On Saturday 25th May prior to the Scottish Cup Final at Hampden, Bob Wilson was presented by the Scottish FA with an award to recognise his contribution to refereeing.
The Association nominated Bob for this award for the amount of work and years he has contributed to developing our up and coming referees, especially within Schools football. There isn’t a new referee who Bob hasn’t given advice to or helped them when starting out over the years. The commitment Bob has for developing officials goes above and beyond, attending all association meetings and giving up his free time to watch many of our new referee’s first matches.
We are glad and very thankful the Scottish FA presented him with this very deserved award, congratulations Bob!
I begin by thanking the association most sincerely for allowing me the privilege to share this personal tribute with the membership.
Having known George (GBS or in early years Mr Smith) since the day I joined the EDRA in 1977, it was in January 2016 that our relationship took on a completely new slant for reasons out-with football.
Prior to this, I was as aware, as were all other members, of the unrivalled career George enjoyed in terms of refereeing, all of which has been well documented and will remain documented in the history of this association.
Whilst I will always be aware of the success George enjoyed, both on and off the field, it is the more personal side of George that I have the great pleasure of sharing with you all.
George and I readily acknowledged and agreed that we could not be considered as ‘buddies’, albeit he had been instrumental during my refereeing career or should I say he ensured I remained there until my retirement from the senior list in May 2000. Nevertheless, we had mutual respect and the call I referred to above in 2016 was to move things in a different direction.
I do not use the word ‘Dignified’ to often, but I assure you that from that day forward and until his sad passing, George epitomised the meaning of the word in every sense of it. He took me into his confidence and something that remained there until the latter months of his life when he thought he should release me from what he called a ‘burden’. I never considered it that, yet also respected his opinion. I have to say at this juncture that it was my pleasure to offer any support for a man who had provided the same for me.
In the early days following diagnosis of Prostate Cancer, George was placed on medication and closely monitored, albeit even then, he had a very good idea of the eventual prognosis / outcome. Notwithstanding, never at any stage did he resort to self-pity or defeatism but instead being an extremely proud man, he fought through things whilst only thinking of others.
I was allowed and extremely privileged to share in George’s journey, regularly visiting to enjoy long chats, nostalgia and his aspirations for the younger members looking to replicate the success George enjoyed from refereeing.
Regular Monday visits included Hot X buns on offer from Pamela, when she was also more than happy to throw in her tuppence worth into the varied topics of conversation.
George was also a very proud family man, married to Pamela and their two children (Euan and Lynsey) gifting them with four lovely grandchildren. Away from refereeing, and particularly after retirement from the day job, it was the family that took up most of George’s time, including some excellent cruises that Pamela and he enjoyed.
I would like to suggest that if ‘Legends’ exist in football, then that was what George achieved in terms of his 58 years as a member, during which witnessed him refereeing at a level only some can dream off.
He was extremely proud and supportive of this association to the end. Whilst he fought his illness with great dignity and support from his loving family, he may have succumbed to the illness, but I would suggest that his memory will live long with us all.
One fond memory I share with you in terms of refereeing took place when we attended the various Observers meetings, where for some obscure reason, George insisted that I sat close to him when it came to the Laws of the Game tests. I can only assume he got the same results as me then, and therefore, albeit only on the odd occasion………..for that I’m truly sorry George.
A gentleman, his standards were of the highest calibre throughout his career, and on becoming a ‘Supervisor’ (As it was known in those days), you would only have to ask referees who allowed unparliamentary language to pass without intervening what the feedback was like.
In closing, I am aware that a separate note has been posted regarding George’s funeral arrangements, and I would like to think that time permitting in our busy lives, as many as possible can attend to say farewell to our ‘Legend’ and show respect and support for the family at this desperately sad time.
Thank you yet again for allowing me this platform to share some of my thoughts with you.
Mr George Smith – Honorary President
It is with great pleasure that I can announce Mr George Smith as Honorary President of the SFAR Edinburgh and District. This comes after it was unanimously agreed at our recent AGM to bestow this position upon Mr Smith, who has served the association with distinction for 58 years.
I am sure members will join me in congratulating George in being presented with this position, and will agree that there is nobody more deserving of this recognition.
The first year after becoming a referee is one of the most important for development. At the Edinburgh and District we want to ensure that our officials are supported and enjoy being part of the Association. We asked Sean Duff to let us know how he got on in his first year….
Just over a year ago I signed up to the new entrants class & decided to give refereeing a go. At the class I wasn’t long in realising that even though I had played football for about 15 years I actually didn’t know the game as well as I thought. After 6 enjoyable weeks of learning the laws of the game I completed the course.
