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Selby football referees to take part in Barcelona tournament
11:13am Saturday 16th March 2013 in Sport
Four Selby football referees will be flying the flag for England when they take part in a tournament in Barcelona next month.
Barkston Ash Referees’ Association members John Key, aged 46, Leo Howard 34, Garreth Rhodes, 34, and Paul Craven, 26, are officiating at the Copa Maresme Youth tournament over Easter.
The competition starts on April 1, finishing five days later, and Howard is aiming to acquire experience not available in this country.
He said: “I would like to gain as much experience working with assistants as possible as I could cram in ten games with assistants. I wouldn’t get that at my level over two full seasons.”
The Association, formed in 1925, currently has 22 members – a figure that is rising.
It is the first time the Association has had officials sent abroad as a team and this has the full backing of the West Riding County FA.
Association secretary Key said: “I hope we will be great ambassadors for English refereeing and for the Barkston Ash Referees’ Association. I am proud to be part of the group and want to come back as a better referee.”
The quartet will bring back their experiences to the Association which holds weekly fitness sessions at a range of venues across the district as well as monthly meetings covering a range of refereeing topics to help support colleagues.
Craven, who gained his refereeing qualification last May, added: “The commitment shown by members to support each other is fantastic. Weekly fitness sessions and mentoring are really helping to improve referees.”
Rhodes, who is co-ordinating the visit, said: “I’m hoping to experience refereeing in a different culture. I feel privileged to be part of the first Barkston Ash RA team to be refereeing abroad.”