Shield steps down as Australia’s Director of Referees

Mark Shield has stepped down as Football Federation Australia's Director of Referees to take up a business role in Queensland. Shield began refereeing when he was only 12-years-old and then became one of the youngest referees selected by FIFA for a World Cup, at 29. He refereed one match, Belgium – Tunisia, at the 2002 World Cup in Korea/Japan and two games, Iran – Angola and Tunisia – Saudi Arabia, at his second FIFA World Cup, four years later in Germany. He also refereed the 2006 AFC Champions League final, Al Karama – Jeonbuk, the 2007 AFC Asian Cup final, Iraq – Saudi Arabia, as well as three consecutive A-League finals (2006, 2007, 2008). In spite of his very successful career, Shield suddenly retired from refereeing in 2008, due to personal reasons. At 35, he would have been age-eligible for three more World Cups!
In September 2011, Football Federation Australia appointed Mark Shield as the new national Director of Refereeing, giving him responsibility for coaching and development of referees as well as appointment of referees to national competitions including the A-League. After only one year, Shield announced that he would not be renewing his contract after being offered a CEO role in another industry and will be stepping down next month. In his tenure as FFA Director of Referees, Shield was responsible for a restructuring of the FFA Referees Department, implementation of the three year Referees Strategic Plan and introducing of the Possibles/Probables Candidate Program, which will help regenerate Australia’s refereeing panels. He also pioneered a new policy of open discussion of refereeing decisions in the Hyundai A-League. “I have thoroughly enjoyed my time with FFA,” said Shield. “The education and development of referees in Australia is something that I am very passionate about. This was a decision made for my family and my career; however I will never be too far from football.”
Head of Hyundai A-League, Damien de Bohun, said while losing such an important member of the Hyundai A-League team is a loss, the pair will continue to work together in the short term to identify a new referees chief to continue the programs that have been put in place. “Mark enjoyed a fabulous career as a FIFA referee and has continued to make a significant contribution to the game in his administration role,” said de Bohun. “He earned the respect of referees and stakeholders with his intelligent approach to referee development. We will work together over the coming weeks to ensure that the right candidate is selected to continue Mark’s excellent work in the referees department and ensure a smooth transition occurs. I wish Mark all the best in his new position and I am sure that he will remain involved with the sport for a long time to come.” Mark Shield will this weekend take the Hyundai A-League and Westfield W-League referees through their paces at the Australian Institute of Sport with media invited to attend the Friday afternoon session from 3pm. He will commence his new position at the end of September.

Source: FFA