Blowing the whistle on sexism
Devon Life|August 2020
Blowing the whistle on sexism
JUDI SPIERS talks to Julie Knight, the only female football referee in the Devon and Exeter Men’s League

Julie Knight is one of the most competitive and determined people I know. She’s always been sporty, which she puts down to having a father who was a PTI in the Army. Nevertheless, it wasn’t until she was 29 that she decided to start playing squash…seriously.

She explains: “The kids were six and eight and I wanted to do something for me. So I did and I liked it so much I thought I’d like to teach it.”

In 1989 she became a squash coach and six years later was Cornwall County Champion followed by Devon County Champion, a success she repeated some 15 years later at the age of 51. She was the Triple Counties Ladies Doubles Squash Champion with her daughter Laura, the first mother and daughter to win the title, which they held for three years running.

Having achieved so much with squash I wondered why on earth she wanted to become a football referee?

“After watching my son play for years,” she explains, “I said ‘I could do that’, and he said, ‘So why don’t you then?’ Me being me always up for a challenge I did and in 2012 I qualified.”


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August 2020