Referee's Handbook 

Click here for Referee's handbook

Respect Programme - information for federations, referees and clubs

What is it?

A programme orginally put together by the FA to tackle 3 concerns

  • The abuse of players and referees by parents and spectators
  • Too many games not having a qualified referee
  • the number of referees leaving the game because of abuse

What measures were introduced?

  • Roped off areas for parents and spectators
  • Signed codes of conduct for players, parents, coaches and referees
  • Clear sanctions for breaches of the codes
  • Only allowing the captain to speak to the referee


  • The referee is to work with the captain to manage the players and the game
  • Pre-game chat
  • Must deal firmly with players who show dissent
  • Remove coaches who berate an official or opponent

As part of the RESPECT programme, for all competitors is has been decided to introduce both the initiative that involves the referee working with the team captain on the day to manage the players and the game effectively and the pre-match fair play handshake initiative

Working with the team captain

  1. The referee will work with the team captain in order to manage the players and the game effectively.  Note the guidelines in the Laws of the Game which state that the captain has no special stsus or priviledges under the Laws of the Game but he / she has a degree of responsibility for the behavior of his team
  2. The referee must control the game by applying the Laws of the Game, and deal firmly with any open show of dissent by players eg not move away from the incident, but stay and deal with it
  3. The referee should use a stepped approach where appropriate to managing players eg roadblocks 1) Free kick, 2) Free kick with quiet word, 3) free kick with admonition (this is where the referee should consider using the captain to get the message across, 4) Yellow card
  4. This stepped approach does not negate the fact that the referee has the authority within the Laws of the Game to issue diciplinary sanctions without recourse to the captain.
  5. Players may appeal for a decision (eg a throw in) but it is important that the referee distinguishes these from an act of dissent which should be punished with a caution.
  6. Even if the captain is some way from an incident when the referee feels he needs him involved in a decisioin with a player, the referee will call the captain over rather than using another player
  7. These guidelines should be seen as an additional preventative tool in order to help referees manage the game more effectively.  The key is to use the captains in a more visable way, where appropriate

Fair Play Handsake Protocol

The following protocol should be applied where possible

  1. The starting eleven from both teams together with the referee(s) should take part in the handshake
  2. Each team should line up on the side of the halfway line
  3. The Home team, led by their captain, then walks to shake hands with the referee(s), and then the away team.  Once each Home team player has finished shaking hands with the last away team player they disperse
  4. Once the last home team player has passed by, the Away team then follows their captain to shake hands with the referee(s)
  5. Once the handshake has been completed the referee then tosses the coin

It may be difficult to impliment this protocol in every case, we would ask that referees do what is reasonable to ensure its implementation.