A group of boys and girls have trained as football referees under the Lancashire Football Association and can now be the person in the middle at games for teams who are more than two years younger than them.
Year 11 Tom Cooper as well as Year 10 students Adam Leach, Josh Smith, Joe Latus and Liam Blackwell all undertook a two day course with the LFA and officiate on Saturdays and Sundays in the Central Lancashire League.
Year 11 girls Ella Sands and Isobel Catlow can be Level 6 referees at female matches and Level 8 referees at male matches for children who are two years younger than them.
“It is harder being female at times as you hear comments when they see you and it means you have to assert your control straight away,” said Isobel. “I don’t mind that.”
Ella added: “You do have to get their respect straight away as a female ref at a male match but I love football.”
The boys admitted that the £25 a game for refereeing was something which tempted them to undergo the course and said they had to be strong.
“To be honest, the managers and parents are the worst!” said Joe. “You have to have a thick skin at times but I think we all have.”
Year 11 Annabel Helm has gone down a different route – as she can umpire netball matches.
“I play for Chorley Inferno’s and decided to umpire around two years ago. You have to have a group test, a theory test, a pre-test and a test so it was really hard,” said Annabel who has played netball up to county level.
“You have got to be really loud and brave and make sure you stand your ground!”