I've been qualified for almost a year now and really enjoying reffing youth football up to U18s. As I am now 38 do you guys think it's worth me going for promotions? And any reasons please. Thanks


RefChat Addict
Add a few years onto your age, and that’s when I started 3 or 4 years ago. Like you, I initially did predominantly youth football, with the odd OA game when I could fit it in.

I’m currently in my promotion year (7 to 6).

There are probably no/few obvious tangible benefits to me going for promotion- work, life, age, commitments limit what I can/will ultimately do, but I’m really glad I signed up for the promotion programme.

The main gain for me was it forced me to engage with a wider aspect of the refereeing community/opportunities. I’ve done the line on (quite) a high level league, I had to find a new league to get the required OA games in, Ive met new people. Oh, and I’ve had some feedback from my observed games, hopefully making me a better referee.

I could have just kept on pottiling along as I was doing, but by going for promotion has re-engaged and re-enthused me in my hobby (and, for me, refereeing will only ever be a hobby)


RefChat Addict
As long as it fits in with your life and what you want to do, there is absolutely no reason for you not to go for promotion.

The only thing that will hold you back when it comes to promotion is your ability as a referee and your ability to meet the requirements of the promotion scheme, i.e. getting the right number of games observed etc.

Even if you only want to go 7-6 and have no intentions of trying to get to level 4 or above the promotion scheme is a great way to get better at refereeing.

Im too old to be part of any of the academys etc, so going for promotion is the only time I have an independent person there to assess my refereeing, and it has helped my development massively.


RefChat Addict
Yes, go for it. It will be fairly unlikely that you would get to the very top levels, but you can get to a reasonable position I think, especially if you put the work in regarding fitness.

I would always try for promotion as it will give you assessments, which will give you advice to make you a better referee, especially if you are keen to learn from the advice imparted. Adding to your development is always a good thing.

Also, if you do get promoted, you may get the opportunity to work as a team with other referees, which is sometimes a good social moment, but is also a great chance to learn even more of the trade. If you're lucky, it will also get you onto the field in a higher level of football.

Plus, in some areas, getting promoted or being on the promotion track will open up further training opportunities and seminars to attend, which will grant you further instruction from more senior figures in the game, and again more improvement on your part.

Basically, go for it if you want to get better at refereeing.
Like the others, I would strongly recommend you go for it. Whether you wish to progress to semi professional level or just to improve as a referee, getting the observations of others is often illuminating.

I qualified as a referee in my early 40's and I'm now officiating at Level 3 (which includes assisting and fourth official at National League level) so the opportunities are there to really test yourself and be involved at a pretty high level if you wish to push and develop yourself!

Big Cat

RefChat Addict
@Russell Jones comes down to watch a few of my games, just for a laugh!
I've watched a few of his, however I spend most of the time at the burger van and miss all the KMI's
My experience closely matches @RefJef 's. I've also gone for promotion this year. It's been good for the Observers as I've taught them a thing or two about refereeing ;)
Joking aside, assessments are good because they instill good match preparation & attention to detail; preparation for stepping up a level (if that appeals)
Last edited:


RefChat Addict
I've been qualified for almost a year now and really enjoying reffing youth football up to U18s. As I am now 38 do you guys think it's worth me going for promotions? And any reasons please. Thanks
Started when I was a similar age to you. Currently doing 5-4 promotion.
It's been a good ride so far, however for me the biggest challenges are trying to juggle football commitments, fitness requirements and closed dates with a demanding job and family life.

I want to reach L4 because I'd like to test myself to see if I'm good enough to operate there, but how much appetite I'd have to go higher is something I don't know at the moment.

Up to L5 I'd say definitely go for it, beyond that you need to have a long hard think about whether you want it to move beyond being "just a hobby"
Thanks for all the feedback guys. I think I will go for it, I've got a decent level of fitness so not too worried about that. It's more the support and honest feedback I'd like as I would like to improve. I do think not enough support is there for new refs. It would help to have observers there to support but working as a team would be very helpful I think.
I've been qualified for almost a year now and really enjoying reffing youth football up to U18s. As I am now 38 do you guys think it's worth me going for promotions? And any reasons please. Thanks
Go for it!

