Britvic energy drink Red Card has become the first sponsor of the Referees Association, the body to which all football referees belong.
Red Card branding will appear on all leisure wear worn by the
UK’s 18,000 referees, although the Federation of International Football Associations (FIFA) regulations prevent the use of branding on the pitch.
The idea behind the sponsorship is that footballers – from the Premiership to Sunday league – see the Red Card brand when the referees arrive at and leave a match.
Branding will also appear on all literature produced by the Referees Association.
Britvic marketing director Andrew Marsden wants the drink to be associated with grass-roots amateur football and the people who make the game possible at all levels of the league.
He says: “You can’t sponsor every single team in the league but you can sponsor the people who make the game happen.”
Red Card, also the official sponsor of Chelmsford City FC, is an “extended energy” drink containing carbohydrates which release energy at different levels.
Marsden believes that referees are a perfect match for such a product. “The referee is the most active person on the pitch, with research showing that they run the equivalent of six miles in the average game,” he says.
The deal has been described as the second stage in the launch of Red Card, which began in September of last year.