For a small town like Rockhampton (Australia) it always seems that we are the over achievers when it comes to sport. Jacqueline Leleu knows all about the lime light as her football career has taken her to some of the highest profile events in world sport. Now she is set to climb to the next level of the game.
Having handed back her official FIFA Assistant Referee badge, Jacqueline Leleu (here, pictured with Sarah Ho at the 2008 Olympic Games) was set for the "quiet life" of work, study and looking after a growing family. Then, out of the blue, Leleu found out that her years of dedication to refereeing had been recognized in a very special way. "I have been chosen for the FIFA Referees Committee," she said excitedly. Leleu said the high powered committee was divided into two sub-committees and she had been offered a place on the development committee. "It is the first time they have had women on the committee and they have chosen four from around the world," she said. "I will miss my refereeing because that is hands-on and physical. However, this position is in administration and involves the development of referees." Leleu said the committee reviewed rules and rulings while evaluating a performance at an elite level as observers. "I will still be working at a high level and with some of the girls I have refereed with before," she said. The appointment of women on a FIFA committee is something of a break-through. "It is still a male dominated sport," she said. "It is good to be promoting women in sport." Leleu said her nomination, which she believes is the first for an Australian, was a bit unusual as the normal path is through the Asian or Australian Football Federations. Leleu was recommended by Sonia Denoncourt, who holds a post with FIFA organizing the appointments of female referees in Europe. "They needed four women for the committee and she nominated me," she said. "The committee requires people who have been at the top." Leleu said women's football was progressing around the world with more females playing the sport in America then males. In Australia the quality of the W-league continues to grow and this is assisting in the development of the women's game. A massive bonus for Leleu is she will still have an opportunity to attend top level football events. "It will be great as I will still get the chance to go to the World Cup and the Olympics”, she said. With the FIFA headquarters at Zurich, Leleu may have to travel regularly to Switzerland, as meetings of her committee are held there twice a year.
Source: The Morning Bulletin