Irish referee Alan Kelly planned to use his experience in the MLS in America to try and secure a FIFA appointment to the next World Cup tournament in Russia in 2018. Former FIFA and UEFA ranked Kelly took up a new and exciting challenge as a referee and development training officer based in Boston and admits it was a job offer he just could not refuse.
“Basically it’s a two-fold role – one is the actual refereeing in the MLS and the other is a coaching/training and development role for younger referees. The refereeing side of it is the main part and the coaching is a bit of a side issue but, at the same time, it’s important and it’s really interesting,” said Kelly. “The way things have panned out I will be refereeing in the MLS virtually straight away with pre-season games and then I will have a few MLS reserve division games and get involved as the fourth official just to get familiar with the league, the players and the culture,” he explained. “I am well prepared and ready to step into the MLS set up and I am looking forward to it now. My FIFA badge and ranking is recognised in America too and I’d hope to get a few more international fixtures down the road“, said Kelly whose new job commands a salary in the region of £130,000 per annum. Kelly added: “My plan is to go out and referee in the first season – set a standard and establish myself – and hopefully then when it comes to the international side of it that they see enough in me to nominate me again for a FIFA badge and I can go again. “That will open up more doors for me in terms of international football on that side of the world and I have to admit that I have half an eye on the World Cup finals in Russia. I think if I can establish myself in America, I will have a better opportunity of getting to Russia in 2018 than I probably would have in Ireland with UEFA”, he added. “That’s the long-term goal to officiate at World Cup finals. I am 38 now and with the retirement age set at 45 that could be my swan song”, he said.
Source: Evening Echo