Walking football has developed in Derbyshire throughout the last three years and there are now plenty of 'Turn Up and Play' sessions across the county as well as numerous festivals and the Derbyshire Walking Football League.
As the number of playing opportunities increased throughout the county, the demand for specialised walking football referees rose, leading to the Derbyshire FA delivering two walking football referee workshops in November 2015. In total, this up-skilled twenty five newly certified referees. The referees have since been involved at their 'Turn Up and Play' sessions, at festivals and within the league.
On Wednesday 22nd June 2016, Derbyshire County FA organised a walking football festival which created the foundations on which the certified referees could officiate and develop. Certified referees attended the event at Gosforth Fields in Dronfield and had the opportunity to referee the walking football matches and then receive mentoring from FA Qualified Referee, Malcolm Gratton.
Lauren Mellor, Football Development Officer (Adult Participation) at the Derbyshire County FA, said: "We are committed to up-skilling our walking football referees and the festival provided the perfect opportunity for them to gain experience. The festival enabled referees to increase their confidence of applying the walking football Laws of the Game during ‘real matches’.
"It was great to have Malcolm there on the day to provide feedback, mentoring and help to develop our referees. His knowledge and expertise is so valuable to the referees and it’s fantastic to see the relationship between Malc and the certified referees.”
Michael Crossley, a walking football referee, said: "I enjoyed officiating walking football. I felt that there was a huge amount of respect shown by everyone involved in the festival.”
Neil Haddy, another referee, expressed his thanks to Malc for mentoring: “I found it a very useful day. I've been doing a fair bit of refereeing lately and found it invaluable to get constructive feedback on how I was getting on. I am very grateful to Lauren and Malc for setting this up.”
Any individuals who would like to find out more about refereeing walking football or participating in the sport, please contact Lauren Mellor from Derbyshire County FA: firstname.lastname@example.org
or 01332 361 422