Flynn forges new path for female refs

Aussie trailblazer Allyson Flynn has earned high praise after becoming the first woman to officiate in an AFC senior men’s tournament.

The 2013 AFC Assistant Referee of the Year caught the attention of confederation officials for her efforts during an AFC Cup group match last week.

The 31-year-old assisted fellow Aussie whistle-blower Chris Beath in the 1-1 draw between Singapore’s Home United and Indonesia’s Persipura Jayapura.

AFC Referees Committee member and match assessor, Toru Kamikawa, hinted that Flynn’s performance deserved further opportunities.

“She has all the qualities required of an assistant referee at this level and it would certainly help her development if she was appointed to more men’s tournaments,” Kamikawa said.

Flynn was part of an Australian trio that also included fellow assistant referee Ashley Beecham, while Vietnam’s Dinh Van Dung served as the fourth official.

The A-League and W-League assistant ref put in an assured performance.

“There were some difficult situations but I was confident and never doubted that I had done my best,” Flynn said post-match.

Sharing AFC Cup duties with Flynn is compatriot Sarah Ho. Both were appointed after the AFC Referees Committee studied their performances during the AFC U-16 Championship qualifiers.

“The AFC has opened the door for women to officiate in men’s tournaments but the AFC never compromises on standards and only those who are qualified will be appointed,” said Yoshimi Ogawa, Director of the AFC Referees Department.