Australia’s most experienced Hyundai A-League referee Ben Williams has announced his retirement.
Williams will referee his final match in Australia on Tuesday night when he takes control of the International Champions Cup (ICC) match between Juventus FC and Tottenham Hotspur F.C. at the Melbourne Cricket Ground. He will remain available for international appointments until December.
Williams will end his top level career having controlled 161 Hyundai A-League matches and 24 NSL matches. He also had the honour of refereeing the 2015 Westfield FFA Cup Final as well as international matches through the AFC and FIFA panels.
“After 22 years on the national panels and 12 years as a FIFA referee it feels like the right time to hang up the whistle,” Williams said. “I’m looking forward to spending time with my increased family and giving back to them for all the love and support they afforded me throughout my career.”
FFA CEO David Gallop paid tribute to Williams, who was named as one of three fulltime professional referees, alongside Chris Beath and Jarred Gillett, in September 2015.
“I’d like to congratulate Ben Williams on his career and his role in the evolution of referees in the Hyundai A-League,” Gallop said. “Ben spent more than a decade officiating in the A-League and various international matches and tournaments, juggling his role with work and family duties.
“He was an important part of the transition into full time professional referees and we wish him well with his future endeavours and family life.”
Having experienced the launch of fulltime professional refereeing Williams believes the future is positive for Australian match officials.
“I've been lucky to be a part of the transition into the professional era of the Hyundai A-League and now into fulltime professional refereeing,” Williams said. “I look forward to the continued success of the fulltime refereeing program and believe Australian referees now have a real career pathway available to them.”
Football Federation Australia (FFA) will make an announcement on Williams’ replacement on the three-person Professional Referees Panel in the near future.
Williams retires as one of Australia’s most highly respected international referees. The 39-year-old regards the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil, where he refereed three matches including the Round of 16 match between Greece and Costs Rica, as the highlight of his career.
In addition to numerous FIFA World Cup Qualifiers and AFC Champions League matches, his impressive resume includes refereeing matches at the:
- 2010 Asian Games
- 2011 AFC Asian Cup
- 2012 AFC Champions League Final
- 2012 London Olympic Games
- 2013 FIFA U20 World Cup
- 2014 FIFA World Cup
- 2014 FIFA Club World Cup
- 2015 AFC Asian Cup