FAI encourages more people to take up the whistle in 2024

Referee Thomas Joyce during the 2019 FAI Women’s Intermediate Cup Final match between Wilton United and TEK United at St Kevin’s FC, Newhill Park in Two Mile Borris, Tipperary. (Photo by Michael P Ryan/Sportsfile)

The No Ref No Game campaign launched initially in 2022, focusing on respect for referees and to tackling inappropriate behaviour directed towards match officials across the game.

In 2023, 703 referees were trained on the FAI online referee course, of which 88 were female. It is an increase from 2022 which saw 592 referees trained and 2021 where 583 received training.

The course is made up of three sections. The first part explores the laws of the game and participants are assessed on their understanding of each law. This is followed by a six hour practical workshop (via Zoom) looking at the more complex laws of the game before trainees finish up with an online exam to test their learnings.

Referee Programme Co-Ordinator Rob Hennessy said: “It is hugely encouraging to see more people pick up the whistle and help football across Ireland. Referees are vital to uphold the integrity and fairness of the game and the more people training to become referees, the more games are played at a higher level.

“The by-product of this is greater understanding between officials, players and coaches. It is also another way for people to begin or remain involved in football and the growing trend of participation numbers is something we want to see continue.”

FAI CEO Jonathan Hill added: “It’s vital at all levels of football that we have referees for our games. It is encouraging to see this growth in referee numbers but it is also critical that we continue this growth, then focus on retention and finally ensure all referees, male and female, get the respect they deserve for the role that play.”

Those interested can sign-up for Online Referee Beginner Courses on www.becomearef.ie