The Scottish FA have today launched a brand-new referee online training course, offering a fresh and innovative route to becoming a referee.

In collaboration with eCoach, a leading organisation in online training, the courses aim to provide the best available coaching for aspiring match officials, combined with flexibility, in a new drive to increase referee recruitment in Scotland.

The course, a first for refereeing in Scotland, includes interactive match footage, an in-depth IFAB Laws of the Game exam and offers an alternative choice alongside the face-to-face training already in place for those looking to begin their refereeing journey.

The launch comes after significant success in Northern Ireland and Wales, where there has been a 300 percent increase in referee recruitment following the launch of the online courses.

Once passed successfully, candidates are given a direct link to their local Referee Association, getting them within touching distance of picking up a whistle for the first time.

Scottish FA Head of Referee Operations Crawford Allan said: “It has become apparent during the pandemic that people are very keen to play or be involved in sport and it is very encouraging to see so many people returning to football.

“This, in turn, gives us a challenge supplying sufficient referees each week, so we are delighted to be launching this pioneering new online course to help recruit and train new referees throughout Scotland.

“This flexible approach to becoming a referee will hopefully suit a number of people that cannot attend face-to-face courses and we have seen evidence in other nations that online courses have helped to attract those that have not considered refereeing before.

“Becoming a referee promotes a healthy lifestyle, encourages using spare time in a sporting environment, helps to develop transferable management skills that will benefit other career opportunities and is a huge attraction for those with aspirations to be a part of the game.

“We are very keen to encourage anyone interested in refereeing to either take this course or attend one of our face-to-face courses held around the country.”

Director of eCoach Simon Richards said: “eCoach are delighted to be working with the Scottish FA on this suite of referee recruitment online courses. They'll make becoming a referee in Scotland far more accessible, while maintaining a high level of training quality.

The Scottish FA become the third Home Nations FA to utilise the training courses, with Northern Ireland and Wales benefiting from an increase in referee recruitment of up to 300 percent over the last few seasons. We look forward to seeing this partnership flourish and more and more referees picking up the whistle over the next few years."

To book your place on the new online course, email referee.recruitment@scottishfa.co.uk or visit scottishfa.thewhistle.academy