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The MWFRA expects high standards of its referees and demands adherence to a number of important match day policies and procedures.

Referee Uniform

Referees must wear an MWFRA approved uniform when officiating MWFA matches. The current approved uniform is a black or yellow Umbro shirt, black shorts and socks, and boots that are mainly black. Adidas, Kanga and Rhino uniforms should not longer be used.

It is acceptable (though not preferred) for referees officiating on the same match to wear shirts of a different colour but only if the assistant referees wear shirts of the same colour. Referees are permitted to wear additional items but only compression shirts, shorts and socks that are black, MWFRA-sold hats and/or black sports jackets.

Pre-Match Procedures

Referees should arrive at the ground at least 30 minutes before the match to which they have been appointed to referee. Shortly after arriving, referees should inspect the field and ensure that it is set up correctly and introduce themselves to the managers and/or coaches of the competing teams.

Ten minutes before the scheduled kick-off time, referees should blow their whistle and assemble the teams inside the centre circle on opposite sides of the halfway line. Proceed with equipment and jewellery checks as the managers verify the identity of their respective teams with the use of MWFA photo ID cards and the MWFA match card. Once both team managers sign the MWFA match card for identity, referees should take possession of it and either keep it on their person or place it in their bag.

Finally, referees should ask both teams to supply a match ball.

Minimum Number of Players

Referees must allow a team with fewer than the minimum required number of seven players to begin a match a period of five minutes from the scheduled kick-off time to field the seven players required to begin a match. If the team cannot field seven players at the end of this period of five minutes, referees must abandon the match.

Teams which begin a match with fewer than the maximum allowable number of players (sixteen or eighteen) may supplement their team with players up to the maximum allowable number after the match has commenced provided those supplemental players were listed on the match card prior to kick-off and the team manager of the opposing team checks the identity of these players.

If a team becomes unable to field seven players during the course of a match, referees must abandon the match.

Delays to the Start of the Match

If a match begins after the scheduled kick-off time, referees must equally shorten the halves of the match to ensure that the match finishes no later than five minutes before the scheduled kick-off time of the following match (if there is a scheduled match on the same field following the delayed match.)


The FFA have a national policy regarding the wearing of jewellery as per the FFA edition of the 2020/2021 Laws of the Game (see page 127 of the book):

  • Beaded Hair: if a player is wearing hair beads the hair but be tied in a bum or covered by a hair net. Loose beaded hair should not be allowed
  • Bobby Pins: whether plastic or metal, may be worn
  • Body Piercings: piercings not visible to the referee is of no concern. Should the piercing become visible, the referee will ensure the item is removed.
  • Earrings: are not permitted and the practice of taping of earrings is not acceptable.
  • Facial Ring: any kind of jewellery on the face or around the eyes must be removed
  • GPS Units or HRMs: permitted in accordance with the Laws of the Game (see Law 4)
  • Necklaces: All necklaces must be removed, other than medical alert necklaces provided they are taped securely the chest. The medical information must not be covered by the tape.
  • Rings: No rings may be worn. The taping of wedding rings is not permitted.
  • Tongue Piercings: Rings/studs through the tongue are discouraged for the players own safety. Should the referee detect a tongue piercing, the referee will ensure it is removed.
  • Watches: players (but not match officials) must remove all watches.

Any other form of jewellery not mentioned above is also not acceptable. Plaster or fibreglass casts are not permitted in any circumstance.

Sports Glasses or Goggles

Players are permitted to wear sports glasses (or goggles) provided that their sports glasses pose no danger to the player wearing them and to other players. Sports glasses should be made with soft or flexible frames fitted with a plastic or polycarbonate lens and must have a strap to ensure the sports glasses remain secure on the wearer’s face.

The MWFRA DCLO checks and approves all sports glasses for players registered with the MWFA. Players who have had their sports glasses approved as safe will have ID photo accessible via the EMS which features a photo of them wearing those sports goggles.

The final decision on whether a player is allowed to play with sports glasses remains with the match referee.

For further information on the requirements of sports glasses, click here.

Communication Equipment

MWFRA has several electronic communications equipment kits used for Premier League, Amateur League 1 and Friday night games. The guidance regarding the use of this equipment should be clearly stated by the referee during their pre-match instructions. When functioning and used correctly, this equipment is an effective tool for Match Officials to communicate with each other and can enhance match control.

Some broad guidelines can be found here.

Hot Weather

Referees must suspend senior matches when the temperature reaches 37°C and junior matches (U16 and below) when the temperature reaches 32°c. Depending on the specific conditions at the time, such as humidity levels, suspension at lower temperatures may be necessary.

FNSW Hot Weather Policy (Effective February 19, 2016)

Heat Stress Index

Thunderstorms and Lightning

Referees should use the ‘30-30’ rule to determine the danger of thunderstorms by noting the period of time between instances of lightning and thunder. If this period of time is less than 30 seconds, this means that the thunderstorm is within 10 kilometres. In these cases, referees must suspend play until the danger passes.

FNSW Lightning Policy (Effective February 22, 2016)

Wet Weather

In cases of wet weather, whether the ground is wet from rain from previous days or from rain prior to or during the match, the following procedures apply.

Senior referees have the sole power to decide whether the playing field and weather conditions are suitable and safe for play and thus whether the match will be played or abandoned. However, it is advisable that this be decision be made in consultation with the team managers of the competing teams.

Junior referees must consult with the team managers of the competing teams and the decision to abandon the match must have unanimous agreement.

Match Abandonment

If a match is abandoned because of insufficient players, extreme weather, excessive delays (e.g. cases of serious injury where the player cannot be moved from the field of play), broken goal posts or crossbars that cannot be fixed or for any other reason, referees must note the abandonment through EMS and additionally submit an incident report to the MWFRA including why the match was abandoned, the time played/time remaining of the match when play was stopped and what the score was when the match was abandoned.

Post-Match Procedures

From 2021, the MWFA has introduced the Dribl system which will replace paper-based match sheets.

Caution Reporting

Cautions are able to be reported through Dribl without the submission of a further electronic report form.

Send Off and Citation Reporting

Red cards and citations must be reported using an electronic send off or citation report form, even though such sanctions can be noted through EMS.

Referees are reminded to note down the details of sent off players or cited individuals so that they will be able to submit an electronic send off or citation report.

These electronic report forms are accessible on the MWFRA website.

Emergency Contact

In cases of emergency, referees should contact their respective MWFRA Vice President. If either cannot be contacted immediately, referees should contact other members of the MWFRA committee.