Refresh Sports deliver first PGMOL Breaking Barriers in-person event

Refresh Sports are proud to have delivered the first in-person ‘Breaking Barriers’ session on Wednesday 13th July, which focused on interacting with and inspiring Black, Asian and minority ethnic match officials and communities.

Held at Selhurst Park, home of Premier League side Crystal Palace, and in collaboration with our friends at Palace for Life Foundation, the event followed on from the delivery of 15 online sessions which covered topics including accessibility, parenting and mental health. 

Women’s Select Group Referee Lauren Impey

Launched in May 2021 and delivered by Refresh Sports ever since, Breaking Barriers was created to provide an inclusive platform for match officials and personnel within football sharing their personal stories, advice and guidance about a number of important topics within the game and wider society.

Since May 2021, Refresh has continuously brought together fantastic panelists from refereeing and the wider sporting world with industry-leading hosts, to share their personal stories of achieving success as well as pass on key advice and guidance to aspiring referees and those with an interest in knowing more about the profession.

This live session was the first of its kind in the refereeing industry, and provided a unique and fantastic opportunity to hear from leading referees and industry experts on their journeys and advice on getting into the profession, as part of the PGMOL’s wider work around equality, diversity and inclusion.

“It was an inspiring evening”, said PGMOL Managing Director Mike Riley, who was in attendance alongside PGMOL Women’s Select Group Director Bibiana Steinhaus-Webb and Peter Elsworth, Head of Referee Operations at The FA.

Host Jordan Jarrett-Bryan posed questions to National Group assistant referee Damith Bandara, newly-promoted National Group referee Sunny Gill and Women’s Select Group referee Lauren Impey, who also answered questions from the audience, which included representatives from the FA, PFA, South Asian Football Network, Football Black List and BCOMS.

PGMOL Managing Director Mike Riley added: “The pandemic has unfortunately prevented us from hosting an in-person event until this week so was this is a significant step for us, two years on from our first conversations around Breaking Barriers.”

“The venue for our first live event was always going to play an important role in a successful evening and Crystal Palace’s community ethos – something which aligns with our values – made Selhurst Park the perfect location.”

“Damith, Sunny and Lauren were brilliant panelists, speaking from the heart about their journeys so far as well as providing a fantastic insight to inspire and encourage a more diversified next generation of match officials within the refereeing family.” 

We were delighted to deliver this important event and can’t wait to announce our exciting plans for the next in-person Breaking Barriers session.

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