A team of Irish match officials will take charge of a Champions League group stage match for the first ever time this Wednesday, signalling a major breakthrough for Irish referees.
Alan Kelly will become the first ever Irish referee to take charge of a Champions League group stage fixture when he leads a team of Irish officials for the Group E fixture between CFR Cluj (Romania) and Basel (Switzerland).
Six Irish match officials will be involved in the fixture - Kelly (Cork) will be assisted by Damien McGrath (Mayo) and Ken Hennessy (Cork), while Anthony Buttimer (Cork) and Neil Doyle (Dublin) will be the additional assistant referees, and Padraigh Sutton (Clare) will act as Fourth Official.
Five of the officials are graduates of the FAI Referees School of Excellence. Kelly, Doyle and Sutton graduated from the first Referee School of Excellence, which ran from 1998 to 2000, while McGrath and Hennessy graduated in 2002 and 2004 respectively.