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League helping female referees in Hong Kong

5 Sep 2019
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Sian Massey-Ellis attends launch of Hong Kong FA Women's Referee programme funded by grant for hosting 2017 Asia Trophy

As well as bringing the Premier League to Asian fans, the Premier League Asia Trophy creates a legacy of football development, as proved by the launch of a programme for female referees in Hong Kong.

The Hong Kong FA (HKFA) received a legacy grant of US$100,000 as part of hosting the 2017 Premier League Asia Trophy and the funds have been used to inspire more women and girls to participate in football and to take up refereeing.

In addition to a refereeing course in August, the HKFA will host a women's referee programme next year targeting schools.

It forms part of the Premier League's new international partnership with Professional Game Match Officials Limited (PGMOL), which helps widen their development of referees worldwide.

"It's very important, especially without this funding, we cannot organise any course like this," said Charles Cheung, Head of Refereeing at the HKFA.

The course includes training from a guest instructor as well as one from PGMOL. The best two participants will also visit England as part of the HKFA’s exchange programme with PGMOL.

Sian Massey-Ellis with a participant at the Hong Kong FA Women's Referee programme
Sian Massey-Ellis, a Premier League assistant referee, passed on her expertise to participants of the programme

Select Group One assistant referee Sian Massey-Ellis passed on her expertise at the launch.

"We've built such a great partnership here," she said. "We can share experience, share our knowledge and skills, we can really develop.

"The inspiration of girls being able to go to a different country to gain knowledge and skills as well, to referee and to really develop in their game of football, it's a fantastic opportunity."

FIFA referee Gigi Law officiated in Premier League 2 and Under-18 Premier League matches as part of the HKFA-PGMOL exchange and she shared her knowledge with the participants.

Massey-Ellis hopes more women will follow in Law's footsteps through the programme.

"They're like sponges, they want to soak up every bit of information you can give them and they really implement it so fast," Massey-Ellis said.

"It's that willingness to learn and develop, it's just fantastic. I really hope that we can find the next Hong Kong FIFA referee or assistant referee."

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