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No Ref No Game: Join The Third Team Today

Writes: Elliot Burrow

As the slogan goes, with no referees there would simply be no game, and the need to get more people involved with officiating has never been greater. That’s why EAFA are calling on match officials to get involved for the 2024 season.

Amputee football has many similarities to able-bodied football, but there are some adaptations that define it. Players use elbow crutches, whereas goalkeepers are single-arm amputees.

  • 7-a-side teams

  • Two 25-minute halves with a 10-minute half-time

  • Throw-ins are replaced by kick-ins

  • No offside rule

  • Ball contact with crutches is handball.

  • Slide tackle(s) are not permitted

  • Outfield players may have two hands but only the use of one foot

  • Goalkeepers may have two legs but only the use of one hand

  • Players must use metal crutches and do not wear prostheses

All match officials get paid for EAFA League and full International fixtures, with games regularly taking place throughout the year.

Here at EAFA, we’re proud to have a number of top officials involved in amputee football with Owen Radley (2022 WAFF World Cup Final referee), Paul Englefield and Dan Bowden having recently officiated Group D of the Nations League in Scotland.

(From left to right) Owen Radley, Dan Bowden and Paul Englefield at the EAFF Nations League

Elsewhere, EAFA board member Ian Clarke currently occupies joint roles as Head Referee for EAFF (European Amputee Football Federation) and WAFF (World Amputee Football Federation) having refereed the most amputee fixtures in the world - 127 games.

Head referee Ian Clarke (pictured) - Image: Jake Kirkman

29-year-old Bowden has been refereeing for 15 years and has gone on to be involved in numerous international fixtures, including the FA Disability Cup.

The chance to be involved in some of the biggest games in the sport though is enticing, and Dan is loving every opportunity he gets.

“In the last two to three years I have become more involved with the association and it’s just great,” Bowden said.

“I am there most months for the league and England camps when it’s possible, but it all started because I used to referee a disability league in Stockport where the lads from the amputees had a team and would play.

Daniel Bowden (centre) conducts the coin toss - Image: Jake Kirkman

“David Tweed (England national team captain) then asked me if I would like to come and referee an international game between England and France, and from then on I have been involved on and off with the EAFA for about 9 years.”

Ahead of and throughout the 2024 campaign match officials will be invited to three CPD events (Continued Professional Development) to undergo elite match official training as EAFA aims to further develop some of the best officials in the game.

CPD Training Event dates:

8th -10th December 2023

9th -11th March 2024

13th - 15th September 2024

Refereeing can help you keep on top of your fitness and help you gain a better understanding of the laws of the game, while also offering you a chance to earn some money, so surely it’s worth giving a try.

Click here to get involved.


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