Referee Training

A young referee receives his referees certificate and badges after he completed the training course
A young referee receives his referees certificate and badges after he completed the training course
A young referee receives his referees certificate and badges after he completed the training course
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If you want to qualify as a football referee you will need to do the basic referee training course. Once you have completed the course and registered as a referee with The AFA you will have a qualification recognised throughout England.

This is an entry level course that enables you to qualify as a football referee. The course provides an introduction to the laws of the game as well as developing the practical skills you will need to be a referee.

Anyone aged 14 or over can become a referee. There is no upper age limit but candidates need to be able to participate fully in practical sessions. Referees under 16 years old can only referee games involving children at least 1 year younger than themselves.

Course Structure

Unit 1 - Pre-course Study

Once you have enrolled on the course you will receive a pre-course study pack. The pack requires you to complete some work before you attend the first course session and it is most important that you do this.

Unit 2 - Practical Referee Training

This is an all-day session so you will need to come prepared with food and drinks. You will also need to be suitably dressed. A change of footwear is essential as are shin-guards. It will involve learning how to referee outside on the field of play and also involve some classroom work. You will be given the learning resources and all necessary equipment (a whistle and red/yellow cards) at this session but you will need to bring a pen and pad to take notes.

Unit 3 - Fouls and Misconduct Training

This is a two and a half hour session which will include ‘Recognising Challenges’ and the Misconduct procedure.

Unit 4 - Practical Referee Training and Evaluation

This is a second all day session which will be mostly completed outside on the field of play. It includes a practical evaluation where you will referee part of a game among the group. The evaluation will include staged scenarios which will provide you with opportunities to add to your learning from the previous sessions and receive immediate feedback. Provided you reach the minimum standard required you will be able to move on to become an FA Level 9 (Trainee) referee.

Unit 5 - Experience and Mentored Unit

After you have graduated from unit 4 you go on to referee a minimum of 5 games of football (9v9 or 11v11). You will have a Referee mentor at this stage and you will keep a record of these games as evidence of your development. During this period you will gain practical experience and you will have time to learn and revise the Laws of the Game thoroughly before returning to complete the final unit of the course.

Unit 6 - Examination and Call-Back Session

You can attend Unit 6 once you have refereed a minimum of 5 games as an FA level 9 (trainee) referee. We will advise you of the dates of Unit 6 sessions and these can be planned in with your course tutor. This final session must be completed within 4 calendar months of the date of the first Practical Training Session at the start of Unit 2.

This is a 2 hour session and the final part of the course. It involves the successful completion of the FA examination on the Laws of the Game (a multiple choice examination of about 30 minutes duration) and an opportunity to review and discuss your learning experiences from your games as a trainee referee. You will receive a referee certificate of qualification and a referee badge once you have passed the examination.

If you are unsuccessful in the examination you can take it again after a period of revision. This period will be set by agreement with the course tutor.


The course fee is currently £130 for all age groups.

What do I get for my money ?

You will receive around 20 hours of classroom and practical training from FA qualified tutors plus:

  • A copy of the Laws of the Game booklet
  • An interactive DVD on the Laws of the Game
  • A pre-course study pack
  • FA safeguarding children training
  • FA ‘Respect’ training
  • Referee’s registration for one season
  • Referee’s whistle and red and yellow cards
  • Referee’s certificate and badge
  • The services of a referee’s mentor

How do I Enrol ?

You can enrol on any of our courses online. Click  here to go to the web page which lists all our currently available courses.

What if there are not any referee courses available ?

We set up a programme of basic referee courses across Greater London each season and most of our courses take place between late August and March. If there are no courses currently showing this means that we have not yet set up our next programme. Please contact John Monk (Email: Tel: 0208 733 2613). He will put you on our waiting list and you will receive an email as soon as any new course becomes available.

More Information

For more information on becoming a referee and referee courses you can contact John Monk (Email: Tel: 0208 733 2613) who will be pleased to answer any questions you may have about the course.

Safeguarding Children Courses

All registered AFA referees have either attended a Safeguarding Children Workshop or completed the online ‘Introduction to safeguarding’ course if you are under 17. Safeguarding certificates are valid for three years and The FA recommend that referees should renew their certificates after that time.

Provided you have previously attended a Safeguarding Children Workshop you can renew your Safeguarding Certificate online. This is a convenient way to make sure that your knowledge is up to date and it is cheaper than the fee for attending a workshop.

The course gives practical examples of football situations and explores how to deal with them .There is a recap of the face to face Safeguarding course, but the course also includes new information, like changes in the law and information on how to protect children on the internet.

To find out more about renewing your Safeguarding Certificate online and to enrol please click here.

What if I have not previously attended a Safeguarding Children Workshop ?

If you completed the FA Learning Safeguarding Children Guide when you did the basic referees training course you will need to attend a Safeguarding Children Workshop to renew your certificate – you cannot renew it online. Please contact John Monk (Email: Tel: 0208 733 2613) and he will arrange to enrol you on a Workshop.

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