Ever wondered what a footie referee does on holiday?
Well, a group of Premier League whistle blowers took advantage of the summer break to hone their golfing skills on a four-day trip to Spain.
While England’s dreams of glory in Brazil lay in tatters, the top officials were enjoying the chance to relax and unwind on the sun-drenched fairways in Murcia, south-east Spain, with the finale to the four-day golfing break taking at the prestigious La Manga Club resort.
Organised by Michael Oliver, the trip featured a number of Premier League colleagues including Martin Atkinson, Mike Dean, Kevin Friend, Neil Swarbrick, Jon Moss, Anthony Taylor and assistant referees Stuart Burt and Darren England.
And to make sure there was no case of mistaken identity and they made an instant impression for their round on La Manga Club’s much renowned South Course – the venue for five Spanish Opens – the referees abandoned their traditional black uniforms in favour of an array of outlandish outfits from Royal & Awesome – Scotland’s spectacular clothing brand.
Oliver said: “We had a great time playing golf in Murcia and to conclude the trip at La Manga Club was ideal. It’s a great venue and it’s easy to see why so many sports teams visit for warm weather training.
“We all chose La Manga Club as it really is the resort to play whilst in the region. The South Course was in great condition and the greens were fantastic, even if they were a little too fast for my own putting ability. It was a great experience, a great course and I’d certainly recommend it. I’m already thinking of heading back to practise my golf … it needs it!”
The officials are the latest leading names from the world of football to head to grace the fairways at La Manga Club after the popular Footballers’ Golf Classic was held at the five-star resort earlier this month, with Liverpool and Scotland legend Kenny Dalglish mounting a final-day charge to take the title for a third time.
In addition, Spanish footballing giants Barcelona have chosen the award-winning venue to stage its official FC Barcelona Junior Football Club Camp from July 21-25, where budding stars of the future – both boys and girls –have the chance to learn some of the secrets of the club and emulate their footballing idols.
Widely regarded as Spain’s flagship resort, La Manga Club has been at the forefront of sports and leisure destinations in Europe for more than four decades.
Set in an area three times the size of Monaco, the resort boasts unrivalled facilities as a sport and leisure venue including three 18-hole championship golf courses, a 28-court tennis centre and a 2,000sqm spa and fitness centre. It also offers the choice of a five-star hotel, four-star serviced apartments and townhouses, and more than 20 bars and restaurants.