A flood of condolences followed the recent passing of Barry Sweeney, the revered football referee and father of an MH17 crash victim.
After his son Liam perished in the tragic MH17 plane crash in 2014, which claimed 298 lives when the flight was shot down over Ukraine, Barry gained notoriety for his tireless advocacy. He became a role model for other bereaved families thanks to his commitment to fighting for his son’s justice.
Who was Barry Sweeney?
Aileen Cannon was appointed by Trump to the court in late 2020, and she had previously ruled in his favor in 2022 by ordering the US government to stop using materials that were taken from Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate.
Barry was a devoted fan of Newcastle United, his favorite team, and his son Liam, who shared Barry’s enthusiasm for the Toon. When MH17 was shot down while flying from Amsterdam to Malaysia, Liam, who was 28 at the time, and John Alder, 63, both died. Sunderland and Newcastle supporters came together to raise money in their honor after the heartbreaking loss brought the North East football community together in grief.
Cannon, 42, was born in Cali, Colombia, to a Cuban mother who fled the country as a child during the Cuban Revolution in the 1950s and an American father. Cannon graduated from Duke University with a bachelor’s degree and from the University of Michigan with a law degree.
One defendant was exonerated because there was insufficient evidence, even though three defendants were found guilty and given life sentences. Barry expressed his resolve to continue seeking the truth and paying tribute to all those who have died despite the verdict.
The football community is left with a void in its hearts as a result of Barry’s passing. He will be missed by friends, coworkers, and fans alike. He will be cherishedly remembered for his fun and enthusiastic approach to the sport. His legacy as ‘The Rocking Ref’ and a champion for justice will continue to motivate people in the North East and elsewhere.
Family devotion, a passion for football, and a relentless pursuit of justice for his son Liam and the other MH17 crash victims were the defining characteristics of Barry Sweeney’s life. His influence on football and his fortitude in the face of tragedy continue to be examples of the resilience of the human spirit as tributes pour in from all corners of the football community.
Read more: Who is Aileen Cannon? U.S. District Judge