Take control and net a career in football

Do you hurl abuse at the referee during football matches and think you could do better?

Why not consider a career as a referee and prove it.

As a football referee, you are responsible for players’ safety and have to make sure they obey the rules of the game.

Before kick-off, you would:

l inspect the pitch, making sure that equipment like goals and nets are safely set up

l check pitch markings

l meet with team managers to see if there are any last minute changes to players and substitutes

l brief your assistants on which signals to use and what to do in particular circumstances, for instance if there is a confrontation on the pitch.

During the game, you would:

l follow the play and give decisions

l control the behaviour of the teams on the pitch, and their coaching staff on the sidelines.

At higher levels, you would also write up match reports for any incidents during a game that needed to be followed up, such as a controversial tackle or sending-off.

At professional and semi-professional levels, you would normally work with two assistant referees and a fourth official. In amateur football, you would take sole responsibility for the match.

Your hours would depend on whether you referee at amateur or professional level.

Amateur games are normally played at weekends and sometimes weekday evenings. You would referee games within your local area. At semi-professional and professional level, you may have to travel to grounds anywhere in the country.

Referees at amateur level earn around £20 to £30 a match.

Match officials for semi-professional games can earn around £80 a game plus expenses.

Full-time, top-flight Premier League officials can earn around £40,000 a year, plus match fees.

Only Premier League officials are contracted and have a salary. All other league referees are paid on a fee-per-match basis, and usually have another source of income.

The first step to becoming a referee is to register with your local County Football Association and then attend a basic Referee’s Course.

For entry to the course you must:

l be at least 14 years old

l be reasonably fit

l have good eyesight (with glasses or contact lenses if worn).

You will also need have Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) clearance.

The course usually takes around eight weeks to complete, and involves attending a series of evening and weekend workshops.

You can find out about courses and venues from your local Referees’ Association or County Football Association – check the FA website for contact details.

Refereeing in England is organised into ten grades, which correspond to the level of match you can referee.

The grades range from Level 10 for non-playing staff like instructors and assessors, up to Level One for full-time professionals.

When you have completed the Referee’s Course, you will receive an FA Certificate of Qualification and move to level eight (if you are under 16) or Level Seven (if over 16).

As you gain match experience, you can apply for promotion through the refereeing levels which will mean being assessed over a number of games, usually a minimum of 20 for each level. You would have to take further training and pass tests to move up.