9:00am Wednesday 11th September 2013
FORMER top-flight referee Keith Hackett visited Abingdon United to pass on advice to the North Berks Referees Association, writes MATTHEW BRUCE.
He took charge of the 1986 League Cup final, where Oxford United beat Queens Park Rangers 3-0 and said that it was a particular highlight of his career.
“When you go to Wembley and are involved in the big games, those always retain a place in your memory,” the 69-year-old, who also refereed the 1981 FA Cup final, said.
“I needed to be relaxed, because it’s a big occasion and a big game.
“I knew Jim Smith at Boston United early in my career and I always admired him as an individual.
“But I suppose ultimately it was a game that captured the imagination of the public and spectators and it was just a wonderful occasion.”
Hackett later went on to officiate in the Premier League and became head of the Professional Game Match Officials Board, which regulates refereeing in the Premier League.
And he believes that refereeing at the top level has changed hugely since he hung up his whistle in 1994.
“I think the professionalisation of refereeing has had massive benefits, but referees today are operating under a microscope,” said Hackett.
“There are 22 cameras at every Premier League game, but there’s a good support mechanism if they have an indifferent performance and there’s a camaraderie and spirit amongst the referees, which is beneficial.
“I’m delighted that the Premier League have been the first league in the world to adopt goal-line technology.
“It’s a matter-of-fact decision and it’s important that they get it right.”
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