Introduction to Army Refereeing. The 2017/18 message from Referees Chairman Major Pete Conn.

Dear Colleague,


As a new season dawns, this is an opportunity to reflect on another year that seems to have gone in a flash. There have been some very notable successes within Army officiating and this has not gone unnoticed by Gen Mitchell, the Chairman of Army Football, who is always very complimentary towards us as a group.


After all the Law changes from last season, it is right that there are very few amendments for the coming year. That said, the men’s Corps league (The Massey Trophy) has been selected as one of the c.40 leagues across the country to trial Technical Dismissals (Sin Bin) for dissent in an attempt to reignite the Respect programme. The affect is that players and teams will be penalised during the match and it is hoped that this initiative will reduce the amount of dissent that officials receive. All L4 and L4 promotion candidates have been invited to attend the training prior to its implementation and they will be responsible for briefing their assistants on each Massey Trophy match they are appointed to. If successful, the scheme is likely to be rolled out across the UK for Step 7 leagues and below from the 2018 season; this is an opportunity for us to get ahead of other leagues and counties.


Unit Football is very well supported by area committees and almost all games have at least a referee appointed. This is a tremendous achievement and congratulations go to all the appointment secretaries that make this happen, there is a small but very committed group who have been at the forefront of developing and facilitating army refereeing and I continue to be impressed by their dedication and commitment to ensure that each of you are given the best opportunities to fulfil your potential.


2016/17 was another season of successes; notable achievements include WO2 Halliday being voted Army Sports official of the year, and congratulations go to Sgt Craig Jinks (Dobson’s Trophy) LCpl Michael Blake (Le Breton Trophy) and Capt Steve Finch (Assistant on the FA Sunday Cup). Of special note is Cpl Dec O’Shea who was appointed to the Army Cup Final (as probably the youngest referee at the age of 26) and was promoted to Level 3.


Our numbers remain strong, we have over 220 registered officials and we qualify around 80 new referees every year. There were 48 promotions from Levels 7 to 3 last season and this represents the efforts of both the individuals on the promotion scheme and our Observers; well done to all. The numbers for this season are constant at 44 so there is another busy season ahead for the promotions committee.






There has been an increase in both Regular and Reserve units playing football and improving facilities has seen more games being played in the evenings. All of this is encouraging, however it requires additional efforts to cover these extra matches and I have been extremely pleased to see that all our members (Regular, Reserve and affiliated) have contributed fully to this for which I am very grateful.


As your Development Officer I have carried out some analysis on misconduct across the Army to identify areas of concern that can be addressed and I am pleased that Army football represents a small percentage of the overall discipline that is issued; there were around 67,000 cases of C2 (Dissent) in England last season where the Army was only responsible for 138 (0.2%). Unfortunately this has also identified that not all officials are submitting discipline either through the Whole Game System or direct to the Army FA; I rarely have cause for concern but this is worrying because any official who is not carrying out their duties correctly is guilty of this is letting everyone down. Action will be taken against anyone found not submitting disciplinary sanctions to the Army FA. If you are not sure how to complete this important aspect of officiating, ask.

The committee structures have seen many changes for this season and this is beneficial to the overall output as it keeps the views and ideas fresh. My heartfelt thanks go to all those who have contributed and it is of significant comfort that as an organisation we are seen to be contributing fully to the Soldiers Game within the county and to the wider FA effort.


You are very fortunate to be supported by some highly committed, totally dedicated and vastly experienced committee members (both centrally and regionally) who act on your behalf to ensure that you are able to maximise your potential, ensure that you play your part in making their role as easy as possible. Use their knowledge and expertise where necessary to ensure that you are aware of all activities that are on offer to you.


As I enter my final season as your Chairman, I remain totally heartened by the level of dedication that is shown by all officials, observers, tutors and mentors; you all ensure that Army Football referees are very well thought of inside and outside of military circles. On your behalf, I thank them all.


Good luck and enjoy your season.


























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