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Female referees inspired at SGP

SUFFOLK referees attended a national development day.

SUFFOLK referees attended a national development day.

A number of referees from Suffolk joined a host of other officials from across the country in participating in The FA’s National Grassroots Women’s Refereeing Event at St Georges Park in Burton Upon Trent.

The FA say there have never been better development opportunities to become a referee as more than 100 young officials attended the annual Women’s Grassroots Refereeing Development Event.

The FA is on course to reach almost 3,000 female referees by 2021 as the popularity of the women’s game continues to grow.

The Development Day consisted of both practical and theory-based sessions, covering topics such as conditioning and teamwork, assistant refereeing and decision making, as well as laws of the game, building confidence, communication and recognising foul challenges.

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One of the Suffolk referees being interviewed by Sky Sports News at St George's Park

The day culminated in the referees in attendance having a Q&A session with the officials from the Continental Cup Final between Chelsea and Arsenal, played the day before at Nottingham Forest FC.

This provided an insight in to the pathway available to the girls and how with hard work and commitment, reaching the highest levels of the game has never been more achievable.

Suffolk referee Isabel Chaplin, currently officiating at grassroots level, said: “To be involved in such a large-scale event was a real inspiration to me.

“I was able to learn so much from some of the top female officials in the country who are operating on both the WSL and FIFA lists.”

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The referees taking part in a practical session at St George's Park

Isabel, who is also the Chair of the Suffolk FA Youth Council, continued: “I really enjoy my refereeing and I would recommend it to anyone considering becoming involved.”

Suffolk FA Youth Referee Appointments Officer, Melissa Stickland who attended the day with the girls added: “To witness how the female officials grew in confidence throughout the day was a pleasure to see.

“It’s fantastic to provide such opportunities which encourage the girls to aspire to reach the highest levels of the game as a referee. The girls from Suffolk were fantastic role models throughout the day for their peers and we look forward to supporting them, and others in their refereeing journeys.”

If you’ve also been inspired to become a referee, Suffolk FA have a female only referee course, at Needham Market FC, available to book online via the County FA website. For more information, click here

Alternatively, contact a member of the team on 01449 616606 (option 5) or email

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