FFA strengthens support for referees Print
Written by Football Federation Australia   
Tuesday, 12 August 2008 21:59

Football Federation Australia (FFA) today announced the appointment of Mario Van der Ende as Interim National Referees Technical Director.

The appointment comes two months after Van der Ende conducted a review of Australian match officiating standards, systems and practices.

Van der Ende will work with FFA to establish a substantially upgraded referee unit that will have responsibility for referee performance and coaching at the elite Hyundai A-League level, as well as referee recruitment, education and development from the grassroots upwards.

FFA CEO, Ben Buckley said that Van der Ende will work with FFA over the next eight months to establish the new unit and to oversee the appointment of an Elite Referee Instructor in the first instance.

"Referees are an essential part of any game. Recruiting, retaining and developing more referees is an important component of our national football development plan and we are delighted to have Mario join us to help take this forward.

"Mario was a top level referee for more than 25 years, including 12 years and 135 matches as an international FIFA referee," Buckley said.

Van der Ende has officiated at the FIFA World Cup and 'Euro' on multiple occasions, and was on the prestigious FIFA Referees' (sic) Committee for four years until last year.

He has been a referee instructor across the world including throughout continental Europe, England, Northern Ireland, Japan, Mexico, Surinam, Turkey and New Zealand to name just a few.

Van der Ende will also oversee the appointment of a game development referee instructor to support football's vast grassroots community infrastructure, as well as a successor to the job he will hold on an interim basis until around April next year.

"Obviously, with the start of the Hyundai A-League this week, Mario will be focusing on the competition and providing support and advice to our panel of elite referees," Buckley said.

"FFA's view is that match officials have a critical role to play in the game, including in the Hyundai A-League.

"Providing support, advice and education to our elite referees is an important component of building respect for their role as well as for the game overall."

The Hyundai A-League kicks off this Friday night with a Grand Final replay, known as the 'F3 Derby' between Newcastle and Central Coast at Energy Australia Stadium; followed by a Sydney v Melbourne blockbuster on Saturday evening in Sydney. On Sunday, Adelaide meet Perth in Adelaide and Wellington play host to Queensland Roar.