As Portugal overcame Argentina to claim their first ever title in the Final of the FIFA Futsal World Cup Lithuania 2021™ earlier this week, New Zealand match official Chris Sinclair was in the thick of the action as the third referee.  

The appointment capped off a successful tournament which saw Sinclair earn appointments in a number of matches alongside fellow Kiwi Antony Riley.  

Sinclair was the referee for the tournament-opening match between Venezuela and host nation Lithuania, with Riley the second referee. 

The pair worked together again in the quarter-final between RFU and Argentina, with Sinclair the second referee and Riley the referee.  

In 2016 Sinclair became the first New Zealander to officiate at a FIFA Futsal World Cup when he took part in the tournament in Columbia.  

Oceania Football Confederation Head of Refereeing Kevin Stoltenkamp acknowledged what both Sinclair and Riley have gone through in order to be at the tournament.  

The pair departed New Zealand on July 20 to officiate at the Continental Futsal Championship and then elected to remain overseas in the lead up to the World Cup, due to difficulties gaining places in Managed Isolation back in New Zealand.  

“It has been an amazing journey for both Antony and Chris and one which began well over two months ago for them,” Stoltenkamp said.  

“We are very proud of both officials.  

“For Chris, an appointment to the opening match, quarter-final and the Final is just a reward for his total commitment, dedication and drive to be a world-class official.”