Lowestoft referee Callum Walchester to run the line at Wembley for National League play-off final between Tranmere and Forest Green
- Credit: Archant
A Lowestoft referee is to officiate at Wembley this weekend.
Callum Walchester will be an assistant referee at Sunday's National League play-off final between Tranmere Rovers and Forest Green Rovers. The 24-year-old only started refereeing men's football eight years ago and is now a Level 3 referee, meaning he can officiate at Ryman League Premier Division level and be an assistant at National League matches. The Gorleston-born official was due to be an assistant at Monday night's Suffolk FA Premier Cup final in which Needham Market beat Lowestoft 3-2, but was withdrawn to avoid picking up an injury and attended the final as a spectator instead.
Callum, a police officer, was told of his appointment in a phone call from National Referee Manager Peter Elsworth. He said: 'I was in a daze, to be honest. I was wandering around not saying much as I was shell-shocked – it is quite unbelievable. I know I have had a good season, but I never let myself think I could be officiating at Wembley at the end of it. Without a shadow of doubt it is going to be the best moment of my relatively short refereeing career and one which may never happen again as such appointments don't come round very often, although obviously I hope one does.'
Anthony Backhouse (Cumberland) will ref with Callum assistant along with Abbas Khan (Leicestershire & Rutland FA), while Tom Nield (West Riding) will be the fourth official. Callum added: 'I am really looking forward to the experience of officiating at Wembley, although ultimately it boils down to just another game of football of 90 minutes between 22 players.'
Callum's appointment follows that of Suffolk female official Abi Marriott, who will be an assistant referee at Saturday's SSE FA Women's Cup final at Wembley.
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Suffolk FA Referee Development Officer Mary Harmer said: 'Callum joins a list of Suffolk referees to receive such a fantastic end-of-season appointment.
'A trip to Wembley concludes a memorable season for him which included a number of live television games in the National League, appointed as assistant referee for the FA County Youth Cup Final in April and collecting his Three Lions Badge along with this.'
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