SA: Three leading Australian match officials have been appointed to represent Oceania at the FIFA Women’s World Cup to be held in the USA. Referee Tammy Ogston of Brisbane, plus assistant referee’s Airlie Keen of Adelaide and Rockhampton based Jacqueline Leleu have earned call-ups to officiate at the flagship event for Women’s Soccer.
This tournament will be the second World Cup for Ogston who was also appointed to the previous Women’s World Cup, also held in the USA in 1999. Ogston followed that with selection at the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney and earlier this year controlled her first ever men’s international during the South Pacific Games in Fiji. The 33-year-old Ogston, who has been an international referee for 8 years, has also been refereeing regularly in the Brisbane based men’s competition for a number of seasons.
Both assistant referees also have several years international experience and have both just returned from a three-nation tournament in Japan, in addition to officiating at the Oceania qualifying tournament held earlier this year in Canberra.
For Keen it will be her second FIFA tournament appearance after officiating at last year’s FIFA U-19 Women’s World Championship in Canada. Keen also recently officiated at the recent Festival Cup, an international U20 men’s tournament in Adelaide, whilst Leleu has refereed the last four senior men’s Grand Finals in Central Queensland.
A/National Director of Referees, Barry Such, says that the selection further strengthened the fact that there is a definite career path for women referees in Australia. "Referee development in Australia is very strong in what is a growth area of the sport and I am sure the girls will do well," he said.
The FIFA Women’s World Cup will be held in six US cities between 20 September and 12 October 2003. The Qantas Matildas will open their campaign on Sunday 21 September against Russia in Los Angeles, followed by China on Thursday 25 September in Los Angeles, then Ghana on Sunday 28 September in Portland.
The Final Draw for the 2003 Women’s World Cup, held on 17 July, produced the following groups
Group A – USA, Sweden, Nigeria, DPR Korea
Group B – Norway, France, Brazil, Korea Republic
Group C – Germany, Canada, Japan, Argentina
Group D – China, Ghana, AUSTRALIA, Russia.
The full match schedule is available at www.fifaworldcup.com
USA was named as the new host nation after FIFA moved the event from original host China following the outbreak of the SARS virus. The tournament will be the fourth Women’s World Cup, and will be Australia’s third consecutive Women’s World Cup finals appearance. The Qantas Matildas placed 12th (of twelve nations) in Sweden 1995, and 11th (of sixteen) in USA 1999.