Specsavers Continue Scottish Referees Support

By Community | July 23, 2012

Football referees in Scotland are rejoicing following Specsavers decision to continue its sponsorship.

The re-signing of the substantial six-figure sponsorship deal will see the partnership between Specsavers and Scotland’s referees entering its 10 year – one of the longest agreements of its kind in sport.

Nearly 2, therapy 500 match officials have been trained since the relationship began in 2002 – and both parties are looking to increase that total significantly over the next three seasons.

Jim Quinn, regional chair of Specsavers in Scotland said: “The relationship between Specsavers has progressed over the years from a logo on a shirt to a much closer partnership that benefits the game as a whole.

“Referees visit stores for vision and hearing examinations on a regular basis and benefit from the professional care of our staff, while we use our country-wide network of stores to help recruit as many new match officials as possible, in order to support the game from local community to international level.

“Scottish football will always need referees and assistant referees, and we want to do everything we can to make sure they get the best possible support to do their job on the pitch.”

The funding provided by Specsavers has been instrumental in helping ensure the flow of new referees into the Scottish game, with significant investment going into training and development all the way from grassroots to elite level.

Specsavers has provided cash for radio communication equipment for use in the SPL & other matches, training facilities and kit for regional groups and hi-tech video editing for the production of coaching materials. The optical group’s support has also helped to deliver the refereeing SQA programme within schools and colleges.

John Fleming, head of referee development, said: “The 10th year of our partnership with Specsavers is a fantastic landmark for the Scottish FA and, in particular, the Referee Development Department.  The continued support of Specsavers will enable us to achieve strong, quality growth as part of the Scottish FA’s Scotland United 20/20 vision strategy.

Over the last 10 years we have recruited more than 2,400 referees and these new recruits are the lifeblood of refereeing in Scotland.

Specsavers’ support has helped us to develop the new Scottish Qualification Authority ‘Referee Development Award’ which provides an opportunity for secondary school pupils to become involved in refereeing. We have also been able to deliver more training than ever before to our current referees at all levels of the game, and run the very first Celtic Nations Refereeing Seminar for female referees.

The Specsavers brand has become an established and recognised part of the referee’s kit and I am positive that both the Scottish FA and Specsavers will prosper from continued partnership going forward.’”

Specsavers’ sponsorship of football referees is one of the largest in Scottish sport, and complements the optical group’s investment in supporting match officials in other sports including rugby and bowls.

Discuss how the money should be invested and whether it was the correct decision for Specsavers to renew its relationship here…