Former Premier League referee Bobby Madley will return to English football in League One and League Two next season.
Bobby Madley will return to refereeing professional football in England next season, two years after the Professional Game Match Officials Limited (PGMOL) sacked him for sending a video in which he mocked a disabled person.
Madley left his role in August 2018, with a PGMOL statement at the time saying he had “decided to relocate due to a change in personal circumstances”.
The 34-year-old went on to explain in a blog post on New Year’s Eve last year that his dismissal related to a Snapchat video he sent to a friend that was subsequently passed to his employers.
He captioned a clip of a person with a walking impairment: “F*** me, I have a chance of winning the parents race this year” – something he later conceded was a “badly misjudged… private joke”.
Madley moved to Norway after his dismissal and continued refereeing under the auspices of the Norwegian Football Federation.
In a blog post entitled “A New Chapter”, the 34-year-old explained he would resume work in English Football at League One and League Two level – the third and fourth tiers of the country’s professional structure.
“I’ve been away from the Premier League for what will be two years come the new season so a return to that level was never a possibility,” he wrote.
“With the introduction of VAR and the many hours of training missed it would not have been reasonable to expect that.
“I was offered, and accepted, the opportunity to start next season as a National List Referee. This group of referees officiate in League One and League Two.
“Like any referee I have the desire to perform at my best and to achieve the best I can.
Following recent discussions with PGMOL I am delighted and excited to have the opportunity to return to referee in the English professional game once again
All is explained in the blogpost:https://t.co/kiQPBAWzXi
— Bobby Madley (@BobbyMadley2) February 13, 2020
“I know how hard that road is to referee at the top but I have the desire and passion to work hard to achieve my potential whatever that may be.
“I still have dreams that I thought were dead but for me they are now very much alive.”
For the remainder of this season, Madley will officiate at games lower down the pyramid to reintegrate into the English game. He has also agreed to attend a Football Association discrimination workshop.
Chelsea confirm five-year deal for Hakim Ziyech
Hakim Ziyech was described as “one of the most dangerous attacking players in Europe” after finalising a contract with Chelsea.
Chelsea have confirmed Hakim Ziyech has agreed a five-year contract and will join from Ajax at the end of the season.
Ajax announced last week that the 26-year-old would be moving to Frank Lampard’s side in a deal potentially worth €44million.
The forward, who will spend the rest of 2019-20 with the Eredivisie champions, told Chelsea’s official website: “I am delighted and proud to have signed for such a huge club as Chelsea. I am looking forward to next season and hope we can achieve great things together.”
Chelsea director Marina Granovskaia made clear the club’s delight at signing a player who has taken the Champions League by storm in recent seasons.
“We are delighted Hakim will be joining us in the summer, having been a key target of the club’s in this last window,” she said.
“He has consistently been one of the most dangerous attacking players in Europe in recent years, which we saw first-hand in our two games against Ajax in the Champions League.
“We wish Hakim and Ajax all the best for the rest of the season and look forward to welcoming him to Stamford Bridge in the summer.”
— Chelsea FC (@ChelseaFC) February 23, 2020
Ziyech joined Ajax from Twente in August 2016 and was a star performer as Erik ten Hag’s men reached the semi-finals of the Champions League and secured a domestic double last term.
The Morocco international is the first major signing confirmed by Chelsea since Lampard took over as head coach from Maurizio Sarri prior to the start of the season.
Deals to bring in Christian Pulisic and loanee Mateo Kovacic permanently had been agreed prior to Lampard taking charge, and the Blues were then forced to endure a one-window transfer ban after they were found guilty of breaching FIFA rules regarding the signing of minors from overseas.
Their initial two-window suspension was reduced by the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) in December, however, allowing Chelsea to sign players in January, but they failed to secure any new arrivals.
Speaking at the start of this month, Lampard said his side had become “underdogs” in the battle to finish fourth in the Premier League because their rivals had strengthened their own squads.
Manchester United 3-0 Watford: Bruno Fernandes’ masterclass sends Red Devils fifth
Bruno Fernandes, Anthony Martial and Mason Greenwood fired Manchester United to a 3-0 win over Watford at Old Trafford.
