From The Grass Roots To The World Cup


A huge recruitment drive to recruit referees is underway as UK Socca partners with Leisure Leagues to bring through the next generation of refs in community small sided football in 2020.

And those that impress could find themselves rubbing shoulders with the likes of Mark Clattenburg and Bobby Madley and refereeing in International Competition.

Leisure Leagues – The world’s biggest and most successful providers of 5 and 6-a-side football – are running courses for budding referees, and thanks to UK Socca’s unique relationship as the providers of referees for the International Socca Federation, the most impressive will be immediately fast-tracked onto a path to European and World tournaments. Former EPL refs Madley and Clattenburg are both on the elite ref’s panel for the ISF.

In addition, Leisure Leagues referees have been to Pakistan to officiate the likes of Ronaldinho and Ryan Giggs in a match that drew a world record crowd – all of which is open to officials who join this course.

And, says, UK Socca Referees co-ordinator Jon Lawrence, having local officials is vital for the future success of the community competitions: “It is ideal to have a local person refereeing in their own areas, and that is what this course is about,” He explained.

“We look forward to seeing as many local people as possible at the course. Men and women are both welcome, as long as they are over 16. And we look forward to seeing “one of our own” at the World Cup Final.

At a time when officials are leaving the 11 a side game at record levels, thanks to the FA not being strong enough on discipline and looking after the welfare of the whistle blowers, UK Socca is proud to partner with Ref Support, the only charity in the world dedicated to looking after match officials – and all officials have access to the Ref Support 24 hour legal helpline. “One thing we are always absolutely certain about,” explained Jon. “Is that the referee is the single most important person in the business and one who can be assured of our total backing and respect.”

The induction evenings will take place at venues all over the country over the next few weeks and anyone interested in the free courses in their area can register here: