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#SeeTheSocks and #SeeTheShirt

Worcestershire FA is delighted to confirm two brand new initiatives to support match officials but we need your help to educate everyone involved within youth football.

Some Worcestershire FA referees will be provided with an alternative colour shirt and/or socks as part of their registration with the county – find out why below and attached.

If a referee is wearing fluorescent socks then they are aged under 18. As a result, everyoneinvolved in football – players, coaches, spectators and officials – has a duty to ensure that Safeguarding protocols are followed.

If a referee is wearing a green shirt then they are a trainee referee, also likely to be aged under 18. The trainee referee is learning through experience – just like the players. We all have a duty to understand that they will simply not get every single decision correct, but this is part of learning and we should allow them to do so in a suitable environment with encouragement.


Why is Worcestershire FA doing this?

Currently, Worcestershire FA loses circa 80 referees each year. Over 20% of referees who did not register last season highlighted “poor player/club behaviour” as a reason for this. Nationally, just 10-15% of referees continue to officiate after their first year. Something needs to change – and we plan to do this by educating the football family.

Aren’t you just drawing attention to young/trainee referees?

Yes! This is deliberate so that we can educate the football family to consider their behaviour towards young and new referees. Our aim is to inform as many people as possible what the different colour kits stand for. Anyone who then uses inappropriate behaviour towards a match official will be dealt with via FA Disciplinary and Safeguarding Regulations.

What if there is a kit clash?

In the unlikely event of a shirt kit clash with outfield players, common sense should be adopted and the referee could wear their standard black shirt. If a clash occurs with a goalkeeper shirt, the referee should still use their green shirt within grassroots football and would not be required to change.

Is it optional?

No. Referees who are aged under 18 must adhere to these regulations. The items of kit will be provided free of charge so there is no expense for clubs or match officials. Replacements for lost kits will be made available to match officials (at a cost).

Remember: if you saw a spectator shouting abuse at a youth player you would intervene – and this should be the same for referees.

If you have any questions please contact the Referee Development Team by email:

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