Foundation Hyundai A-League referee Peter O’Leary today announced his retirement from the professional refereeing ranks.
After nearly 21 years as a referee, O’Leary made the decision recently to be able to spend more time with his family.
“Having been a professional referee for the past 15 years, now seems to be the right time to check out of the game,” said O’Leary.
“It takes a lot more work now to prepare compared when I was younger and there are plenty of good young referees coming through the ranks.
“I have taken my opportunities throughout my career and achieved everything that I have wanted to in the game.
“The friendships that I have made through football over the years have made the journey so much better.
“But I won’t be leaving the game altogether and I am looking forward to putting something back in once I hang up the whistle,” concluded O’Leary.
Born 3 March, 1972, in Wellington, New Zealand, Peter began his referee career in 1994 after switching from the playing ranks at the age of 21. Whilst studying to become a High School Biology teacher at the University Waikato, Peter refereed in local football competition, rising through the ranks to eventually the New Zealand National League.
He received his FIFA Referee badge in 2003 and since then has been appointed to matches at the OFC Cup of Nations (2004, 2008 & 2012), FIFA U20 World Cup (2007, 2009, 2011 &2013), FIFA Club World Cup (2007, 2008, 2009, 2011 & 2012), FIFA World Cup (2010 (4th Official) & 2014 (Referee)) and AFC Asian Cup 2015.
Peter also had the honour of refereeing the first ever Hyundai A-League match between the Newcastle Jets and Adelaide United on 26 August 2005.
FFA Director of Referees Ben Wilson paid tribute to O’Leary for his contribution to football during his outstanding refereeing career.
“I have known Peter as a friend and colleague for over fifteen years.
“He is the archetypal quiet achiever. A safe pair of hands with plenty of experience who was always willing and able to put his hand up when required.
“A strong performer in the Hyundai A-League who is well respected by the players, coaches and his fellow referees.
“His experience and personality will be sorely missed by all with in the football community,” concluded Wilson.
Peter’s 64th and final appointment in the Hyundai A-League will be the Round 26 fixture between the Wellington Phoenix and Central Coast Mariners at Westpac Stadium in Wellington on Friday 17 April.