Austrian Thomas Einwaller, 34, has recently announced his early retirement from international refereeing. He is currently classified by UEFA in the Elite Development Category and has refereed at the UEFA European Championship 2006 in Luxembourg, Meridian Cup 2007 in Spain, Olympic Games 2000 in Beijing, as well as the FIFA U-17 World Cup 2009 in Egypt. He was the youngest European referee candidate pre-selected for the FIFA World Cup 2010, but did not make the final list for South Africa.
Thomas Einwaller motivated his early retirement by two reasons: the increased time required for training and also that both his ARs, Roland Heim and Norbert Schwab, will not be available next year due to retirement. However, the fact that another Austrian referee, Robert Schorgenhofer, recently became no. 1 in his country and got significantly more international appointments must have played an important role in Einwaller’s decision to retire at only 34.
Within the last three years, some well-known World Cup referees shocked the international refereeing by their early retirement: Mark Shield (AUS, 35), Tammy Ogston (AUS, 38), Michael Hester (NZL, 39), Oscar Ruiz (COL, 42). All of them already had at least a World Cup under their belt and were age-eligible for one or more World Cups, but they all cited "other commitments" as the official reason for quitting refereeing so early.