Ref4Me

Refereeing a Team within your Own Football Club

Albert

New Member
Level 7 Referee
Hello,

I was wondering if as a Football referee If I was able to referee a football Match Within a Football Club I play for.

[SOME CONTEXT]
I play for a football team (u17) as a goalkeeper but I am also a qualified referee. I was wondering if I could referee a League Game for a Team within my Football Club or would this be a conflict of interest and not allowed by the FA.

Thanks for your time.
 
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Tealeaf

Lighting the darkest hour
Staff member
Level 5 Referee
It may well depend on the type of fixtures you’re planning to do. Locally to me, there are several large youth clubs with multiple sides across all age groups. Many pay for their U18 players to take the course and then officiate the younger age groups. That’s accepted and they’re simply treated as club appointed referees as per league rules.

Similarly, if the league is unable to appoint a referee to an adult game, there are league rules that specify the clubs need to agree a referee for said game. You could feasibly do that also.

What is unlikely however is that you will be officially appointed to cover a game involving your club. Referee secretaries will try and avoid that and the possible headaches they’ll get from opposition for doing it, and also to protect you/absolve you from claims of bias.
 

555Ref

New Member
Level 7 Referee
I have had this before.

When I used to do youth football I was playing U15s and I declared it to the league on my registration form. (I did my course myself, my club didn't pay for it). When I was appointed to referee my club I asked the referee secretary about it and she said it was fine.

From my experience youth leagues don't take conflicts of interest very seriously at all, but that depends on which one you operate on. I'd definitely recommend seeking clarification first so if something goes wrong you can show you asked the question and were told it wasn't a problem. I also remember having older players from my club officially appointed to my games when I was younger.

Personally I didn't enjoy refereeing my own club as the managers often knew me and expected me to give them the benefit of the doubt on tight decisions. If they didn't like a decision I made the next time I saw them was often awkward.

Luckily I was never recognised as a member of the club by any opposition manager, but I doubt that would be enjoyable if it were to happen.
 

RustyRef

Administrator
Staff member
If the league don't appoint a neutral referee I can see no problem in you refereeing the games, however your club must inform the opposition that you are associated with the club. It would be best if they only use you once they have exhausted the option of finding a neutra referee.
 

Refollie

New Member
Level 5 Referee
I did this for a couple of seasons when I was 17/18 if the league couldn’t find a neutral referee themselves.

While it’s a helpful thing to do as a last resort, be prepared to upset some mates! I remember having to send off one of my team mates for DOGSO… not ideal!
 

Quarryref

Active Member
Level 3 Referee
Like a number of referees I know who came to refereeing later in life after playing, I started out (unqualified) refereeing my son's team when no ref was appointed. My worst fear was being, or giving the impression of being, biased towards them. Net result is where there was doubt I instinctively went the other way. Even if it's largely unconscious, having that concern in your mind is not helpful, especially in the early days of refereeing when you've got so much to think about. Better off if you can being a 100% neutral referee !
 

Russell Jones

RefChat Addict
Level 3 Referee
Like a number of referees I know who came to refereeing later in life after playing, I started out (unqualified) refereeing my son's team when no ref was appointed. My worst fear was being, or giving the impression of being, biased towards them. Net result is where there was doubt I instinctively went the other way. Even if it's largely unconscious, having that concern in your mind is not helpful, especially in the early days of refereeing when you've got so much to think about. Better off if you can being a 100% neutral referee !
My biggest regret in 12 years of officiating is that I never managed to find an excuse to give my son the yellow card that he so richly deserved for all his actions and inactions off the FOP ..!!
 

higdawgy

New Member
Level 2 Referee
My biggest regret in 12 years of officiating is that I never managed to find an excuse to give my son the yellow card that he so richly deserved for all his actions and inactions off the FOP ..!!
I was waiting for a game to start and my son nutmegged me on the sideline.
Red card, straight back to the car.
 

Dan56

Member
Level 7 Referee
After I had refereed a game I had changed and was standing on the sideline watching the start of another match. Before kick off the ref was chatting with one of the goalkeepers, clearly they were pretty good friends. As the game started, in the very first minute one team had a breakaway attack and this same goalkeeper took down the centre forward outside the penalty area. The ref ran over: "sorry about this mate" he said, and immediately showed his friend the red card. I was impressed.
 

GraemeS

RefChat Addict
Level 5 Referee
My biggest regret in 12 years of officiating is that I never managed to find an excuse to give my son the yellow card that he so richly deserved for all his actions and inactions off the FOP ..!!
I'm responsible for issuing one of my brother's two yellow cards in his career! And in all honesty, he was lucky it wasn't red - borderline DOGSO, only thing that saved him was the heavy touch that took the ball past him also probably took it wide enough to no long be obvious.
 

Joshref

Well-Known Member
Level 7 Referee
I'm responsible for issuing one of my brother's two yellow cards in his career! And in all honesty, he was lucky it wasn't red - borderline DOGSO, only thing that saved him was the heavy touch that took the ball past him also probably took it wide enough to no long be obvious.
I’m still waiting to show one to my younger brother, only 13, I may have a few more years to wait. That being said, there’s a number of occasions when I’ve been watching him play away where he’s made yellow card worthy offences, aggressive little bugger on the pitch it must be said. However he’s on his best behaviour when I’m reffing, I think he knows I’m more than happy to yellow him 😃
Closest I’ve come to yellow carding/sin binning a relative Is my younger cousin but that’s because he’s a gobshite on the pitch (and off it tbf)

Back to original question, I don’t think theres an issue with it, I’ve been a club appointed ref millions of times. Very rare you see neutrally appointed refs in our league, we got one a season max when I was playing.

I really don’t give a **** who wins an U11 game, so if I was reffing in my own club, I’m not worried about being bias or appearing to be bias to either side.

Even when my relatives were involved, I was probably unconsciously bias the other way first few times I reffed. More experience though and I found it easier to get into ref mode. Nowadays it’s not even a thought in my head, I just get it done easily.

I did almost pull a Mike Dean-esque advantage celebration when I allowed an advantage for an opponent to get a last minute equaliser against my brothers team (completing a comeback from 4-0 down with 15 mins to go) but managed to stop myself 😂
 

BCMilan

Active Member
Level 7 Referee
I always used to call the Referee Secretary and ask to switch games if I was allocated to a game within the club I used to play for (and still coach their kids). I'd rather do a netral game, any day
 

OIREF!

RefChat Addict
I strongly believe it is good practice to avoid refereeing any teams where you have an interest. When I started refereeing I was also coaching my son's youth team and exempted myself from any games involving the wider club. I did referee his team twice in 8 years but both times were in exceptional circumstances and with agreement from the opposition.
 
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