On the evidence of recent tournaments, it could be a while until we see England reach a major championship final.

What has become a regular occurrence in recent seasons though has been the appearance of English officials in some of the biggest games in world football. Since 2010, an English official has taken charge of a World Cup final, a European Championship final, two Champions Leagues finals and a Europa League final.

Evidence enough, according to former Premier League official Chris Foy, that referees in England are some of the best in the world.

Speaking to students about his stellar career, which included over 250 games in the Premier League and saw him take charge of an FA Cup and League Cup final at Wembley, Foy, who’s now a senior referees’ coach for the Professional Game Match Officials Board, said the infrastructure in place in England and the quality of football they officiate plays a huge part in their success.

He said: “I think our referees are really well grounded, well trained, they come through a process and they understand what is expected, and they officiate good standards of football which they obviously enjoy. They’ve also got access to fantastic support mechanisms.”

Foy added: “Refereeing throughout the world is different, but in England we’ve got all the infrastructure in place for our officials. We’ve had a tremendous few years in England and we should be immensely proud of the achievements of our English referees not just in domestic competitions, but also throughout the world as well.”

Finishing his talk with students, Foy imparted invaluable advice for those with an eye on taking up officiating as a career. He said: “Man management is really, really important for aspiring officials. Interpersonal skills are good; being decisive; being fit; and being a good communicator. It’s not necessarily about being in that order, but they’re the real fundamental things you need to be a successful referee.”

Roll of Honour

2010 – Howard Webb: World Cup final, Johannesburg; Champions League final, Madrid.

2015 – Martin Atkinson: Europa League final, Warsaw.

2016 – Mark Clattenburg: European Championship final, Paris; Champions League final, Milan.

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