As part of our #MCRef spotlight month, we spoke to Referee Development Officer, Tom Elliott to understand more about his role and get a professional insight into the refereeing opportunities that exist within Greater Manchester
What is your role and what does it entail?
My role as Referee Development Officer is to lead on the recruitment, retention and development of match officials across Greater Manchester. We currently have 700 referees registered with Manchester FA that officiate across all levels of the game, from grassroots to the FIFA international stage. The support offered to referees is designed to help them enjoy their involvement in football within a safe environment, whilst developing their skills to provide the best possible experience to other stakeholders in football.
How did you get into refereeing and referee development?
I first became involved in refereeing when I took a Referee Course whilst at High School. I was interested in learning more about the Laws of the Game and viewing things from a different perspective - but also wanted the opportunity to earn money for my involvement in the sport I have always loved. It’s fair to say that I caught the ‘bug’ and never looked back. Whilst at University, I did some work experience at a neighbouring County FA and that eventually led to a full time role as a Football Development Officer, which then allowed me to specialise in referee development. I consider myself incredibly lucky to be able to work in refereeing alongside friends and colleagues that I admire and respect.
Can you give us an overview of refereeing at Manchester FA and where it is currently at?
Refereeing in Manchester is thriving at the moment, with the recent introduction of our Referee Development Pathway which offers officials continuous support and education from the moment they become a referee through to senior level and in to professional football. This is having a positive effect on both the number and quality of referees in the area. In addition to that, the referee workforce at Manchester FA (which includes an incredible team of volunteers) is unrelenting in its quest to nurture and develop referees of all levels. I truly believe that we offer exceptional levels of service from the moment a candidate enrols onto one of our Referee Courses. Manchester FA also now has representation at the highest level of the game with our first ever Premier League and FIFA Referee Chris Kavanagh, who honed his skills here in Greater Manchester and I hope that he will be the first of many!
How can people get involved with refereeing at Manchester FA?
If anyone would like to get involved in Refereeing, the best place to start is by completing our expression of interest form ahead of our next phase of recruitment, beginning in August 2019 for the upcoming playing season.
Should there be any questions regarding refereeing matters, please send an email to me at Tom.Elliott@ManchesterFA.com