The Scottish FA’s referee development programme was recognised by the Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA) at the annual Star Awards last Friday, in a ceremony held at Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum in Glasgow.

The initiative picked up a ‘highly commended’ award in the Promoting Inclusion category, in recognition of the work of the programme in encouraging participation in officiating within Scottish football.

Founded in 2011, the programme was delivered to over 450 school pupils in 2017, with the aim of inspiring the next generation of Scottish referees and officials.

John Fleming, Head of Referee Operations for the Scottish FA, praised those involved with the programme following the ceremony.

“I am absolutely delighted that our SQA programme has received such high praise from the educational authorities and received a Star Award,” he said.

“Steven McLean has developed our schools programme over several years and the programme has been welcomed by teachers throughout Scotland, who speak highly of the accessibility and ease of understanding when tutoring the modules.

“It is great to see the pupils move onto the field of play and take ownership of 22 people playing football enhancing their communication, management and accountability skills. I am convinced that this programme will produce future elite referees throughout Scotland.”