Match officials in Australia are subject to two streams within the accreditation structure – Community and Advanced.
Each structure consists of multiple accreditation levels allowing for a smooth advancement and continual progression to a higher level if desired.
Community level courses, targeted at officials working within local/regional amateur football competitions consists of the Laws of the Game, Level 4 and Level 3 accreditation across various fields such as Outdoor Refereeing, Futsal Refereeing, Referee Instructor and Referee Assessor.
Advanced level courses, directed towards officials working within regional, state and national competitions consists of both Level 2 and Level 1 Accreditations for relevant Outdoor and assessor officials in addition to Level 2 accreditations for instructors.
Gaining outdoor refereeing accreditation begins with the ‘Laws of the Game’ online educational tool providing a basic introduction to the Laws of the Game and the explanation of each law. The Level 4 qualification complements the Laws of the Game’s theoretical focus and is aimed at match officials officiating in junior and youth matches.
You must complete both the online Laws of the Game and Level 4 Referee training programs before you can be appointed to any matches except MiniRoos.
The Level 3 training program builds on the basics developed in the Level 4 Referee course by focusing on ‘skill consolidation’ and is aimed at match officials officiating in junior to lower divisions of adult football.
The Level 2 training program is the beginning of the advanced phase and follows the theme of ‘development of advanced officiating’ which are taught as a concentrated set of theoretical classroom presentations (8 hours) followed by practical assessments, coaching in matches (minimum of 2matches) and completion of the program folder. The training program is conducted over the course of at least one full season. Successful referees will be considered qualified to officiate at matches ranging from junior football to the penultimate senior football in their State, Territory or region.
The Level 1 training program, centred on a theme of senior officiating and commitment to excellence, prepares applicants to officiate at matches from junior football to the highest level of senior football in their State, Territory or region and potentially at national level. This program includes a concentrated set of classroom presentations (8 hours) followed by practical assessments and coaching in matches (minimum of 2 matches) and completion of the program folder that is reviewed by both the State Referees Committee and FFA. The program is conducted over the course of at least one full season.
Becoming a Referee Assessor is a crucial part of a Referee’s continuing development. With this in mind from 1 January 2014 referees who wish to undertake the Level 1 Referee training program must hold a Level 3 Assessor qualification (or higher).
The broad aims of the Assessors’ courses are to enable participants to develop an awareness of the role of the Referee Assessor; to recognise the need for career long development of Referees; and to provide Assessors with the basic tools, practices and policies they need to carry out their roles effectively. Courses prepare Assessors to work initially at a developmental level (local junior and youth levels) through to full assessment and coaching techniques for elite match officials.
Both the Level 2 and 3 Assessors are qualified to assess and coach match officials assigned to local junior, youth and adult level matches. Tasks include, but are not limited to, the provision of coaching reports and match running sheets.
Level 1 Assessors are qualified to coach and assess all match officials in their code, including those officiating at senior and elite level. The course includes pre-course exercises, classroom-based instruction, attendance at a live match and post-course exercises.
There are currently two Referee Instructor classifications; Level 3 Instructor and Level 2 Instructor. The courses are designed to enhance the abilities of individual football Referee Instructors and to provide accredited Instructors to undertake the development of match officials.
The level 3 course is designed to provide Referee Instructors with the tools and support to conduct grassroots referees courses at local and regional levels.
The Level 2 Instructor course is designed for Instructors who have completed the Level 3 Instructor qualification and will be conducting Level 2 Referee and Assessor training programs.