Before I had refereed my first game I started going along to the training sessions on a Wednesday night and was really anxious about what to expect. It turned out I had nothing to be worried about, as although you’re worked hard and pushed every week, the group of referees there are a great support and tell brilliant stories about their games! Now going to training is one of the things I look forward to most about my week as its great catching up with everyone at the same time as pushing each other to get fitter.
My first game was Hearts against Hamilton under 12s at the Oriam and now looking back it’s funny to think how much progress I’ve made since then. I was more stressed before my first game as a referee than I ever was a player, worrying about all the things that I could do wrong. How do I get the team lines? How should I introduce myself as the referee? What if I log the match details wrong? As soon as the game started however, that all went and I couldn’t help but love the buzz of being involved as an official. I knew that my development adviser on the touchline was there to support me and keep me right, and getting told what I was doing well at half time and being given pointers for the second half, reassured me that I was doing well and gave me the confidence to go out and enjoy the experience. I remember feeling relieved when I blew the final whistled having worried so much before the game started, however I’d caught the buzz and now couldn’t wait to do it all over again.
Throughout my first year I can now say I’ve been involved in over 50 games both as a referee and assistant referee. My two biggest highlights so far have been being appointed as an assistant referee in the East of Scotland league where I learn a lot from experienced referees, and being promoted to Category 4 Development which enables me to referee in the under 20s Lowland/East of Scotland league. Now in the upcoming season I’m looking forward to gaining more experience through officiating at a higher level and continuing to enjoy refereeing!
Once again the Association has
enjoyed another successful year, not only measured in the number of new
entrants, prestigious appointments and promotions but by the healthy activity
which has taken place throughout the year as outlined by Vikki who has once
again pulled together the highlights and major talking points.
What is remarkable is the
amount of commitment shown to the Association not only in terms of on the park
where it matters most in terms of performance but by all the off-field
activity. In terms of commitment however it would be wrong not once again to
highlight the examples set by Bill Mullan who sadly passed away in November
and George Smith who retired after 58 years unfailing service to Scottish
Refereeing and our Association in particular.
I am sure the Association has
a bright future ahead in the next year. We have now bedded in the new
Constitution and the recent changes in our meeting format brought in by our
President Stuart Luke has been refreshing with an even greater emphasis on
coaching and reflection on refereeing which has given rise to some lively
debate. If you have not been to an Association meeting can I encourage you to
come along. You will be very welcome.
New Year, new goals…I am sure
that you will use this time of the year to refocus and evaluate what you want
to achieve from your refereeing. It does not matter what level we are at
or what role we play I am sure we all wish to continue to develop and to do our
Wherever this year takes us can I therefore on behalf of Calum, Martin and I wish you and your families every success and a Happy New Year.
Mark Doyle Assistant Association Manager SFAR Edinburgh and District
Referee Awareness Course January 2018
In January we held our referee awareness course, which was aimed at Females. We had a great attendance and some even transferred onto the full course! The day is a short course, which includes an interactive session! We are looking forward to our upcoming course in January 2019! Thanks to @ScotFASouthEast for supporting and to @murieutdgirls for coming along to help!
Nutritional Session – January 2018
We all know
how hard it is after the Festive Period to look after our nutrition, which is
why we held a nutrition session for all our members to come along and hear what
can help us perform better!
La Manga Winter Training Camp
At the end
of January our top referees went to the Scottish FA winter training camp in La
Manga! Below is a photo of them before one of the training sessions with our
Referee Committee member Calum Murray and our Physio Nicole!
Presentation to the Edinburgh Children’s Hospital Charity
association meeting in February we presented the Edinburgh Children’s Hospital
Charity with a cheque for £2000!! This was the funds raised from our Annual
Charity Quiz at the tail end of 2017. An absolutely fantastic amount!! We can’t
wait to present the money from this years quiz early in the New Year!
Kieran Green Presented with Trophy for U18 Independent Schools Final
we presented Kieran Green with his award for being appointed to the U18
Independent Schools Scottish Cup Final!
Referee Courses 2018
year we run 2 referee classes one in February over 5 Sundays and the other in
August over 10 Monday evenings. This is the full course, which will allow you
to become a qualified Scottish FA referee. This year alone we have had 35 pass
the course (5 of who are female), which is fantastic!! Look out for adverts on
our upcoming class soon or for more info see our website www.edinburghanddistrictreferees.co.uk or email email@example.com
Futsal Course & Blog
In December we ran a Futsal Course in which 8 referees attended from EDRA and other Associations. We were very lucky that FIFA Futsal Referee Gordon McCabe came along to assist as well! In October Dominic Falconer wrote a blog for our website on why to become a Futsal Referee.
