After more than 40 years of highly distinguished service to the professional game, PGMOL National Group Director and former full-time referee, David Allison will hang up his whistle at the end of the 2018/19 season as he moves towards retirement in taking up an advisory position on a part-time basis. Having begun his career as a Match Official in 1977, Allison started out as a Football League linesman, before being promoted to the referee’s list just three years later at the age of 31 and becoming a regular referee in the English First Division. Allison took charge of some of the biggest matches in the English calendar during his 20 years as an official, including the 1996 Division One Play-Off Final between Leicester City and Crystal Palace – before retiring from duties on the pitch a year later with over 450 matches under his control. He also regularly took control of matches in the Premier League before retiring as an official in 1997.
Off the pitch, Allison held several roles at the Football League, namely as Regional Co-Ordinator and Referees’ Coach before his appointment as PGMOL National Group Director in 2007 where Dave has provided support to all match officials throughout The Championship, League One and League Two, particularly on matchdays. One of his key roles also been to oversee the professionalisation of referees in supporting the establishment of Select Group 1 and Select Group 2 and the introduction of new technologies such as Goal Line Technology to the Championship in 2017 and VAR in the Carabao Cup. He has also prioritised establishing stronger relationships between Clubs, Managers and Officials.
Recognising the increasing demands of managing the full-time referees in Select Group 2 together with providing an effective service to the Clubs in Leagues 1 and 2, PGMOL have appointed Alan Wiley as Select Group 2 Director and Mike Jones as the National Group Director. They will shadow Dave for the remainder of this season before taking up their positions in full in the summer.
On the news of his impending retirement, 70-year-old Dave Allison, said: “The role of a referee has changed dramatically over the time I’ve spent in the industry. From the increased physical aspect, to the recent introduction of technology – the game is forever evolving for the better.
“Football owes me nothing, I’ve had a wonderful time throughout my career – both whilst refereeing and as part of the PGMOL. I have memories and friendships that will last a lifetime and I am truly grateful for the opportunities I have been given. I would like to thank my family, especially Sheila, my friends and everybody I have had the pleasure of working alongside over the years and wish them all the very best for the future.”
Shaun Harvey, EFL Chief Executive, said: “The game has changed dramatically during Dave’s long and valued career and his continued influence over so many years is testament to his ability to adapt and implement new ideas so effectively. Through the establishment of Select Group 2 in 2016 and innovations such as the introduction of Goal Line Technology to the Championship in 2017, we have seen the role of match officials take on a new level of professionalization in recent seasons.
“Dave has provided valuable counsel to clubs and managers alike, fielding calls on a Saturday night to allow frustrations to be aired privately rather than in the public domain in order to not only help preserve the reputation of the game, but also save those with grievances a sizeable amount in potential fines! On behalf of the EFL and all those managers he has helped, I thank Dave for his patience and his contribution in this regard.”
David Cookson, EFL Football Services Director and EFL Representative on the PGMOL Board, said: “I have had the pleasure of working closely with Dave over the last decade, and his professionalism and understanding of the game is second to none. What he has sacrificed for the professional game, both as a Match Official and in his various roles within the EFL and PGMOL is truly exceptional, and I’m sure everybody associated would join me and place on record their thanks to a fantastic individual. We wish Dave all the best in his retirement and look forward to working alongside Alan Wiley and Mike Jones more frequently over the coming years.”