Australian Match Officials have been in high demand in 2016, having received a raft of international appointments since the beginning of the year.
Australian referees have controlled 10 AFC Champions League preliminary and group stage matches across six different countries so far in 2016. Only South Korean referees have covered more matches throughout the competition. Fulltime referee Ben Williams will also take charge of an upcoming AFC Champions League Round of 16 fixture in Uzbekistan.
In addition to their AFC and Hyundai A-League commitments, Hyundai A-League referees Peter Green, Chris Beath and Ben Williams were each appointed to 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifying matches in the March FIFA match window.
Not to be outdone, Westfield W-League referees Kate Jacewicz and Casey Reibelt have recently returned from the FIFA Seminar for Prospective World Cup Referees held in Doha, Qatar.
As pre-selected referees for the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup in France, the seminar provided Reibelt and Jacewicz with the opportunity to further heighten their refereeing skills and knowledge ahead of a busy international calendar leading up to the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup.
For Australia’s elite Futsal referees February was a busy time of year with Chris Colley, Ryan Shepheard and Darius Turner all active on the international stage. Colley travelled to Uzbekistan to referee at the AFC Futsal Championships in Uzbekistan, while Shepheard and Turner travelled to Fiji to control matches at the OFC Futsal Championships.
Fulltime referee Chris Beath, who most recently returned from an AFC Champions League match in the United Arab Emirates, spoke about the challenges, but also the positives, of life as an international football referee.
“The travel can be quite demanding. Our closest AFC match is seven hours away and it’s not uncommon that we can spend more than 24 hours traveling to and/or from a game, so it’s important we’re ready to perform. We regularly work with our Fitness Coaches, Sports Scientists, Nutritionists, and Sports Psychologists to ensure we arrive in peak condition for each match.
“Despite the challenges, it’s an amazing opportunity to be able to travel throughout Asia (and the world) to referee football. I’ve been very fortunate to have refereed in more than 25 different countries and travelled to many places that I wouldn’t have ever envisaged. It is a very big honour to referee for AFC and FIFA and we never take that for granted.”
Finally, FFA is continuingly to build our relationship with the Japanese Football Association (JFA) and can announce that Referees Ben Williams and Jarred Gillett, as well as Assistant Referees David Walsh and George Lakrindis have been invited to referee two J-League matches and two Kirin Cup matches in Japan in June.
This marks the second year Australian referees have been invited to referee J-League matches and follows on from Japanese referees Koichiro Fukushima and Takuto Obake controlling Hyundai A-League matches in the 2015/16 Hyundai A-League season.