As part of our mission to support young match officials, we are delighted to announce the introduction of yellow armbands for referees under the age of 18, in association with REFSIX our official refereeing partner.
The eye-catching new armbands, which have proved successful in other counties, are being distributed to youth referees to signify their age, making coaches, players and spectators aware that they are a child.
The armbands act as visual aids to help highlight younger referees, that are still developing their game, and remind everyone that the referee is still subject to the children’s safeguarding legislation. Therefore, they should be protected, encouraged and treated with respect.
With over 100 under-18 referees in the county, we hope this initiative will improve the match-day experience for them and everyone else involved in the game, whilst also encouraging more young people to take up refereeing.
Our Safeguarding Manager, Sandra Redhead had this to say: “No referee should have to face abuse being directed at them; abuse is especially reprehensible when the referee is a child or young person.
“By wearing an armband that identifies the wearer as being a child or young person, we hope that those who are tempted to deliver an abusive comment or act in a way designed to intimidate the young referee, will think twice and reconsider their actions.
“If, however, abusive behaviour towards a young referee does take place whilst they are wearing an armband, this information may be passed to any disciplinary panel to be considered as an aggravated factor when deciding on the appropriate sanctions.
“We encourage all young referees to wear the armband and ask that all adults at football help us safeguard them by being positive, supportive and kind. Let’s give our young referees the respect and safe environment that they deserve.”
Paul Jeffery, our Operations Manager, said: “It is not acceptable for any referee to be abused. Nearly one fifth of our current registered refereeing workforce in Sussex is under the age of 18.
“We have over 650 affiliated match officials in this county and, whilst it is important, we support every single match official, supporting our next generation of officials is important for the longevity of refereeing.
“The idea of the yellow armband is to help identify those referees who are under the age of 18 and ensure that they are collectively supported. The young referees have chosen to wear the armbands and believe that they will make a difference.
“The concept is to ensure that managers, coaches, players, parents and spectators think twice about making unnecessary comments to the young referees. Essentially, the armbands are to remind adults that the referee is still a child, learning to be the best official they can be; ultimately a reminder that these comments can be detrimental to the retention of match officials.
"We have to understand that referees will make mistakes just like the young players they are refereeing. Remember, they are human, and must make a quick decision in a split second, often at a game on their own.
“This is all part of their development and I would ask that all managers, coaches, players, parents and spectators respect this.
“If any club has an issue with a young referee, they should contact the County FA directly and not take issue with the referee on the day. Football is a game full of passion, but please don’t cross the line of abusing referees.
“The introduction of the under-18 referee armband is further evidence that we take the wellbeing of our young referees extremely seriously.”
Hassan Rajwani, CEO and Founder of REFSIX our official refereeing partners, commented: “We’re thrilled to be able to partner on this fantastic initiative.
“I echo the thoughts of Sandra and Paul that no referee should receive abuse and we hope that this initiative can play its part in helping to fight this, as has been demonstrated in other counties.
“As a company we’re proud to be associated with such a positive scheme throughout Sussex.”
For more information about the yellow armbands please contact Refereeing:
T: 01903 768573