Players are being offered the chance to take up a career in refereeing as part of a special new programme.

The PGMOL (Professional Game Match Officials Limited) have teamed up with the Professional Footballers’ Association to offer current and former players the chance to become officials.

They will be offered a fast track system to get more ex-pros into refereeing and they are now looking to identify between 10 and 12 players to join up.

The pilot scheme, which saw over 120 expressions of interest from PFA members, will provide prospective referees with centralised training, education and development, as well as expert coaching input from experienced personnel within the game.

PGMOL Chief Refereeing Officer Howard Webb said: “We’ve made no secret that we are looking to broaden our pool of officials and entice people from other areas of the game and society into refereeing who may have historically not been well represented.

“Alongside our commitment to developing our current officials, we aim to create the best possible environment to support and encourage current and former players to enhance their skills, knowledge and, ultimately, their qualities as match officials through this programme.

“It’s been fantastic to collaborate with the PFA on this programme and the level of interest from their members strongly indicates they feel this is an exciting opportunity to explore an avenue which could potentially lead them to the highest levels of our game – this time as a match official.”

PFA CEO Maheta Molango said: “This is an excellent opportunity for any current or former PFA member who's ever wanted to move into refereeing. It's a chance to explore potential pathways to officiating at the highest levels of the game.

The PGMOL are hoping to put 10 to 12 players through the programme (
Image:
PA)

“The programme offers training, education, and development, with expert coaching from experienced former match officials under the guidance of the team at PGMOL. Participants will get a personalised journey, allowing them to officiate games at different levels based on their performance.

“As the players’ union, we are constantly looking across the game to create pathways and opportunities for players to reinvest their experiences both on and off the field.

“Successfully completing this three-year journey could open doors to becoming a referee, which is an exciting prospect for anyone passionate about football and who wants to retain and use their experience within professional football."