Worcestershire FA is delighted to announce plans to support new referees in the early stages of their career.
Aimed at supporting new, up and coming referees in Worcestershire, the #SeeTheShirt initiative will see green shirts introduced for all trainee referees under the age of 18 from the 2019/20 season. Trainee referees aged 18+ will have the option of wearing a green shirt or a standard black shirt.
The purpose of #SeeTheShirt is to remind everyone that the referee is learning, with the majority of trainee referees aged under 18 and still subject to children’s safeguarding legislation – and should therefore be protected, encouraged and treated with the utmost respect.
Ollie Williams, Worcestershire FA Referee Development Manager, said: “Over 35% of our current registered referees in Worcestershire are under the age of 18. It is vitally important that they are supported and allowed to do their job so that we can retain them.
"We have to understand that referees will make mistakes just like the young players they are refereeing – this is all part of their development and I would ask that managers, coaches, parents and spectators respect this. If anyone has an issue with a new referee, they should contact the County FA directly and not undertake any discussions with the referee.
“The idea of the green shirt is to help identify those new referees – who are likely to be under the age of 18 – and ensure they are supported, as well as making managers, coaches, parents and spectators think twice about making abusive or insulting comments. The shirt will hopefully act as a trigger to players, coaches and spectators not to make the remark that may be in their head as they understand the likely safeguarding connotations of doing so.”
Nichola Trigg, Worcestershire FA Chief Executive Officer, added: “Safeguarding in football is paramount. It is hugely important that referees also enjoy the role they play in ensuring football is a great experience for everyone. By introducing #SeeTheShirt, we are hoping to remind others that referees should be treated with respect and, for those referees under 18, they are entitled to the same safeguarding protection as other under 18's who may play or coach."
All new Worcestershire FA referees will receive a green shirt as part of their referee course resources during the 2019/20 season and it should be worn at all times whilst officiating in their first season. Matches in Worcestershire affiliated youth leagues will begin to #SeeTheShirt from September 2019 and marketing material will be distributed in formats including posters, flyers and business cards as well as presentations at league meetings.
You can contact Worcestershire FA’s Referee Department by email: firstname.lastname@example.org or follow the progress of #SeeTheShirt via Twitter: @WFAReferees