GAA Football

GAA unveil major Referee Development Plan

Pictured at the GAA's Referee Development Plan launch is Uachtarán Chumann Lúthchleas Gael John Horan, with, from left:  Sean Martin, Vice-Chairman of Coiste Forbartha na Réiteoirí, Conor Lane (referee), James Owens (referee) and Patrick Doherty, National Match Officials Manager,  at Croke Park, Dublin. Picture by Sam Barnes/Sportsfile  

Referee Development Plan 2018 - 2021

GAA President John Horan has unveiled a major Referee Development Plan designed to maximise the recruitment and retention of match officials.

The announcement was made in Croke Park where the Referee Development Plan will be a key part of the GAA’s Fís Shoiléir: Strategic Plan 2018 – 2021.

The Plan focuses on a number of refereeing areas; specifically, recruitment and retention, development, mentoring and advising, fitness and welfare, governance and administration.

It carries an overall vision for refereeing of “To recruit, develop and inspire referees to reach their full potential and officiate at the highest level, and control our games, uniformly and consistently, in accordance with the playing rules.”

Each Focus area has a stated goal and headline objective as follows:

Maximise recruitment and retention of referees.


Increase the number of new referees recruited at club level


Advance the skills and abilities of referees.


Enhance referee education especially at club and county levels


Optimise advising and mentoring of referees.


Develop a referee mentoring programme and renew the referee advisor system


Strengthen supports for referee fitness and general welfare.


Extend facets of the national referee fitness and training regime to referees at all levels


Streamline governance structures and referee


Engage referee administrators to Administration. implement organisation-wide priorities in addition to local needs.

GAA President John Horan said: “I am delighted to launch the Referee Development Plan today and thank the National Referee’s Committee for their efforts in this regard.

 “They have set out a number of interesting and challenging objectives and I look forward to the work that will be carried out at National level and in the provinces and counties as we strive to reach the targets set down.”

Vice-Chairman of Coiste Forbartha na Réiteoirí, Sean Martin said: “I am very pleased to be at the stage where we, today, launch the Referee Development Plan 2018-2021.

 “Of course, the launch of the plan is the first step on its implementation. In addition to other work being carried out in the refereeing area, there will be a focus on achieving the goals set out in this Development Plan over the next three years.

 “I know that counties and provinces strive for improvement and, I expect, that this plan will assist them in their endeavours.”

The Referee Development Plan will be at the forefront of the GAA maximising referee potential not only at inter-county level but seeks to provide a development pathway for match officials at club level.

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