Daniel Graves featured on Scottish FA site
In February it was great to see Daniel Graves one of our Cat
3 Referees on the Scottish FA website speaking about his referee journey and
how this began on the SQA Referee Course!! This year we had a fantastic amount
of referees join through this programme, especially on the female refereeing
side where we saw 4 new referees join the association!
Youth Referee Ambassador Programme Created
In 2018 Vikki Allan our Secretary who is also the Youth Referee Ambassador of Change until the end of this year created the Youth Referee Ambassador Programme. The Youth Referee Ambassadors are a follow on programme to the Scottish FA’s Youth Ambassadors of Change. In February Vikki Allan was featured on the Scottish FA website promoting this programme and why it is important for the recruitment and retention of referees.
Youth Referee Ambassador appointed for EDRA
In 2018 the Youth Referee Ambassadors were created this is a follow on programme to the Scottish FA’s Youth Ambassadors of Change. The YRA’s look to support recruitment and retention of young referees all over Scotland. Calum Doyle was appointed as our YRA here in Edinburgh and District!
Supporting International Women’s Day
Edinburgh and District Referee Association we are very lucky to have such a
great group of female referees. Back at the end of 2015/early 2016 we set up
our Women’s team to promote recruitment and retention of female referees. Back
then we only had around 3-4 active female officials at the Association which
had been stagnant for around ten years, we are now beyond delighted to have
around 15! Back in March we celebrated International Women’s day by displaying
a post of some of their achievements.
Presentations at SSFRA Dinner
In May the
EDRA had a table at the SSFRA dinner in which Fiona Morton and Iain Snedden
were both presented with awards for their appointment on the Women’s Scottish
Cup Final in 2017!
Support the Referee Week on Sky Sports News
Support the Referee week on Sky Sports, we were very lucky to have two guest
appearances on the show! Daniel Graves went on Sky Sports News to talk more
about the SQA Referee course. He spoke about the benefits and skills that can
be learnt from refereeing! Check out the interview below:
The second interview on Sky Sports News was Vikki Allan and Crawford Allan! They
discussed the opportunities available to referees, the SQA programme at Holy
Rood High School (which was being run by Daniel Graves with around 40 students
taking part!!) and the great sponsorship between refereeing and the support
which Specsavers offer.
Martin Clark and Mark Doyle both attended Holy Rood High School and Dalkeith
High School to present a number of pupils with certificates for successfully
passing the SQA Referee Course. 56 pupils sat the course, which is fantastic!
Thanks to both Steven Wilson and Daniel Graves for leading the courses.
Trainers, Development Advisers and Seminars
our Trainers and development advisers for a great year of training and
development as well. We train every week with our trainers and they keep us in
great shape. Our Development advisors also go to our games week in and week out
to give us advice to make sure we are the best referees we can be. Once a month
at training we run various different seminars focusing on aspects of
officiating such as Assistant Referee, Sanction Procedure… etc.
In May we had our Annual Dinner, which is a Celebration of the Achievements from the Association members. Many awards were presented on the evening see list below:
National Cup Finals –Fiona Morton, Stewart Luke, Iain Snedden, Vikki Allan, Kevin Lindsay & Niamh Westwood
Nut of the Year – Nelson Da Silva
Trainers Award – Craig Ferguson
Referee’s Referee of the Year – Duncan Smith
Development Award – Mark Harris
Presidents Award – Derek Hall
Frank Campbell Memorial Award – Kieran Kennedy
Bill Tait – Ryan Lee
Retirements – Crawford Allan & Alan Hogg
At the Dinner we also share a video of achievements from throughout the season – check it out on our homepage!
At the end
of the season we also had some retirements from the Association, these were
recognised at the August Association Meeting.
