Could you be the next Darren England? Funding is now available to encourage people in Barnsley to take up refereeing.
Barnsley Referees Association (Barnsley RA) has created a legacy fund which aims to help those just starting out on their officiating journey. It can be used to supplement referee course costs or to purchase new kit and equipment.
The funding is only available to Barnsley natives – current residents or people born in Barnsley – with grants of up to £60 per person available.
It is hoped that the funding will inspire would-be officials to follow in the footsteps of Barnsley Referees Association alumni and Premier League referee, Darren England.
Barnsley-born Darren came through the ranks of the Barnsley Referees Association, starting as a teenager officiating in the Over 35s Wragg League and Barnsley Sunday League. He worked his way up from non-league football to being named as a Premier League referee in August 2020; sixteen years after taking charge of his first game.
Darren was also recently recognised by FIFA when he was added to the 2022 FIFA List of International Match Officials, meaning he is qualified to officiate at international level.
Flying the flag for Barnsley, the Premier League ref has always remembered his hometown roots and in 2018 he returned to Barnsley College to team up with their Sports Academy to help develop young officials.
Commenting on the Legacy Fund, Darren said: “I am delighted that my local association (Barnsley RA) has created the legacy fund for aspiring referees who have a connection with the area.
“I still remember doing my referee’s course at Barnsley College many years ago! When I first started, I never imagined my refereeing journey would have given me so many memories, experiences and life skills.
“There has never been a better time to get into refereeing. If the Legacy Fund helps to start people on that journey, then it has fulfilled our aim.”
Sheffield & Hallamshire County FA’s Referee Development Officer, Aaron Bannister, added: “Barnsley RA are regarded as a high-quality society which has brought through some of our most experienced officials at both grassroots and professional level. Their work has been incredible, I feel proud that this can continue through the Barnsley RA Legacy Fund.”
The funding is available now to anybody that resides in or who is from Barnsley and wants to book on an upcoming FA referee’s course. Funding can also be accessed by those that have completed a referee’s course within the last five months.
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For more information on the Barnsley RA Legacy Fund, contact Aaron Bannister by emailing Aaron.Bannister@sheffieldfa.com