant referee) or Premier League (Select Group Assistant Referee)|
|Level 3||Contributory Referees, National League North and National League South (Assistant Referee) or National League (Assistant referee) or Football League (Assistant referee) or Premier League (Select Group Assistant Referee)|
|Level 4||Supply League Referees, Contributory League Assistant Referee|
|Level 5||Senior County Referees, Supply League Assistant Referee|
|Level 6||County Referees, Supply League Assistant Referee|
|Level 7||Junior Referees, Supply League Assistant Referee|
|Level 8||Youth Referee|
|Level 9||Trainee Referee|
|Level 10||Declared non-active Referees|
English football referees are categorized into 13 levels (Levels 10-1 and then 4 "elite" levels) depending on their ability, age and activity level. A level 10 referee is inactive and may have refereed at any other level prior to their self-proclaimed inactivity. Level 9 referees are currently trainee referees, and are undertaking the basic training course that all referees must pass. As part of the course, trainee referees must officiate games and they do so at this level. Upon successful completion of the course, a referee will move up to either level 8 or level 7 depending on their age. If the referees are aged under 16, they become level 8 referees; if they are 16 or over,they automatically become level 7 referees. After completing promotion criteria as a level 7 referee, they may move up to level 6. Level 8, 7 and 6 referees are qualified to officiate only games in local league matches. Referees promoted to level 5 are promoted to level 4 if they apply for further promotion in doing so averaging a mark of 73 or more through assessments and also on the completion of a county fitness test whereby they must complete a minimum distance of 2600m over a continuous running period of 12 minutes. Also a sprint test is undertaken where candidates must complete two 50m sprints each in 7.5 seconds or less. Level 5 referees are able to act as assistant referee in supply league matches- as are level 7/6 officials. (e.g. the Spartan League). Level 4 referees referee supply league matches, but also take on the role of assistant referees in contributory league matches (e.g. the Isthmian League and the Northern Premier League). Referees promoted to level 3 continue in contributory leagues but move up to full referees. They also act as assistant referees in panel leagues (Conference National, Conference North and Conference South). Promotion to level two allows referees to referee panel league matches and act as assistant in the Football League. Level one referees officiate Football League matches and further promotion can be to the Select Group (Professional Referees) who referee on the Premier League and then the three sub-levels of FIFA Referee. The highest level is FIFA Elite. International level referees appear on FIFA list of referees. They officiate in international matches depending on their seniority.
For qualified referees to be promoted from level 9 to levels 7 through 4, they are assessed locally by their local football association. To be considered for promotion, they must referee 20 games over one season, and three of these games must be assessed by a qualified assessor (some associations require five assessments and 20 games e.g. Durham FA). The referees must also attend training conferences and complete a written exam. Should all these assessments be completed successfully and to the required standard, they are promoted to the next level. To be promoted from level 5 to level 4, they must complete a fitness test set out by the FA. Promotion from level 4 to level 1 is based upon marks awarded by assessors of matches in which they officiate and their marks on written examinations. Individual league committees meet to discuss who is to be recommended for promotion at the end of each season.
- The Football Association (2004-08-23). "Referee Progression - Promotion". Berks & Bucks Football Association. Archived from the original on 25 February 2006. Retrieved 2007-11-20.
- BBC (2007-11-20). "Want to be a football referee?". The BBC. Retrieved 2007-11-20.
- The Football Association (2003-06-11). "Referees' Regulations". The Football Association. Retrieved 2007-11-20.