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Dallas delight for referee James
PORTLAND referee James Durkin has been selected to represent the Football Association at the Dallas Cup Youth Football Tournament in the USA.
The event is staged over a seven-day period ending on Easter Sunday and many of the world’s premier clubs including Manchester United, Eintracht Frankfurt, Everton, Paris Saint Germain, Tigres and Boca Juniors will compete in the tournament.
The FA has identified this development opportunity and funds a place for eight candidates who are chosen from each of the Regional Referee Development Groups.
Ian Blanchard, senior national game referee manager at the FA, said: “Many consider the Dallas Cup referee corps to be one of the best for a youth tournament. World Class referees, some of which are FIFA referees with past World Cup appointments, take part in the tournament, providing the opportunity for these referees to operate with a variety of officials.
“The FA is fully committed to providing improvement opportunities for referees who are involved in the National Referee Development Programme.”
Durkin, whose father Paul is a former Premier League official, added “When I got the call and was told I was representing the South-West National Referee Development Group at Dallas, I was surprised but at the same time delighted.
“Although I thought the interview went well there were several other candidates who I felt might get the nod ahead of me. I’m now looking forward to the tournament and gaining some valuable international experience that will stand me in good stead as my career progresses.”
George McCaffery, a referee coach and group leader, said: “This is a great opportunity for referees to experience the challenges associated with international football while also developing their own personality. Being a group member of a prominent tournament referee panel creates a positive learning environment for them.”
Kevin Pike, the Dorset County FA’s referee development officer, added: “To be one of only eight referees to be selected by the FA to attend this prestigious tournament is a great achievement for James, who has been a referee for only seven years and has been part of the County Referee Development Programme. “His selection is a reflection of the hard work and commitment he has shown in the support of local football – we wish him every success.”