Football: The FA Blow Full Time on Durkin
Byline: Alan BIGGS
TOP REFEREE Paul Durkin, praised for his handling of Manchester United's clash with Chelsea last week, is to be pensioned off - despite a decision to scrap the retirement age of 48.
The anti-ageism move is to be introduced for the 2005-06 season to comply with EEC legislation, The SP can reveal.
But that will be a year too late for Jeff Winter and Durkin, who was named this week as the ref at this season's Worthington Cup Final.
Both officials had hoped to be spared from standing down at the end of next season.
They and another Premiership official, - David Pugh - must now accept that their careers have only another 16 months to run.
Technically, they could mount a legal challenge, though all three are understood to be philosphical about a delay that will deprive the game of some of its most respected refs.
The FA's eventual scrapping of the age limit, allowing officials to whistle on into their fifties, if form and fitness permit, was already too late for David Elleray.
He is into his final season, along with Eddie Wolstenholme and Clive Wilkes. …