Aussie refs prepare for World Cup play-off

Australian referees Ben Williams, Matthew Cream, Hakan Anaz and Strebre Delovski are currently in Uzbekistan preparing for the Asian Group World Cup play-off match.

Australian referees Ben Williams, Matthew Cream, Hakan Anaz and Strebre Delovski are currently in Uzbekistan preparing for the do-or-die Asian Group World Cup play-off match between Uzbekistan and Jordan. The 1-1 result in Jordan on 6 September has the tie evenly poised as the teams head to Tashkent for the second leg which is being played tonight. The winner of this match will progress to the Intercontinental Play-Off against the 5th placed South American team in November.

The experienced trio of Williams, Cream and Anaz are on the list of referees being considered for selection to the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil. Following on from their appearances at the 2012 London Olympics Football Tournament and the recent Under-20 World Cup in Turkey, appointment to this crucial match in Uzbekistan again illustrates the high regard in which Australian referees are held internationally.

All of these matches form part of the selection process for the World Cup and the trio will be hopeful that another strong performance in Central Asia will further strengthen their claim for a spot in Brazil next year.

Meanwhile, a number of other Aussie refs are also in Asia preparing for the coming Hyundai A-League season. Referees Jarred Gillett and Chris Beath, together with assistant referees Paul Cetrangolo and Ashley Beecham, are currently in Japan for the Kirin Cup. Their first match in this international tournament was between Japan and Guatemala and their second match tonight is between Japan and Ghana.

Hyundai A-League refs including Kris Griffiths-Jones, Tim McGilchrist and Shaun Evans have also spent the off-season gaining valuable international experience in the Chinese Super League, while West Australian FIFA Assistant Referee Mathew Cheeseman is currently officiating in the ASEAN Football Federation-s Under-19 Championships in Indonesia.

Not to be left out, the remaining members of the Hyundai A-League panel are finalising their preparations in Australia covering the large number of pre-season practice matches being played by the Hyundai A-League clubs. The refs are also into the third week of their pre-season fitness program, which will ensure that they all reach their optimal fitness levels by the time Round 1 kicks off on October 11.

Finally, as part of the pre-season preparation the FFA Referees Department will visit each club-s coaching staff, players and administrators in the coming weeks to ensure there is a clear and open line of communication between the players, coaches and match officials for the coming season.