Derbyshire Referees Officiate at Wembley

On Saturday 21st November, four Derbyshire Match Officials were given the honour of officiating at Wembley Stadium.

Ian Smedley, Nick Hopton, Danny Middleton and Gary Smith took control of this Wembley fixture played between Nike Academy and Barcelona U19's. It was the first time either side, at that level, had played on the hallowed turf meaning it was a very special occasion for, not only the Derbyshire referees but also the players.

The four officials led the two teams into the stadium and on to the Field of Play at 1:50pm. The guest of honour was then introduced ahead of the 2pm kick off.

Ian Smedley refereed the game and allowed it to flow as the fast paced teams set about their business, entertaining the 2,500 crowd with some excellent football.

Nick Hopton and Danny Middleton were the Assistant Referees and showed all their experience in playing the valuable role in supporting Ian, keeping a low profile whilst performing well.

Gary Smith was the Fourth Official and effectively monitored all substitutions and indicated the added time.

The game was shown live on the Barcelona FC website and with the el Classico later that evening, timing was crucial.

The Derbyshire team, pictured above proudly showed their Derbyshire badges and received many complimentary mentions after the game. They were invited to meet the distinguished guests in the Royal Box ahead of the winning Nike Academy side, who scored in the final minutes to secure a 2-1 victory.

Ryan Haynes, Referee Development Officer was very proud of the team, commenting; "The guys enjoyed what was a great experience for them all. They have worked hard all year round and officiated a number of games for the Nike Academy, therefore thoroughly deserving this opportunity". 

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