By Martin Burns
Caudwell Children, a national charity, will pay for FIFA-approved sports glasses for young grassroots footballers.
The specialist eye pieces cost £150 but the charity has said it will accept applications for funding from children who need the glasses as long as they are supported by a medical professional and a manager or coach.
Sky Sports have questioned the decision of a number of county football associations to recommend the offer, saying that it could lead to a blanket ban on prescription glasses and children who cannot afford more expensive spectacles may suffer.
The Football Association (FA) recommends virtually unbreakable polycarbonate lenses and elasticated sports straps to hold them on.
If referees are faced with a request to wear glasses, they must make sure the spectacles are not a danger to any of the players, the FA says.
One of the oldest football referees in the country - 83-year-old Harry Hardy, who adjudicates in matches for the Long Eaton Sunday League - recently said that glasses have helped him carry on with his career.
by Emily Tait