Equal Playing Field
In March, Vikki Allan one of our female referees went to Jordan with Morag Pirie from the Aberdeen Association to be Assistant Referee in a World Record breaking football match. This was the second World Record for the duo after climbing Kilimanjaro in 2017 to get the record for the highest game in the world. The match in Jordan was the lowest Altitude match in the world by the Dead Sea. During this trip they also took part in 4 football camps across Jordan with 700 little girls teaching them football and refereeing skills. For some of the girls this was the first time they had ever played outside let alone with a football and was a very emotional trip! This was an initiative with @EqualPlayingField to raise awareness of gender equality in sports. Check out the documentary from their first trip with the second documentary airing soon about Jordan!
also saw David Doig and Simon MacLean complete their SCORE Training and were
presented with certificates from Craig Thomson. SCORE (Scottish Centre of
Refereeing Excellence) programme is the Scottish equivalent of CORE for our up
and coming referees. This for looking at areas such as match preparation,
player management, control of the game, tactical awareness and fitness
training, combined with practical exercises and mental preparation.
We also caught up with David and Simon to hear all about how they found the programme.
also saw Daniel Graves and Craig Ferguson gain entry on the SCORE (Scottish
Centre of Refereeing Excellence) programme which is the Scottish equivalent of
CORE for our up and coming referees. This for looking at areas such as match
preparation, player management, control of the game, tactical awareness and
fitness training, combined with practical exercises and mental preparation.
2018 was a
fantastic year for promotions at the EDRA, with around 18 officials being
promoted! Well done to all!!
Development Academy, which is now in its fourth year, continued in 2018 to
support on a regular basis our development category referees. Regular
seminars and fitness sessions have been held throughout the year with guest
presenters and these have helped support a number of referees in their
fledgling referee careers over the seasons. Thank you to all who helped support
and also attend this.
Child Protection Team
also saw a massive project come into play for our Child Protection Officers at
the EDRA! They had to ensure every referee pre 2004 had the EDRA up to date
Disclosure. This was a massive project but the team were fantastic and never
let it faze them. Thank you to George and David!
George Smith Retirement
In October it was announced that George Smith would be retiring as an observer. Mr Smith has been involved with refereeing and the Edinburgh and District Association for 58 years. Mr Smith was a top domestic official but also a FIFA Referee for Scotland, he retired from refereeing in 1992 and was appointed to what is known now as the Referee Committee. Mr Smith still remains as the only EDRA referee to have been appointed to the World Cup. The Association posted a tribute to Mr Smith on the website noting many of his accolades. There were further tributes at our Association meeting in November by Calum Murray.
Edinburgh and District Association we also have a great Social team who
organise events throughout the year for our refereeing family! These have
included great events such as go karting, regular get together, FootGolf,
Annual Charity Quiz and our flagship event the Annual Dinner! Details of our
Annual Dinner for 2019 were sent out recently by email and will be posted on
social media early in the New Year.
We are very lucky at the EDRA to be appointed to some fantastic fixtures! Below are a list of prestigious appts this year:
In May the
Women’s Leagues had their Cup Finals. Emma Hingant (AR1), Niamh Westwood (AR2)
and Vikki Allan (Fourth Official) were appointed to the League One Cup Final
between Hibernian U23 v Celtic. For the League Two Cup Final Vikki Allan was
the Referee between Spartans FC v Kelty Hearts.
April Iain Snedden and Ryan Lee were appointed to officiate at the Scottish
Youth Cup Final Hibernian v Aberdeen as referee and fourth official
Fiona Morton officiated at the Women’s League Cup Final, Hibernian v Celtic.
This match was live on BBC Alba.
was appointed to a UEFA Mini Tournament as an Assistant Referee for the U19
Bosnia & Herzegovina
Fiona Morton (Fourth Official) and Vikki Allan (AR2) officiated at the Women’s
Scottish Cup Final, Hibernian v Motherwell. This match was live on BBC Alba.
Duncan was appointed to a UEFA U21 Championship Qualifying Match between Sweden
v Hungary as Fourth Official.
Vikki Allan was appointed to a UEFA Women’s Champions League Tournament as Assistant Referee:
Leczna v Anderlecht
Leczna v Martve
was appointed as AR1 at a UEFA Youth league 2nd Leg 1st
Round match between IF Elfsborg v KR Reyjkavik.
By Martin Clark, Mark Doyle, Calum Murray and Paul Reid
George Smith has intimated his retirement as a Referee Observer. This brings to an end 58 years of active involvement in refereeing. In due course, the Management Committee will discuss the most appropriate way to mark Mr Smith’s unprecedented contribution to our Association and to Scottish refereeing more generally.
