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Last Updated: Saturday, 13 November, 2004, 11:51 GMT
Ex-ref Thomas is new High Sheriff
Clive Thomas
Clive Thomas wants his term as High Sheriff to help young people
Former World Cup football referee Clive Thomas is to be the next High Sheriff of Mid Glamorgan.

The 68-year-old, who famously blew the whistle on a winning goal for Brazil in the dying seconds of a match, takes up the year-long post next March.

The job, which dates back to Anglo-Saxon times, is largely ceremonial.

But Thomas, dubbed "The Book" for his strict interpretation of the rules, said he wants to use the role to help set an example for young people.

Thomas, who lives in Porthcawl, south Wales, was nominated for the unpaid but prestigious role in a 1,000-year old ceremony at the Royal Courts of Justice in London on Friday.

You have no divine right with young people for them to listen to you, so you have to sell yourself - just like a referee
Clive Thomas

High Sheriff is the oldest secular office in Britain.

The office once held many of the powers now vested in Lord Lieutenants, high court judges, magistrates, local authorities, coroners and even the Inland Revenue.

But these days its only significant legal functions relate to the enforcement of High Court writs.

But Thomas, who retired from business two years ago, said he wants to find a way he can use the position to help young people, by giving them a sense of discipline.

He said his famous decision against Brazil in a 1978 World Cup match shows that he can be an example to youngsters of how to make tough choices and then stick to them.

Clive Thomas
Clive 'The Book' Thomas as World Cup players knew him

Since hanging up his football referee boots, he has worked as a president of the former Boys Club of Wales.

He said: I'm thrilled to bits, it's as good if not better than refereeing the World Cup and the FA Cup Final.

"I want to be working High Sheriff and work extremely closely with the voluntary sector in Mid Glamorgan.

"I'm well versed with organisations that work with young people and I want to help them and that's what I intend to do.

"I have been brought up to believe in discipline and a code of conduct. That showed in my man-management skills on the field of play.

"I can use that to help the youngsters of today.

"Young people need leadership, they need guidance - there are some that don't want it, of course, but generally, you have to sell yourself.

"You have no divine right with young people for them to listen to you, so you have to sell yourself - just like a referee.


"It's man management skills. On the football field I never had any trouble, so there has got to be something right there.

"It may be that players accept your decision. I'm not saying they agree with it, but they accept it.

"What you then get is respect.

"I used to do it on the football field, now I want to work with other organisations and see what I can do to help them and raise money."

Thomas joins 50 other High Sheriffs and their deputies across England and Wales.

For whom the whistle blows
30 Aug 02 |  SOL
Former ref calls for changes
30 Dec 01 |  Eng Prem


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