Coin toss

The FA Referee Course

Please note that courses for the 2023/24 season are now fully booked. If you are interested in attending a course during the 2024/25 season, please fill out the expression of interest form below.


Course Overview

Minimum Age: 14

Price: £140

Leading To: Registered Referee Status (either level 8 Youth Referee or Level 7 Junior County Referee)

View available dates


The FA Referee Course is designed to equip new referees with the key skills and knowledge they will need to be able to referee grassroots football matches safely and effectively.  It is for people aged 14 and over who want to referee mini soccer, 9 v 9 and/or 11 v 11 football.  

The course comprises online learning on the Laws of the Game and face to face training. You must complete the online learning before attending the face to face training. You will also need to complete online safeguarding training before attending the face to face training.

Course Content 

Online Learning

The online learning has five sections (modules) and will take approximately 90 minutes to complete. There are lots of videos to demonstrate how the Laws should be applied, activities to help reinforce the important points and, at the end of each module, there are some questions to test what you’ve learned.  

The online learning can be accessed at 

If you are under the age of 16, you might find the information at the refereeing help centre useful when logging in.

This module covers the referee’s pre-match responsibilities and includes ensuring players’ kit is safe, how to carry out the coin toss and what a referee needs to take to a match with them.

This module contains short video clips (GIFs) which show every signal the referee and assistant referee might give during a match.

This module deals with foul challenges, violent conduct, handball, unsporting behaviour, DOGSO offences and advantage. It uses video clips from football at different levels to show how the referee should manage common scenarios.

This module also uses video clips, this time to demonstrate what is and isn’t offside and how the referee should manage offside offences. The clips, like those used in the ‘Getting it Right’ module, are voiced over to explain the decisions the referees make.

This module covers restarts and set-pieces, including goal kicks, corner kicks, throw-ins, free kicks and penalty kicks. It uses both video and illustrations to clarify what players must do at each restart and set-piece and explains what the referee should do if players don’t comply with the Law.

Face to Face Training

There is 11 hours of face to face training (normally one evening, followed by a full day), which mixes training room work with practical activity on a pitch. Key messages from the online learning are reinforced throughout.  The training room work includes:

Fun, interactive quizzes
How to establish rapport and build relationships with players and coaches
Recognising and dealing with foul challenges and handball
Managing offside
Dealing with inappropriate behaviour 
Managing players 

On the pitch, you will have the opportunity to turn your knowledge into skills through refereeing game based scenarios. You will practise:

Communicating decisions
Cautioning and sending off techniques
Managing the kick off, free kicks, penalty kicks, corner kicks and throw-ins 
Positioning in open play and at restarts
Being an assistant referee

Qualifying as a Referee

To qualify as a referee, you must also referee five games after you have attended the face to face training. You will then receive a certificate and an FA Referee badge.

You be supported through those five games by your County Football Association (CFA). As you continue your refereeing career, you will then be able to access further training opportunities, both online and face to face.

Referee course FAQS

The current cost of the course is £130.

If you are aged 16 and over and intend to referee youth football, there is also a £10 charge for an FA Criminal Record Check and a £30 fee for completion of the required FA Safeguarding Children Course. We will provide you with further details on how to complete these once you have booked.

It's worth remembering, as a qualified referee you will be entitled to match fees - so your financial outlay early on can quickly be made back through refereeing games.

Anyone aged 14 or over can become a referee. There is no upper age limit but candidates need to be able to fully participate in practical sessions to practice the skills of refereeing. Please contact if you require any support or wish to discuss your circumstances.

Until you reach the age of 16, you will only be able to referee games involved children at one year younger than yourself.

 All referees aged 16 years or over who wish to officiate in youth football must undertake an FA DBS check.

This is a simple online process and will require selected ID documents to be verified by Surrey FA staff/qualified personnel.

Please click here to download our FA DBS Guidance document for more information on starting the process - we strongly suggest you begin this early to avoid delays in being able to start refereeing.

Certification lasts for 3 years and costs £10 to complete each time.

In addition to the services of FA Referee Tutors, the following is included in the price:

  • FA Referee resource pack upon completion of the course.
  • Surrey FA registration fee (usual price £25) covered for your first season.
  • A referee whistle.
  • A set of red/yellow cards & cardholder.
  • Access to league and club contacts to assist you in finding matches to officiate.
  • A certificate of completion (following completion of five matches post course).
  • FA Referee badge.
  • Access to bespoke referee training including Surrey FA Development Group, Referee Academy and FA CORE membership and mentoring.
  • Access to discounted Nike referee kit & equipment through our exclusive Surrey FA referee page on

All referees need to undertake the FA safeguarding children training and cannot register as a referee until they do so.

For those aged 14 and 15 you will be required to undertake the FA ‘Safeguarding For All’ Course (free to enrol). This course must be done by the end of your face to face referee training to undertake your five matches.

For anyone aged 16 and above you will be required to complete the FA ‘Safeguarding Children Course’ (£30 enrolment fee). This course must be done by the end of your face to face referee training to undertake your five matches.

Safeguarding certificates last for 3 years, at which point referees will need to renew their qualification. Surrey FA will support and remind you when these are due.

Get In Touch

Referee Development Team

By Phone

01372 373543

By Email