Referee pointing

#MCRef spotlight: Conor Brown

Callum Irving
We're taking a look behind-the-scenes at Manchester FA, into our refereeing workforce.

Q - What is your role? 
My role covers two areas, as I am the Referee Duty of Care and Appointments Officer. I’ve been at Manchester FA just over a year now after previously working in an education setting supporting children with behavioural issues. 

Q - What does the Appointments part of your role entail?
The Appointments Officer element of my role entails appointing match officials to all of Manchester FA’s County Cups and Match Officials to the academies of Manchester City FC and Manchester United FC respectively. Alongside these academies, Bury FC and Oldham Athletic FC also have their Assistant Referees appointed by myself for their U18s fixtures. Rochdale AFC also request Match Officials for their U11s – U16s on a weekly basis. I also appoint match officials to Salford City FC’s college team as well as the occasional FC United of Manchester Women’s game.

Q – And what about the Duty of Care element?
The Duty of Care role covers a vast area within Manchester FA and crosses over with Safeguarding and Discipline. A key aspect of my role is ensuring all of Manchester FA’s Match Officials are Safeguarding compliant and have the relevant safeguarding training, and a DBS if they are over the age of 16. 
Any match official that submits an ‘Extraordinary Incident/Misconduct Report’ will receive a follow up phone call from myself to ensure they are okay and talk through any issues arising from their games. This phone call is done to offer a point of contact for that referee and allow them to know the support that can be offered should they request it moving forward. Accompanying the Extraordinary Incident/Misconduct Report, is the potential for that Referee to attend a Personal Hearing. 
These hearings can be uncomfortable for any match official to be a part of, so if requested, I will attend with that match official and support them through the process. 

Q - Why is there a need for the Duty of Care side of your job?
Within Manchester FA, 38% of our registered Referees are under the age of 18 and so it is vital that, as well as supporting the entire referee community, we give particular support to our youngest referees as they find their feet in the game. 
My role supports these referees by ensuring they have enough games to officiate, offering them the opportunity to progress into the Development Pathway, allowing them the opportunity to experience football at two of the biggest clubs in the world, whilst also creating a safe and caring culture for them to officiate within their local leagues around Greater Manchester.

Q - How did you get into refereeing?
I started refereeing when I was 14 years old and began in the North Bury Junior Football League before moving into the Lancashire Amateur League and the Rochdale Sunday League at 16. I did this as a way of earning some extra money but then progressed onto the promotion pathway, to progress through the different levels of Refereeing. I am currently a Level 3 referee which means I officiate on the Contributory Leagues as well as officiating as Assistant Referee on the Panel Select List (National League Premier).

Q Why should young people get involved with refereeing?
Young people should get involved within refereeing as it helps to develop skills such as teamwork and decision-making which can be transferred into everyday life. At the age of 14, earning around £30 for an hour or so of work is much easier than having a part-time job elsewhere. At the moment, there are so many opportunities opening up within the game for match officials, so becoming a referee at a young age is something that I would definitely recommend!

Q - How can we find out more?
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.

If you’d like more information on refereeing, please call us on 0161 225 1966 or email