The FA Referees’ Course provides an introduction to officiating 11v11 and 9v9 football. The course will introduce learners to The Laws of Association Football and their application, delivered through theory and practical elements and focussing on the knowledge, skills and attributes required to operate safely and effectively in grass roots football.

Course Structure

Unit 1:   Pre-course learning (2 hours)

Unit 2:   On-course theory and practical (7 hours)

Unit 3:   On-course theory and practical (3 hours)

Unit 4:   On-course theory and practical (7 hours)

Unit 5:   Referee five matches

Unit 6:   On-course final assessment (2 hours)

Course Content

Through a mixture of theory and practical activity, learners will cover:

  1. Effective communication
  2. Positioning and movement
  3. Penalty kick and free kick management
  4. Managing re-starts
  5. Advantage
  6. Managing players
  7. Recognising and dealing with foul challenges
  8. Cautioning and sending-off procedure
  9. Offside
  10. Dealing with substitutions
  11. Dealing with injuries

Minimum Age

Learners must be 14 or over on the course start date.

Safeguarding Requirements

Before refereeing their five matches (unit 5), leaners must have complied with the FA’s safeguarding requirements.


Upon successful completion of units 1-6, learners will be classified as either a Level Y referee (if aged 14 or 15) or a Level 7 referee (if aged 16 or over).  The FA refereeing qualification is awarded only when all 6 units have been successfully completed.

CO2 / 17 Poppleton Football Club, Millfield Lane, York, YO26 6LY 

Wednesday, 08 March 2017: Module 1 Introduction: 6.30pm - 9.30pm 


Wednesday, 15 March 2017: FA CRC / Safeguarding: 6.30pm - 9.30pm 


Sunday, 19 March 2017: Day 1: 9.30am - 5.00pm 


Wednesday, 22 March 2017: Misconduct Module: 6.30pm - 9.30pm 


Sunday, 26 March 2017: Day 2: 9.30am - 5.00pm

5 Game Module: 12 weeks to complete - Details will be given during the course

Examination & Next Step Workshop: TBC

Please note candidates must attend all sessions as detailed above to pass the course.


How much does the full FA Referee Course cost?

The full cost of the course for all ages is £130. Those who are aged 16 and over will also need to complete an FA CRC (Criminal Records Check) which is included in the cost. Please note that the Safeguarding Children Workshop is included in this price. For those who are aged 14/15 they will receive an online link to complete this training.

What will I get for my money?

In addition to the services of FA Referee Tutors, the following is included in the price:

A copy of the latest Laws of the Game booklet

An interactive DVD on the Laws of the Game

A pre-course study programme (Unit 1)

All course materials

FA Safeguarding Children training

FA 'Respect' training

FA registration fee for one season

A referee whistle

A set of red/yellow cards & holder

A list of League contacts (for information only)

A certificate of qualification… following an initial five 11v11 or 9v9 games and the successful passing of a final examination on the Laws of the Game

FA Referee badge

The services of FA Referee Mentors for ongoing support via the local Referees Association

Will I need to undertake FA Safeguarding Children Training?

All referees have to undertake FA Safeguarding Children training before they will be able to register with The FA as a referee. This will need to be completed prior to attending the first day of the course as it is a prerequisite of attending. Certification will last for 3 years with the cost of this being included in the course fee. This will be discussed further at the introduction evening with available options fully explained.

Will I need to undertake FA CRC (formerly CRB) check?

All referees aged 16 years or over who wish to officiate in youth football must undertake an FA CRC enhanced check. This is a simple on-line process which will be fully explained to you during the course. Certification last for 3 years. Please note that your first check is included in the cost of the workshop. Additional checks currently incur a cost of £10.

How is the rest of the course structured?

After completion of the pre-course study programme (Unit 1), you will move onto Unit 2 of the overall course, which contains the following sessions:

1) Practical Referee Training - Unit 2:
This is an all-day session so you will need to come prepared with food and drinks etc., plus come 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 (whistle, red/yellow cards etc.) at this session but you will need to bring a pen and pad to take notes. At the end of this day, you will have the opportunity to referee part of a game among your group of candidates.

2) Fouls and Misconduct Training - Unit 3:
This is a 3 hour session which will include ‘Recognising Challenges’ and the Misconduct procedure.

3) Practical Referee Training and Evaluation - Unit 4:
This is a second all-day session which will be mostly completed outside on the field of play. The second part of the day includes a practical evaluation where you will have another opportunity to referee part of a game among the group. The evaluation will include staged scenarios which will provide you with opportunity to consolidate your learning from the previous sessions and receive immediate feedback.

Provided you attain the minimum standard required when evaluated, you will be sanctioned to operate as an FA Level 9 (trainee) referee.

4) Experience & Mentored Unit - Unit 5:
Having successfully graduated from the first four units of the training course, you will now officiate in a minimum of 5 games of football (9v9 or 11v11) and will be mentored during a game by FA Referee Mentors. A record of these games is compiled as evidence of your development. During this period, in addition to gaining practical experience, you will have time to learn and revise the Laws of the Game thoroughly before returning to complete the final unit of the course.

5) FA Examination & Call Back Unit - Unit 6:
This is a 2 hour session and the final part of the course. It involves the successful completion of the FA Examination of the Laws of the Game (a multiple choice examination of approx. 30 minutes duration), and an opportunity to review and discuss your learning experiences from your games thus far as a trainee referee. You will be rewarded with an FA Referee Certificate of Qualification along with an FA Referee badge when successful completion of the course is attained (usually within 4 weeks of completion of the course).

Unit 6 can only be attended and completed when a minimum of 5 games as an FA Level 9 (trainee) referee have been refereed. North Riding County FA will advise you of the dates of the Unit 6 sessions throughout the season and these can be planned in with your course tutor. It is possible to attend an alternative date either earlier or later if necessary but this final session must be completed within 3 calendar months of the date of the first Practical Training Session at the start of Unit 2.

What level of referee will I be at the end of the course?

Successful completion of all six units of The FA Referee Course sees the candidate move from FA Level 9 (trainee) to FA Level 8 referee (if aged 14 or 15) or FA Level 7 referee (if/when aged 16 or over).

Where will I referee my first FIVE games?

Appointment of these first five games is crucial to the course and for your self-development as a referee. These will be communicated to you during the course itself.

Do I have to re-register to referee each season?

Yes you will need to re-register with North Riding County FA each season. This is an on-line process and currently costs £20 (about one match fee).

What support will I receive from North Riding County FA?

North Riding County FA provide a strong support network for newly qualified referees. In addition to being mentored early-on, you will be invited to attend development sessions with relevant advice available. You can also contact the Referee Development Team at any time should you have any issues or questions.

How do I move up the refereeing ladder?

North Riding County FA is keen to see and help its referees develop and progress to achieve their full potential and as such, have a structured promotion pathway for referees. The basic requirement is that you must have refereed a minimum of 20 games prior to seeking to be promoted.

There will be an opportunity to clarify any queries at the Taster Session, but please don’t hesitate to contact the County FA Referees Department office should you need to do so prior to then.

Please note to access this online application, you will need a FAN (FA Number).

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