Kane Dempster

Referee Spotlight - Kane Dempster

Meet Kane Dempster, this season's appointed match official For the DFDS Kent Senior Cup Final.

With the highly anticipated DFDS Senior Cup Final less than a week away, we caught up with the appointed referee on the night Kane Dempster, a level 3 referee who has been refereeing for 26 years! So, let's blow the whistle and kick off this conversation.

Tell us a little about yourself.

“I’ve been in the civil service (mainly Immigration and Customs services) for 20 years. My wife Claire and I have 3 children, James aged 15, Molly, 13 and Elliot, 5. Elliot and I are huge supporters of the mighty Spurs (so he’s not yet seen them win anything sadly!).  I’ve also got 2 dogs- a Jug called Buddy who’s 6, and a Cockapoo called Coco who is 6 months old.

What made you start refereeing?

“I was offered the course as something to do with a school study and thought why not? The course was held in Folkestone for 6 weeks of learning the laws, before an exam in the White Lion in Cheriton under strict conditions. 

“I was also not great at football and regularly on the bench (back when there was no roll on roll off) so this was an opportunity to stay involved and make it to a higher level.”

Kane Dempster

How long have you been officiating?

“Since I was 14, so 26 years now!”

Can you tell us about your experience as a Kent FA Match Official?

“Being a Kent FA Match Official has always been a positive experience, particularly since Nick Dunn took over as Referee Development Lead. I have had the opportunities to referee at a decent standard here in Kent, and met some great people along the way.”

What have been the highlights of your officiating career?

“I’ve refereed at some good stadiums, Stamford Bridge being the best one, but other highlights include previous County Cup Finals, including as an assistant to Simon Finnigan on the Kent Senior Cup Final in 2021 and the Isthmian SE play off Semi Final between Ashford and Herne Bay a couple of years ago. However, I would now say that being appointed to referee this year's DFDS Kent Senior Cup Final is my greatest achievement.”

What do you enjoy about refereeing?

“Everything- the atmosphere, the fitness, the opportunity to visit different grounds at a high standard, and the opportunity to meet new people.”

Kane Dempster

What difficulties/obstacles have you experienced as a referee?

“Balancing priorities- when I was younger it was playing pub league with my mates or refereeing and nowadays it is trying to balance the expectations of the FA with the expectations of my wife!”

If you could give potential new referees some advice, what would it be?

“Follow your dreams and give refereeing the commitment it needs. Join the Academy/CORE if you can, listen, learn and then the world is your oyster. Believe in yourself and you can make it anywhere you want to be.”

Thank you, Kane, and all the best for the DFDS Senior Cup Final!

If you have ever considered becoming a referee, now is the time to take that step with our Get into Refereeing workshops. So, whether you are a seasoned player, a devoted fan, or simply someone who wants to contribute to the community, becoming a referee is the perfect opportunity to make a difference on the pitch. You can find more information here.

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