Former Premier League referee Bobby Madley has, for the first time, revealed details regarding his sudden departure from the league, after unofficial reports entered the public domain.
Rumours were rife regarding Madley's reasons for stepping down from the Premier League in August 2018, before relocating to Norway. Bizarrely, Madley was even accussed of acting inappropriately with an animal on social media. However it is now known that the 34-year-old was sacked after sending a Snapchat to a friend mocking a disabled person.
Writing on a personal blog online, Madley said:
I attended a sports day for my daughter. In the years prior to that years event I had joked with parents about not taking part in a parents race...claims back at me that I was scared of losing. All good banter.
A few months prior to this a former referee, Mark Halsey, had written a newspaper article saying I was making mistakes because I was too fat. The full page and headline of ‘Blobby Bobby’ may seem funny to some but trust me being fat shamed in a national newspaper is not a nice feeling.
As I sat in my car with my phone in hand a person walked past my car in front of me who had a walking impairment. The next part I am ashamed of. I took a 6 second film, I said nothing. I did this in Snapchat which is where I take all of my films that I intend to save to my phone. On the video I wrote, “F**k me I have a chance of winning the parents race this year.”
Out of context I accept this reads shamefully. I accept that. However my intention was that the joke was aimed at myself. Had I have sent this to anyone on Snapchat then I would accept the decision that later came as a result. I didn’t do that though. I saved it to my phone. I sent it as a private text to somebody who I trusted, somebody who had been a huge part of my life for the previous 10 years and who I was on reasonable terms with.
Somebody who understood the context of previous sports day comments and was aware of the fat shaming I had received.
I regret taking the video, I regret sending that video and whilst it was a dark humoured joke it was just that. A joke. It was not intended to shame anyone, it was not intended to be seen by anyone other than the person I sent it privately to in a text message on my own personal phone (not a work phone).
Before his dismissal Madley was one of the most renowned referees in the UK, having officiated 91 matches in the Premier League since first being promoted in 2013.