U18 Referee Armband

Liverpool County FA proud to support yellow armband respect initiative

Yellow armbands are a reminder that U18 referees are subject to the children’s safeguarding legislation.

Aimed at supporting young match officials, the initiative of all U18 Match Officials being given a yellow armband is to remind everyone that the referee is still subject to the children’s safeguarding legislation – and should therefore be protected, encouraged and treated with respect.

Natasha Wilson, Liverpool County FA Referee Development Officer, said: “30% of our referees across Merseyside are under the age of 18. The first part of our recruitment phase for new referees in the 2021/22 season has seen 76% of new referees being U18 and 40% of referees who drop out of refereeing in the Merseyside area are U18.

"It is vitally important that we safeguard all of our referees and all reported instances of referee abuse are taken incredibly seriously but those against a child have an added layer of severity, as the game needs to protect our youngest referees, who are our referees of the future.

"We at LCFA are fully supportive of this campaign which reminds all in football that under-18 referees are still children and rightly protected under legislation, FA and government guidance, to ensure their welfare is of paramount consideration. Therefore, the yellow U18 armband reminds all participants that these U18 referees have given up their time, to ensure children younger than them, have a game. Like all referees, they are the most important person on the pitch. Without them, there simply wouldn’t be a game." 

U18 Referee

The yellow U18 armband is also a visual reminder, that players, team officials and parents and spectators should think twice, before questioning every decision they make, verbally abusing or intimidating U18’s referees. In our recent Voice of the Child 2021 survey conducted in the summer, one U18 referee said:

"As a referee, there is a lot of telling the referee what to do and abuse from parents and spectators. I know this is comes with the role but I have had a brunt of experience of it during my refereeing career, and it does take the enjoyment out of it massively."

Another U18 referee added "When I ref, they can shout a lot and this can make me lose confidence. This is therefore a perfect opportunity to embrace this campaign, to listen to our young referees and take a stand. Let's provide the right environment for them to learn, develop and enjoy. It’s their game too. Finally, if you see an U18 referee being abused, then please report it to LCFA."

Natasha Wilson said: “Whilst this initiative isn’t new, I hope this reminder will enable the entire football community to come together and ensure that referees are treated in an appropriate manner across the Liverpool County FA area, whilst also ensuring that our youngest officials receive the appropriate level of support and respect.”

All new referees under the age of 18 will be given their armband during their referee’s course. All previous referees will have been provided with an armband that was sent out in September 2019.

Should you have any questions about the scheme please contact Referee Development Officer Natasha Wilson – Natasha.Wilson@LiverpoolFA.com