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Plymouth referee becomes England's first openly gay official

Ryan Atkin from Plymouth has become England’s first openly gay professional official. Photo: Football Association

A referee from Plymouth has become England’s first openly gay professional official.

32-year-old Ryan Atkin's coming out on Thursday 10 August, has been welcomed by the Football Association, whoo have stated their commitment to LGBT inclusion.

Ryan’s declaration marks an important moment in the game and reinforces the fact that refereeing really is open to everyone.

He believes people who are happy in their own skin perform better and I couldn’t agree more.

Our role is to support all referees, aid their development, maximise their potential and, above all, help ensure their experiences are positive.”

– Neale Barry, Head of Senior Referee Development, FA

Atkin is currently listed as the fourth official in Football League games and takes charge of games in the National League North and South.