Derbyshire Referees attend FA CORE 1

Three Derbyshire referees have recently represented the County at CORE Level 1. CORE (Centre Of Referee Excellence) is a programme designed to…
Initially I was nominated by the County FA to attend a selection day held at Birmingham County FA. Following this I received an email from The FA inviting me to CORE Level 1 at Warwick University on the 23rd and 24th July.

Two months after receiving the email confirming my place at the FA CORE programme I found myself at Warwick University on 23rd July for the official launch. I attended the weekend with two other Derbyshire referees; Oliver Torrance and Harry Jones.

The event lasted two days and was coordinated by Dan Meeson (National Referee Development Manager) with Senior FA and PGMOL staff delivering some of the sessions.

When we arrived at 10.00am on the Saturday we were thrown into an intense and structured programme that would open our eyes to the world of elite refereeing.

The programme was launched by the Chairman of the Referee’s Committee, David Elleray who delivered a speech about the opportunities within refereeing. Dan Meeson then followed and spoke about the main qualities that are required to be a successful referee both on and off the field of play. Gemma Gale-Watts delivered a session on what was required off the field off play such as how we presented ourselves, correspondence and our social media appearance.

After these session we then moved onto the new law changes and how they would affect us in the future, this session was finished by an assessment on our knowledge.

Once lunch was over we headed outside for an intense afternoon of practical workshops (4 on the first day and 4 on the second day). These sessions were delivered by top some of the best referees and coaches within the country. The sessions were both mentally and physically demanding. We covered various scenarios that tested our understanding as referees and assistants. 

During the evening on Saturday we were required to wear a suit and tie for a three course meal. This was the first time we got to relax throughout the weekend and talk about things other than refereeing.

On Sunday morning we had another session on the laws of the game followed by a presentation on a 'view from the top' which was given by Adam Gale-Watts of PGMOL.

Before we stopped for lunch we completed the other four practical sessions from the day before and then it was back inside for the last two presentations of the weekend. The first was done by a guest speaker-Craig Maxwell Keys (Professional RFU Referee). Craig is a 26 year old referee at the top of his game and has progressed through the ranks quickly. Although an official in rugby, there were a lot of similarities meaning we could relate to his experiences. He told us all about his sacrifices and the amount of training he underwent and still goes through to follow his dream.

After a weekend long of learning, it was closed by Dan Meeson who spoke about 'Our future within FA CORE' and the support put in place to help us improve in the next year on our refereeing journey. He also informed of us of The FA’s expectations of us as CORE Referees and that we had to perform well both on and off the field.

Overall the weekend was a fantastic experience that tested us but also increased our knowledge. I know that going into the season I will be able to apply some techniques developed from the weekend and use them to my advantage. I think this is a great opportunity for anyone lucky enough to experience it and would encourage anyone striving excellence to pursue a place in FA CORE.

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