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Rules Relating to the Qualification, Registration & Control of Referees & Assistant Referees

1. No person shall officiate as a referee and/or assistant referee in any competition under the jurisdiction of the Football Association of Wales (“the FAW”) unless they are registered with the Association or an Area Association.

2. A referee and/or assistant referee must be registered with the Association on payment of a subscription fee of £30.00, which will be reduced to £20.00 if renewal payment is made on or before the 30 June for the forthcoming season.

3. Any person who wishes to be registered shall register on the Associations Comet system and pay an annual subscription fee. The Association shall keep a register on the Comet system of all registered referees and/or assistant referees.

4. A referee and/or assistant referee ranked in either Grade 4 or Grade 3 will be allocated to an Area Association within the area they reside, and that Area Association shall then be their parent Association and shall deal with all matters concerning them as a referee and/or assistant referee. The referee's parent Association shall also deal with promotions up to and including Grade 3. 1. Any such promotion to Grade 4A or 3 may be considered by the parent Association as soon as the referee has officiated a minimum of ten (10) matches and attained sufficient marks through observation. For the avoidance of doubt, no Area Association may apply a more lenient or stringent criteria than that set out in this clause.

5. The qualification of such applicants shall be subject to such examinations as the Council of the FAW or the Area Association shall determine from time to time. All applicants must have completed a full qualification (or other relevant FIFA member Association qualification). Referees of Grade 3 and above and any referee or assistant referee seeking promotion must revalidate this qualification by attending the relevant Association educational course at least every three years.

6. Grading shall be in four levels. The grading of a referee and assistant referee by the Association or Area Association must be accepted by all other Associations affiliated to the FAW.

7. All registration fees are payable annually. The Association shall, on or before 1st July in each year, classify their Grade 2 referees and assistant referees and above and validate this information on the Comet system on or before the 1st day of August. Each Area Association shall, on or before 1st July in each year, classify their Grade 3 referees and below and validate this information on the Comet system on or before the 1st day of August.

8. In the Welsh Cup Competition, only Grade 3 referees and above shall be appointed, however, lower-level officials may act as assistant referee but the senior assistant referee in all Welsh Cup matches shall be either a specialist assistant referee or at least Grade 3 when available. In the Football Association of Wales Trophy, Women’s Cup and Youth Cup Competitions, after round four, only Grade 3 referees and above shall be appointed, however, lower- level officials may act as assistant referee.

9. Referees and/or assistant referees must not travel in company with teams.

10. An applicant between the ages of 14-16 years must be registered as a junior referee by the Area Association following completion of the Association's FAW Referee Award. 

11. An applicant over the age of 14 may be registered to referee junior football by completing the FAW Intro to Refereeing Award. 

12. Every referee and/or assistant referee under the age of 18 must wear a yellow arm band to indicate that they are under the age of 18. The yellow arm band must be supplied by the referee and/or assistant referee’s Area Association.

13. Referees and/or assistant referees must only accept appointments from the competition administrator.

14. Referees and/or assistant referees should wear a referee kit in all Official Matches and Open Friendly Matches.

15. Referees in Grade 3 and assistant referees in Grade 3AR and above must wear the official badge of the Association. Referees in all other classes must wear the official badge of the Area Association and, or any league to which they officiate. 

16. No referee and/or assistant referee shall be allowed to officiate in any Official Match or Open Friendly Match if not registered with the Association.

17. Referees and/or assistant referees registered with the Association are not permitted to act either as referee or assistant referee in any league or competition in which they also take part as a Player.

18. If for unforeseen circumstances, a registered referee and/or assistant referee is unable to officiate, competitions or Clubs may agree on some other person to act in these extreme circumstances.

19. Any referee and/or assistant referee proved to have been concerned as an Intermediary for a Club in the transfer and/or engagement of a player shall be deemed to have committed a Disciplinary Offence.

20. Sponsorship is permitted on the Referee Kit in accordance with the FAW Kit Regulations section 11.

21. Each Area Association will have a referee development group. FIFA nominations should firstly be considered from those officials who had progressed through the scheme, when they are National list officials, unless in special circumstances.

22. The referee is to decide what is required from the club assistant in terms of ball out and offside. The referee should decide on which side the club assistant should stand but it is recommended that he takes his own forward line.

23. For all disciplinary procedures, referees and assistant referees should refer to the Association and Area Association disciplinary regulations.

24. Referee and/or assistant referee who submits a report of misconduct after any deadline set shall be dealt with in accordance with the procedures as laid down by the Association or Area Associations from time to time.

25. All referees and/or assistant referees must use the Comet system as required by the Association to submit availability, accept or decline appointments and to submit match reports in accordance with competition regulations.

26. The hierarchy of authority for referees and/or assistant referees on a Sunday is as follows; FAW appointments, Cymru Premier, Adran Premier, other.

27. (i) The fee for the any Referee Courses shall be set by the FAW Referees Committee on an annual basis (ii) Any referee and/or assistant referee who has been inactive for five years must retake the FAW Referee Award. 

28. Attendance at Area Association training and education seminars is mandatory for all referees and/or assistant referees seeking promotion unless a legitimate reason for non-attendance is provided and accepted by the Area Association. Fitness tests should also be completed where appropriate.


As approved by the Referees Committee - May 2023

First Published

08 September 2020

Last Updated

14 December 2023

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