Whistle-stop tour: Premiership’s youngest referee Michael Oliver visits Whittlesey

SPORTS students were given an insight into the pressures of top-flight football when the Premiership’s youngest referee paid a visit to Whittlesey.

Michael Oliver, 26, was quizzed by youngsters at Sir Harry Smith Community College before speaking at a young refereeing evening in Peterborough.

Mr Oliver became the Premiership’s youngest referee last year, officiating the match between Birmingham City and Blackburn Rovers aged 25 years and 182 days.

He said: “I have thoroughly enjoyed my day in Whittlesey and Peterborough - being part of a well organised evening.

“Seeing so many young and enthusiastic referees, I wouldn’t be surprised if there are one or two of the boys and girls in the room who could be officiating at the top level within 10 years.”

More than 100 young referees, parents and league representatives took part in workshops run by Mr Oliver. His trip was organised by Peterborough Referees’ Association chairman Robert Windle.

Mr Oliver was introduced to refereeing by his father, Clive, aged 14. He became the youngest referee to officiate at Wembley Stadium when he took charge of the 2007 Conference Play-off Final.

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The Oliver family enjoyed a unique refereeing double when father Clive took charge of the 2009 League 2 Play-off Final and son Michael officiated the next day at the 2009 League 1 Play-Off Final.

Anyone interested in refereeing should contact Alan Young at Cambridgeshire FA on 01223 209026 or visit the website www.cambridgeshirefa.com

The next refereeing course to take place in Peterborough will start on February 8 for six sessions. Candidates must be aged 14 or over and, after passing the course, they should begin refereeing in local leagues.

For more information on the course contact Mr Windle on 01733 204445.