Lisa, 21, ranked among top 100 young referees

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TWO talented young football referees from Sussex have been selected to attend the Football Association’s Young Referees Development Programme this weekend.

Lisa Benn, a 21-year-old from Pevensey, and Michael Ryan, a 20-year-old from Littlehampton will be among 100 of the country’s most hotly-tipped young match officials coming together for the two-day course at Staverton Park in Northamptonshire.

The programme will give Lisa and Michael a unique insight into what it takes to get to the top, awarding them a qualification at its conclusion should they be successful.

The two-year rolling initiative aims to assist and enhance the development of referees up to the age of 23 and each of its participants have been nominated by their County Football Associations.

They will engage in both theory and practical sessions, learning how to develop a variety of essential skills such as communication techniques, decision-making and teamwork.

They will also get the chance to hear from elite referees, including Bobby Madley who, at 26, is one of the youngest referees on the National List.

David Elleray, chairman of the FA Referees’ Committee, said, “The young referees joining us here at Staverton Park are amongst the most active and committed in the country and are showing huge potential to progress right to the top.

“To get there requires focus, commitment and hard work which is why The FA, through its Young Referees Development Programme, is investing so much time and energy into helping these young referees aspire to be the very best they can be.”

The National Referee Development Programme is helping referee recruitment to rise across the country, with nearly 5,000 more qualified referees this year than in 2008.

Also, the numbers of qualified female referees has risen up to 960 in 2012 compared to 206 in 2008 – an increase of 366 percent.