Last week, Chris Sinclair was refereeing at the Continental Futsal Championship in Thailand as part of his preparations for the FIFA Futsal World Cup 2021 in September.  

Sinclair marked OFC history in 2016 when he became New Zealand’s first referee at a World Cup.

He caught up with OFC about his experiences so far.

Tell us a little bit about yourself?

I am currently employed at Mainland Football as a Futsal Development Officer.

My role is to lead the development of futsal programmes within the Mainland Football Federation and to provide better opportunities for both male and female players, coaches, and referees of all ages.

I have a wonderful family and they are incredibly supportive.

My wife Nicole and three children Rory, Karstan and Bentley are always driving me to excel in everything required to referee at the highest level, and are committed to helping me achieve my ambitions.

You were in Thailand officiating at the 2021 Continental Futsal Championship, how was the experience?

What an experience it was. With the current COVID-19 pandemic there were lots of precautions in place to keep everyone safe.

This included several PCR swab tests carried out by the medical staff, isolating in our rooms and restrictions were put in place for our travel to and from the hotel to the stadium.

The matches I was involved in and watched were played at a high level. It is not only a great opportunity for us as referees to get games under our belts, but also the players and coaches.

How important was it for you to get in some high quality football ahead of the FIFA Futsal World Cup 2021 in September?

The Continental Futsal Championship was about exposure to high-level matches.

I was able to prepare my body physically for skilful, fast matches and was in an environment to prepare mentally through seminars and debriefs of our matches.

Chris Sinclair pictured far right in Thailand. Photo Credit: Chris Sinclair

What’s your training regime been like?

My training programme focuses on multiple aspects. This includes running long and short distances, sprints over short distances, sharp movements and change of direction type exercises.

Gym sessions involve stability, power and strength, HIIT, yoga and stretching.

Additionally, a healthy nutrition plan for the family which supports me to have an ideal body weight and physique for refereeing.

It’s been a challenge without international futsal games being played in Oceania, has there been any obstacles that people don’t know about?

The futsal community have all been in the same boat for the past couple of years with the current pandemic situation.

However, we have continued to use our local competitions – which we have been very lucky to have – to keep us in the best possible form.

Some of the obstacles include a number of medical appointments and paper work prior to leaving New Zealand, and an extended amount of time away from our families due to the restrictions of international travellers arriving in New Zealand.

What are we looking forward to the most in Lithuania?

Working with and alongside some of the top futsal referees and instructors in the world, while being able to bounce ideas off one another and increase my knowledge and education.

You officiated at the FIFA Futsal World Cup 2016 in Colombia, how does it feel to have another one under your belt?

The 2016 World Cup in Colombia was an incredible experience and successful one.

Now the focus is on Lithuania and I am really looking forward to it. It’s an honour to represent OFC, New Zealand Football, my family and the futsal community back home on the international stage.