Many members will know Mr Smith only as a Referee Observer. It was, however, as a referee that he first made his mark and assembled a refereeing CV that, for an Edinburgh referee, is unlikely to be surpassed. Largely due to his own modesty, it is little talked of these days. But it seems appropriate to set out some of the highlights to place his career, and news of his retirement, in its proper context. Having passed his entrance examination in August 1961, Mr Smith was promoted to Category 1 in 1971. He was first nominated as a FIFA referee in 1974 (at the then remarkably early age of 31) and served continuously between 1978 and 1991. He was regularly appointed to European club matches, including the 1989 quarter final, second leg between AC Milan and Werder Bremen (a match featuring the likes of Maldini, Van Basten, Gullit and Carlo Ancelotti). On the international stage, he was appointed to the Finals of the FIFA World Student Games (1987) and the FIFA World Youth Tournament (1989). But the pinnacle of his career arrived in 1990 with his appointment to referee at the World Cup Finals in Italy. He remains the only Edinburgh official to have been appointed to referee at a World Cup Finals.
Domestically, his achievements are similarly without rival. He was, in 1980, the first Edinburgh referee to take change of the Scottish Cup Final (an Old Firm Final, no less; he ran the line on the final 12 years earlier). He went on to referee the finals of 1988 and 1990 (the latter was the first to be decided by penalties; the only other final decided that way being the 2006 final, which was the next to be referee by an Edinburgh referee, his prodigy D G McDonald). That tally of refereeing three Cup Finals is the same as the rest of the Association put together! In 1988 and 1989, Mr Smith also refereed the Scottish League Cup Final. It almost goes without saying, that throughout his time at Category 1, he was a regular feature of the biggest games in the country.
In August 1992, Mr Smith retired from active refereeing and in November 1992 was appointed to what is now known as the Referee Committee. He served on the Referee Committee for 15 years. Removal of the mandatory retirement age of 70 extended his time in the stand, which concluded earlier this week with his retirement. During that time, referees throughout Scotland, but most particularly within our Association, have benefitted greatly from his advice, experience, support and friendship.
That is only a summary of an unprecedented career. Fuller tributes will be paid at the November meeting. But it hopefully gives some context to a career that this Association is unlikely to see matched. And after 58 years, we all wish Mr Smith a very well earned, much deserved and happy retirement.
On 3rd December the SFAR Edinburgh and District will hold a Futsal Conversion course at the Oriam, Heriot Watt. This course consists of some classroom learning for a couple hours and an exam. We are also going to host a local Futsal team so we can see officials in action. On the evening FIFA Futsal Referee Gordon McCabe will also be there to assist with the course. To sit the Futsal conversion course you just have to be a fully paid member within the Scottish FA. Why would you want to sit the course though and what would you gain?
We have asked Dominic Falconer about his experience as a Futsal Official…
Futsal Just five aside right? Not at all it’s a sport in its own right, think 11 aside laws, played on a court indoors with 5 players and you’re a little closer to understanding it. Don’t get me wrong that’s exactly what I thought it was before passing the conversion course back in 2015. Since then I’ve grown a far better understanding of the sport , played (well attempted) a couple of games and progressed to levels that never thought possible whilst sitting in a Tynecastle high classroom with around 20 other referees.
Futsal originated in Uruguay around the 1930s, with similar laws to association football, the main differences are:
• Smaller low bounce ball (usually size 4)
• Played indoors on a hard surfaced court delimited by lines
• 4 second count at restarts (goal clearance, corners and kick ins)
• 5 players 1 of which is the goalkeeper
• Unlimited substitutions
• Timeouts (1 per team per half)
• No Offside
I’ve officiated countless games at different venues in different cities all over Scotland. All in different situations you wish/want to be involved with whilst refereeing for example, promotion/relegation battles, top of the table clashes, semi finals, finals, Scottish cup the list is endless.
I’m thankful that Gordon McCabe (Scotland’s first FIFA Futsal Referee) and our fellow colleagues in Perth took me under their wing in the early stages of my futsal refereeing career, and actively encouraged me to cover games with them in the Perth league. Without their support and knowledge that early in my Futsal career I don’t think I’d be where I am today. With the help and support of colleagues from all over the country I’m delighted and honoured to say that I have been involved in some of the high profile matches within Scotland, also given the opportunity to officiate alongside them at the First ever SFL playoff event in the same season I started refereeing Futsal. I was then selected as Referee 2 for Scotland’s first ever Scottish Futsal Cup final and the same season standing alongside Gordon and our colleagues in a UEFA Sanctioned friendly between Scotland and Gibraltar as fourth official. I’ve been extremely lucky with the opportunities I have received, but it also goes to show that they are there if you work hard, show determination and willing to grasp them.
We are however short of qualified officials within the Edinburgh area, especially now the league runs from 2 venues. There is a conversion course coming up in Edinburgh on the 3rd December. I’d highly recommend it as personally it’s one of the greatest things I’ve done and the achievements are there to see and for anyone who wants them.
