THIS week I would like to praise two very different referees.

First my congratulations to Mike Dean on refereeing 500 Premier League matches, the first referee to do so.

Mike started refereeing in the Wirral in 1985 and worked in the traditional way to becoming a Premier League referee in 2000.

He was a FIFA referee for 10 years until he reached the mandatory age limit of 45.

Luckily for him the age limit was removed from the Premier League as he is now 53 and referees retention depends on their marks and passing the fitness test.

He’s also the first to show 100 red cards in the Premier League.

I’ve only met Mike once when he was co-tutor of a training session I was on.

He was very quietly spoken and reserved, unlike his exuberant behaviour when watching his hometown team, Tranmere Rovers.

My other admiration is for is a young woman referee, Sachin Nakani, the highest-rated woman referee in Israel.

She started football coaching at 16 before switching to refereeing.

She is an Arab Muslim living in Israel, part of their small Arab community.

There is a tradition of women referees in Israel, but very few of Arab origin.

Sachin is a Muslim woman, refereeing in a men’s league, which by its very nature consists mainly of Jewish players.

However, she says her worst experiences have been with Arab teams, because it is not acceptable for women to be referees in their society.

In fact, she suffered considerable disapproval from her own family.

Like all referees, Sachin faces criticisms from players, managers and supporters on top of all this, but she says that before refereeing she was quiet and shy.

However, she says now she is confident and can say and do what she wants.

There are now 10 Arab Muslim woman referees in Israel, the highest ever, but Sachin, who is studying for a FIFA International masters at Leicester’s De Montfort University, wants to do more. Sachin’s ambition is to empower women so they can empower their daughters, to have an effect through the generations.