Become a Referee

Whether your ambition is to referee at a World Cup Final or your local under 11's team in their league matches then Devon FA can help you along the way. From local park football all the way up to the FA Cup Final, football needs referees. Devon FA can provide the training, support and experience to help you progress as far as you want to. We have the resources, training and support mechanisms in place to assist you in achieving your goal.



The start of 2016/17 season saw a fresh and pioneering new approach to the training of new referees, with it being primarily focussed on the practical training and learning of the skills required to referee a 9v9 or 11v11 football match. 

The learning of the practical elements of refereeing re: their application and understanding are facilitated on the course by FA Referee Tutors, with the candidate taking a greater responsibility to learn the Laws of the Game through distance learning prior to, during and after the practical sessions of the course.

This new and enhanced approach to training new football referees will, without doubt, better prepare the candidate for the role as a referee.

The following ‘Frequently Asked Questions & Essential Information’ is a brief guide to how this will be delivered and how it affects you, the referee candidate.

Are there any age limits re: the course?

Anyone aged 14 or over can become a referee.  There is no upper age limit but candidates need to be able to fully participate in practical sessions.  Until you reach the age of 16, you will only be able to referee games involving children at least 1 year younger than yourself.

What is the first step?

The first step is to read all the information on this page. If you have any burning questions then please contact our Referee Development Officer Jason Haywood on .If you decide to start your refereeing journey here the ‘Referee Course’ (11v11 or 9v9 football) will only be a few weeks away.

We strongly recommend you ask any questions before you commit and spend your money!

How do I find the dates and enrol on this session?

You can book on the courses using our online booking system (CLICK HERE)

The FA Referee Courses will be held at the following venues;

Marjons Sport Centre, Derriford Road, Derriford, Plymouth. PL6 8BH

Monday 5th February 2018 19.00 - 22.00

Monday 19th February 2018 19.00 - 22.00

Monday 26th February 2018 19.00 - 22.00

Monday 5th March 2018 19.00 - 22.00

Monday 12th March 2018 19.00 - 22.00

Monday 19th March 2018 19.00 - 22.00

Paignton Community & Sports Academy, Waterleat Road, Paignton. TQ3 3WA

Tuesday 13th February 2018 18.30 - 21.30

Friday 23rd February 2018 18.30 - 21.30

Saturday 24th February 2018 10.00 - 17.00

Sunday 25th February 2018 0830 - 1530

Cranbrook Education Campus, Tillhouse Road, Exeter. EX5 3EE

Wednesday 14th March 2018 1800 - 2100

Friday 23rd March 2018 1800 - 2100

Saturday 24th March 2018 1000 - 1700

Sunday 25th March 2018 1000 - 1700

Devonport High School for Boys, Paradise Road, Plymouth PL1 5QP

Tuesday 19th June 1800 – 2100 

Wednesday 4th July 1800 – 2100

Wednesday 11th July 1800 – 2100

Monday 16th July 1800 – 2100

Wednesday 18th July 1800 – 2100

Wednesday 25th July 1800 – 2100

Devon County Football Association, Coach Road, Newton Abbot. TQ12 1EJ

Monday 16th July 2018 1830 - 2130

Friday 27th July 2018 1830 - 2130

Saturday 28th July 2018 1000 - 1700

Sunday 29th July 2018 1000 - 1700

Cranbrook Education Campus, Tillhouse Road, Exeter. EX5 3EE

Wednesday 12th September 2018 1800 - 2100

Sunday 23rd September 2018 1000 - 1530

Sunday 30th September 2018 1000 - 1530

Sunday 7th September 2018 1000 - 1530

Braunton FC, Saunton Road, Braunton. EX33 1LE

Dates to be announced soon for September/October 2018!

Plympton High School 3G

Dates to be announced soon for September/October 2018!

How much does the course cost?

The current cost of the course is £160.00

How do I book on a Referee Course?

You can book on the courses using our online booking system (CLICK HERE)

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
  • Full Referee Kit, shirt, shorts and socks
  • A referee whistle with wrist lanyard
  • A set of red/yellow cards & holder
  • Match record cards
  • County FA will confirm your 5 games prior to or at the successful completion of Unit 4  
  • 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

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 (there is a small additional charge for this process).

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 2½ 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 number of games 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.  The 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 4 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 by your County FA either prior to or during the course itself.

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

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

What support will I receive from Devon FA?

Devon 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 County FA Referee Development Team at any time should you have any issues or questions.  

How do I move up the refereeing ladder?

Devon 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.  Applications to Devon FA for promotion are made during February of each year. For further details contact your Referee Development Officer at the County FA offices.

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

Kind regards

Jason Haywood

Referee Development Officer

Devon FA

01626 325917