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National insurance provider signs referee partnership

Collingwood Insurance to support match officials in our area

Insurer and FA to address lack of grassroots referees


Northumberland FA’s drive to recruit new referees from a variety of backgrounds is set to kick-on after receiving backing from a national insurance provider.

Collingwood Insurance has joined the organisation’s ‘Referee Pathway’ and ‘100% Positive’ campaigns, signing up as a Platinum Partner.

The aim of ‘Referee Pathway’ is to help break down the barriers for those from BAME (black, asian and minority ethnic) communities and economically deprived areas that do not traditionally engage with the game, and make it easier for them to secure their refereeing qualifications.

As part of the project, Collingwood will provide free and reduced cost courses to people who have not been involved in football, to help them become referees.

Jonathan Brougham, Head of Marketing at Collingwood, said: “Referees are vital to football – without them there is no game.

“We’re delighted to be helping Northumberland FA to recruit even more match officials and make it easier for those who have either found it difficult to become involved with football or just aren’t aware of the pathways into the sport and help them achieve their qualification.

“Inclusivity and accessibility are fundamental to football. It is a simple game - all you need is a ball to play. Therefore it is vital that we ensure it is a sport that everyone can enjoy and participate in, and let’s work together to eliminate any barriers preventing people from getting involved in the best game in the world.”

Collingwood will also be flying the flag for good behaviour in grassroots football by backing the FA’s ‘100% Positive’ campaign, which aims to reward teams, players, coaches and supporters who go the extra mile to be positive, welcoming and respectful.

It is estimated that the total number of referees in the UK has declined from 33,000 to 23,000 in just five years – a fall of almost a third – with abuse being one of the main reasons for referees quitting the game.

Jonathan added: “While making it easier for more people to become referees will help address the lack of people picking up their cards and whistles, it is just one part of a much wider problem.

“The number of referees across the UK has declined by almost a third over the past five years, therefore it’s obvious that there is also a huge retention challenge facing the grassroots game. This is something we’re looking to work with the FA on as part of our partnership.

“By investing in ongoing education, as well as making it easier for people to get their badges, we will also ensure the referees we do have maintain their high-quality standard of refereeing and remain in top condition.

“We are delighted to be supporting the campaigns and can’t wait to see the impact it has.”

Matt Sowerby, Northumberland FA’s Referee Development Officer, added: “We’re looking forward to working closely with Collingwood, and their support will be vital in helping us to strengthen the game in the area by supporting and developing our referees.”



Contact: Helen Beales, Head of Business Development at or 07458 043680.