With it being Black History Month, Ade tells us the importance of it and what it means to him.
“It’s an important time for myself and the BAME community to standout and show what we can do and what we strive to do. Racism is there, even if you have to go looking for it, to find it, but I’m thankful to have not experienced it in football.
“I don’t expect to experience racism first-hand in football because I trust who I am officiating and those spectating. I manage the game as best I can before kick-off, and they can see I’m no different to anyone else just because of the colour of my skin.
“There hasn’t been many BAME referees in football in the past, but I think they are starting to come through now. I think there needs to be more targeting to those communities, it’s fine to target everyone but if you want more BAME referees then they need to be targeted specifically.”
Whilst Ade might not aspire to gain promotion, he’s always looking to give back to the game and outlines his future plans.
“I want to start going into local football clubs as a referee, take the flags, and just give kids an idea of the sort of things a referee does and give them an insight.
“I think it would help in gaining more respect for referees, to do this kind of demonstration in front of kids, coaches, parents and show that we are actually human!
“It would hopefully entice young kids to want to do it as well. Importantly though, you have parents who often run the line on a Sunday, let’s educate them a bit more and encourage them to get qualified.
“I just want to give anything back that I can, and I see myself going into referee coaching if possible. I’ve signed up to the Sussex RA-FA Youth Council to be an observer to young referees.
“I’ve been doing that a couple of years now and I really enjoy it. I’ve seen some great young referees start to climb the ladder, and it’s always nice to know you’ve had a hand in their progress.”
The passion that Ade has for refereeing is extremely refreshing to see. Off his own back, he wants to give back and look for any ways he can improve the trade for the better.
He closes our conversation with words of advice for aspiring referees: “My advice to any new referee is do not do it for the wrong reasons. The referees I observe I often ask, ‘why are you doing this?’ If it’s just for the money, you aren’t going to be focused enough to take it very far.
“As soon as you start enjoying it beyond that, you’ll start looking at the game differently, understanding the laws and taking it more seriously.
“Just do it for the right reasons and make sure you enjoy it because if you don’t, you’ll be finding it very difficult. It took me a few seasons to find the right balance, but you’ll get there. Choose your leagues wisely, one’s that suit your ability.”
For more information about refereeing in Sussex please contact:
T: 01903 768573