Its introduction in 2016 was made possible thanks to financial investment from Championship clubs, which has since enabled officials to meet regularly, share learning, and improve consistency on the pitch.
This investment to support development of match officials in the EFL is part of a joint initiative adopted across English football that aims to promote honesty, integrity and positive behaviour across the game, backed by the EFL in conjunction with the FA and the Premier League.
This initiative was introduced alongside a revision of the game’s laws designed to make them more easily understood by all and to ensure there is greater consistency in application by officials.
We profile the 18 referees that make up Select Group 2, the officials who will take charge across the Sky Bet Championship this season.
Qualified in 2000 aged 16, following in his father’s footsteps, who also officiated in the EFL. Adcock was appointed to the EFL as an assistant referee in 2008 and to the National List of Referees in 2011/12. In his six seasons at this level he has refereed over 150 EFL matches. He has also participated in the PGMO exchange programme which enable referees to gain experience of different football cultures. He has refereed games in America, Japan, China, Iceland and Denmark, enabling him to share experiences with international colleagues and learn new skills.
Began refereeing in Liverpool in 1996, aged 14. Bankes was subsequently appointed to the EFL Referees List in 2014, prior to which he spent two years as a Select Group Assistant Referee, which included his appointment to the FA Cup semi-final between Wigan Athletic and Millwall. He refereed the National League Play-Off Final at Wembley in 2014. In his three seasons on the Referees List he has overseen two Play-Off semi-finals.
Bond comes from a footballing family. After taking up the whistle at 15, he has progressed to the Select Group 2 referees list armed with more than 20 years of refereeing experience, which included a year as an assistant referee in the Premier League.
A former Select Group assistant referee, Coote was appointed as an EFL referee in 2010. He has officiated at Wembley four times, and took charge of the FA Vase Final and League One Play-Off Final in 2014. As part of the PGMO exchange programme he has visited Japan, refereeing two senior matches and acting as fourth official in other games. A talented cricketer, David played cricket for Notts at various youth age groups, before committing to his refereeing career.
A former player with a number of clubs at youth level, Davies capitalised on this experience to make a rapid rise through the refereeing ranks. He was appointed to the EFL Referees List in 2012/13 and since then has refereed over 100 EFL matches.
Duncan started his career as an EFL referee in 2012/13, taking charge of Port Vale versus Barnet. Since then he has refereed more than 100 matches, including both League One and League Two Play-Off semi-finals and a Southern Area Final of the EFL Trophy.
A talented footballer in his youth, Eltringham started refereeing aged 16. He was appointed to the EFL Referees List in 2009/10, and was the fourth official in the League Two Play-Off Final between Bradford City and Northampton Town 2013.
After two years officiating in The National League, which included a 2015 cameo in a Sky Bet League Two fixture, England made the step-up to refereeing in the EFL on a regular basis. In what was just his second season last term, England was the man in the middle for Blackpool's Play-Off Final win over Exeter City at Wembley.
An EFL referee for nine years, Hooper has refereed over 100 Championship games. He took charge of the League Two Play-Off Final between Wycombe Wanderers and Southend United in May 2015, and handled Millwall's win over Bradford City in last season's Sky Bet League One showpiece.
Harrington began refereeing in the Teesside Junior Football Alliance at the age of 14, having completed a basic refereeing course whilst at school as part of the Duke of Edinburgh award. After four years as an EFL assistant referee and four years as a National League referee, he was appointed to the EFL Referees List in 2012/13 and has now overseen more than 100 EFL matches.
Langford is a very experienced match official, with nine seasons as an EFL referee under his belt. As part of the PGMO development programme, he has officiated in the Dallas Cup and Algarve Cup. He has now refereed nearly 200 EFL matches.
Linington is required to make the short trip over from his home on the Isle of Wight when appointed to EFL fixtures. He is a very experienced official having refereed in the EFL for 10 seasons. In 2010, he was named fourth official for the FA Trophy Final at Wembley, and returned to the same stadium two weeks later to referee the League Two Play-Off Final between Dagenham and Redbridge and Rotherham United.
After an injury playing at Huddersfield Town academy, Andy took up the whistle in 2002 at the age of 18. His early career saw him appointed as the assistant referee for the League One Play-Off final between Millwall and Swindon Town in 2010. He also ran the line on the Premier League before becoming an EFL referee in 2011. He has refereed at Wembley, including taking charge of the 2015 League One Play-Off final between Preston North End and Swindon.
Martin's father and grandfather were both EFL officials and encouraged him to take up the whistle in 2002. His rapid rise saw him appointed to the EFL assistant referee list in 2008 and to the National League referee list in the same year. After four years he became an EFL referee, and has since taken charge of more than 150 games.
Robinson was appointed to the EFL Referees List for the start of the 2012/13 season, taking charge of his first game between Southend United and Accrington Stanley. He was the fourth official at Wembley for the League Two Play-Off Final between AFC Wimbledon and Plymouth Argyle in May 2016. As part of the development programme, he represented the PGMOL at the Dallas Cup 2012 and at the Nike Cup in China in 2012.
Simpson is a former international assistant referee, who officiated in many Champions League matches and other international fixtures. He opted for a career with the whistle after refereeing the 2012 National League Play-Off Final between York City and Luton Town. He was then appointed to the EFL Referees List in 2012/13 and in his five years on the list has refereed over 100 matches.
Stroud is a vastly experienced referee at this level. His career has seen him become an international FIFA assistant referee, and his highlights include running the line in the 2003 FA Cup Final between Arsenal and Southampton. Stroud also served as a Premier League referee for two seasons before returning to the EFL in 2009/10.
Woolmer was appointed to the Referees List in 2004 and has refereed more than 300 EFL matches. Prior to that, he served as a Premier League assistant referee for three years and ran the line in the 2003 League Cup Final and the FA Community Shield in the same year. He was the referee for the thrilling EFL Trophy Final between Barnsley and Oxford United in 2016.