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PFA and PGMOL Partner on New ‘Player to Match Official’ Programme

PFA and PGMOL Partner on New ‘Player to Match Official’ Programme

The PFA and PGMOL (Professional Game Match Officials Limited) have joined forces to create a new programme offering current and former players the chance to explore a career in refereeing. 

As part of its Elite Referee Development Plan (ERDP) and alongside the Football Association (FA), PGMOL is continuing to modernise the match officiating pathway, providing opportunities to those with high potential to progress to the higher levels of the game within a shorter timeframe. 

Through close and enhanced collaboration with the PFA, PGMOL is now looking to identify 10-12 current or former players to enrol on a three-year refereeing scholarship programme, in line with the ongoing progression of the ERDP, which is funded and supported by the Premier League.

The pilot scheme, which saw over 120 expressions of interest from PFA members, will provide prospective referees with centralised training, education and development, as well as expert coaching input from experienced personnel within the game. 

Participants can also expect to be provided with a personalised games programme which will offer them the chance to officiate games at a variety of levels in line with their performance, with possible refereeing opportunities across England’s professional leagues within or on successful completion of the three-year programme.

PGMOL Chief Refereeing Officer Howard Webb said: “We’ve made no secret that we are looking to broaden our pool of officials and entice people from other areas of the game and society into refereeing who may have historically not been well represented.

“Alongside our commitment to developing our current officials, we aim to create the best possible environment to support and encourage current and former players to enhance their skills, knowledge and, ultimately, their qualities as match officials through this programme.

“It’s been fantastic to collaborate with the PFA on this programme and the level of interest from their members strongly indicates they feel this is an exciting opportunity to explore an avenue which could potentially lead them to the highest levels of our game – this time as a match official.”

PFA CEO Maheta Molango said: “This is an excellent opportunity for any current or former PFA member who's ever wanted to move into refereeing. It's a chance to explore potential pathways to officiating at the highest levels of the game.

“The programme offers training, education, and development, with expert coaching from experienced former match officials under the guidance of the team at PGMOL. Participants will get a personalised journey, allowing them to officiate games at different levels based on their performance.

“As the players’ union, we are constantly looking across the game to create pathways and opportunities for players to reinvest their experiences both on and off the field. Successfully completing this three-year journey could open doors to becoming a referee, which is an exciting prospect for anyone passionate about football and who wants to retain and use their experience within professional football."

Successful applicants will be paid with an expectation of two full-days employment through PGMOL, including attending regular referee meetings plus matches, and two full-days employment through the PFA Business School.

The group of personnel who expressed an interest will be required to submit a formal application as part of an assessment of their suitability for the programme, with the selected 10-12 participants formally kicking things off later this summer by undertaking a referee course which will include both technical and practical-based training.

This programme will run alongside the delivery of referee courses for Academy scholars, aimed at improving players’ education into officiating as part of a number of new measures implemented through the game-supported Participant Behaviour Charter.

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