For the first time in English football, youngsters have been given the opportunity with a unique behind-the-scenes experience as a match official’s mascot.
The fixture between Blackburn Rovers and Millwall at Ewood Park marked the first time a mascot has been used in this capacity – with a lucky Rovers fan witnessing firsthand the preparation that takes place before an EFL fixture.
Ellie Mayor, a 15-year old from the local area, was in attendance during the goalless draw as she got a taste of a day in the life of an EFL match official.
Upon arriving, Ellie met all the officials on the day, including referee Gavin Ward, to go through all the pre-match checks required. After the handing over of the team sheet, she then tested the scoreboard and all relevant technology, before heading out for the warm-up ahead of kick-off.
Walking the ball out alongside the players and officials, Ellie appeared in the pre-match photograph before taking to her seat to enjoy the contest.
Whilst a traditional mascot is known to be associated with a specific player of a represented team, the match official’s mascot aims to continue the education of young supporters across the wider game, whilst giving a behind-the-scenes look into all aspects of a matchday.
After discussions between Managing Director of the PGMOL, Mike Riley, the Blackburn Rovers Community Trust and support from the EFL, Rovers decided upon a pilot scheme until October, with the aim to encourage and produce the next generation of match officials.