Australian referee Mark Shield will be joining the Socceroos in Germany after being selected as one of just 23 referees to attend this year’s FIFA World Cup.
Brisbane-based Shield, who was recently announced the Australian A-League referee of the year, also officiated at the 2002 FIFA World Cup in Korea/Japan where he controlled the 1st round match between Belgium and Tunisia. As was the case four years ago, the 32-year-old will once again be the youngest referee amongst the panel.
“I was very excited when I heard the news and certainly can’t wait to get to Germany and test myself amongst the world’s best,” said Shield.
“The fact that Australia have also qualified for the first time in 32 years makes it doubly exciting.”
“I’m relieved in a way that the wait is finally over especially from the point-of-view that the selection and testing process was a long and strenuous one.
“The experience of four years ago in Korea/Japan was fantastic and should stand me in good stead given I am not treading into the unknown. Certainly there is a lot of pressure in some ways but what I took from the 2002 World Cup was the realisation that from a referee’s perspective it is just ‘a red team against a blue team’.”
Fellow Australian Matthew Breeze who refereed at last year’s FIFA Confederations Cup in Germany had also been short-listed as one of 44 candidates in contention to be selected however missed out with surprisingly only 23 selected as opposed to an anticipated 30.
Three Australian assistant referees will be selected to attend a workshop in Frankfurt from April 18 to 21 with at least two expected to accompany Shield to Germany.
During the most recent FIFA referees workshop last month it was stressed that the referees and their assistants will have to clamp down on ‘time-wasting, reckless play (including elbows and brutal fouls), shirt-pulling and simulation, all with the ultimate objective of protecting the players, and with it, the game in general.’
The only other Australian’s to have refereed at the FIFA World Cup are Tony Boskovic (1974 and 1982), Chris Bambridge (1986) and Eddie Lennie (1998). Richard Lorenc (1990), Gordon Dunster and Eugene Brazzale (1994) have also officiated as assistant referees at the FIFA World Cup.