Ten Queenslanders have been announced as part of the twenty-two Australian Match Officials selected on the FIFA Panel of International Referees for 2018, the largest contingent represented on the list.
Football Queensland Referee State Coach Ted Kearney said the announcement is recognition for the hard work of the match officials.
“It’s a who’s who, really,” Mr Kearney said.
“The future of referees is safe with them (the Queensland referees) around.”
Mr Kearney said those 10 Queensland referees are also on the Asian Football Confederation’s (AFC) Asian Elite Referees List.
A host of experienced Queensland referees are featured in the panel, including A-League referees Peter Green, Jarred Gillett and Chris Beath.
Two W-League officials, Casey Reibelt and Renae Coghill have also been named on the World Cup candidates list for 2018.
He said it was hard to pin down the reason why Queensland has produced such high quality referees but pointed to one program which has contributed greatly.
“It is hard to put a finger on why they are better,” he said.
“Ten years ago, the Referee Pursuit of Excellence program came in and we changed our mindset at the time.
“They (referees) were sent off in a direction, they readily adopted it and they have now taken ownership of that program.”
Queensland boasts the largest cohort of referees on the panel, which Mr Kearney said will in turn educate younger referees.
“Some branches don’t see a FIFA referee in their ranks, and we have 10,” he said.
Mr Kearney said the education of referees through the program taught men and women the skills to succeed both on and off the pitch.
“The program was not just about refereeing, it was about handling pressure and approaching situations with creative thinking,” he said.
Football Queensland CEO Geoff Foster said the selections are recognition of the considerable investment in referee education.
“We are delighted with this announcement, our investments have enabled the referee directorate to grow from a part time administrator to four full time staff in two years,” he said.
“To continue our success, we will be creating training hubs at Meakin Park and some regional centres to continue the work being done.”
Queensland match officials on the FIFA Panel of International Referees for 2018.