Referee Bobby Madley set for Premier League return four years after being sacked for mocking a disabled person

'I am not proud of my actions in 2018... I have learned from this and feel I am a better and stronger person for it'.

Danny Jones Danny Jones - 26th October 2022

Former top-flight referee Bobby Madley is set to make his Premier League return four years after being sacked for mocking a disabled person.

Brother to current ref Andy, the younger Madley has officiated 10 Championship fixtures already this season but hasn’t overseen a Premier League ref match since 2018, following an off-pitch controversy which cost him his job in England’s first division.

He will now referee the Brentford vs Wolves game on Saturday having gradually recovered his career.

As Madley explained in a post entitled ‘Time to Move On…’ on his blog The Referee’s Word back in December 2019, he was dismissed from his duties after he made a “dark-humoured joke” directed at someone with a walking impairment via social media the year prior.

The 37-year-old from Wakefield was attending his daughter’s sports day not long after a Sun headline from former ref Mark Halsey cruelly dubbed him ‘Blobby Bobby’, leading him to make a self-deprecating albeit admittedly inappropriate joke.


Madley went on to record a short video of the disabled individual on Snapchat, quipping: “F**k me I have a chance of winning the parents’ race this year.”

The controversial caption was overlayed on a six-second clip and despite intending to save it for private use, ultimately decided to send it to someone he “trusted” and had shared a close relationship with for more than 10 years.


After an argument with the same person, the video was then sent ‘anonymously’ to his manager and following a disciplinary meeting with the Professional Game Match Official Limited (PGMOL), he was sacked and went on to relocate to Norway, where he continued to referee games.

Madley refereed 91 Premier League matches between 2013-2018 and hundreds of others throughout the footballing pyramid, dozens of which were held across Greater Manchester since beginning his career at the age of 16.

He made his return to English football back in 2020, picking up a number of League One and Two games as he tried to went about restoring his reputation.


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Madley has always maintained that the PGMOL dealt with the incident in “the strongest way” and that he respects their decision, insisting that he never intended to mock disability, especially given that his own father was disabled.

He concluded his 2019 statement by saying: “Please don’t think bad of me. I’m a human being who made one mistake, one that many many people have done themselves and not lost everything for. Again, I have to pick those pieces up.”

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Featured Image — Preston North End FC (via Twitter)