The Football Association of Wales regrets to announce that FIFA Referee Ryan Stewart has unfortunately had to retire from active refereeing due to a serious heart condition. Ryan, from Whitchurch in Cardiff, was embarking on his first year as an international referee after four seasons as a Welsh Premier League referee. He recently refereed his first A International when Gibraltar hosted Liechtenstein in a 0-0 draw.
The condition ALVC (Arrhythmogenic Left Ventricular Cardiomyopathy), which is similar to ARVC, a leading cause of cardiac arrest and sudden death, is often associated with athletes, due in part to their high levels of exercise. High profile cases of such medical conditions include England cricketer James Taylor who retired in April, aged 26, because of ARVC. FAW Referees Manager Ray Ellingham said: “The whole refereeing family was shocked and saddened to learn of Ryan’s condition which has led to his premature retirement. "He has recently undergone a series of tests with a leading Professor in sports cardiology and the FAW will continue to work closely with Ryan and do everything possible to help him through this difficult period, and aid him in his recovery.” Ryan is very keen to remain in the refereeing structure within Wales and will now take up a position as a Referee Observer within the Welsh Pyramid.