By Tom Howe
Kernow Football Alliance are delighted to announce the team of referees that have been selected to officiate their CONIFA World Football Cup (WFC) qualifier against FA Sàpmi next month.
Level three qualified Tom Anstice-Mitchell will lead from the front, with the former referee of the year runner-up swapping National and Southern League involvement for a first taste of international football.
Having once plied his trade as a goalkeeper, Anstice-Mitchell traded his gloves for a whistle and now possesses more than 20 years’ experience as an official, including a decade in the role of referee mentor and more recently as a county level observer.
He will be assisted on the day by Ross Wilcox and Ed Bradshaw. The former, having refereed since the age of 16, has recently been promoted to level four while the latter, having hung up his boots and transitioned into officiating, is currently of level five standard.
“It is certainly something that is going to be unique to me,” Anstice-Mitchell told Kernow’s official partners, Cornwall Sports Media. “I am really looking forward to it. I never thought I would be involved in something like this. Simon [York – Kernow’s disability football director] and I have often talked about Kernow FA and what they want to achieve.
“This is hopefully really going to put them on the map. The [2018 WFC in London] was immensely successful. If that can get out to other areas of the country then more people get to see it and get involved.
“It is exciting, new and I’m so happy that it has come about. I have looked into it and have seen how the independent FAs pull in the same direction. When you talk about the World Cup, everybody thinks about FIFA but there is so much more to the footballing map.
“I love refereeing in Cornwall. The hospitality you get from Cornish clubs is amazing. It would be remiss of me not to thank the referee development officers both there and in Devon as well as my family, too. Without their support, I wouldn’t be where I am now.”
Divided between Norway, Russia, Sweden and Finland, the Sámi people have a rich cultural and footballing heritage and hosted the inaugural WFC, which celebrates its tenth anniversary in 2024.
Their visit to Cornwall represents a one-shot opportunity to secure a place at next summer’s CONIFA WFC, to be held in Kurdistan, with the action set to unfold at Falmouth Town’s Bickland Park come Sunday, July 16 (1.00 pm kick-off).
CONIFA – an acronym for the Confederation of Independent Football Associations – is the football federation for all associations outside FIFA. A global acting non-profit organisation, CONIFA supports representatives from nations, de-facto nations, regions, minority peoples and sports isolated territories.
“I’m really excited to be involved in this game,” said Wilcox. “It’s another achievement ticked off in my refereeing career so far.”
“Being involved in this game is definitely the high point of my journey so far,” added Bradshaw. “I can’t wait for the game to come along.”
Adult tickets are priced at £9.00, which includes the entry of one accompanying child free of charge.
Concessions are charged at £7.00 each, including pensioners and children above the age of 12 that arrive unaccompanied by an adult.
Further details, including information on how to secure your ticket today, are available here.