Bobby Madley will return to refereeing professional football in England next season, two years after the Professional Game Match Officials Limited (PGMOL) sacked him for sending a video in which he mocked a disabled person.
Madley left his role in August 2018, with a PGMOL statement at the time saying he had “decided to relocate due to a change in personal circumstances”.
The 34-year-old went on to explain in a blog post on New Year’s Eve last year that his dismissal related to a Snapchat video he sent to a friend that was subsequently passed to his employers.
He captioned a clip of a person with a walking impairment: “F*** me, I have a chance of winning the parents race this year” – something he later conceded was a “badly misjudged… private joke”.
Madley moved to Norway after his dismissal and continued refereeing under the auspices of the Norwegian Football Federation.
In a blog post entitled “A New Chapter”, the 34-year-old explained he would resume work in English Football at League One and League Two level – the third and fourth tiers of the country’s professional structure.
“I’ve been away from the Premier League for what will be two years come the new season so a return to that level was never a possibility,” he wrote.
“With the introduction of VAR and the many hours of training missed it would not have been reasonable to expect that.
“I was offered, and accepted, the opportunity to start next season as a National List Referee. This group of referees officiate in League One and League Two.
“Like any referee I have the desire to perform at my best and to achieve the best I can.
“I know how hard that road is to referee at the top but I have the desire and passion to work hard to achieve my potential whatever that may be.
“I still have dreams that I thought were dead but for me they are now very much alive.”
For the remainder of this season, Madley will officiate at games lower down the pyramid to reintegrate into the English game. He has also agreed to attend a Football Association discrimination workshop.
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