Sam Allison will become the first Black referee in the Premier League for 15 years – and only the second ever – later this month.
According to Mirror Sport, the 42-year-old ex-firefighter will take charge of Sheffield United vs Luton on Boxing Day as PGMOL chief Howard Webb continues to make good on his summer pledge to diversify top-flight refereeing.
Until 2020, Allison – who took up refereeing 12 years ago – was the only black match official in the top four English divisions and the first since Uriah Rennie in 2008. Of nearly 300 referees in English football, the number of non-white officials in the professional game is still in single figures.
Wiltshire-based Allison was at Swindon’s School of Excellence as a youngster and spent most of his career playing semi-professionally at Chippenham Town.
He also represented England schoolboys numerous times. Back in August, Akil Howson became the first black, Asian, or of mixed heritage to be a permanent referee official since Rennie. But he has yet actually to take charge of a Premier League game.
BAMRef, the Black, Asian, and Mixed Heritage refereeing group – set up to identify, support, and champion non-white refereeing talent – said: “We welcome this appointment. It is a further step in the right direction towards refereeing reflecting society and the playing contingent within football.
“It is also the culmination of years of hard work by BAMRef members. We hope to work with Howard Webb to identify and progress more black officials to the top flight.”