PLAYERS from Salford City’s Academy 92 took part in an FA Referees Course as part of their continuing development.
Every player passed the two-day course, hosted at Trafford College, which means they are now qualified to officiate at a local level.
The initiative is the first in the country, and means that the squad can now take charge of games in the community as the club continues to roll out its community scheme.
It is also hoped that the qualification will give the players a better understanding of the game from a referee’s perspective, and possibly provide an alternative career option within the game.
CSR Co-ordinator Andrew Gordon, who thought-up the idea, explained how the course will be a benefit for the players and the community:
“As part of the new community programme which will be launched very soon, the club decided to put all the Academy 92 players through a two-day FA Referees Course, led by Premier League referee Chris Kavanagh.
“There were three reasons why as a club we thought this was a hugely positive move:
“Firstly, where would the beautiful game be without constant talk about respect and referees? This course will give the Academy players the opportunity to see the game through the eyes of a referee, hopefully helping revolutionise the relationship between players and referees in the future.
“Secondly, as a club we have a duty of care over the lads at the Academy, and as such we want to arm them with every possible tool we can so they can succeed in their lives moving forward.
“This additional qualification, to what is already offered on their existing education programme, means that if a full-time career as a player does not come to fruition they will still have an excellent opportunity to stay in the game.”
“Finally, and the most important aspect from a community point of view, is that we have a group of young officials that can go out in the local area and provide referees for matches, tournaments and events where needed.
“The feedback that we have received so far is beyond what we could have expected, people seem extremely excited about what we have done and are doing, with people contacting from homeless leagues, schools and disability provisions asking if we can provide referees.
“The lads are even refereeing the whole of the National Deaf Youth Football Tournament this weekend which should be a fantastic event and a great representation of the hard work and effort the boys have put in so far.”
Congratulations to the lads, and good luck on Saturday!
Thank you to Sky Sports for use of their video package. You can read their story here: http://www.skysports.com/football/news/11095/11297866/could-players-become-referees-salford-citys-pioneering-ref-academy