WOKINGHAM football referee and tutor Brian Wratten has died aged 84.
Mr Wratten was known locally for officiating youth and school football, looking after a national cup final during his career, and was still taking charge of matches a week before his passing.
His work and passion for being a referee was recognised on a global scale, with Brian having a big influence on the game not only here in England, but the United States and Switzerland, too.
He first became a man in the middle back in 1949, but this was in a more informal position, and it was not until moving to New Jersey when he became a qualified football referee in 1976.
Here, Wratten officiated in adult and youth football and was also a founder member of the North West Jersey Association of Soccer Referees.
His work took him back to Europe and to Switzerland, where he would take charge of fixtures in the NW Swiss League during his spare time.
@ReadingRA Our condolences on the loss of a man who has helped train many Referees within Berks&Bucks RIP Brian Wratten
— Wycombe Referees (@hwdrs) May 17, 2016
Brian would again return to the States, where not only would he continue to referee, but soon began running basic and continuation courses, as well as referee appreciation courses for clubs, leagues and community groups.
Such tireless work to the cause would see Wratten enshrined in the New Jersey Youth Soccer Hall of Fame in 1993 – becoming the first referee to receive such an honour.
— Ken Clark (@clarkiesball) May 16, 2016
He would come back to the UK upon retiring, but refereeing was still high on the agenda.
Upon joining the Reading Referees Association, Wratten would become membership secretary and treasurer. He was president at the time of his death.
Brian was also a referee tutor with the Football Association and some 1,000 new match officials have benefited from his training and guidance, some of which he would have worked with the past season.
Wratten was also part of a five-man management consultancy team which helped reconstruct The Referee’s Association.
He will be sorely missed not only by fellow referees, but football locally.