English Premier League football referee Bobby Madley has been was forced to quit over offensive social media messages which reportedly mocked a disabled man.

Madley, 32, is understood to be starting a new life in Norway after a screen grab of a Snapchat message was sent by one of his followers to senior refereeing officials.

Madley is reported to have shared a picture of a disabled man with an insensitive remark about the probability of being able to beat him in a school sports day race.

The 32-year-old, once touted as one of Britain's best young referees, is now in the process of registering for a professional league in Norway, where his girlfriend lives.

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He and his family, from West Yorkshire, have refused to comment since the Daily Telegraph broke news of his departure two weeks ago.

Madley took charge of last year's Community Shield and was on the Fifa list. His departure before the start of the season was not initially disclosed to his fellow select group referees by their organisation Professional Game Match Officials.

However, he was not present at the mandatory pre-season meeting at St George's Park where they are briefed and prepared. His sudden departure left the select group of 18 referees down to 17.

In a statement PGMOL said: "Bobby Madley is no longer employed by PGMOL. We understand that he has decided to relocate due to a change in his personal circumstances."