Mark Shield to finish career at Suncorp Stadium

Tonight’s match at Suncorp Stadium between Queensland Roar and Adelaide United will mark the final appearance of Mark Shield as the ‘man in the middle’ of football pitches around Australia and the world.

Tonight-s match at Suncorp Stadium between Queensland Roar and Adelaide United will mark the final appearance of Mark Shield as the ‘man in the middle- of football pitches around Australia and the world.

Shield has been Australia-s premier referee for the past decade, in that time refereeing at the FIFA World Cup finals in 2002 and 2006, plus refereeing the 2007 AFC Asian Cup final and the past three Hyundai A-League Grand Finals.

Football Federation Australia CEO Ben Buckley paid tribute to Shield and for what he has achieved in his career.

"Mark Shield has been the shining light of Australian referees for more than a decade, and we thank him for his commitment and dedication.

"His international service is testament to his high standards and professionalism.

"I am sure everyone in the football family joins with me in wishing Mark and his family all the best in his retirement from refereeing. Having said that, I hope that he continues to be involved in football in some capacity in the future."

From Brisbane, Shield-s rise up the refereeing ranks occurred quite quickly, making his professional debut just a month after his 22nd birthday, in the old National Soccer League on the 8th October, 1995 when officiated the Sydney United v West Adelaide at the Sydney United Sports Centre.

In 1999 he became a FIFA referee and officiated at his first major championship, the FIFA U/17 World Cup in New Zealand. A year later he refereed at the UEFA Youth Championships as a guest referee.

At just 28, Mark became one of the youngest referees to ever officiate at a FIFA World Cup finals, when he did the first round game between Belgium and Tunisia at the 2002 finals in Korea/Japan.

At the 2006 edition in Germany, he officiated in the Iran v Angola and Saudi Arabia v Tunisia group matches and was selected as one of 12 officials to officiate in the final eight matches of the Cup. He was appointed the fourth official to the Portugal v France semi final.

On the domestic scene, Mark refereed his first grand final in 2002 and marked a run of six straight major championship decider-s, including the first three grand finals in the Hyundai A-League. He was also named Referee of the Year in each of those seasons.

Australia-s entry into Asia also provided further opportunities for local referees and in 2006; Shield refereed the second leg of the final of the AFC Champions League between Al Karama and Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors.

In 2007, Shield, along with fellow Australian referee Matthew Breeze, officiated at the Asian Cup finals, with Breeze getting a semi final and Shield, refereeing the final between Iraq and Saudi Arabia.

On behalf of the football community, FFA wish Mark all the best for the future and thank him for his dedication and contribution to the game of football.

FIFA World Cup 2002 & 2006 AFC Asian Cup Final 2007 Hyundai A-League Grand Final 2006, 2007, 2008 Zurich Hyundai A-League Referee of the Year 2006, 2007, 2008 FIFA Club World Cup 2007 FIFA Confederations Cup 2003 FIFA World Youth Championships 2001 & 2005 FIFA U17 World Cup 1999 & 2005 UEFA Youth Championships 2000 National Soccer League Grand Final 2002, 2003, 2004