Local referee Paul Kirby did the Dorset county proud by officiating superbly at the 2023 Deaf World Cup in Malaysia throughout September and October.
With 24 Deaf Men's football teams and 10 Deaf Women's football teams competing in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, Paul was named as assistant referee to two fixtures, fourth official for another two games and referee for three ties.
After the tournament, we caught up with Paul to discuss his experience at the tournament:
“I was the oldest referee there and was respected by all in my fitness and ability. My response was 'you’re never too old to try and never too old to give up, until your body and mind tell you to.' In hindsight, I wish I started refereeing earlier, but I accept what’s here and now.
“I had positive feedback from the observers in all my games, which allowed me to progress in the tournament as a match official. I am proud to say I was appointed more as the main referee than my peers.
“I set high standards upon myself and looked to progress and improve after each match, gaining valuable feedback from my colleagues and the support staff to allow me to develop through the tournament.
“This shows how Dorset FA Referee CORE and the development team over the years have supported me and developed me to ensure my skills and knowledge are progressing forward. There are always areas of improvement, which is part of the plan.
“Their patience and adjustment in sessions and observations for me, who has a hearing impairment, shows what can happen and we always find a way round it. The referee team always treated me with respect and inclusion; not because I am deaf, because I am part of the Dorset Referee Family.
“I am honoured to be a Deaf International Referee from Dorset.”
AR1: 23RD SEPT MEN SENEGAL VS ARGENTINA
AR1: 25TH SEPT WOMEN POLAND VS TURKIYE
REFEREE: 27TH SEPT WOMEN TURKIYE VS USA
REFEREE: 29TH SEPT WOMEN POLAND VS JAPAN
4TH OFFICIAL: 1ST OCT MEN SENEGAL VS USA
REFEREE: 3RD OCT SEMI FINAL WOMEN POLAND VS TURKIYE
4TH OFFICIAL: 5TH OCT MEN USA VS FRANCE
More: refereeing in Dorset