Bobby Madley returns to refereeing in England

Madley to initially officiate in League One and League Two; referee was sacked in 2018 for 'gross misconduct on grounds of discrimination'

Bobby Madley officiated 19 matches in the 2017-18 Premier League season
Image: Bobby Madley had been refereeing in Norway during his time away from the English game

Bobby Madley is returning to professional refereeing in England after 18 months away from the game in this country.

Madley ceased officiating at the highest level in England in August 2018 and relocated to Norway after being sacked by refereeing body Professional Game Match Officials Limited.

A PGMOL spokesperson said: "Following discussions over the last few weeks, Bobby Madley has taken the opportunity to return to refereeing in England as a National List referee with effect from the start of next season."

Madley revealed in a blog post on New Year's Eve that he had been sacked for "gross misconduct on grounds of discrimination" after he sent a video to someone where he appeared to mock a disabled person.

He will now return to the English game from the beginning of next season and will initially officiate in League One and League Two.

In a new blog post detailing his return to the English game, Madley wrote: "Eighteen months ago I lost my dream job as a professional football referee due to my own regrettable, naive and stupid actions.

"I am delighted however that I have been given the opportunity to return to referee in the professional game in England

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"I have learned so much about myself over the last 18 months but I have also found out just how important friends and family are in the darkest times. Their love and support has been unwavering, especially that of my mum, brother and my incredible partner Jenny and her family and that has undoubtedly helped me through that period."

Madley revealed this season's introduction of VAR to the Premier League meant making an immediate return to top-flight refereeing was never really an option.

The 34-year-old said he will work on re-establishing his credentials as a match official by taking charge of games in non-league football for the rest of this season.

"I was offered, and accepted, the opportunity to start next season as a National List Referee. This group of referees officiate on League One and League Two," Madley said.

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"Like any referee, I have the desire to perform at my best and to achieve the best I can. I still have dreams that I thought were dead but for me they are now very much alive.

"For the remainder of this season, I will be officiating games lower down the pyramid which will help me to reintegrate into the English game."

Madley again expressed his remorse for the episode that led to his dismissal in 2018 and now hopes he can reignite his career as a professional referee in England.

"I have never tried to excuse my actions of 2018," he said.

Premier League referee Andy Madley
Image: Bobby Madley's brother Andy has been a Premier League referee since 2018

"I have never looked to blame anyone but myself but I am also proud that I retained my own dignity and did not use the media to try to take down anybody else or to sell juicy gossip to the tabloid media.

"I am not proud of my actions in 2018 and I have learned from this and feel I am a better and stronger person for it."

Bobby Madley's return to the English game was confirmed on the same day Sky Sports News learned his elder brother Andy was one of two Premier League match officials who recently failed a fitness test to remain on the FIFA international list.

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