Sian Massey-Ellis, MBE – Sports Studies and PGCE
English Football Match Official
Sian, originally from Coventry, studied Sports Studies and also her PGCE in Physical Education at Newman University, Birmingham during the years of 2004 to 2007. Sian gained a First Class Honours in her Sports Course and then decided to progress on to her PGCE.
“I chose Newman as it did sport and had great links to teaching and I always wanted to teach.”
When Sian was just 14 she began her refereeing courses and that is where her journey to becoming a Premier League Official started. Sian explains that her father was a big mentor in her life as he too was a grassroots referee and was able to teach Sian a lot about the football industry.
Sian began her journey, as many officials do, by being involved in grassroots football before being promoted to semi-professional football and then making her way into the professional game.
Sian recently revisited Newman University to be a part of the opening of a new 3G pitch on campus. Sian commented “It’s a great opportunity for the future students to have access to [the pitch], allowing students to have better teaching facilities. It’s a real honour for me [to return] as I loved my time at Newman.”
Studying sport at Newman University allowed Sian to continue with her refereeing and progress within the industry and Sian comments that she had the most progress as a referee when she was at university. She was also able to take advantage of the opportunities on offer at Newman, including being part of the university netball team.
Sian enjoyed her time at Newman and explains that she always had the correct amount of support throughout her studies; “I had lots of support at Newman, staff were always willing to support and they also supported me around my refereeing. If I didn’t understand something they were always there to explain.”
After completing university Sian continued with her refereeing career and made her debut in the professional world of football in 2009 refereeing Hereford vs Port Vale in League One. From then she has continued to impress, making her way into Premier League fixtures with her debut being Sunderland vs Blackpool and finally onto the field for international games with highlights such as the women’s European championship final game in Sweden between Germany and Norway in 2013.
Sian has now officiated over 60 Premier League games, over 15 women’s games and been involved in 9 FA Cup fixtures.
Sian loves her career and has had many positive experiences thus far “I have had many positives [in my career] such as players apologising for questioning decisions to managers coming in to the dressing rooms after to say you have done well. Comments such as ‘thought you were great today ref’ really are the reason why we referee. You want to be good for the game.”
Sian is an advocate for ensuring that females are encouraged not only in playing football but also being involved with the sport in a number of other ways, including being match officials.
“It’s important that if girls want to get involved in football that they can see officiating is a choice. It’s important that they can see there are opportunities to be involved in football as a match official.”
It is for this reason that Sian has recently received an Honorary Degree as a Doctor of Science from Newman University.
“It’s a real honour to be invited back to university, I loved my time at Newman and I love coming back. I really feel like I developed so much as a person at Newman.”
When asked what advice she would give to students at Newman University Sian replied: “Always try your best. When it seems hard that’s when you try harder!!”