The Old Grey Whistle Test – Time for a new tune

The Old Grey Whistle Test – Time for a new tune

    By Alan Biggs

    Roger East

    It’s an old refrain from this website but that doesn’t make it any less relevant or valid. The fact is England has an ageing set of senior referees.

    Now another respected site has picked up on the theme raised repeatedly by You Are The Ref.

    Startlingly, well over half the Select Group comprises referees in their 40s. Eleven are in their fifth decade.

    From the Premier League’s oldest (Roger East 52) to the youngest (Bobby Madley 31) there is a gap of 21 years.

    An average age of over 40 gives England the oldest  set of referees of any of the European leagues.

    Keith Hackett believes there are ways to stop the clock on what is a ticking time bomb.

    He says: “There are a couple of key choices facing PGMOL. They could use their younger referees more regularly to hasten their development. I’m talking about officials like Paul Tierney and Stuart Attwell who should get more games.

    “Or PGMOL should look to promote the best referees from Select Group 2 and in turn replace them in that group. From top to bottom there is not enough churn.

    “Either way, swift action is required. Too much grass is growing under the feet of these senior guys. Too much is demanded and expected of them.

    “What is also worrying is that England has only one UEFA elite referee. Italy has four, Germany three. We are stagnating.”