SUFFOLK FA have been “absolutely exemplary” in keeping the refereeing community together during lockdowns.
So says Andy Wilding, who is a Director of Globex Freight Management Ltd and sponsor of Suffolk FA Referee Development Programmes.
Andy, who is in his ninth year of sponsoring Suffolk FA, said it had been important for Globex to be able to continue to support referees since the start of the season with the problems caused by being in lockdown.
“It has been important from the point of view that whilst there has been no football, there has been no match officiating and referees may have felt isolated, said Andy, who is pictured above.
“It has been important for Suffolk FA to keep engaged with referees and updated with local activity. Our name has been visual to all readers and shows our great support to the Suffolk FA Referees’ Department.
“Suffolk FA have been absolutely exemplary, and they have kept all referees abreast of news and connected via their virtual coffee meetings and other lockdown initiatives."
Despite the stop-start season, the Suffolk FA Youth Referees’ Academy have continued to provide in-game coaching to developing officials on more than fifty occasions this season, in addition to the continuation of the Suffolk FA Centre of Refereeing Excellence (CORE) programme.
This season has also seen the transition of a number of younger referees in to open age football from local youth leagues, initially as an assistant referee.
As a result of the continued support, there was a 59 per cent increase in grassroots referee promotions last season, while Suffolk referees have continued to be awarded prestigious fixtures on a national level.
Andy Wilding (left) of Globex Freight Management Ltd with Suffolk FA Senior Referee Development Officer Alan Dale (right) outside Globex's offices in Martlesham, just outside Ipswich
Andy said he was proud of the progress that has been made since he first started sponsoring Suffolk FA.
He said: “What inspires me the most to continue my sponsorship with the Referees’ Department at Suffolk FA is the incredible work that Senior Referee Development Officer Alan Dale and his team does to aid the progression and development of young referees.
“Being part of that fills me with much satisfaction knowing that I and through my business, have contributed largely to the development of these individuals, both within refereeing and through their development of wider life skills.”
Andy said he was looking forward “immensely” to referees in the county being able to get back out and officiate as lockdown restrictions are eased.
“Maybe not a lot of football is left in this current season but come the start of the 2021-22 season, referees young and old will be looking forward to ‘getting out there’, which will also include regular coaching visits for me at the Ipswich Town FC Academy.
“Seeing what has been able to be done to keep referees up to speed and connected with the goings on at FA and county level whilst in lockdown, imagine what can – and will – be achieved when we are virtually back to normal.”
If you are interested in becoming a referee, you can register your interest in attending The FA Referee Course by completing the online form here
Large increase in referee promotions