One of the biggest pains in the backside for the majority of managers is finding a referee for your game. Here's how it's meant to work:

Mini Soccer (U7 to U10)

The Crowborough League doesn't allocate referees to mini soccer teams, instead going with the approach that it is down to you, the manager, to find someone to referee your games. Usually this will be an assistant coach or a willing parent, but you can get a "proper" referee if you want. Obviously if you do that, you will have to pay them, with the club taking the approach that if the league are happy with a parent or coach doing it, there is no need to fund qualified referees.

In certain circumstances that may not be the case, if for example you're playing a team with a particular reputation for being difficult, then a qualified referee rather than a parent or coach would be preferable and you should raise this on an individual basis. In general though, especially bearing in mind the games are non-competitive, then any willing individual who understands the rules of football is fine.

Some of our older players are now qualified referees. Whilst doing their training with the FA, they need to referee a certain number of games (unpaid) to get practice in and pass their course. It's worth asking Chris Allen if he is aware of anyone in that situation who would be willing to referee your games on a Saturday morning.

Some other leagues do allocate referees to younger age groups, but the majority use parents or coaches to get the job done.

U11 Upwards

Once you move to 9 a side football (and then to 11 a side), a qualified referee is recommended where possible as you're dealing with offside decisions and a larger, more complex scale of game. Whatever league you are involved with will have a referees secretary (for the Crowborough League you can find out who that is here), whose job it is to assign referees to all fixtures. In reality, there are rarely enough referees to go around though, so you should expect, particularly in the first year or two, to have to source your own and if none can be found, then a willing parent or coach can still be used.

If you are playing in the Crowborough League, details of your fixtures will appear on FA Full Time, along with any referee that has been assigned. If nobody has been assigned by around the Wednesday of the week preceding the game, you can assume fairly safely that nobody will be.

The county FA provide lists of referees for you to contact in the event of needing a ref. Many will be assigned already, but you are welcome to try any names on the list and see if you can find someone.

Kent FA Referees List:

Payment for Referees

You are responsible for arranging payment for your referee for home matches. The club will refund you for all referee fees, so make sure you get a receipt from your ref. so you can claim the money back. Referees will add travel costs to whatever match fees they charge you. Somewhere in the region of £15 - £35 per game is reasonable, depending on travel, age group and the length of the game.

To claim back your referee fees, send all receipts (scans are fine) to Allan Culverhouse, our club accountant, by e-mail at the end of each month.

Running the Line

From under 11 upwards you will also need 2 people to run the line. Each team provides one person to do this, who runs the line for their team (deciding if the opposition players are offside or not and which way to award throw-ins are the two most obvious duties of someone doing this). The resources simply aren't out there for the leagues to provide qualified assistant referees (cup finals etc. excepted), so using a willing parent or assistant coach is the best option. Yes - you get some idiots who blatantly disregard honesty in these situations (and you will definitely fall foul of this at some point - it's happened to all of us), but the majority are fine and those who aren't will be quickly ignored by a good referee, who will realise what's going on. Make sure you snag a parent early on who is happy to don their trainers and take hold of the flag!

Your own linesman should run the line in line with your own defenders, so they're deciding if the opposition forwards are offside or not.

Watch out for linesmen who "coach" whilst running the line and avoid the temptation to do this yourself - this is absolutely not okay and any decent referee will step in if they see anyone doing this - they are meant to be impartial and there is no way someone can concentrate on being impartial if they're telling their own defenders to keep a high line or step up to play someone offside!!