Respect the Ref

Respect The Ref

Without them the game wouldn’t exist.....

Respect the Ref is a new nationwide campaign launched by The FA to help people think about their behaviour towards referees.

Every match. Every league. Every championship. It’s the referees who are integral to a smooth-running game. 

They work hard, train hard, show up and play hard – all to keep the game beautiful. They give their time and yet face negative attention and abuse in almost every match. Enough is enough. We can all play our part to show the ref some respect, to help make the game the best it can be. So, are you in? 

To accompany the nationwide campaign, Cumberland FA have relaunched the #AskTheRef podcast with Referee Development Officer Scott Taylor asking the questions. We want to bring you closer to the person in the middle of the pitch, to get to know the person with the whistle in Cumberland. 

get to know referees in Cumberland

Cumberland Referee


4 podcasts were completed last season, so with the launch of the Respect the Ref campaign, it's the perfect time to bring Cumberland Match Officials to life. We're asking the questions and finding out more about the person behind the whistle.

Scott Taylor recently chatted to Craig Bennison, a match official of 15 years experience who's recently returned to the pitch after some time away. Having played centre forward, centre back and goalkeeper in his life before taking up the whistle, Craig can see the game from all angles.

  #AskTheRef with Craig Bennison - Listen NOW

Visit our Podcast Page for more episodes from Cumberland FA

We will also be releasing #AskTheRef Q&A's from local referees in the near future.

 Respect the Ref.

The FA and Cumberland FA are committed to nurturing and developing new referees:

- We offer support to our match officials in their first year
- The new referee course features 90 minutes of online learning on Laws of the Game which is free to do, plus 11 hours of face-to-face training
- To qualify, you must referee 5 games, with our support 
- We have funding to help support new referees on a local level and run initiatives such as yellow armbands for under-18 referees and red for newly qualified referees

The FA and Cumberland FA are also committed to developing the skills and experience of existing referees:

- We offer CPD modules to help you deepen or expand your skills, starting with Match Control
- The FA’s flagship development programme, FA CORE (Centre of Refereeing Excellence) is for referees who show exceptionally high levels of potential and can progress to the highest levels of the game
- Through workshops and courses, we can also help you expand your refereeing experience to successfully officiate other formats, such as Pan-Disability football, Futsal and Walking Football

The FA and Cumberland FA are committed to supporting mental health:

- The FA have trained 44 Referee Mental Health Champions across 39 CFAs and counting to provide support to referees over 18. Their mission is to increase awareness of mental health in refereeing and break down stigma. Geoff Ellison is the Cumberland FA Mental Health Champion
- The FA introduced ‘sin bins’ to all levels of grassroots football to encourage respect and fair play. In the 2016/17 season pilot, we saw a 38% reduction in dissent. In fact, participant behaviour improved, with players self-policing to prevent colleagues getting into trouble.

Have you got what it takes? Becoming a referee is not for the faint hearted.

You need to run fit, think fast and be on top of every game. You’ll be in the thick of the action, keeping the play moving and the players, managers and supporters on side. So, what’s in it for you?

You’ll develop skills that will serve you in all areas of your life. Leadership, negotiation, personal development, confidence and staying power. There’s nothing quite like it. 

Ready to take the next step?


Visit our Get into Refereeing page where you can register your interest in becoming a Referee.

For more information about refereeing in Cumberland please contact Referee Development Officer Scott Taylor:

T:01900 511800

Visit The FA's Respect The Ref page