New referee? Join our Professional Academy Programme

Your chance to develop your skills and knowledge at local academies

From the very first moment an aspiring match official picks up the whistle on the FA Referee Course, we aim to support them with a range of development opportunities.

One of the many ways we’re nurturing new referees is through our Professional Academy Programme, an initiative we set up in 2021 to provide our match officials with a safe and friendly environment to develop their skills and knowledge.

In conjunction with some of our local professional academies – Sheffield United, Sheffield Wednesday and Rotherham United – Academy members will join a team of experienced match officials appointed to youth academy games (age groups 9-16) which traditionally takes place in a less pressured environment because all the players and their parents adhere to a very strict code of conduct.

Who can apply?

The Referee Academy is open to new referees and existing referees in our region who have a desire to progress through the referee pathway.

Why should I join?

The Academy is the perfect place to start your referee career to gain experience and confidence and develop your skills an assistant referee and referee. These games will count to your five games needed to qualify after your basic referee course.

You will benefit from officiating alongside experienced match officials, often as a team of three, at world class training facilities. Throughout the season, our Referee Coaches/Mentors will visit academies to offer their support, advice and guidance.

How does it work?

Once you’ve signed up, you’ll join a pool of match officials who are Informed about local youth academy games on a weekly basis. Appointments are given on certain criteria depending on the skill level of the referee and difficulty of the fixture, you will progress through these fixtures as you gain more experience.

When do games take place?

Games usually take place on weekends and weekdays, and you will be appointed to games based on your availability. You will be required to arrive a minimum of 60 minute before the scheduled kick-off time. Match fees start at £25 and up depending on age group and fixture competition

Where do games take place?

Academy members currently officiate at the following academies:

  • Sheffield United Academy, Firshill Cres, South Yorkshire, Sheffield S4 7DR
  • Sheffield Wednesday Academy, Middlewood Road, Sheffield, S6 1BJ
  • Rotherham United Academy, SHU Sports Park, Bawtry Rd, Tinsley, Sheffield S9 1UA

How do I join?

It is completely free to join The Professional Academy Programme and you can apply to join anytime throughout the season.

Apply Now

For more information, please contact Russ Lagden at

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