By Callum Ellis
Paul Fisher picked up the Referee of the Year accolade at the 2019 FAW Grassroots Football Association Awards, in association with McDonald’s.
The annual event, which celebrates the dedication and commitment shown by clubs, coaches, players and volunteers from across the country, took place ahead of Wales’ Euro 2020 qualifier against Croatia in October.
Fisher - who is secretary of the Port Talbot Referees Society - was recognised for his officiating in the grassroots game at the event, held at Cardiff City Stadium.
“I was really shocked but very proud to be nominated,” said Fisher. “When I heard I was the winner, I was delighted.
“I hope it’s a reflection on my work with the Referee Society and all the members who work hard every week on the field.”
Fisher, a former Cymru Premier referee, has taken charge of games across the south Wales region.
And has played an integral role in encouraging others to pick up a whistle, ensuring that there are more referees like him at grassroots level.
“We had an issue in Port Talbot a few years ago at junior level where we didn’t have enough referee,” he added.
“There were issues with coaches and parents having to referee, which is not ideal. We made a big effort, going back a number of years now, to increase our numbers and get referees out at grassroots and junior level.
“It leads to better football and reduces the number of incidents involved with players and teams.
“As many games we can get covered, the better it is for everybody. That is our aim, to make sure everybody can enjoy the game.
“We do what we have to do and there are no issues lingering after it.”