August 31 – UEFA have launched a first-of-its-kind refereeing recruitment campaign following a UEFA’s refereeing committee report outlining a shortage of match officials thoughout the game in Europe.
The campaign, titled ‘Be a Referee!’, aims to increase knowledge about refereeing, highlight their importance for the game and inspire young people to begin a career as a match official.
Targetted at young people interested in football who don’t have the prospect of becoming a professional player, the campaign aims to enlist around 40,000 new young referees per year.
‘Be a Referee!’ was triggered by the challenges that member associations are facing in regards to the recruitment and retention of young match officials.
UEFA say if the issue is not resolved soon, it could be a serious threat to the game and could have a negative impact on the number of top match officials.
UEFA chief refereeing officer Roberto Rosetti said: “With the number of matches increasing we currently need around 277,000 officials in European football, but we are lacking almost 40,000 referees in order to have enough for the running of the game at grassroots level. This is why UEFA has decided to invest in a programme which supports the national associations in recruiting and retaining young referees. It is essential for the lifeblood of European football.”
He continued: “We are advising the associations to target players who have stopped playing football and to also identify prospective candidates at schools or at universities. It’s also important to reinforce the online learning component and have a clear communication strategy in place. Any interest gathered through the UEFA campaign video will be channelled directly to the national associations.”
Zvonimir Boban, UEFA Chief of Football and Director of technical development, said: “This campaign holds immense significance for the future of football, as referees play a pivotal role in safeguarding the game on the field of play. In addition to improved fitness and a deep understanding of football, refereeing can equip young individuals with invaluable life skills that will serve them both on and off the field.”
Contact the writer of this story, Harry Ewing, at moc.l1702263420labto1702263420ofdlr1702263420owedi1702263420sni@o1702263420fni1702263420