A&H

All refs to face fitness tests?

HibbyGaz

New Member
Hi Folks, whilst at at tournament today, there was talk that from next season (25/26) , all refs, irrespective of levels will have to undertake some form of fitness test?

Might be a lot of nonsense but has anyone else heard anything? Cheers
 
A&H International
I have heard this in the past but I doubt it will be introduced because The FA are always talking about struggling with retention of officials and this won’t help grassroots. It will improve the fitness levels of officials overall, but there are many officials who probably wouldn’t pass if it was even close to the level 4 testing.
 
I highly doubt that it will be mandatory fitness testing for all. There are 20k+ referees and the logistics in testing everyone is not worth the reward of doing so especially considering the risk to retention numbers.

It may be that there was a misunderstanding and it was in relation to refereeing or assisting at a certain level/league and mandatory fitness test is being implemented for that specific league? Our Step 7 league here has a fitness test to be considered for middles on the league so that may be what the conversation was about.
 
I think what James said would make more sense. I know my (most) local step 7 league only consider you for middles if you demonstrate a sufficient fitness level in the division below first. This is probably the more likely scenario.
 
Absolutely no chance, they'd lose 50% of referees. They won't even introduce a mandatory LoTG exam for fear of losing referees, and the impact of that would be vastly less than a fitness test.
 
So as is - Fitness Test & Laws of the Game Test for Referees at Levels 1 (Step 1), 2 (Step 2), 3 (Steps 3 & 4), 4 (Steps 5 & 6) and fitness tests (perhaps also LotG test) for some at Level 5 (Step 7) - depending upon their CFA.
Fitness tests for L5s would only be for those officiating on specific competitions, such as step 5 to 7 leagues. Implementing fitness tests for all L5s would be a disaster and lose a huge percentage of referees.
 
This has been a dream of some in the FA and CFA's for numerous years to improve the standard of refereeing,Ike doing a LOTG exam each year. Sounds brilliant, but....

It would necessitate the abolition of grassroots football on Saturday and Sundays, as they would have no referees.

The dream included only registering the referees who pass, but the drop in fees for the CFA would be huge.
 
This has been a dream of some in the FA and CFA's for numerous years to improve the standard of refereeing,Ike doing a LOTG exam each year. Sounds brilliant, but....

It would necessitate the abolition of grassroots football on Saturday and Sundays, as they would have no referees.

The dream included only registering the referees who pass, but the drop in fees for the CFA would be huge.
I could understand why Referees at grassroots would not want to undertake a fitness test - I get it and appreciate it, but it seems to me that there is nothing wrong for the FA/CFA perhaps having the ambition for them to undertake refresher LotG Tests. After all, all Referees are representing the FA/CFA and are paid for the games they do & undertaking 15/20 questions per season (and able to look at the IFAB Laws) doesn’t seem onerous to me.
 
I could understand why Referees at grassroots would not want to undertake a fitness test - I get it and appreciate it, but it seems to me that there is nothing wrong for the FA/CFA perhaps having the ambition for them to undertake refresher LotG Tests. After all, all Referees are representing the FA/CFA and are paid for the games they do & undertaking 15/20 questions per season (and able to look at the IFAB Laws) doesn’t seem onerous to me.
I agree, it doesn't seem onerous. But so many would fail or just not take one, and then what? They can't ref?
 
If a Referee is unable to achieve 14 out of 20 (same as L2-6) despite having the Laws of the Game at their fingertips, then they shouldn’t be Refereeing, especially when some unpleasant issues on the FoP are caused by Referees not knowing the laws of the game, eg changes since they first qualified etc (this doesn’t excuse any inappropriate behaviour).
 
If a Referee is unable to achieve 14 out of 20 (same as L2-6) despite having the Laws of the Game at their fingertips, then they shouldn’t be Refereeing, especially when some unpleasant issues on the FoP are caused by Referees not knowing the laws of the game, eg changes since they first qualified etc (this doesn’t excuse any inappropriate behaviour).
No disagreement...but you'll lose thousands who will either fail or not bother with huge effects for amateur leagues at lower levels
 
While I agree it’s not a great deal to expect, a lot of grass roots referees wouldn’t bother. That doesn’t mean they wouldn’t pass - just that they wouldn’t bother.

At the end of the season my Sunday league holds a referees evening to thank them for their help in the season, with free food and drink. This year 8 attended out of 19 registered with the league, including me. While some would not have been able to make that particular evening some just wouldn’t have been interested.

We were given a bequest in the will of a previous committee member. From this we give money to clubs with the highest marks awarded by referees on their match reports. We struggle to get referees to fill these in, while some just give a fixed mark for every game, meaning that a team we know has discipline issues gets a mark of 10 if they have a certain referee, even though they’d actually deserve 5 or 6 typically. We’re trying to get referees to mark teams properly but have to tread carefully in case we upset people, even though there’s money involved.

We have 19 referees signed on, who cover up to 14 games a week. If we lose 50% as suggested by the referees evening then the league will struggle to continue. As it is it’s hard to cover every game, although last season we actually managed it. If we lose 3 or 4 there would be games not covered every week.

