A FORMER Premier League referee was invited to open a school’s new all-weather pitch.

Chris Foy, now head of community and public engagement for the Premier League referees body PGMOL, was joined by Blackburn Rovers midfielder Peter Whittingham for the unveiling of Our Lady and St John Catholic College’s new all-weather pitch in Blackburn.

The new pitch was made possible thanks to a grant from the Premier League and The FA Facilities Fund.

The third generation (3G) artificial grass pitch replaces the old surface which was no longer fit for purpose. The new surface, which also has a spectator area and improved disability access ramp.

The school’s partner organisations Abu Hannifah Foundation FC, East Lancashire Football Development Association, Mill Hill FC, IMO Academy and Blackburn United FC will also benefit from the new pitch. Blackburn Rovers Community Trust will be delivering weekly community outreach sessions including Premier League Kicks, holiday clubs and an adult small-sized league.

Chris, who spent 14 years as a Premier League referee, said: “It is always wonderful to see new facilities like this open in Lancashire. Grassroots football provides so many great opportunities, and I’m especially pleased to hear of all of the community outreach projects taking place here.”