SUFFOLK official Abi Marriott said becoming a FIFA referee is the ‘pinnacle of her career’ so far.
The 26-year-old from Mildenhall has just learnt that she is the first female official from Suffolk to be accepted by FIFA, meaning she will now be on the list of international referees for 2019.
Abi was one of three officials – Chris Kavanagh from Manchester and Daniel Cook from Hampshire were the other two – nominated by The FA. They are among 50 new FIFA referees to be accepted in Europe this year.
She said: “I received an email from David Elleray (Chairman of the FA Referees’ Committee) in October informing me that I had been nominated by the English FA waiting for FIFA to accept.
“Up until this point I’ve been acting as an assistant referee on friendlies or Youth internationals without being FIFA registered.
“Now I will be able to referee in UEFA competitions and full international games, acting as a regular referee for UEFA and FIFA.”
Abi, who is pictured above leading out her assistants prior to last season’s Southern League Premier Division play-off semi-final between King’s Lynn and Weymouth at The Walks, will travel to Portugal in January to attend a four-day course in Lisbon, where she will undertake a fitness test and full medical examination.
She added: “When I first started refereeing this seemed like an unachievable target, but years and years of hard work has now paid off.
“Being nominated as an international referee by my country has got to be the pinnacle of my career so far.”
Suffolk FA Senior Referee Development Officer Alan Dale said: “We are very proud of Abi and to be accepted as a FIFA official is an outstanding achievement for her.
“On behalf of everyone connected with Suffolk FA, we all wish her the very best in the next chapter of her career.”
This latest recognition comes two months after Abi was fourth official at the England versus Brazil Women's International Friendly at Notts County in October. She is pictured (above right) at that match behind England manager Phil Neville and midfielder Jordan Nobbs.
Prior to that she was an assistant referee at the UEFA Women's Champions' League Qualifying Round in Lithuania in August.
Back in March she refereed the 2018 Women's FA Varsity Match and the following month was referee for one of the SSE Women's FA Cup Semi-Finals.
Abi was an assistant referee at the SSE Women's FA Cup Final at Wembley Stadium in May 2017 and also at the Women's Under-19 European Championship in October of last year.