FOR a football team, gaining promotion to a new league at any level is an achievement worth celebrating.
And it’s no different for referees – so Robert Jones will be delighted after receiving the call to find out he will be officiating in the SkyBet Football League from the 2016-17 campaign.
The Merseyside-based official has spent the last two seasons taking charge of matches in the National League – the fifth tier of English football – and the Women’s Super League One.
He was the man in the middle for the National League Promotion Final earlier this month and delivered an assured display in Grimsby Town’s 3-1 win over Forest Green Rovers alongside Aaron Jackson, Natalie Aspinall and fourth official Ollie Yates.
Jones dished out 63 yellow cards but only one red card in 21 games in non-league’s top tier during the regular league season while he only issued one booking at Wembley.
He was also the man in black for an Inter League Cup Final at York City’s Bootham Crescent ground on May 8.
And, as if life isn’t already sweet enough for him right now, Jones was also appointed as an assistant referee to Stuart Attwell for the League One Play-Off Final between Barnsley and Millwall on Sunday.
The news of his promotion was confirmed by his County Referee Association on Twitter.
It’s a well-deserved reward for a number of consistent performances in key games since he was promoted to Level 2A in the summer of 2014.
Jones has ran the line on over 100 Football League matches since 2009-10 but now he will be the main decision maker – another level entirely.
He is one of six referees who have been elevated to oversee Championship, League One and League Two matches from August onwards.
They include Leicestershire’s John Brooks and Lancashire’s Michael Salisbury – who have both served as Premier League assistant referees.
Ollie Yates (Staffordshire), Brett Huxtable (Devon) and John Busby (Oxfordshire) are the other whistlers who will operate in the Football League for the first time next term.