Who is Sam Allison, the Official Set to Make History as EPL’s First Black Referee in 15 Years?

Sam Allison is set to make a groundbreaking entry into the Premier League, becoming the first Black official to take charge of a top-flight game in 15 years. The announcement comes as part of a concerted effort by the Professional Game Match Officials Limited (PGMOL) to enhance diversity in top-tier refereeing.

Allison’s pivotal moment is scheduled to unfold on Boxing Day at Bramall Lane, where he will officiate Sheffield United’s match against Luton Town. This landmark appointment fulfills the commitment made by PGMOL chief Howard Webb to diversify the pool of officials in the highest echelons of English football.

The 42-year-old follows in the footsteps of Uriah Rennie, who last officiated a Premier League game in 2008. Notably, the scarcity of non-white referees persists in England, with around 300 officials, making Allison’s ascent all the more noteworthy.

BAMRef, the Black, Asian, and Mixed Heritage officiating group, released a statement expressing their approval of the groundbreaking appointment. The group sees this as a significant step toward aligning refereeing with the diverse fabric of society and the broader football community.

“We welcome this appointment. It is a further step in the right direction towards refereeing reflecting society and the playing contingent within football. It is also the culmination of years of hard work by BAMRef members. We hope to work with Howard Webb to identify and progress more black officials to the top flight,” the statement read.

The significance of Allison’s inclusion in the Premier League’s refereeing cadre extends beyond the game itself. It symbolizes progress in inclusivity, breaking a decade-and-a-half-long hiatus of Black officials in top-flight English football.

Sam Allison: A Journey to the Top

Born in England, Sam Allison, 42, has navigated a unique journey to the pinnacle of football officiating. A former professional footballer, he played at the highest non-league level, representing clubs like Bournemouth, Bristol City, Swindon Town, and Exeter City. Following his playing career, he transitioned to refereeing while concurrently serving as a professional firefighter.

Allison’s full commitment to refereeing began in 2020 when he joined the English Football League (EFL) roster. He swiftly became the third Black whistler in the league’s history. His dedication and passion for the sport led him to dream of reaching the pinnacle of refereeing in English football.

While juggling duties in the EFL Championship, League One, and League Two, Allison earned a spot in the PGMOL’s Select Group 2. This elevated him to officiate primarily in the EFL Championship and occasionally in League One and Two.

Despite being relatively new to the pressures of the Premier League, Allison’s dedication and rapid rise through the ranks signify a promising trajectory in top-tier refereeing. His ambition to contribute to the game as a referee, despite not reaching the heights as a player, reflects a profound love for football that drives his journey.

Referee Sam Allison’s Stats: A Snapshot of Experience

As per transfer market statistics, Sam Allison’s refereeing journey has seen him officiate a total of 234 games across various competitions, showcasing his versatility. Here’s a breakdown of his referee stats:

  • Total Games Refereed: 234
  • EFL Championship Games Refereed: 8
  • EFL League One and Two Games Refereed: 86
  • Yellow Cards Given: 842
  • Second Yellow Cards Given: 23
  • Red Cards Given: 15
  • Penalties Given: 72

These statistics offer a glimpse into Allison’s experience and proficiency as a referee, laying the foundation for what promises to be a historic and impactful chapter in his career as he steps onto the Premier League stage on Boxing Day.