Twitter has been a-buzz the last two days after BBC Three Counties journalist Ollie Bayliss posted about a new initiative from the Cambridgeshire FA to promote a safe environment for young referees.
The Cambs County FA is introducing purple shirts for it’s referees under the age of 18 in the hope it’ll remind players, coaches and fans that the official is still essentially a student and learning their trade.
At the time of writing, Bayliss’ tweet has largely been well received with plenty of positive comments tagging in other County Football Associations.
Lee Roberts posted: “That’s not a bad idea. Hopefully may change people’s behaviour at matches. Something needs to be done.”
Jon Walker said: “Well done cambs unfortunately a sad indictment of our sport but a positive initiative to challenge negative attitudes.”
So could we see the initiative rolled out in Berkshire?
The short answer is yes. Football in Bracknell’s Sunday League writer Tony Hardy asked the big question: “Did this require the FA’s sanction? If so, shouldn’t the FA be taking this forward to all County FA’s ad best practice?”
To which @CambsFAReferees replied: “The FA sanctioned use of coloured shirts at grassroots level two seasons ago but left it up to County FAs to decide whether they would implement this. This initiative had to go through our Council to get approved however.”
‘We have sanctioned the wearing of coloured referee shirts’
Football in Bracknell asked Lisa Benn at the Berks & Bucks County FA is the scheme might come to the area.
She said: “It looks great- highlighting that referees are youths – as this is often forgotten once the black shirt is seen in the middle of a pitch.
“We have sanctioned the wearing of coloured referee shirts – but have not made this mandatory to referees nor youth referees, but they do have the option.
“Being such a large county and with such a large number of referees this would need to be looked at from various aspects before we were to commit either way. I would be interested to hear the views of referees as I have seen how well this has gone down on twitter too.”
Lisa added that any possible roll out of the scheme would be significantly more viable with a sponsor attached.
In terms of colour, she said it didn’t have to be purple. Adding: “We’d have to look into team’s shirt colour to see what would be the most appropriate colour to avoid a clash.”
Further reading: Details on the Cambridgeshire FA site here
If you have any views on the scheme that you’d like to put to Lisa, you can add them to the comments below or email us at
[email protected] – and if it’s something you might be interested in sponsoring we’d love to hear from you.