Former top referee David Elleray has praised the professionalism and standard of the Milk Cup
So much so that he has backed the Football Association in sending some of their best up and coming young whistle blowers to next year’s tournament rather than them attending the Dallas Cup in Texas.
Elleray, now retired, was a top-flight referee who officiated at the dawn of the Premier League era and oversaw the 1994 FA Cup final, 14 games at the old Wembley and 70 international matches. He now holds the position of Chairman of the Referees Association and his comments come after three FA referees took part in this year’s Milk Cup as part of an referee exchange programme.
IFA Referee’s Assessor and former Irish League referee and FIFA Assistant ref Frankie Hiles explained: “We have had an exchange programme set up for a couple of years now, however this is the first year we have worked directly with the Football Association.
“We had three of their referees at this year’s tournament along with their mentor and they fitted in very well with our guys and they also did a good job in all the matches they were allocated.
“Dan Meeson, who is the National Referee Manager for the Football Association, came over for a flying visit to see the guys in action at the Milk Cup and following their return to England after the tournament we received feedback from Dan which was extremely favourable. They were very impressed in the way we supported their guys. All of this correspondence was copied to David Elleray, who Dan reports to.”
The response from Elleray was to be a huge boost for not only the tournament but the work the Referees’ Co-ordinators do behind the scenes.
“We then received a copy of David Elleray’s response,” added Frankie. “We were absolutely delighted with it. He praised the guys for doing well and then he talked about the competitiveness of the games and the excellent standard of the competition.
“He was impressed to the extent that they would like us to take six of their guys at next year’s Milk Cup instead of them sending their people to the Dallas Cup in Texas. The English FA send some of their people to America for this tournament every year but after they saw the Milk Cup they felt the standard and professionalism of the tournament was higher and more beneficial to their guys.
“I think you can safely say we were delighted with the views that were expressed by someone of David Elleray’s reputation and standing.
“It’s great for the Milk Cup organisers that people within the FA think that the tournament is of such a high standard but it’s also great for us as Referee Co-ordinators that the work we do to develop young referees and the way we organise the match officials and look after them at the tournament has been recognised by someone at such a high level.”