ECFA Referee Hubs

Main Image

We are delighted to announce the inaugural launch of the ECFA Referee Hubs programme; providing funding to support the training and development of 50+ student referees across the Country.

As part of an extensive competition review during 2014-15, colleges expressed that they face a real shortfall in the number of qualified referees available to referee Wednesday afternoon ECFA 11v11 leagues.

To address this shortfall, we are launching The ECFA Referee Hub programme investing £5000 across 10 colleges to create a culture of developing qualified and active student referees in colleges.

The aim of the programme is to create a culture of increasing the number of qualified student referees who can actively referee in ECFA leagues and intramural TEAM NINETEEN provision, as well as referee grassroots football matches in local community football leagues.


Colleges can now apply to become an ECFA Referee Hub and receive a £500 training bursary support 5+ students to complete a referee course in partnership with their local County Football Association.

As well as the funding support ECFA will also host a national training day for student referees. We also encourage the college to work with your local County FA and explore opportunities for the Referee Development Officer to identify referee mentoring opportunities for students, promote referee training workshops that are being hosted in the local area and identify opportunities for students to referee in the community.

Lucy Oliver

We are delighted to announce Lucy Oliver as our ECFA Referee Hub Ambassador We are delighted to be working closely with Lucy and The FA on this exciting new initiative, the progression of the programme and the structure of the national training event. Here is what Lucy had to say about the programme:

“I am delighted to be asked to be a FE Referee Hub ambassador. The long-term success of football, male and female, depends upon a sustainable pipeline of talented officials and this new FE Referee Hub programme will play an important role in recruiting, training and developing tomorrow’s referees through close collaboration with the further education system. I’m excited to become a part of this initiative and am looking forward to playing an active role in its success as an ambassador.”

Programme Benefits

English Colleges FA is investing in the Referee Hubs to grow new and sustain the number of referees within colleges. By being a referee hub you could:

• Access £500 funding to support
• Support and reward student volunteers to become qualified, develop employability skills and earn money
• Provide opportunities for students who are seeking a career as an official
• Develop new, mutually beneficial partnerships and work in collaboration
• Develop mentoring programme for college / student referees in partnership with your County Football Association
• Build your reputation as a college at the forefront of developing football and providing industry experience in a unique way.


Criteria and Commitments

We have put in place some basic criteria to access the funding for the hub. These act as a safeguard to ensure that English Colleges FA, the ‘hub college’ and the students receive maximum value for the time, money and resource invested.

Criteria for becoming an ECFA Referee Hub;

• The college is a member of AoC Sport (funding is only available to General Further Education Colleges and Sixth Form Colleges)
• A minimum of five students who are not yet qualified referees must be selected as referee scholars, 20% of referee scholars must be female
• Use investment to enable 5+ selected referee scholars complete a Basic Referee Course, become qualified and start to regularly referee competitive league fixtures during this academic year
• The college should gain support from your local County Football Association
• A referee mentor or coach should be identified through the college and/or County FA to support all referee scholars

ECFA Referee Hub Programme Commitments:

College Commitment:
• Complete an open recruitment process (ideally application and interview) to select referee scholars who are committed to the programme
• Fund training for referee scholars so they become fully qualified referees
• Agree to submit a referee hub tracker once a term in line with agreed submission dates (likely December, March and June).
• Submit best practice / marketing materials to ECFA with each termly tracker
• Complete a referee development plan to identify how you are going to increase, sustain and develop an active student referee workforce

Student Commitment:
• Attend the referee training course which you can identify by your local County FA.
• Follow all relevant college rules and regulations, and be an ambassador for the college.

English Colleges FA Commitment:
• Host national training event for all referees within the programme.
• Provide £500 funding to be used to activate students into becoming referees.
• Provide ongoing support through remote channels, such as the website, social media and other relevant channels.

The Further Education Referee Hub funding can be used to contribute towards:
• Referee scholars’ Basic Refereeing Courses and Referee Kit

For further information please contact Nick Hawkins: nick_hawkins@aoc.co.uk / 01935 823444

ECFA Referee Hubs will continue in the 16/17 academic year but will now be encompassed within our ECFA College Football Hubs program.