We've partnered with Moretonville Juniors FC to provide all U18 match officials with a yellow armband.
On Saturday 20th and Sunday 21st November 2021, U18 Referees at Moretonville Juniors FC stepped out wearing yellow armbands as part of a pilot scheme with Berks & Bucks FA.
The aim of the scheme is to increase visibility of U18 match officials and improve the behaviour of managers, coaches and spectators towards U18 referees. The introduction of the armbands coincided with the National Football Safeguarding Weekend and the launch of The FA's Play Safe campaign.
Berks & Bucks have over 300 registered U18 referees with many of them trainees off the back of recent courses. Whilst it is important the we support all of our referees, it is imperative that our young officials are given the opportunity to learn and develop in a safe environment.
Every U18 Referee within the club will be asked to wear the armband whenever they officiate with the armbands highlighting to all managers, coaches, parents and spectators that their referee is under 18 and they should refrain from making any remarks towards the young official.
As a club, Moretonville Juniors have been pro-active in supporting their referees, and following a survey of all U18 referees, have already implemented several initiatives. This includes the appointing of a dedicated point of contact for all home matches where referees can report any concerns to as well as running in-house training events for their officials.
Club Chairman, Michael Turner, said: "The purpose of the armbands is to provide a highly visible indicator to everyone in attendance that the referee wearing it is U18 and should therefore be allowed to officiate in the same safe and supportive environment as our players; I am sure that our young referees will appreciate this support and will be happy to wear them during matches."
Michael Windeler, Chairman of the Milton Keynes & District Development League (MKDDL) also gave his support to the initiative: "We as a league will support any campaign that will reduce the abuse directed at all referees at present, especially those young referees in grassroots football."
At the pilot launch Berks & Bucks supported the rollout of the armbands and had mentors present at Moretonville Juniors home matches across the weekend to provide support for the young match officials.
For more information about Yellow Armbands for U18 Match Officials, please contact Berks & Berks FA Referee Development Officer, Sam Myatt, via Referees@Berks-BucksFA.com.