More young football referees are set to be schooled in the laws of the game on Wearside.
Sunderland College is one of only 10 nationwide to be chosen as a base for the English Colleges Football Association Referee Hub Programme, which will provide funds to coach more than 50 student referees across the country.
The college will share in a £5,000 investment to help five of its students complete a referee course, in partnership with Durham County Football Association.
At the end of the course, students will be fully qualified to referee in ECFA leagues and intramural Team Nineteen games, as well as officiate grass roots football matches in local community football leagues.
Sunderland College’s training programme is being spearheaded by sports development officer Lucy Oliver, who has also been announced as the ECFA Referee Hub Ambassador for the national programme.
Lucy takes charge of games in the men’s Conference North league, the FA WSL – the women’s equivalent of the men’s Premier League – and has travelled the world as a women’s international match official.
She added: “The college’s sporting facilities are second to none and our Sports Academy is the perfect place to base this programme
“This gives our students a fantastic opportunity to become more involved in the refereeing side of football and to receive expert guidance and support from the DCFA.”
Sunderland College’s state-of-the-art Sports Academy, which features a multi-use sports hall, sports science performance lab, sports massage treatment areas, exercise studio and a fully-equipped £100,000 fitness suite, will be home to the referee hub.