In the late summer/early autumn of 1980 the Secretary of the English Pool Association (EPA) made it known to its member leagues that they needed qualified referees.
The Secretary went on to say that they were looking to run competitions with entry fees and prize money, so qualified Referees would be essential. The Home Internationals were due to be held in the November, and the EPA was expected to supply the Referees.
In order to fulfil this need, the EPA decreed that an examination was to be held at the Crest Hotel Coventry on 4th October 1980. The top four Referees would be invited to officiate at the Home Internationals. They, along with the others passing the examination, would form an Association of Referees.
The examination took place with 33 candidates, 13 of these were successful, and each one received a letter of congratulations and a certificate of merit.
From these 13, the English Pool Referees Association (EPRA) was formed.
The EPA said the organisation should be self-governing, and self-financing. A representative of the EPRA would be entitled to attend the EPA National committee meetings.
The EPRA income was to come from examination fees and membership fees.
The first exams organised by the EPRA were held in May 1981. A total of 9 examinations took place during 1981, mostly in the North of England, totalling 169 candidates and 72 passes. The EPRA issued Certificates and Identity Cards to these pioneering 72.
The first General Meeting of the EPRA was held in November 1981.
As the EPA expanded its influence, it formed a structure throughout England of 7 Regions with 6 Counties in each Region.
More areas of the Country requested referee's examinations and during 1982 a total of 23 examinations took place involving 372 candidates and 172 passes.
The EPRA decided to introduce a grading structure based upon experience and ability, with annual membership fees set accordingly.