New Zealand duo appointed to officiate at FIFA Futsal Men’s World Cup

New Zealanders Antony Riley and Chris Sinclair will be among the referees appointed to officiate at the 2024 FIFA Futsal Men’s World Cup in Uzbekistan.

Manawatu’s Riley (38) and Mainland’s Sinclair (37) will represent Oceania on the 39-strong list of officials named for the tournament.

Main photo: Antony Riley (left) and Chris Sinclair. Photo credit: OFC Media.

The duo have been building their international experience this year, officiating at Argentina’s Futsal National Championship in May 2024, after impressing during April’s OFC Futsal Men’s Championship League.

READ MORE: New Zealand referees get chance to officiate in top Argentine futsal competition >>>>

For Riley, the World Cup will mark the end of his refereeing journey.

Antony Riley. Photo: Shane Wenzlick / Phototek.

Riley told OFC Media his career started at the age of seven “running the line” with his dad in Horowhenua and Manawatu before embarking on a journey that has taken him all around the world.

“Yeah, it does have a little bit of extra special nature to it.

“Being able to represent New Zealand Football, Oceania Football Confederation and FIFA in Uzbekistan for me will bring a close to 30 plus years of being a match official across both football and futsal, which is extra special.

“It is a privilege being able to represent your national association and, in a refereeing scenario, your confederation and colleagues on the international stage, as it is for players and coaches.”

During his futsal career, Riley has officiated at the 2021 FIFA Futsal World Cup in Lithuania, 2024 OFC Champions League – Final, 2023 OFC Futsal Nations Cup, 2019 Oceania Futsal Champions League – Final, 2018 Youth Olympic Games and in 2016 was selected for the FIFA Futsal International List

Sinclair officiated at the last two FIFA Futsal World Cups, and was an assistant referee for the 2021 FIFA Futsal World Cup final between Argentina and Portugal.

“Everyone strives to get to a World Cup, and obviously that’s the highest rank that you can probably get to as a match official. To go and to fly the flag again, it’s the key to what all match officials strive to do. So really looking forward to it,” Sinclair said.

Sinclair was named 2023 Futsal Referee of the Year in the NZ Football awards.

Chris Sinclair. Photo: Shane Wenzlick / Phototek.

The Futsal World Cup list includes two women referees, Oriana Andreina Zambrano Medina (Venezuela) and Anelize Meire Schulz (Brazil), have been named among the CONMEBOL contingent.

Click here for full list of match officials for the FIFA Futsal Men’s World Cup >>>>

The Futsal Whites will compete at the tournament, their first-ever appearance at a FIFA Futsal World Cup.

READ MORE: Who Futsal Whites will face in their group at the FIFA Futsal World Cup >>>>

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Following the successful implementation of Video Support (VS) at the previous tournament in Lithuania in 2021, VS will be used again with an additional four cameras covering the touchlines to help match officials make decisions.

The referees have been undertaking online training sessions since the start of 2024 with the aim of increasing uniformity on key topics, and these will continue ahead of a pre-competition seminar in Uzbekistan from September 4-13, with the tournament kicking off the following day.

Matches will be played in three host cities, Andijan, Bukhara and Tashkent, with one of the 24 competing teams crowned world champions after the final in the capital on October 6, 2024.

This story was first published on July 3, 2024.

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