Ashton referee gains Premier League promotion
Monday 12th June 2017 @ 10:15 by Adam Higgins
Ashton Football Sports

A referee from Ashton-under-Lyne¬†will be rubbing shoulders with some of the country’s elite footballers on a regular basis from next season.

That’s because Chris Kavanagh has been promoted to the Premier League as one of 18 Select Group officials who will take charge of top-flight games in 2017-18.

The 30-year-old, who hails from Manchester but lives in Tameside, was part of the Select Group 2 – a group of professional referees who primarily officiate in the Championship – last season.

After impressing during three years in the Football League, the highly-rated whistler is the only official to have been elevated by the Professional Game Match Officials Limited (PGMOL), which oversees referees, following Mark Clattenburg’s departure to work in Saudi Arabia.

The news was announced last weekend by Manchester County FA, where Kavanagh quit his day as Referee Development Manager last summer to take up refereeing full-time.

He proved his worth by successfully handling a trial Premier League last term, handing out four yellow cards in Southampton’s 1-0 victory over West Bromwich Albion at the Hawthorns in April.

Overall, Kavanagh officiated 40 games in all competitions last season – including 27 in the Championship. He issued 133 yellow cards, sent off three players and awarded five penalties in total.

One of his most high-profile career appointments to date was his one and only appearance at Wembley Stadium, as fourth official for Glossop North End’s defeat by North Shields in the final of the FA Vase in May 2015.

Kavanagh has already had a taste of what’s to come having previously encountered Premier League teams in cup competitions and has been fourth official for a number of top-flight games.

Also promoted to the Premier League list is assistant referee Dan Cook, who has ran the line in 12 top-flight matches over the last two seasons.

PGMOL managing director Mike Riley said: “Both Chris and Dan have performed extremely well in their matches as part of the Select Group 2 list, and in the Premier League fixtures they’ve officiated in to-date. They will both make a positive contribution to the Select Group next season.”