South Lanarkshire pupils will become some of Scotland's youngest football referees through a trial project at East Kilbride's Calderglen High.
The scheme, designed to boost recruitment of referees, covers the laws of the game and will lead to 50 pupils sitting the introductory refereeing exam. It has been designed to form part of the community leadership in sport module, a required part of Higher PE.
Last week, the pupils met two of Scotland's best-known referees, Hugh Dallas and Don McVicar, at the project's launch. Mr Dallas, who was fourth official at the 2002 World Cup final, spoke about his experiences. The day marked the beginning of the nine-week course taken by referees Charlie Smith and Bobby Madden, who will lead them through the 17 laws of the game to become some of Scotland's youngest SFA-qualified referees.
The course, devised by the Glasgow branch of the Scottish Football Association's referees' group, also includes a tour of the national stadium, Hampden Park, and the chance to discuss with referees how to put the laws into practice. Once qualified, the new referees will help organise a charity football festival in which they will officiate matches between other local schools.
Referee recruitment officer William Barlow, who is also a drama teacher at Calderglen High, said: "We hope that if young people learn to respect the laws of the game, they will transfer this respect to their relationships in work and everyday life."