Referees announced for Championship ‘Select Group’

Former Premier League whistler Keith Stroud, Andy Madley and Simon Hooper are among 18 Football League referees who will form a new Select Group 2 to officiate Championship games.

Andy Woolmer referee (JPT Final Barnsley v Oxford - 3rd April 2016)
In the middle: Northamptonshire postman Woolmer, 50, has secured one of the 18 spots in the newly-formed Select Group 2 (Picture from Sky Sports)

THE 18 referees who will form a second ‘Select Group’ by officiating primarily in the SkyBet Championship from the 2016-17 season have been revealed. 

Former Premier League referee Keith Stroud and fellow experienced whistler Andy Woolmer have both been selected.

A number of ‘Talent Group’ whistlers – who are being considered for promotion to the top-flight – were chosen including Simon Hooper, Andy Madley, Chris Kavanagh and David Coote.

The officials will be able to benefit from training with their Select Group colleagues at St George’s Park in Burton and will be employed by the Professional Game Match Officials Limited (PGMOL).

It is unclear at this stage who are the 12 full-time and six part-time officials.

The changes will hope to drive up standards in the Football League, particularly in the Championship which grows in popularity and importance year on year.

Scott Duncan books Morgan Fox (v Ipswich - 28th Nov 2015)
Taking note: Northumberland’s Scott Duncan (left) has been officiating in the Football League since the 2012-13 season (Picture from Sky Sports)

From the officials chosen, Kavanagh, 30, is the youngest and therefore the least experienced having only been promoted to the National List of referees last season.

Hooper – who refereed the 2015 League Two Play-Off Final – endured a difficult time in his only Premier League trial game between Norwich and Crystal Palace on the opening weekend.

Four of the referees have received Play-Off semi-final appointments – Tim Robinson, Stephen Martin, Peter Bankes and Oliver Langford.

Staffordshire-based official Martin is the son of former Premier League assistant referee Andy, while Robinson is ending the season strongly despite the controversial dismissal of Sheffield Wednesday’s Fernando Forestieri against Hull City.

Madley, 32, is the older brother of Premier League referee Robert – who will oversee the Championship Play-Off Final between Hull City and Sheffield Wednesday.

Andy Davies referee (Swindon v Wigan - 25th March 2016)
Staying put: The Hampshire-based whistler, 39, will be mainly based in the second-tier next season (Picture from Sky Sports)

When announcing their intentions to create a ‘Select Group 2’ last December, PGMOL said in a statement:

“At present, Select Group assistant referees and National List referees are paid on a match-fee basis, but this change will see them move to part-time and full-time PGMOL contracts.

“The aim of the above changes is to expand the refereeing talent pool and ensure there is a strong development pathway for young officials coming through the ranks.”

Football League chief executive Shaun Harvey added: “At the end of the day, we have got highly paid players competing for the massive prize of promotion and we are expecting a referee to turn up who may have been at work all day and perform to a high standard.”

The successful officials are believed to have undergone a rigorous application process. They will receive an estimated annual salary of £60,000, as opposed to the standard £380 match fee per game.

As well as the second-tier elite group, there will also be a newly established panel of 36 assistant referees, although they are not on full salaried terms.

Name Age County No. of Championship games in 2015-16
Andy Davies 40 Hampshire 13
Andy Madley 32 West Yorkshire 18
Andy Woolmer 50 Northamptonshire 13
Chris Kavanagh 30 Manchester 18
Darren Bond 37 Lancashire 11
David Coote 33 West Yorkshire 10
Geoff Eltringham 35 Tyne & Wear 12
James Adcock 32 Nottinghamshire 10
James Linington 36 Isle of Wight 8
Jeremy Simpson 40 Lancashire 15
Keith Stroud 46 Hampshire 24
Oliver Langford 36 West Midlands 13
Peter Bankes 33 Merseyside 18
Scott Duncan 42 Northumberland 15
Simon Hooper 33 Wiltshire 22
Stephen Martin 31 Staffordshire 14
Tim Robinson 35 West Sussex 14
Tony Harrington 32 Cleveland 11

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