As mentioned at our meeting on the 30th August, there will be a local Regional Training day on 7th October.
For those who were not in attendance at the meeting, the training day will take place on Sunday October 7th @ The Oriam and Heriot Watt University in Edinburgh. This will be with our colleagues from the Fife, Lanarkshire and Stirlingshire Associations. The Association would however also like to stress the importance of the day, primarily as it is designed specifically for referees operating in Grassroots football. From previous experience, the content of the day has been excellent, allowing you to get involved and also gain from learning from our top officials.
In order to assist, Mark Doyle has kindly agreed with some of our senior referees to take charge of fixtures on the day, thus allowing everyone the perfect opportunity to attend this extremely worthwhile day.
In order that we can regularly update the referee department with regards to numbers attending, Martin Clark will be keeping a register and would therefore ask you to book your place ASAP and e-mail him (cc’ing in Mark Doyle) at your earliest.
This is an excellent day and not one to be missed!
Last month you may have seen us post on social media about our Scottish Centre of Refereeing Excellence (SCORE) candidates. We recently had two of our members complete the programme and another two selected to start.
First of all you might be asking what SCORE is? SCORE is a programme ran by the Scottish FA Referee Operations department in collaboration with Heriot Watt University, has helped to identify and develop talented referees and assistant referees through intensive coaching, observation and training. It has provided the referees with opportunities to obtain one to one coaching and training from experienced coaches. Aside from the refereeing benefits, it has also exposed the officials to a number of academic topics which has helped them manage and deliver their matches successfully.
Recently David Doig and Simon Maclean completed their course which they started back in June 2016, so we sat down and asked them how their journey was…
Being a part of SCORE’s first year with a focus driven towards assistant refereeing was a huge privilege, and having now successfully completed the course and reflecting back it was a great experience.
Having a current FIFA official as my Coach for the last two seasons has been invaluable, by being able to learn from his experiences and having the opportunity to discuss incidents occurring from my own matches, or, any other clips we could find from around the world.
The academic side of the course also gave us the opportunity to further explore different areas that have an effect on refereeing, and by having a deeper understanding we could develop these skills into our training or matches.
The SCORE programme has been a great opportunity to develop as an official. It has undoubtedly been hard work, but at the same time has been a highly motivating context for learning, and a privilege to be a part of.
Having games filmed on a regular basis, and the subsequent access to high quality footage, has provided an invaluable opportunity for self-analysis and improvement.
Allied to the opportunity to receive coaching and guidance from top level assistant referees, this has allowed me to develop both skills and confidence as an assistant referee.
The regular get togethers as a SCORE group, and the physical and practical training sessions from top referees and assistants, have also been of great benefit and highly motivating.
The academic course proved interesting and allowed me to look at some aspects of officiating in a new way, and gain further insight into my practice.
Congratulations to both on completing their course and we look forward to seeing their refereeing careers progress. We also announced last month that two new candidates had been selected from Edinburgh and District, Craig Ferguson and Daniel Graves. The Association and both David and Simon wish them both every success on their SCORE journey and can’t wait to see where it takes them.
The 2018-19 Season domestically has commenced and just a short note to wish all members well for the Season ahead.
2017-18 was a particularly busy and successful Season for the Association at all levels and saw the continued development of our young Officials and the servicing of the game from the Grass Roots level upward. A lot of hard work continues to go on behind the scenes and it is clear that this groundwork is assisting with the further promotion/s onto the Senior List ( Cat 3 ) of Jonathan Gall, Stephen Wilson and Chris Newman. The Female Referee numbers also continue to rise which is also very encouraging, as was some very well deserved positive movement and a further Season’s experience under the belt for those aspiring to progress further in their refereeing.
Whilst the World Cup will have thrown up many talking points, particularly on the use of VAR, it has again in my opinion showcased the fitness levels of the Elite Referees and I would again encourage you all to take advantage of the unique facilities at the Association’s disposal and to continue to work as hard as possible to ensure you are as fit and well prepared for the Season ahead as possible. The LotG changes are thankfully minimal this year, mainly encompassing the use of Video assistance, but nevertheless important as way of a refresher to run through and review the Laws regularly given the changes over the past few Seasons.
Martin, Mark and the respective Association ‘Teams’ continue to look at a number of initiatives to assist the membership on and off the park and, like myself, are available to discuss any aspect of your refereeing that may arise during the course of the Season ahead.