FOOTBALL referees in Ayrshire have launched a bid to attract new men – and women – in black to officiate at matches in the area.

Calum Haswell, secretary of the Ayrshire Referees Association says not enough people are aware of the benefits that come with being one of the area’s match referees – without whom matches at professional, semi-professional, amateur and youth level would not be able to go ahead.

The association is looking for people to join their latest Zoom introductory training course over the next few weeks, to learn the trade.

The course runs for between eight to 10 weeks.

Calum said: “It’s a brilliant way to get yourself fit, stay fit and make some extra cash on the side.

“Once you become qualified, you can do as many or as little games you want per week. there really is no pressure on that side.”

Calum admits there are things that can’t be taught over zoom, and people would have to get experience first hand.

He continued: “We try and teach people as much as we can about what to expect in terms of people talking back to you and shouting at you.

“But that’s something most people learn to deal with in their own time and through their own experience.

“There’s point in us trying to take a one-size-fits-all approach when it comes to that, when one trainee could be a retired police officer, while another could be a youngster straight out of school.

“So they’ve obviously had different levels of life experience and they’ll be able to handle things differently.

“It is a great thing to get involved in because there really is a shortage of people in this area taking part, so the opportunities would be there”.”

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