Youth refereeing armband

New yellow armbands for under-18 referees

A new campaign to help eradicate abuse of young referees

Thanks to the Grassroots Fund, powered by Utilita Energy, we’re delighted to announce the delivery of over 200 yellow armbands for referees under the age of 18.

Officials under the age of 18 will be encouraged to wear the band, clearly indicating their young age to players and those on the side lines. 

The aim is to eradicate abusive language towards referees, particularly those who are still children, and encourage more youngsters to become an official.

Research from the University of Portsmouth has found that a staggering 93% of referees in England have been abused while officiating.

Speaking on the announcement of the new armbands, Paul Kirton, Founder and Managing Director at Team Grassroots, said: “It’s great to see the fund being utilised in this way - supporting our young referees has always been a key priority for us. 

“Overtly placing fluorescent yellow armbands on our junior referees is a timely reminder to all present that these referees are children, and we expect them to be treated as such.

“We are delighted to be able to work with the Sussex County FA and Utilita Energy to support this great initiative.”

James Heyes, Head of Group Partnerships at Utilita, said: “The referee’s job is never an easy one and without them, we simply wouldn’t have the beautiful game. 

“We hope this movement will curb abuse from both players and the touchline, while ultimately encouraging a new generation to pick up a whistle. 

“While Utilita is involved with clubs at every level of the game, our true passion remains at the very bedrock - the grassroots community.”

Our Referee Development Manager, Paul Jeffery added: “It is never acceptable for any referee to be abused. A great number of our current registered refereeing workforce in Sussex are under the age of 18, and we have to remember that, just like young players, they will make perceived mistakes, and are learning themselves.

“This is all part of their development and I would ask that all managers, coaches, players, parents and spectators respect this.

“I’d like to extend our thanks to the Grassroots Fund for facilitating these new armbands for our young referees, and I hope they have the positive impact we all hope for."

Utilita Energy is renowned for supporting football at community level. 

The energy supplier’s Football Rebooted campaign is now in its third year - a movement that allows anyone with spare boots to donate them and those requiring boots, including individuals, families, clubs or schools, can collect them.

There are now more than 500 donation points across the UK, found at stadiums, club stores and retail outlets, and thousands of boots have already been donated and claimed.

Those who need help paying for new facilities, materials, security measures, or help with general finances, can apply below.

For more information about the yellow armbands please contact Refereeing:

T: 01903 768573

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