Referees Academy

Berks & Bucks FA runs 3 linked Referee Academies for referees who display the right attitude, commitment and ability to be able to progress to a higher standard of football.

What are the benefits of being in the Academy Programme?

Each Academy is assigned a Coordinator who will work with several Referee Coaches to provide advice and coaching on all Academy games.
Professional Clubs
Academy Referees are appointed to referee MK Dons, Reading and Wycombe Wanderers youth matches in addition to the matches they referee on local leagues. These matches are played in a safe environment where no criticism or abuse is tolerated and this creates an excellent development opportunity where referees can try new things without fear of criticism. Each match is observed by a Referee Coach who provides feedback to the officials on how they can develop.

Regular meetings of the Academy referees are held where referees can share match incidents and discuss refereeing issues. Guest speakers are also invited to selected In-service training events.

Fitness and Nutrition Advice
Referees operating on the Academy will receive Fitness training schedules as well as nutritional advice relevant to their age. Physiotherapy staff from each club will also be able to provide advice on exercises to overcome or recover from injuries.

Tournaments and Exchanges
Our top performing Academy Referees are sent to participate in the Lisbon Cup Referees Academy with a coach in order to experience working with referees and players from different countries. We also operate an exchange programme with Academies across the country, meaning one week you could find yourself at Manchester United’s training ground refereeing their U15s!

What is expected of an Academy Referee?
Spaces at each Academy are limited, and demand for places high. To be considered for a scholarship within the Academy referees are expected to provide regular availability to their coordinator, to continually display a professional attitude and to work hard to improve their refereeing skills from the feedback given to them. It is also a requirement that Academy referees are a full member of their local Referees Society.

How do you get selected to join an Academy?
We can have a maximum of 120 (40 per club) referees in the Academy system at any one time. When we have vacancies we will invite referees identified to the RDO and Academy Coordinator as having the potential and attitude to progress to come along for a trial game – very similar in the way to the clubs will identify a player!

We identify our future scholars from a wide range of sources – so to give yourself the best chance of being ‘found’ we would suggest you make yourself as visible as possible, by attending county in-service training meetings, referees society meetings and always refereeing to the best of your ability.

Academy places are under constant review and those who do not meet the requirements are asked to leave. We operate a First and Second Year scholarship scheme to ensure our referees are continually developing.