London FA spoke to some referees about their initial inspirations, motivations and ambitions about becoming a referee.
Jake Hinckson- London FA Level 7 Referee
Growing up as a player in the 90’s, no referees and very few coaches or professional managers were black. As I got into my teens I saw more black coaches but still no black referees. Now as an adult I have met more black referees, which inspired me to become a referee again after initially completing my course in 2002.
I decided to retrain and start again this year, and I have such a supportive network. I’m very happy and valued to be a referee, and it’s great to know that young black boys see that refereeing is for everyone of all races. They have an opportunity to earn a living in football doing whatever they choose to do, whether that is in sports therapy, coaching, playing or refereeing.
Football is for everyone.
Jordan Crichlow- London FA Referee/London FA Football Services Administrator
When I first became a referee, I wasn’t too sure how I would feel fitting in to the refereeing circle as a young mixed raced man. Most of the referees I originally was introduced to were not ethnically diverse like myself, so it took a while for me to settle in. That’s when I discovered the Mastermind Referee Group. Monthly sessions were held and focused centrally on referee development, and socializing with one another was a key aspect of these meetings.
When I walked into the room I was pleasantly surprised to see the high number of black referees. I immediately felt more comfortable and confident to see more people like me ready to learn and with the same passion as myself. Since then I’ve gone on to meet, work with and develop numerous black referees over the past few years. As you progress through the refereeing pyramid, you realise that others begin to look up to you as a role model, just like I did when I was 18 and walked into my first Mastermind Referee Group session.
At London FA we have been in a position the past few years where both our Referee and Cups & Competitions departments have been led by black referees. This is a fantastic representation of the London community, and I hope it can inspire young black people to pursue a career with their County FA to really make a difference in grassroots football.
To see the development of black London FA Referees fills me with immense pride and satisfaction. I know that with hard work and dedication we can continue to challenge the stereotypes of a referee and increase the number of black referees within the National League System and grassroots football.
Jaleel Kaltenberger- Level 7 Referee
I am proud to be a black referee quite frankly because even in the developed world we are in today, you hardly see many black referees.
You don’t see them on television, in various tournaments or leagues, and most times even in grass-roots football, which is quite discouraging and creates the impression for the younger generation that us as black people cannot be referees. I became a referee not only my personal aspirations but also to be an example to the younger generation that there are people who look like us that can be referees.
Since becoming a referee I’ve managed to connect more with people of all cultures/backgrounds through a common love for football. I hope I am helping to encourage and inspire younger aspiring referees to take the lead forward and my door is always open.
Emmanuel Makola- London FA Level 5 Referee
I am very proud to be a black referee due to the fact that I am representing the ethnic minority. It’s also due to the fact that it’s a pathway that not many people, regardless of skin colour would consider entering into. Many people are scared to be a referee so it makes me joyful that I can do a job and achieve what I have achieved, which is something not many can have the privilege to say.
If you're interested in becoming a referee or wanting to learn more about the benefits referees bring to the game, get in touch with our Referee Development Team at email@example.com.