Bruno Fernandes scored his first goal for Manchester United and created two more as the Red Devils extended their unbeaten run to six matches in all competitions with a 3-0 Premier League victory over Watford.
The £62million January signing from Sporting CP put in a performance that made his fee look like a bargain, winning and scoring a first-half penalty to break the deadlock against a battling Watford team before creating superbly taken goals from Anthony Martial and Mason Greenwood.
United survived some nervous moments and Watford had an equaliser ruled out for handball before Martial doubled their advantage, but the invention and craft of Fernandes has given Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s men an edge they lacked for so much of this season.
Defeat leaves Watford in the relegation zone and without a win in six matches in all competitions, but manager Nigel Pearson will take some comfort from a strong attacking performance that might have delivered a different outcome but for some poor finishing.
— Manchester United (@ManUtd) February 23, 2020
Troy Deeney might have put Watford ahead after three minutes when Nemanja Matic and Harry Maguire allowed Victor Lindelof’s blocked pass to run through to the Hornets captain, but he hesitated, and Luke Shaw dispossessed him just in time.
Abdoulaye Doucoure hit the side-netting from a tight angle as Watford continued to prise open a faltering United defence and, when the hosts countered, Aaron Wan-Bissaka missed from 12 yards after Ben Foster parried Dan James’ angled drive.
The pace of the game slowed before exploding into life five minutes before half-time when Fernandes burst into the Watford box where Ben Foster sent him sprawling, and the Portuguese midfielder’s hopping run-up and cool low finish put United ahead from the spot.
Watford had the ball in the net five minutes after the restart when Maguire lashed it into the roof of his own net under pressure from Deeney, but Craig Dawson playing the ball with his arm in the build-up meant the goal was ruled out.
Six minutes later, Fernandes turned provider, threading a pass through to Martial whose drag-back fooled Etienne Capoue before his immaculate chip saw him beat Foster at the second attempt.
United’s third was the pick of the goals, Greenwood starting a move that ended with Fernandes rolling the ball to him just inside the box and he cracked an unstoppable shot into the top corner of the net off the frame of the goal.
Solskjaer sent on Odion Ighalo for his home United debut against his former club and he hit the post six minutes from time but by then the game was comfortably won as hopes of a possible Champions League return continued to grow around Old Trafford.
What does it mean?
One win in three home league matches hardly feels like great form but United are just three points behind fourth-place Chelsea, while Watford, who are 19th, remain one point adrift of safety and still without a league win at Old Trafford in their history.
Fernandes brings out United’s best
The arrival of Fernandes has given the likes of James and Greenwood a creative lynchpin and, after showing his finishing prowess, the 25-year-old brought the best out of Martial and Greenwood.
Deeney made to rue early miss
Sluggish and sloppy in the opening 20 minutes, Deeney eventually grew into the game but only after he had missed Watford’s best chance of the game.
Watford host champions elect Liverpool at Vicarage Road on Saturday before United’s trip to Everton on Sunday. The Red Devils are in Europa League action against Club Brugge at Old Trafford three days earlier.
Wolves 3-0 Norwich City: Five in two games for in-form Diogo Jota
A Diogo Jota double and Raul Jimenez’s second-half goal gave Wolves all three points as Norwich City’s woes continued.
Diogo Jota capped an excellent week in front of goal with a double as Wolves boosted their Champions League aspirations with a 3-0 win over bottom club Norwich City.
Jota was on target with a hat-trick in Wolves’ 4-0 victory over Espanyol in the Europa League on Thursday.
The forward opened the scoring after 19 minutes at Molineux on Sunday, firing in a low finish on the turn after being teed up by Matt Doherty.
His second came 11 minutes later as he tapped in from Romain Saiss’ low cross.
— Wolves (@Wolves) February 23, 2020
Wolves are eighth, two points behind Manchester United, who occupy fifth, which would be good enough for the Champions League following Manchester City’s two-season ban from European competition.
Nuno Espirito Santo’s men gained ground on Tottenham and Sheffield United after both dropped points on Saturday, meaning they trail that pair by just a point. Norwich, meanwhile, are still seven points adrift of safety.
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