Veteran A-League referee Ben Williams - one of the first three professional referees in the country - has announced he will be joining Strebre Delovski in retirement ahead of the coming season.
Williams said he he was quitting to create time to give back to those who've supported him in the game over the his career.
“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 for his push for more professionalism in the game during his career.
Last year, Williams, Chris Beath and Jarred Gillett were the inaugural professional referees in the competitions history.
“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.”comments