Uriah Rennie was born 23 October 1959 in Sheffield and is a retired top level English football referee. He was the first black referee to officiate in the Premier League and received a honorary doctorate at Sheffield Hallam University in November 2023.
‘Uri’, as he was fondly referred to by players and pundits alike, took charge of 175 Premier League matches during a 14-year career, dishing out a total of 543 yellow and 30 red cards. He gained a reputation of being bold, confident and no-nonsense, helping to justify why he is still regarded as one of the best referees the Premier League has ever seen. He began refereeing in 1979 in local leagues, then operated in the Northern Premier League until 1994, at which time he was appointed to the Football League List of referees.
He was given his first Premiership appointment on 23 August 1997, a game between Leeds United and Crystal Palace at Elland Road.
Rennie became a FIFA referee in 2000, and joined the Select Group of professional referees the following year. Keith Hackett, head of the Professional Game Match Officials Board has described him as “the fittest referee we have ever seen on the national and world scene.” At the end of 2004, he retired from the FIFA list, after reaching the compulsory age of 45 but made a return to active refereeing in November 2007. In September 2010, Rennie became president of Hallam FC which was celebrating its 150th anniversary season.
Of his Doctorate, Graham Moore of Sheffield City Trust said: “It is such a well deserved honour for Uriah who following a distinguished football referring career, works tirelessly for Sheffield City Trust where he is a valued colleague as Community Development Manager to develop our Well-being Charity initiatives to improve diversity and inclusion.”
He practises both kick-boxing and aikido, and has a Master’s degree in business administration and law. He is also a magistrate in Sheffield. He is married and has one daughter and a son. He appeared as himself in the BBC Two drama “Marvellous”, broadcast in 2014 and in 2015 became the referee in the ITV game show, “Freeze Out”.
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