Michael Robinson, 20, and James Suddaby, 19, both from Hull, will be among 100 of the country’s most hotly tipped young match officials coming together for the two-day course at Staverton Park, in Northamptonshire.
The Young Referees Development Programme is a two-year rolling initiative which aims to assist and enhance the development of young referees up to the age of 23, with successful participants receiving a qualification at its conclusion.
Each young referee has been nominated by their County Football Association and will learn, through both theory and practical sessions, how to develop a variety of essential skills such as communication techniques, decision-making and teamwork. They will also hear from elite referees, including Bobby Madley, who at 26 is one of the youngest referees on the National List.
David Elleray, who brings to his role of chairman of The FA Referees’ Committee more than 20 years’ experience as a top flight referee, emphasised how The FA are especially interested in developing those referees who are starting their careers at a young age.
He said: “The young referees joining us here at Staverton Park are amongst the most active and committed in the country and are showing huge potential to progress right to the top. To get there requires focus, commitment and hard work which is why The FA, through its Young Referees Development Programme, is investing so much time and energy into helping these young referees aspire to be the very best they can be.”
The Young Referees Development Programme is part of The National Referee Development Programme which was launched in 2011 to provide a clear pathway for all referees, from the time they enter refereeing to becoming a Supply League referee, in the semi-professional/non-league game.
The National Referee Development Programme is also further helping referee recruitment at a time when numbers continue to rise nationally. The total number of qualified referees has risen by 18% per cent since 2008, from 23, 798 to 28,104 in 2012, with qualified female referees also up to 960 in 2012 from 206 in 2008, an increase of 366 per cent.
The FA is on course to achieve its 2015 target of recruiting and retaining 28,200 referees. The FA's 'Get Into Refereeing' campaign, in association with Carlsberg, has been a huge factor in driving these figures and is part of The FA’s National Game Strategy, a £200m investment into grassroots football.
More information is available at //www.thefa.com/my-football/referee