Referee Alan Kelly has announced that he will be leaving the Airtricity League and FIFA panels at the end of the season to take up a new position with the Professional Referee Organisation in the United States in the New Year.

Kelly has been appointed as the new assistant training and development manager with the PRO and may continue his refereeing career in America.

Kelly has been a FIFA referee since 2002 and has officiated at Champions League and Europa League games, as well as international level.

The 38-year-old Corkman will see out his domestic and international refereeing commitments between now and the end of the year before heading to America.

Kelly admits that it is a challenge he is eagerly looking forward to, saying: "This is a very exciting opportunity for me on a professional level.

“To work with a full-time professional organisation and dedicate my time to refereeing, be it from an education and development perspective or on the field of play, is something that I have always aspired to and it is an opportunity that myself and my family are very much looking forward to.

"Leaving the Airtricity League and UEFA is something that I had not thought about and it was an incredibly difficult decision to make. However, once I found that this opportunity offers a very different challenge, it would have been a regret that would have followed me around had I not accepted it."