The Army FA Referees RAFA Training Day in Aldershot followed by the Annual Awards Dinner at RMA Sandhurst was a huge success.
60 Referees and guests attended the evening event which saw a variety of presentations made by FA Premier League Referee Martin Atkinson, who had spent the afternoon with the officials from all levels of the game. The most prestigious award for an Army Referee is the Dobsons Trophy. It is awarded for the Referee who has made the most significant contribution to Army Refereeing over the course of the season. For the first time in its 29 year history the award was shared. The winning recipients were UK North and Womens Appointment Secretary Sgt Si Thorburn (Royal Signals) and UK Midlands Appointment Secretary WO2 Bri Slinn (REME).
The Le Breton Trophy is for the Level 7 Referee who has shown the most potential and commitment during the course of the season. This was also shared by Capt Dicky Halloran (Infantry) (UK South) and Cpl Tom Maher (RLC) (UK North).
Additional presentations of recognition of service to Army Football were also made to two individuals soon to leave the Army SSgt Dec Ford (REME) has served the Army FA with distinction since 1995. A Football League official he has been a committee member for 13 years, refereed the Army Cup Final in 2006 and responsible for the introduction of the Referees’ Academy with an immense contribution. WO1 (RSM) Mark Hounsell (RLC) won the Dobsons Trophy in 2014 and has played a significant contribution since qualifying in 2007.
Further presentations will be made in due course to recognise WO2 Andy Moore (AGC) who stepped down this season after an excellent contribution in UK North. Andy also qualifies for the Meritorious Service Award. Capt Martyn Day (AGC( (SPS) also stepped down this season from Army Refereeing responsibilities after qualifying in 1979. A committee member in three spells between 1996 and 2005 Martin also referees the Army Cup Final in 1995. Cpl Phil Trask (RLC), whose final match was the Reserve Cup Final last season, will also be recognised for 25 years outstanding service.
Chairman Lt Col Pete Conn (RE) is also stepping down as Chairman. Having served the committee since 2005 he has been Chairman since 2012 and also an Army FA Trustee during that period. He received a presentation from Martin Atkinson in recognition of his immense contribution.
The RAFA Day saw a variety of training and classroom modules including RLC Head Coach Capt Sean Birchnall (RLC) providing an excellent insight from a Coaches perspective and a Q and A Martin Atkinson who refereed the 2011 FA Cup Final and is a FIFA official. The day, as always, commenced with the Referees annual Mitchell-Dennis match which is always a feisty affair. A good day had by all!