A BASINGSTOKE teenager has been named the England Football Association’s national grassroots match official of the year.

Katie Allen, 17, was honoured at the 2022 England Football and McDonald’s Grassroots Football Awards national ceremony, held at Leicester City’s King Power Stadium.

She accepted her award from football legend Siobhan Chamberlain ahead of The FA Community Shield, which saw Premier League champions Manchester City play FA Cup winners Liverpool.

During the half-time break, Katie joined the other winners on the pitch in front of the King Power Stadium crowd.

READ MORE: Basingstoke schoolgirl launches national petition to end gendered sports education

She has refereed an incredible 60 games this season and has recently, become the youngest referee to take charge of the Women’s Junior Cup in Beaconsfield.

Katie has developed and adapted to a whole host of challenges and has done so with a beaming smile.

She is not scared to make the brave decisions and her dedication to learn more about the game and refereeing is second to none.

Katie doesn’t just let the whistle do the talking; off the field she is championing equality within the grassroots football community.

After becoming frustrated at her school for not accepting girls can play all sports, Katie started a national petition. 

Her petition to the Government garnered more than 10,000 signatures and was noted by the school and the Government and brought change benefitting future pupils who wish to lay any sport they wish.

This inspired Katie to join the BBFA (Berkshire and Buckinghamshire FA) Youth Council and later the Youth Sport Trust where she is a board member of the youth council driving change, diversity and inclusion.

The England Football and McDonald’s Grassroots Football Awards recognise and celebrate the tireless volunteers who dedicate countless hours to inspire those in the grassroots community.

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The awards are now in their 13th year and Katie joins a long list of inspirational grassroots football heroes who have been recognised by the programme.

“The grassroots football community need people like Katie. People who dedicate countless hours to their passions which is grassroots football but also see the change they can make off the pitch which is truly priceless. That’s why I’m so proud to be here at Wembley to honour these incredible winners. Katie should be extremely proud of her accomplishments – she’s a true inspiration to all referees and players across the country,” said McDonald’s Fun Football ambassador Sir Geoff Hurst.

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