Referee holds whistle and football

The FA Referees Course


The FA Referee Course is designed to equip new referees with the key skills and knowledge they will need to be able to referee grassroots football matches safely and effectively. It is for those aged 14 and over who want to referee mini soccer, 9 v 9 or 11 v 11 football.

The first step towards becoming a referee is to complete the online learning on the Laws of the Game and a relevant Safeguarding course. You must complete these on your own individual FA account before you can book a place on the face to face training.

If you are under the age of 16, you will require assistance from your parent or guardian to provide you with access to your FA account. You will find this information at the refereeing help centre useful when attempting to log in to your account for the first time.

Online Learning

To provide you with an awareness of the importance of safeguarding in football you need to complete the relevant safeguarding course. This is either the Safeguarding Children Course if you are age 16 or over, or Safeguarding For All if you are under 16 years old.

The Guide to the Laws of the Game has five sections (modules) and will take approximately 90 minutes to complete. There are lots of videos to demonstrate how the Laws should be applied, activities to help reinforce the important points and, at the end of each module, there are some questions to test what you’ve learned.

Course Overview

Minimum Age: 14

Price: £135 (Includes VAT of approx. £22)

Leading To: Registered Referee Status (either level 8 Youth Referee or Level 7 Junior County Referee)

For details of upcoming dates please complete the form below, ensuring that you have first completed the necessary prerequisites. Without these you will not be able to book on the course.     


This module covers the referee’s pre-match responsibilities and includes ensuring players’ kit is safe, how to carry out the coin toss and what a referee needs to take to a match with them.

This module contains short video clips (GIFs) which show every signal the referee and assistant referee might give during a match.

This module deals with foul challenges, violent conduct, handball, unsporting behaviour, DOGSO offences and advantage. It uses video clips from football at different levels to show how the referee should manage common scenarios.

This module also uses video clips, this time to demonstrate what is and isn’t offside and how the referee should manage offside offences. The clips, like those used in the ‘Getting it Right’ module, are voiced over to explain the decisions the referees make.

This module covers restarts and set-pieces, including goal kicks, corner kicks, throw-ins, free kicks and penalty kicks. It uses both video and illustrations to clarify what players must do at each restart and set-piece and explains what the referee should do if players don’t comply with the Law.

Face to Face Training

There is 11 hours of face to face training (normally one evening, followed by a full day), which mixes training room work with practical activity on a pitch. Key messages from the online learning are reinforced throughout.  The training room work includes:

• Fun, interactive quizzes
• How to establish rapport and build relationships with players and coaches
• Recognising and dealing with foul challenges and handball
• Managing offside
• Dealing with inappropriate behaviour 
• Managing players 

On the pitch, you will have the opportunity to turn your knowledge into skills through refereeing game based scenarios. You will practise:

• Communicating decisions
• Cautioning and sending off techniques
• Managing the kick off, free kicks, penalty kicks, corner kicks and throw-ins 
• Positioning in open play and at restarts
• Being an assistant referee

Qualifying as a Referee

To qualify as a referee, you must also referee five games after you have attended the face to face training. You will then receive a certificate and an FA Referee badge.

You be supported through those five games by your County Football Association (CFA). As you continue your refereeing career, you will then be able to access further training opportunities, both online and face to face.

Important Information

We adhere to a strict cancellation policy and by enrolling onto our course you agree to have read and agree to be bound by our Policies and Procedures.