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He's more used to taking rap from football players but referee David Elleray showed his true musical colours by becoming a rap star when he accepted an honorary doctorate for his services to sport.

David, president of the Referees’ Association of England, reflected on his 32 years as a geography master at Harrow School where staff are known by their initials - in his case D.R.E.

And he told graduands: "Sheffield Hallam University not only sharpens thinking but also performs miracles by transforming me from a referee and geography master into an international music star.

"I arrived here today as plain old D.R.E and leave here as Dr Dre!"

In the audience were David's refereeing colleagues Howard Webb, Martin Atkinson and Uriah Rennie. Howard was making his second Sheffield Hallam appearance in a week ahead of next Monday's In Conversation event at the Peninne Theatre.

Before the ceremony David said: "It's a bit different from the usual big match occasion. I wonder if they'll hold up the 'minutes remaining' board if I talk for too long."

David is one of the UK’s longest-standing sporting ambassadors. He was one of England’s youngest-ever football referees at the age of just 13, and he has refereed on four continents.

Yet he has managed to combine this distinguished career in sport with an equally distinguished career in teaching at one of England’s top schools.

David became a top-flight football referee in 1986, and was selected as the official spokesman for the Premier League referees.

Referee David Elleray accepted an honorary doctorate for his services to sport
David is president of the Referees’ Association of England
David is one of the UK’s longest-standing sporting ambassadors
In the audience were David

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He officiated in 78 international matches in 35 countries and is a member of the FA Council, chairman of the Association’s Referees Committee, and Vice-chairman of the Football Regulatory Authority, with responsibilities in governance, financial management, education and development.

Sheffield Hallam's graduation ceremonies take place at Sheffield City Hall until tomorrow, Friday 19 November. Around 5,000 students will take to the stage over the fortnight to collect their certificate.

More than 1,000 staff are involved in the graduation ceremonies, and there will be almost 20,000 visitors to the city, to cheer on their loved ones.

For press information contact: Laurie Harvey on 0114 225 2621 or email