Guide To Marking Of Referees

Referee David Elleray.


The Swindon and District football league offer the following advice for clubs when awarding marks for a Referee’s overall performance. It is most important that the mark is awarded fairly and not based on isolated incidents or previous games.

The Referee’s performance should be determined by the table below, which should act as a guide for the overall mark, which should fall within the mark range for each standard of performance.

Mark Range and Comment

91 – 100: The Referee was extremely accurate in decision-making and very successfully controlled the game using management and communication skills to create an environment of fair play, adding real value to the game.

81 – 90: The Referee was very accurate in decision-making and successfully controlled the game using management and communication skills to create an environment of fair play.

71 – 80: The Referee was accurate in decision-making and controlled the game well, communicating with the players and making a positive contribution towards fair play.

61 – 70: The Referee was reasonably accurate in decision making, controlled the game quite well and communicated with the players, establishing a reasonable degree of fair play.

51 – 60: The Referee had some shortcomings in the level of accuracy of decision-making and control, with only limited success in communicating with players, resulting in variable fair play.

50 and below: The Referee had significant shortcomings in the level of accuracy of decision-making and control and poor communication with players, which resulted in low levels of fair play.


  • Using a scale of up to 100 allows greater flexibility for Clubs to distinguish between different refereeing performances more accurately.
  • A mark within each Mark Range can be given to reflect the Referee’s performance, eg: a mark of 79 indicates a somewhat better performance than a mark of 71.
  • A mark between 71 and 80 represents the standard of refereeing expected.
  • When a mark of 50 or less is awarded, an explanation must be provided to the League by completing the appropriate box on the Report Form. The explanation must include comments, which could help improve the Referee’s future performances. Even where a Referee has significant shortcomings, there will have been some positive aspects, which should be given credit.
  • Extremely low marks (below 20) should be very rare.


The following questions focus on the key areas of a Referee’s performance. They are intended as an “aide memoire“, are not necessarily comprehensive and need not be answered individually. It is however worth considering them before committing yourself to a mark for the Referee.

Control and Decision Making

  • How well did the Referee control the game?
  • Were the players’ actions recognised correctly?
  • Were the Laws of the Game applied correctly?
  • Were all incidents dealt with efficiently/effectively?
  • Were all the appropriate sanctions applied correctly?
  • Was the Referee always within a reasonable distance of incidents?
  • Was the Referee well positioned to make critical decisions, especially in and around the penalty area?
  • Did the Referee understand the players’ positional intentions and keep out of the way accordingly?
  • Did the Referee demonstrate alertness and concentration throughout the game?
  • Did the Referee apply the use of the advantage to suit the mood and temperature of the game?
  • Was the Referee aware of the players’ attitude to advantage?
  • Did the Referee use the Assistants effectively?
  • Did the Officials work as a team and did the Referee lead and manage them to the benefit of the game?


Communication and Player Management

  • How well did the Referee communicate with the players during the game?
  • Did the Referee’s level of involvement/profile suit this particular game?
  • Did the Referee understand the players’ problems on the day – eg: difficult ground/weather conditions?
  • Did the Referee respond to the changing pattern of play/mood of players?
  • Did the Referee demonstrate empathy for the game, allowing it to develop in accordance with the tempo of the game?
  • Was the Referee pro-active in controlling the game?
  • Was the Referee’s authority asserted firmly without being too officious?
  • Was the Referee confident and quick thinking?
  • Did the Referee appear unflustered and unhurried when making critical decisions?
  • Did the Referee permit undue questioning of decisions?
  • Did the Referee deal effectively with players crowding around after decisions/incidents?
  • Was effective player management in evidence?
  • Did the pace of the game, the crowd or player pressure affect the Referee negatively?


Final Thoughts

Always try to be objective when marking. You may not have the most objective view by marking immediately after the game.

Judge the Referee’s performance over the whole game. Don’t be too influenced by one particular incident.

Don’t mark the Referee down unfairly because your team was unlucky and lost the game; or because some disciplinary action was taken against your players.