FOOTBALL enthusiasts are being offered the opportunity to pick up a whistle and have a go at refereeing in a scheme aimed at addressing the shortage of officials in the local leagues.

Hyndburn Soccer Taskforce is a voluntary development group which aims to increase participation and standards in football in Hyndburn.

It consists of clubs, leagues, referees and coaches as well as the Sports Development Team and the Council's Parks and Open Spaces Team.

The Taskforce have been given a grant from the Football Foundation to run a series of courses.

The beginners referees course runs from Monday 8 January for six weeks at Hyndburn Sports Centre from 6pm -8pm and is open to people aged 14 and above.

To pass you must attend all six sessions and the cost will be £50 for people aged 14 and 15, £70 for 16 and 17 year olds and £80 for people aged 18 and over.

Successfully passing the course will enable the referee to officiate in local junior league matches and qualify for a part refund of the course fee upon completion of 10 games.

In an attempt to target more girls into refereeing, a £10 discount will be offered for up to 10 girls aged 21 or under who apply for the course.

In order to find out more information on the course or to get a booking form contact George Cull on 01254 380288 or email .