A-League referees boss Ben Wilson - who brought VAR to the A-League – has quit football and the FFA for a new job outside the sport in Canberra.
Wilson began officiating at the age of 15 and his first professional match came as a Soccer League Assistant Referee in 1996.
He officiated in more than 200 NSL and Hyundai A-League matches, including five A-League Grand Finals as well as the 2006 FIFA World Cup, 2011 AFC Asian Cup and 2009 AFC Champions League Final.
Over seven years as the FFA Director of Referees, Wilson was key to the launch of VAR in the A-League as the first domestic football competition in the world to use video assistant referees.
He also worked with IFAB to allow referees to issues yellow and red cards to team officials to improve respect towards match officials.
FFA Head of Leagues, Greg O’Rourke, paid tribute to Wilson for his exemplary service to the sport during his tenure and wished him well for the next chapter of his professional life.
“Ben was an outstanding match official in his day and is an equally outstanding Director of Referees,” said O’Rourke.
“Ben’s contribution to the development of referees in Australia during his time at FFA has been immense.
“There is much that Ben has done behind the scenes that has had a positive impact on the game and we are thankful for his valuable contribution.
“He is very well respected within the football community and was also willing to discuss contentious issues with coaches or administrators without fear or favour.
“We are sad to see Ben leave, but we understand his reasons and wish him and his family all the best for his new career move closer to home.”
Wilson explained it was a very tough decision but is excited about his new career outside of football.
“Football has always been a major part of my life and I am proud to have achieved much within the game as a match official and as the FFA Director of Referees,” said Wilson.
“I believe that after seven years in the role the time is right for me to take on a new challenge and for somebody else to have the chance to lead Australia's referees."
“I would like to acknowledge the support of the Referees Committee as well as the referees, referee coaches and referee staff and I wish them well in the season ahead,” concluded Wilson.
Wilson will finish up with FFA at the end of August.
FFA will now commence the process to recruit a new Director of Referees.