While you may think it would be better not to have a referee than to have one who is less than diligent those referees play a part. If games don’t have a ‘proper’ referee they are more likely to kick off. We would lose teams because some wouldn’t want to supply their own referee every week, while other teams wouldn’t want to play certain teams without a proper ref.

At the bottom of the game we need all the help we can get and anything that means we lose referees makes it more likely the grass roots game will die.
 
While I agree it’s not a great deal to expect, a lot of grass roots referees wouldn’t bother. That doesn’t mean they wouldn’t pass - just that they wouldn’t bother.

At the end of the season my Sunday league holds a referees evening to thank them for their help in the season, with free food and drink. This year 8 attended out of 19 registered with the league, including me. While some would not have been able to make that particular evening some just wouldn’t have been interested.

We were given a bequest in the will of a previous committee member. From this we give money to clubs with the highest marks awarded by referees on their match reports. We struggle to get referees to fill these in, while some just give a fixed mark for every game, meaning that a team we know has discipline issues gets a mark of 10 if they have a certain referee, even though they’d actually deserve 5 or 6 typically. We’re trying to get referees to mark teams properly but have to tread carefully in case we upset people, even though there’s money involved.

We have 19 referees signed on, who cover up to 14 games a week. If we lose 50% as suggested by the referees evening then the league will struggle to continue. As it is it’s hard to cover every game, although last season we actually managed it. If we lose 3 or 4 there would be games not covered every week.

While you may think it would be better not to have a referee than to have one who is less than diligent those referees play a part. If games don’t have a ‘proper’ referee they are more likely to kick off. We would lose teams because some wouldn’t want to supply their own referee every week, while other teams wouldn’t want to play certain teams without a proper ref.

At the bottom of the game we need all the help we can get and anything that means we lose referees makes it more likely the grass roots game will die.
Whilst I can see where you are coming from to me it just shows what a sad state of affairs this country is in at grassroots. That doesn’t mean to say there aren’t large numbers of decent Referees.
 
While I agree it’s not a great deal to expect, a lot of grass roots referees wouldn’t bother. That doesn’t mean they wouldn’t pass - just that they wouldn’t bother.

At the end of the season my Sunday league holds a referees evening to thank them for their help in the season, with free food and drink. This year 8 attended out of 19 registered with the league, including me. While some would not have been able to make that particular evening some just wouldn’t have been interested.

We were given a bequest in the will of a previous committee member. From this we give money to clubs with the highest marks awarded by referees on their match reports. We struggle to get referees to fill these in, while some just give a fixed mark for every game, meaning that a team we know has discipline issues gets a mark of 10 if they have a certain referee, even though they’d actually deserve 5 or 6 typically. We’re trying to get referees to mark teams properly but have to tread carefully in case we upset people, even though there’s money involved.

We have 19 referees signed on, who cover up to 14 games a week. If we lose 50% as suggested by the referees evening then the league will struggle to continue. As it is it’s hard to cover every game, although last season we actually managed it. If we lose 3 or 4 there would be games not covered every week.

While you may think it would be better not to have a referee than to have one who is less than diligent those referees play a part. If games don’t have a ‘proper’ referee they are more likely to kick off. We would lose teams because some wouldn’t want to supply their own referee every week, while other teams wouldn’t want to play certain teams without a proper ref.

At the bottom of the game we need all the help we can get and anything that means we lose referees makes it more likely the grass roots game will die.
Look at it another way
No test = never look at book
Easy test = An hour (two at max) of effort to learn
I agree, a neutral official (with terrible LOTG knowledge) is better than no referee. But that doesn't stop us from aiming for better
Only those involved in the NLS or (or perhaps Senior County Prem) should be required to do a fitness test. Don't most such Leagues do this anyway?
 
Look at it another way
No test = never look at book
Easy test = An hour (two at max) of effort to learn
I agree, a neutral official (with terrible LOTG knowledge) is better than no referee. But that doesn't stop us from aiming for better
Only those involved in the NLS or (or perhaps Senior County Prem) should be required to do a fitness test. Don't most such Leagues do this anyway?
But the person has to want to learn - if that’s the problem. Not all referees who can’t be bothered have terrible LOTG knowledge. Some do a reasonable job. Some are good referees on the FOP, they just don’t want the extra bits.
If they don’t want to sit a test how do we get them to do it? 55% didn’t attend a free evening so what are the chances they’ll do a LOTG test?
If the CFA aren’t going to take away registration if people don’t take the test where’s the incentive to do it? If they are going to then some people won’t bother and we’ll lose them.
We have problems at grass roots with people not wanting to do things - county cup appointments used to be an honour, but now they’re a pita and now no one wants to do them. Lines on finals used to be appreciated but last season I did a line on 4 out of 6 games because no one else would do them even though there is a match fee.
By all means aim to improve knowledge but you need to work out how to do it without potentially losing thousands of referees. The grass roots game is dying on its feet anyway without taking away loads of officials.
 
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