Hartlepool referee Tony Harrington promoted to the Premier League for 2021-22 campaign after starring in EFL
Hartlepool referee Tony Harrington has been promoted to the Premier League for the 2021-22 campaign after starring in the EFL this season.
It has been quite the weekend for promotions in Hartlepool, fresh from Pools’ promotion back into the Football League following their triumph over Torquay United, the town’s leading referee Harrington is now celebrating a promotion of his own.
Harrington – who is the grandson of Pools legend Tommy McGuigan, who is in the Hartlepool United record books for top 10 number of appearances and goals for the club – was confirmed as a top flight referee on Monday afternoon.
Having worked his way up through the leagues, he will be one of four new officials in the Premier League next season.
Harrington was handed the League One play-off final at Wembley last month between Blackpool and Lincoln City, the game usually given to the top-performing Championship referee that season.
Following a selection process by Professional Game Match Officials Limited (PGMOL), the top flight has now announced his promotion along with three other new faces ahead of the new season.
A Premier League statement read: “This season’s Premier League will feature four new referees after Professional Game Match Officials Limited (PGMOL) announced that Jarred Gillett, Michael Salisbury, Tony Harrington and John Brooks have been all been promoted to Select Group 1.
“The four new referees will join the group of referees who officiate in the Premier League, increasing the total number of Select Group 1 referees to 22.”
It added: “Harrington spent four years as an EFL assistant referee and four years as a National League referee before promotion to the EFL in 2012.
"He has been a Select Group 2 referee since 2016 and has refereed nearly 200 EFL matches.
"Football is in the blood of Harrington. He is the grandson of former Hartlepool United player Tommy McGuigan.”
Harrington began refereeing in the Teesside Junior Football Alliance at the age of 14, having completed a basic refereeing course whilst at school as part of the Duke of Edinburgh award.
After four years as an EFL assistant referee and four years as a National League referee, he was appointed to the EFL referees List in 2012/13.
Having overseen more than 200 EFL matches he has now been promoted to the top flight.
Meanwhile, Rebecca Welch has become the first female referee to be appointed to the English Football League’s National Group list for the men’s professional game.
Welch, from Washington, Tyne and Wear, made history at the age of 37 last season when she became the first woman to officiate an EFL match.
Welch became the first woman to officiate an EFL match in April when she took charge of Harrogate’s 2-0 Sky Bet League Two defeat at home to Port Vale.
Welch’s promotion to the National Group list, alongside fellow referees Simon Mather, Andrew Kitchen and Tom Reeves, has been confirmed by the EFL.
The EFL added: “Rebecca Welch’s promotion makes her the first female referee appointee to the National Group list for the men’s professional game.”