Former Premier League referee Bobby Madley is set for a surprise return to English football after previously being sacked for an offensive joke.
The controversial ref was dismissed by PGMOL in 2018 after they got hold of a video he’d sent to a friend that appeared to mock a disabled person.
Madley has said he regrets what he did, though he also insists the joke was taken slightly out of context and was never meant to have been widely shared other than as a private joke.
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Still, he has now confirmed on his blog that he has been invited to return to refereeing in England again.
He said: “Eighteen months ago I lost my dream job as a professional football referee due my own regrettable, naive and stupid actions.
“I am delighted however that I have been given the opportunity to return to referee in the professional game in England.”
He added: “I am not proud of my actions in 2018 and I have learned from this and feel I am a better and stronger person for it.
“PGMOL dealt with what they considered a discriminatory act in the strongest way. There can be no criticism for that and I have never sought to do anything other than respect the decision and to learn from it as a person.
“I can only thank them for having the ability to forgive, recognise that one naive moment does not define a person and offer me a second chance to do what I love to do.”
He previously explained why he did what he did, and while it may have been intended as a harmless joke, one does have to wonder about his judgement over this sensitive issue.
He previously said: “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 six-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 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.”