Published On: Thu, Feb 27th, 2014 on 7:01 pm

Mad-ley up for refereeing

Bobby Madley Bradford

Bobby Madley with young referees

Premier League referee Bobby Madley has been on-hand to deliver an excellent session introducing the basics of refereeing to a captivated young audience.

Run by Sporting Equals in partnership with the West Riding County FA and West Yorkshire Sport, the workshop sought to encourage more young people from ethnic minorities to take up refereeing using the words and experience of an official referee.

At the age of 28, Bobby became one of the youngest referees on the select group referees panel who officiated fixtures in the Premier League.

The former Wakefield and District League referee was later promoted to the FIFA 5th official list in 2012.

He told the Yorkshire Standard: “Refereeing is open and accessible to all. Not all of us will have the skills of a Ronaldo or a Messi, but that shouldn’t stop you from taking part in the game we all love.

“I started at the age of 16 and am now refereeing at the Elite level and hope to inspire others regardless of the colour of their skin or their ethnic background”

In an inspiring session, Bobby related a number of stories, from the experience gained at the elite level before allowing his young protégé’s first hand experience of managing the game.

Zade Lunat, 18, said: “I referee every weekend but I’m always going to learn new things. It’s been brilliant to work with Bobby and learn new things as well, including signaling, blowing the whistle and what have you. It was a great honour to have been working with Bobby.”

The group of youngsters, aged 14 to 19, not only learnt basic techniques, but also experienced the pressures of refereeing, in a session that is hoped to have a lasting effect on the young people who took part.

With the session also having a heavy focus on the need for respect, it was well received by all.

Qasim Akhtar, 16, said: “It was a good session and brought something new. I think it benefited us all when we had the experience of a Premier League referee teaching us. Next time we go to a game, I’m sure we’ll respect the referee a lot more than we normally do too.”

Event organiser, Umar Ahmed from Sporting Equals, himself a level four referee was delighted with the turnout.

He said: “We hope this goes onto inspire others to get involved in refereeing, as it is really important that we increase BME involvement playing football but also in non-playing roles such as administration and coaching too. The benefits are endless.”

About the Author

Akif Waseem

- Management Committee Member of the Spen Valley Football League and the Bradford and District FA

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