News 15 August 2023

Akil Howson becomes first black Premier League official in 15 years

15 August 2023

Akil Howson has achieved a historic promotion to the Premier League, marking a significant milestone as the top-flight’s first black referee 15 years.

His appointment follows Uriah Rennie’s tenure, which ended in 2008. Howson’s ascent is part of the Professional Game Match Officials Limited (PGMOL) Development Group, established last year as a key facet of the Elite Referee Development Plan.

Comprising of proficient officials with the potential for top-tier success, the Development Group boasts a substantial representation of 30 percent being of black, asian, or mixed heritage among its 28 members.

Formerly a familiar figure in the Championship, Howson’s elevation to the Premier League etches his name in the annals of the league’s history as its second-ever black official.

PGMOL’s chief, Howard Webb, is resolute in fostering diversity in English football beyond player rosters. While progress has been made in increasing representation on the field, the broader landscape of match officials, managers and other roles remains predominantly white.

Howson’s groundbreaking promotion signals a pivotal stride towards reshaping this narrative and ushering in a more inclusive era in the sport.

[Image via Shutterstock]