Manchester FA have today announced that from the 2019/20 season, all U18 referees will wear a yellow armband, which aims to reduce negative behaviour shown to young referees and ensure they stay in the game as officials for years to come.
Referees aged 18 or younger make up a third of Manchester FA’s refereeing workforce and last season, 30% of Manchester FA’s improper conduct charges were against an U18 official. Overall last season at Manchester FA, there was an increase in the number cautions, dismissals and misconduct charges and so this campaign aims to support our youngest referees' development. The armband highlights to players, coaches and volunteers that the match official at their game is under 18 years’ of age and still subject to the safeguarding legislation that protects children in football.
Referee Development Officer, Tom Elliott, explains: “This decision to introduce yellow armbands for our U18 match officials was essential after we saw an increase in charges last season, affecting our developing referees in staying in the game. They are learning and will inevitably make mistakes, however by implementing this and further supporting the FA’s ‘We Only Do Positive’ campaign, we are committing to improving the playing experience for all. We want all participants to enjoy football in a safe environment.”
Colin Bridgford, Chief Executive Officer, adds: “We are the only County FA in the country to have a Duty of Care Officer to support our referees and this move to support our youngest referees further shows our commitment to the development of referees in Greater Manchester."
“Across all areas of the game, we embed the FA’s 'RESPECT' campaign and for us, it was a clear decision to introduce the yellow armband campaign. It will help reduce negative behaviour and ensure that these match officials, who are still learning and are at a key stage of their development, stay in the game for years to come and enjoy being part of the grassroots football community in Greater Manchester.”
All Manchester FA U18 referees will receive their armband ahead of the start of the season and should wear it at all times when officiating.