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.
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.
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 Madley||32||West Yorkshire||18|
|David Coote||33||West Yorkshire||10|
|Geoff Eltringham||35||Tyne & Wear||12|
|James Linington||36||Isle of Wight||8|
|Oliver Langford||36||West Midlands||13|
|Tim Robinson||35||West Sussex||14|