[Image: Bradley Kanaris/Getty Images]
Alan Milliner, one of Queensland’s most decorated match officials, has confirmed his retirement from refereeing following the conclusion of the Hyundai A-Legue season.
Milliner debuted in Australia’s top tier in 2009 and has gone on to referee internationally after receiving his FIFA badge in 2014.
The 33-year-old cited recurring hamstring injuries, caused by multiple knee reconstructions, as the primary reason behind his decision to retire.
While he intends to use the lighter schedule to spend more time with his family, Milliner still sees a future in refereeing.
That may include a role as a Video Assistant Referee, having been one of the first nine trained on the system.
“In years to come I would still like to be involved,” Milliner said.
“The game has given me so much over my 16 years of being a referee so in some capacity I will give back to the game, whether that’s coaching, assessing, being a VAR. Along those lines.
“Whether the VAR goes ahead next year is still unknown but I’ve made an offer to stay involved.
“If they take that offer up next year I’m more than happy to help and utilise my experience with the VAR training and my knowledge of the game.
“In the immediate future it’s about spending some quality time with my family that has made many sacrifices during the 15 years I’ve been refereeing.”
While he also officiated FIFA World Cup qualifiers and AFC Champions League matches, Milliner reflects most fondly on his international debut in a March 2014 friendly between Japan and New Zealand.
“It was quite an historic match,” he explained.
“It was the last time Japan was playing in the Tokyo International Stadium before it was pulled down for redevelopment.
“Domestically would be refereeing the Semi-Final between Western Sydney and Brisbane Roar in 2013. That will stay in my memory forever, being involved in that game.”
Football Queensland State Referee Manager David Wiebe paid tribute to Milliner as an example for developing Queensland referees.
“Alan has inspired many young officials with injuries to overcome seemingly impossible hurdles,” Wiebe said.
“His mentoring of young referees has helped many Queenslanders shine on the national stage.
“Football Queensland’s referees department wishes Alan all the best for his future endeavours and we hope to use his knowledge of the game, and what it takes to be an elite referee, to help guide the generation.”
Milliner offered some simple advice for those hoping to follow in his footsteps.
“Continue to enjoy yourself. That was one of the things I concentrated on the most,” he said.
“If I wasn’t enjoying it then I knew I wasn’t going to have a good game.
“Obviously you’ve got to work hard at the same time but you’ve got to enjoy what you’re doing.
“The enjoyment is why you get involved in football, whether that’s playing or refereeing.”