By The Football Association of Ireland Technical Development Plan 2004-2008 The Football Association of Ireland Technical Development Plan 2004-2008

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Many of these officiate at three or more games each weekend which is clearly an unsustainable situation. Since the appointment of two full time employees to oversee the development of refereeing approximately 300 Referees have been recruited and trained each year. However, in the same period an average of 200 referees retire from the game for a variety of reasons. This situation needs to be addressed rapidly if the game is to continue to flourish. An adequate pathway which caters for referees who wish to operate at higher levels is essential and the FAI has, under the guidance of the manager of the referees department, put in place a School of Excellence that caters for approximately 30 talented referees between the ages of 17 and 25 every two years.

4 BUILDING PATHWAYS IN IRISH SOCCER High Performance IRELAND has justifiably gained a strong reputation internationally, as a result of its performances at under-age and senior level. Currently the Senior International team is ranked 14th in the world. It is essential that this ranking is maintained and, if possible, improved upon to ensure top seeding for future qualification campaigns. Despite this record, the technical staff associated with all of the teams recognise that there is a need to work on the development of the full range of capacities that are needed for success at international level.

There is a need for the FAI to establish a clear, consistent and agreed framework for leagues which directly supports the goals of the Technical Development Plan. The implementation of the actions outlined will facilitate the establishment of this framework. 3 LOCAL, REGIONAL AND NATIONAL SERVICES National League THE National League was founded in 1921 and originally consisted of eight clubs. Since then it has developed into two divisions catering for 22 clubs. Over the years many fine moments have been witnessed and the league has produced many outstanding players who have gone on to play the game at the highest levels.

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