Women-only referees’ course

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Suffolk Football Association (FA) is organising what is believed to be the first-ever women-only referees’ course in the county.

Colin Hills, referee development manager at Suffolk FA, said the free-of-charge course in July was being organised due to popular demand.

Places on the course, which are open to women aged 14 and above, will be limited to a maximum of 24. The course at Gainsborough Sports Centre, Ipswich, will start with an introductory session on July 10.

The dates of the course are Saturday, July 26, (9am-5pm) and Saturday, August 2 (9am-5pm).

There will also be an interim session at on Thursday, July 31, (7pm-9pm) at Suffolk FA headquarters at Stowmarket.

To attend the course, which would normally cost £140 per person, participants will need to pay a £50 deposit.

Hills said: “All those enrolling on the course will be provided with a set of Nike kit — shirt, shorts and socks plus equipment including whistle, flags, cards and record pad.

“At the end of the course the referees will officiate six matches, after which their £50 deposit will be returned, before attending call-back sessions when they will be required to take an examination.

“When these have been passed referees will be qualified at Level 7 officials if they are aged 16 or over and Level 8 if they are aged 14 or 15.

“Once qualified, the referees will be able to referee women’s and/or men’s matches and follow in the footsteps of Suffolk’s leading young female referee Abi Marriott.”

Marriott, currently Level 6, referees in the Thurlow Nunn Reserve League and is an assistant referee in the First Division of the Thurlow Nunn League.