World's oldest referee from Sheffield still 'runs across the entire pitch' aged 89

An officiating stalwart who is thought to be the world's oldest referee says he has no plans to hang up his whistle - as he approaches his 90th birthday

Frank Foster, from Sheffield, spends three days a week running the rule over grassroots football matches. He says age is just a number.

Mr Foster has taken charge of more than 5,000 matches as a FA referee in a career spanning 43 years.

He told ITV News: "It's a love of football - to be out in the fresh air giving either young boys or girls, ladies or men, my expertise of how a football game should be."

Frank quit playing football himself in the 1950s after a knee injury. He took up coaching and then turned to refereeing in 1980.

He says he loves championing grassroots teams, and was a firm supporter of women's football decades before its current popularity.

But, people have to play by the rules under his watch and he says he doesn't take any trouble from players or fans.

He added: "When a person comes in and does a late tackle I go 'you were a bit late there sunshine weren't you? You're a better player than this, come on'."

Frank will turn 90 in June and his family say his determination to keep refereeing inspires them.

His grandson, Jake Foster, said: "His passion for the game - he literally sits and watches Premier League matches and he will watch it as a referee.

"So he's constantly learning and the amount he's had to adapt to over the four or five decades that he's been doing football is amazing."

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