What a fantastic 2017-2018 proved to be for the Sunderland Referees Association. Whilst finishing the subscription year with an all-time high of 218 members (including 10 affiliates), Sunderland RA achieved something that is highly unlikely to be ever repeated. Both referees for the two FA Cup Finals along with the fourth official for the Women’s FA Cup Final are members of the Sunderland Branch. In addition to that, the 2018 Community Shield was also refereed by a Sunderland RA member – that is, without doubt, an outstanding achievement for the branch.

FIFA Referee Michael Oliver took charge of the 2018 Emirates FA Cup Final at Wembley Stadium on Saturday 19th May at Wembley between Chelsea and Manchester United. The game was watched by a crowd of 87,647 and Michael as ever produced an impeccable performance on the day.

Michael Oliver having a quiet word with Ashley Young of Manchester Utd during the 2018 FA Cup Final at Wembley Stadium.

The SSE Women’s 2018 FA Cup Final at Wembley Stadium on Saturday 5th May was refereed by Lindsey Robinson and the fourth official was Helen Byrne (now Edwards) who is also on the FIFA Women’s list of Assistant Referees. The game was played in the most competitive manner between Arsenal and Chelsea with a watching crowd of 45,000. Once again a performance of the highest standard was produced by the two Sunderland RA girls.

Lindsey Robinson leading her team up the Wembley steps with Helen Byrne at the rear.

To keep the momentum going and to start the 2018-2019 season, Jon Moss was appointed as referee for the 2018 Community Shield game at Wembley Stadium between Chelsea and Manchester City. This game was watched by a crowd of 72,724 and once again was refereed to the highest standard by Jon Moss.

Jon Moss keeping a close eye on things during the 2018 Community Shield at Wembley

Chairman Geoff Eltringham completed his second season as a Select Group 2 referee in 2017-2018 and his high level of consistency over a good number of seasons was duly rewarded with a full-time contract for the Select Group 2 Referees.

On the subject of Select Group 2, branch Treasurer Shaun Hudson is an Assistant Referee on the SG2 list and completed his third season as an SG2 Assistant Referee in 2017-2018. Shaun’s high level of consistency was rewarded with the appointment as AR in the EFL League One play-off Final at Wembley Stadium between Rotherham Utd and Shrewsbury Town.

Not to be outdone, our top female referee Rebecca Welch is on the FIFA Women’s list of Referees and this year officiated in Women’s 2019 World Cup Qualifying games Denmark v Hungary and Iceland v Czech Republic. Rebecca was also referee for the Women’s under-19’s Euro semi-final match between Denmark and Spain. More recently, Rebecca was promoted to Category 1 FIFA Women’s Referee, once again a magnificent achievement for Rebecca.

FIFA Referee Rebecca Welch during a recent Scotland v Holland Women’s friendly game

2017-2018 will take some equalling for Sunderland RA, in fact, it could be said that it is impossible and we tend to agree. But what can’t be taken away from Sunderland RA, is the magnificent achievements that were fulfilled by the members during that season. We have already started 2018-2019 incredibly well with member’s affiliations; to date, we have a recorded 179 members (including 9 affiliates) at the time of compiling this article.

Our guest speakers list for the current season looks like this, David Coote (September), Jon Moss (November) and Andy Madley (March). In addition to that, we are still hopeful of favorable responses from Sunderland SAFC Chairman/owner Stewart Donald and Manager Jack Ross; both have received invitations to attend as guest speakers. Arrangements are also in early stages for a visit by the National RA Chairman and a representative from the RA FA Youth Council.

We will continue to provide the best for our members at our excellent meeting venue of Nissan Sports and Leisure Complex and live up to our motto of ‘Nulli Secundus’.

Our Partnerships

Partnerships are often formed between individuals, agencies or organisations with a shared interest to address specific issues. Our evidence reveals that our members young and old often require mental, emotional, financial, medical help, support and guidance. The Referees’ Association champion the work of those agencies that provide this support in times of need. Should you require support please contact the relevant agency below or the RA Head Office.
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Join the Referees Association

The National RA recommends that prospective members should join through their local LRA, the easiest way being to attend one of the many local association meetings that take place across the country on a regular (usually monthly) basis. Find your nearest branch now.

Alternatively, online membership is now available for any referee who wishes to take up central membership. The National RA will then allocate you a local branch. Join now.