Cheshire FA launched the yellow armband campaign in the 2019/20 season.
The aim of this campaign was to reduce negative behaviour shown to young referees and ensure they stay in the game as officials for years to come.
Referees under the age of 18 make up a third of Cheshire FA’s refereeing workforce, and so far this season, 30% of Cheshire FA’s improper conduct charges were against an U18 official.
Overall, last season at Cheshire FA, there was an increase in the number cautions, dismissals and misconduct charges and so this campaign aims to support our youngest referees' development.
The armband highlights to players, coaches and volunteers that the match official at their game is under 18 years of age and still subject to the safeguarding legislation that protects children in football.
Referee Development Officer, Ed Duckworth, explained: “We took the decision to introduce yellow armbands for our U18 match officials two seasons ago. It is essential to remind everyone these officials are U18 and are learning and will inevitably make mistakes. We’ve seen an increase in charges last season and we have a duty of care in developing referees and keeping them in the game. We want all participants to enjoy football in a safe environment.”
Danielle Shields, Football Development Manager, added: “Across all areas of the game, we embed the FA’s 'RESPECT' campaign. The introduction of the yellow armband campaign is an extension to this to safeguard our young people. It will help reduce negative behaviour and ensure that these match officials, who are still learning and are at a key stage of their development, stay in the game for years to come and enjoy being part of the grassroots football community in Cheshire.”
All Cheshire FA U18 referees receive an armband when they complete the Referees Course and should wear it at all times when officiating.