Cumberland FA Referee

Referee Armband Initiative

The armbands will act as a visual reminder to Coaches, Players and Spectators that the Match Official is New to Refereeing or a Child.

This weekend you may have seen some Cumberland FA Referees wearing arm bands to indicate either their Trainee status (red) or that they are Under 18 (yellow).

These were piloted on Sunday 3rd October at the West Cumbria Youth League Under 8’s Mini Soccer Festival held at Lakes College 3G and at the Cumberland FA Referee Academy games involving Carlisle United FC and Bolton Wanderers FC at Frenchfields, Penrith.

The eye-catching new armbands, which have proved successful in other counties across the country, are being distributed to referees to signify either their age or that they’re a ‘new trainee referee’.

The armbands easily identify Under 18 and Trainee match officials, similar to 'P' plates that show fellow drivers that you’ve just recently passed your driving test. 

Ben Snowdon, Cumberland FA CEO has given his thoughts on what the new armband initiative brings to Cumberland Football:

 “The armbands were devised as part of our commitment to Safeguarding.  They act as a visual reminder to coaches, players and spectators that the individual wearing them are new to refereeing, have less experience and, like everyone else learning something new, will make mistakes. 

They support the FA Respect programme and our responsibility to creating the safe and positive environment that in turn leads to an enjoyable experience for all. 

Cumberland FA Referee

Unfortunately, at this time the number of cases where referees have been subjected to insulting, offensive and abusive language and behaviour appears to be increasing.  This has led to a number of officials understandably leaving the game.   This includes a number of new and U18 referees who have successfully completed the FA Referees course only to leave the game before completing their training games, due to an incident or incidences of poor behaviour at their games.   

We therefore have to do something to try to address this.  To further emphasise our commitment to tackling poor behaviour with new and U18 referees, and in line with FA Disciplinary regulations, the fact that people are aware that they are a trainee or U18, will be considered as an aggravated factor by a disciplinary panel.  This will mean that anyone who is found guilty of misconduct against a match official, who is wearing one of these armbands, may well have their sanction (fine, suspension) increased.” 

This does not mean that clubs cannot comment on or raise genuine concerns around a Referees performance.  This is why all Leagues within the county offer a referee marking system which, if below 60 or marked “poor”, requests that the club provide a constructive report to support their judgement.  This report is sent to the League and The CFA who will review and provide support (mentoring, discussion) and any further education or training where required. 

Referee Development Officer Scott Taylor commented: “These are a fantastic addition to the young (and trainee) referees' kit bag and reinforce our ongoing commitment to improving grassroots football behaviour and Safeguarding responsibilities. We are truly grateful to Franks Portlock for their sponsorship of these armbands and continuing support to the Cumberland FA.”

At the moment across Cumberland, almost one third of the 164 Registered Referees are children (Under 18).

Any Under 18 Match Officials who have not yet received their yellow armband, please contact or telephone Scott Taylor on 01900 511800


We’re delighted to confirm details of the next Referee course that will take place in Whitehaven during half term (Monday 25 and Tuesday 26 October 2021, 10am – 4pm), at a cost of £130.

Visit our Get into Refereeing page for more information, including the pre-requisites and book your place (places are limited).

Course Details