Referee Michael Oliver replaces injured official at women's match

Referee Michael Oliver
Michael Oliver's father Clive was also a Football League referee

"If there is a qualified assistant referee in the stadium, please can they make themselves known."

That was the request made at half-time in Thursday's Continental Cup game between Arsenal Ladies and Reading FC Women following an injury to one of the officials.

And just who should happen to be in the ground at Boreham Wood FC? None other than Premier League referee Michael Oliver.

The 30-year-old Fifa-listed official was in the stands watching the match, refereed by his wife, Lucy.

Assistant referee Michael Oliver running the line at Boreham Wood FC
Michael Oliver swapped a Premier League venue for an impromptu shift at a Conference ground

He duly stepped in to run the line for the second half, prompting chants of "there's only one Michael Oliver" from some home fans.

And having taken charge of Arsenal and Liverpool's 0-0 Premier League draw at Emirates Stadium on Monday with an attendance of more than 60,000 people, Oliver found himself officiating in front of a crowd of 873.

"It was a strange one," Reading boss Kelly Chambers, whose side lost 2-1, told BBC Sport. "It was nice of him to step in and help us.

Referee's route to the top
Northumberland's Michael Oliver has been a Premier League referee since 2010.
He became the Premier League's youngest referee when he took charge of Birmingham City v Blackburn Rovers in August, 2010.

"We needed him, otherwise it could have been a different kettle of fish if we had just anyone taking over."

Oliver, who has been eligible to take charge of European internationals since 2012, is set to referee Saturday's Premier League match between Stoke City and West Brom.

Top Stories