"Refereeing is not easy... but it's also a very rewarding and important role that is integral to the game."
The Millwall Community Trust (MCT) have recently been launching numerous pathway sessions, to encourage those with interests in all areas of football to get on their journeys and take the steps to make their dreams a reality. The previous month saw the MCT host a session based on coaching, but for this month, the pathway highlighted the person in the middle, who without them the game cannot go ahead: referees.
Hosted superbly by Anwar Uddin, FA Council Member and Diversity & Inclusion Manager at The FA, the panel of five referees was made up of those who between them have experienced the game in the EFL, the National League, Women's National Football League and even games in the London and Kent FA grassroots games. Each explaining the vastly different ways in how they started on their own paths in match officiating.
Highlighting why and how they got into the game, and the enjoyment they get from being the one with the whistle, the panel gave insights into how to control situations, how they feel they contribute to the flow and action in the game, what they would do in certain situations after watching video footage, and taking questions from a full house of those who want to get an insight on how to be a match official in high pressure games.
Refereeing is not easy, as the panel iterated at times, but it's also a very rewarding and important role that is integral to the game - be it in front of 80,000 people or on Hackney Marshes on a Sunday morning. In all, this was a very successful afternoon which received great feedback from those in attendance, and if anyone would like to think about a career in football refereeing, then please contact your local FA for more information.