Amateur Football

Playing in the Spirit of Football,
Promoting Fair Play and Respect for All

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Refereeing and the Football Association

Child Protection/CRB Checks - Referees

From the 2007-08 season onwards the Football Association have made the undertaking of the appropriate Child Protection training and CRB (Criminal Record Bureau) checks a requirement of a referee registering with his/her County Football Association. As the Child Protection elements are applicable for any game involving any player under the age of 18, they are relevant for all matches played within the AFC.

The type of Child Protection training required is either to follow the FA Child Protection guide (available as a booklet, DVD or VHS tape) or attend the FA Child Protection course (3 hours, normally held in one evening). 

For more details on referees and CRB checks, and on whether an existing referee needs to complete the FA Child Protection Guide or attend the FA Child Protection course please click here.

For more information, please contact your County Referee Development Officer.

Note: If you have not already completed a CRB check, please consider doing so. In AFC football we have many under 18's, and the more club officers, league officers and referees who have completed the checks and completed the course the better, creating a stronger and safer environment for all concerned. 

Our young footballers are the future of our football, and we want them to learn in the best possible environment. The more of our refereeing fraternity who know the ropes, the better.

Many of the League Officers have already attended and completed the course, and we can thoroughly recommend it.


AFC - Child Protection Information


FA - Child Protection and Referees


Guidance for Marking Referees

All AFC clubs are required to adhere to the Football Association marking scheme with marks from 1-100, which was introduced in 2006.

The mark awarded by a club must be based on the referee’s overall performance, It is most important that the mark is awarded fairly and not based upon isolated incidents or previous games. The Referee’s performance should be determined by the table below which should act as a guide for the overall mark which should fall within the mark range for each standard of performance.

A mark of 91-100 would be regarded as 'excellent'. A mark between 71 and 80 would represent the standard expected.

Mark Range



The Referee demonstrated very accurate decision-making and controlled the game very well using management and communication skills effectively to add value to the game.


The Referee demonstrated accurate decision-making and controlled the game well using management and communication skills to contribute positively to the game.


The Referee demonstrated reasonably accurate decision-making and despite some shortcomings generally controlled the game well.

60 and below

The Referee demonstrated shortcomings in the accuracy of decision- making and control which affected the game.


  • Club officials should use the full range of marks within each category to help distinguish between different performance levels, e.g. within the 85-76 category a mark of 84 indicates a better performance than a mark of 77.
  • While some Referees may have below average performances, there will usually have been some positive aspects of their performance, so extremely low marks should be very rare.
  • When club officials are marking a Referee, they should always look on the game as a whole and not isolated decisions. The result of the match should not influence the mark and disciplinary action should be judged objectively.
  • When a mark of 60 or less is awarded, an explanation must be provided to the Competition using the box provided on the marking form. The purpose of this is to assist Referees to improve their performance levels, so the comments should be as helpful as positive.

How to Decide on the Referee’s Mark

The following questions focus on the key areas of a referee’s performance. They are intended as an "aide memoire", are not necessarily comprehensive and need not be answered individually. It is, however, worth considering them before committing yourself to a mark for the referee.

Control and Decision Making 

  • How well did the Referee control the game?
  • Were the players’ actions recognized correctly?
  • Were the Laws applied correctly?
  • Were all incidents dealt with efficiently/effectively?
  • Were all the appropriate sanctions applied correctly?
  • Was the Referee always within reasonable distance of incidents?
  • Was the Referee well positioned to make critical decisions, especially in and around the penalty area?
  • Did the Referee understand the players’ positional intentions and keep out of the way accordingly?
  • Did the Referee demonstrate alertness and concentration throughout the game?
  • Did the Referee apply the use of the advantage to suit the mood and temperature of the game?
  • Was the Referee aware of the players’ attitude to advantage?
  • Did the Referee use the assistants effectively?
  • Did the officials work as a team, and did the Referee lead and manage them to the benefit of the game?

Communication and Player Management

  • How well did the Referee communicate with the players during the game?
  • Did the Referee’s level of involvement/profile suit this particular game?
  • Did the Referee understand the players’ problems on the day – e.g. difficult ground/weather conditions?
  • Did the Referee respond to the changing pattern of play/mood of players?
  • Did the Referee demonstrate empathy for the game, allowing it to develop in accordance with the tempo of the game?
  • Was the Referee pro-active in controlling of the game?
  • Was the Referee’s authority asserted firmly without being officious?
  • Was the Referee confident and quick thinking?
  • Did the Referee appear unflustered and unhurried when making critical decisions?
  • Did the Referee permit undue questioning of decisions?
  • Did the Referee deal effectively with players crowding around after decisions/incidents?
  • Was effective player management in evidence?
  • Was the Referee’s body language confident and open at all times?
  • Did the pace of the game, the crowd or player pressure affect the Referee negatively?


Final Thoughts

  • Always try to be objective when marking. You may not obtain the most objective view by marking immediately after the game.
  • Judge the performance over the whole game. Don’t be too influenced by one particular incident.
  • Don’t mark the Referee down unfairly because your team was unlucky and lost the game or some disciplinary action was taken against your players.

Referees' Societies

The Amateur Football Combination encourages all its referees also to join a local referees' society and to attend its meetings as frequently as possible. Membership of a local referees' society will include membership of The Referees Association, the national body representing the interests of referees and providing them with personal accident insurance cover.

For more details of various referees' societies click here.

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