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HFA Statement on Referee Appointments

As we are all aware there is currently a severe shortage of available referees. This has resulted in a number of County League matches being left without a match official on Saturdays. We would like to apologise for the impact this is having on the matchday experience but rest assured we will be doing everything we can to rectify the situation.

Adult referees are proving particularly difficult to recruit and retain. Our preseason referee course which was advertised and promoted heavily attracted 10 new referees however only 2 of these were aged over 16 and eligible for adult football. Our next referee’s course is set up and ready to go and we would like the County League clubs and individuals to help promote this course and recruit the next batch of senior referees. As part of this we will be rewarding clubs who “Refer a Ref” and successfully recommend participants for the FA Referees Course. Clubs will receive £100 for Referring a Ref once they have completed their first 5 games of senior football (nominated referee’s need to be 16+). If you are aware of any potential candidates for the upcoming referee’s course please send their details to

A workgroup of HFA Committee members will be having an emergency meeting this week to outline further resolutions to the current situation. Plans include utilising the numerous floodlit pitches within Herefordshire to spread fixtures throughout the week. We will also be working with our neighbouring county FAs to increase the pool of referees for Saturday football in Herefordshire. 

We all need to play our part in making refereeing as attractive and rewarding as possible. This includes ensuring county league football is played in lines with the FA Respect guidelines and we would like to remind all clubs and players of their role in treating the officials with respect. We have had a number of reports this season from referees being made to feel welcome and well received at clubs and would encourage all teams to follow this lead and continue good practice in future. The impact of this on keeping referees in the game cannot be underestimated.

Every effort is being made to cover all fixtures with the available registered referees. In the meantime it is important to note the County League rules outline the expectation for clubs to fulfil fixtures in cases where there is no officially appointed referee. All appointments will be added to Full-Time if you are unsure on whether an official appointment has been made. When alternative arrangements are made, all insurance still applies and stand-in referees have the same powers as qualified officials.

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