Referee Ryan Atkin from Plymouth becomes England’s first openly gay official

Ryan Atkin will be the first openly gay professional referee officiating in the English Football League this season.

Ryan Atkin

32-year-old Ryan Atkin‘s coming out on Thursday 10 August, has been welcomed by the Football Association, who have stated their commitment to LGBT inclusion, ITV reports.

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Ryan began refereeing in his hometown of Plymouth in 1999 and was first promoted to Football League duties as an assistant referee in 2009, running the line in various fixtures – including Championship matches – before stepping down from those duties at the end of the 2015-16 campaign in order to follow the main referee career path.

And by contributing to the ongoing conversations around LGBT inclusion in sport, Atkin hopes to inspire others who may fear their sexuality or gender identity is a barrier to participation, to get more involved.

Ryan are taking big steps for all LGBTQ persons within sports and especially in football by coming out. are praising him for taking the first step as an LGBTQ person within football community.

Photo by Football Association