I started at 39. This is season 7. Different promo scheme here but I'm probably around 5-4. I didin't go for it in the first two seasons. But then I got a sense of what it was like to do better games with the flag.

The biggest reasons for me were: better games - it has basically got better and better - every season I've had better games, especially with the flag and that's way way more fun/satisfying/challenging; also fitness - the demand to get fitter, combined with the the fitness benefits of doing better/faster/more (a lot more) games - it's been really healthy; and then the mental/social side - it's been nice to be more involved in refereeing, in the "football family" and the greater challenges of different teams/players/ages/coaches/nationalities - it's been very healthy emotionally! Which is kinda ironic given how emotionally challenging it can be!

Maybe - just maybe - the more competitive it has got - not just the teams but also with colleagues - the more I have enjoyed the challenge and the adrenalin - yeah probably that too!

And massive respect to @Russell Jones and others. Getting to L3 in England is hardcore. There's (understandably) a culture in refereeing of promoting youth over older starters (very much so round my way) and it's brilliant when late starters crack on! I'm trying (to my knowledge) to be one of the oldest ARs promoted to the third tier in my small country and it's inspiring to hear of others doing it!


Staff member
Forget about age, it is almost irrelevant now. You won't get onto FIFA, and it is highly unlikely you'll get to the top level of the English game, but someone starting at 38 could realistically get to level 3.

As @Russell Jones has said, he started late and quickly became a competent L4 and then went onto L3. I wasn't quite as old a git as he was was but I was in my 30s when I got L4 and late 30s when I got L3.

Sheffields Finest

Maybe I'm foolish, maybe I'm blind!
I’d of easily got a 3-4 but couldn’t be arsed with the mechanism that gets you there. It’s not for everyone and it’s never about money, strangely it probably less fruitful as you rise up till you get tho the SG! Good luck with it whatever you decide!
Ive been refereeing for a few years and despite being told by a quite a few people that have been Level 3 that I should go for it, I have never had the self confidence to do it. But having gone from strength to strength on my games and getting better games from the leagues I now feel that it's time for me to go for my L6.

Don't worry about age, With age comes experience within the game.


RefChat Addict
I absolutely appreciate that some officials are perfectly comfortable at their current level and have no desire to change that - and that's not meant to be patronising, perfectly acceptable to not want to commit more time or change when you're happy doing what you do - but I would advise anyone able to apply to do so because the tips and tricks and advice you'll pick-up from the process, observers, and your peers will have a positive influence on your game regardless of what next season brings, even if you decide that the next step isn't for you.

Sheffields Finest

Maybe I'm foolish, maybe I'm blind!
I'd of loved to have gone further but it was always a fitness hobby. Seriously, even getting to L1 and SG full time would have been a downward track financially. I used to own 3 companies so it was never about money or progress I didn't need either!! It may sound over confidence but I'd of easy got there, no problems, its about focus and desire! Some of you lot seriously try and overcomplicate a relatively simple game!! UTB

Big Cat

RefChat Addict
So far, from my personal perspective, I've learned nothing from my four observations. My learning happens during the preparation for examination, either through experience or practice, but mostly via RefChat; the latter either directly or indirectly (My unofficial coach ;))
Some of the Development Points, I've virtually ignored. In particular, the conflicting positional nonsense taught 'seven to six' (and probably five too)
Last edited:


RefChat Addict
One of the things about the promotion scheme is knowing what advice/development points to take on board, and what to ignore.

Positioning is always a good one, I know someone who got marked down because he didn't stand on the goal line at a corner, next game he did that and got marked down for it.

I once was given the advice to walk the wall out backwards, to keep an eye to make sure the ball isn't moved, I just nodded politely and ignores the advice.

By and large I've found the standard of observations where I am has gone up in the last 4 years or so. But it all depends on who you get.

Like referees some observers are good, some are bad.


RefChat Addict
Last week's observer says always stand at X,
Next week's says always change to keep the players guessing,
I say "be and/or move to where you can see the most important thing(s)"

[pretend I've made a Watchmen meme, like "who observes the observers" or something]