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Leo Callaghan

Leo Callaghan
Full nameLeo Callaghan
Born(1924-02-05)5 February 1924
Merthyr Tydfil, Wales
Died8 January 1987(1987-01-08) (aged 62)
1954–1971Football LeagueReferee
1954–1971FIFA listedReferee

Leo Callaghan (5 February 1924 – 8 January 1987)[1] was an association football referee in the English Football League. He was also a Welsh FIFA referee.


Callaghan was born in Merthyr Tydfil, Wales. He made the Football League referees list in 1954 at the age of thirty, and went on to have a seventeen-year career at this level. His greatest domestic honour came when he took charge of the 1968 FA Cup Final between West Bromwich Albion and Everton at Wembley. He is one of only three Welshmen to referee the Final (the others being Mervyn Griffiths and Clive Thomas).

He was also an international referee. This included two Group matches as linesman and one Group C match as referee (between Portugal and Hungary) at the 1966 World Cup Finals in England,[2] as well as six matches in eleven years involving England in Home Internationals,[3] and in European competitions, such as the 1968 UEFA European Football Championship qualifying rounds. On 11 June 1967 he took charge of Sweden versus Bulgaria in the Råsunda Stadium, Solna, in that competition.[4] As regards club competitions, Callaghan was in charge of, for example, Atlético Madrid against FK Vojvodina in their second round second leg tie in the European Cup on 14 December 1966 at the Estadio del Manzanares, when the two-leg scores tied at 3–3, and the result had to be decided by a tie-break match a week later.[5]

An extraordinary event occurred on 12 November 1970. Whilst refereeing a Football League Second Division match between Millwall and Sheffield United, the city of London was engulfed by "[t]orrential rain", causing the "abandonment of [the] game after 25 minutes by ... Callaghan ...".[6]

He retired from the League list in 1971. He later became a Football League assessor.



  • Football League Handbooks, 1954–1970
  • Rothmans Football Yearbooks, 1970–1971.
  • Freddi, Cris (1998) The Complete History Of the World Cup, Collins Willow.
  • Ionescu, Romeo (2003) The Complete Results & Line-Ups of the European Fairs Cup 1955–1971, Soccer Books Limited.
  • Ionescu, Romeo (2003) The Complete Results & Line-Ups of the European Football Championships 1958–2003, Soccer Books Limited.
  • Ionescu, Romeo (2004) The Complete Results & Line-Ups of the European Champions Clubs’ Cup 1955–1991, Soccer Books Limited.
  • Ionescu, Romeo (2004) The Complete Results & Line-Ups of the European Cup Winners Cup 1960–1999, Soccer Books Limited.
  • Ionescu, Romeo (2004) The Complete Results & Line-Ups of the UEFA Cup 1971–1991, Soccer Books Limited.
  • Elleray, David (2004) The Man In the Middle, Time Warner, p49-50 (reference to role as an assessor)


Preceded by
Ken Dagnall
FA Cup Final Referee
Succeeded by
George McCabe
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