Chris Beath, one of Australia's most decorated football referees, has announced that this Saturday’s Isuzu UTE A-League Men's Grand Final will be his 234th and final A-League/A-League Men match as a referee, as he hangs up the whistle.
The 38-year-old Queenslander made his A-League refereeing debut on 28 September 2008 in the match between Wellington Phoenix FC and Sydney FC and retires with a record number of A-League/A-League Men matches refereed, and fifth all time in men's national league history.
His 15-year national league career ends with this weekend's decider being his fourth consecutive appointment as referee for the A-League/A-League Men's Grand Final, in addition to refereeing the inaugural FFA Cup (now Australia Cup) Final in 2014, an achievement that a referee is only provided once in their career.
Having been included on the FIFA International List of Referees in 2011, Beath was added to the AFC Elite Match Official Panel in 2013, regularly officiating matches in the AFC Champions League, as well as qualifiers for the AFC Asian Cup and FIFA World Cup.
Across a 13-year international career, Beath refereed at two AFC Asian Cups in 2015 and 2019, two AFC U-23 Championships in 2018 and 2020 (including the 2020 Final), the FIFA U-17 World Cup in 2019, and was a video match official at the 2019 FIFA Women's World Cup.
The past four years saw Beath’s international achievements progress even further, with him refereeing the men’s Gold Medal Match at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics (Brazil v Spain), the Final of the 2021 FIFA Club World Cup (Chelsea FC v Palmeiras) and being appointed to the Panel for the FIFA World Cup in Qatar 2022.
Beath’s final appointment as an international match official will be as a video match official for the FIFA Women's World Cup 2023 - his second in that role - to be played in Australia and New Zealand.
“I’ve had such an incredible journey with football over the past thirty years. From playing as a junior to refereeing elite football in more than thirty countries, including some of the biggest tournaments in world football,” Beath said.
“My career wouldn’t have been possible without the support of a huge group of people over the years. Professionally, the team at Football Australia, and closer to home my long-term coach Ted Kearney, and my entire family, more specifically my wife Sara, and our three kids.
“For now, my focus and preparation are solely on the match coming up on Saturday which the team and I are very much looking forward to,” Beath concluded.
Football Australia Chief Executive Officer James Johnson said: “On behalf of Football Australia, I would like to thank Chris and express my gratitude for his significant contribution to our organisation and Australian football, where he has also represented Australia impeccably on the international stage for over a decade.
“Chris’s consistency and longevity reflect his desire for excellence and passion for his craft. We wish Chris all the very best during this Saturday’s A-League Men’s Grand Final and for what’s to come post his retirement from professional football,” Johnson concluded.
Football Australia Head of Referees Nathan Magill said: “Chris Beath's retirement marks the end of an incredible career in football refereeing. His record of 234 A-League matches, and four consecutive A-League Men's Grand Final appointments demonstrate exceptional commitment and professionalism.
“From his debut in 2008, to earning spots on the FIFA International List, and the AFC Elite Match Official Panel, Chris has been a beacon of excellence on a global scale. His role in major international tournaments such as the AFC Asian Cups, the Tokyo Olympics, and FIFA World Cups, has elevated his stature and positively influenced football domestically and globally.
“As Chris prepares for his final assignment as a video match official for the 2023 FIFA Women's World Cup, we acknowledge his immense contribution to football. His career will continue to inspire many upcoming referees. We're thankful for his years of dedicated service and look forward to his ongoing involvement in football.”
CHRIS BEATH – CAREER STATISTICS
- Referee: 234 matches from 2008 - 2023 (A-League record)
- Video Assistant Referee (VAR): 51 matches (plus 9 as Assistant VAR) from 2016-2023
A-League Referee of the Year
A-League/A-League Men’s Grand Finals
- 2016 Additional Assistant Referee, Adelaide United FC 3-1 Western Sydney Wanderers @ Adelaide Oval
- 2019 Fourth Official, Sydney FC 0-0 Perth Glory FC (Sydney FC won on penalties) @ Optus Stadium, Perth
- 2020 Referee, Sydney FC 1-0 Melbourne City FC @ Bankwest Stadium (now CommBank Stadium), Sydney
- 2021 Referee, Melbourne City FC 3-1 Sydney FC @ AAMI Park, Melbourne
- 2022 Referee, Western United FC 2-0 Melbourne City FC @ AAMI Park, Melbourne
- 2023 Referee, Melbourne City FC v Central Coast Mariners FC @ CommBank Stadium, Sydney
FFA Cup Finals (now known as Australia Cup)
- 2014 Referee, Adelaide United FC 1-0 Perth Glory FC @ Coopers Stadium, Adelaide
- 2017 Additional Assistant Referee, Sydney FC 2-1 Adelaide United FC (aet) @ Allianz Stadium, Sydney
FIFA Referee: 2011-2023; AFC Elite Panel: 2013-2023
- 2015 AFC Asian Cup, Australia
- 2018 AFC U-23 Championship, China
- 2019 AFC Asian Cup, United Arab Emirates
- 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup, France (VAR)
- 2019 FIFA U-17 World Cup, Brazil
- 2020 AFC U-23 Championship, Thailand – Final Referee, Korea Republic 1-0 Saudi Arabia (aet)
- 2020 Olympic Games, Japan – Gold Medal Match Referee, Brazil 2-1 Spain (aet)
- 2021 FIFA Club World Cup, UAE – Final Referee, Chelsea FC 2-1 Palmeiras (aet)
- 2022 AFC Cup Final, Malaysia (VAR)
- 2022 FIFA World Cup, Qatar
- 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup, Australia & New Zealand (VAR)
Australian Men’s National League Referees
- Richard Lorenc (NSW) – 286 matches, 1977-1995 (all National Soccer League, NSL)
- Matthew Breeze (NSW) – 280 matches, 1996-2011 (162 NSL, 118 A-League)
- Peter Green (QLD) – 240 matches, 2000-2019 (40 NSL, 200 A-League)
- Mark Shield (QLD) – 238 matches, 1995-2008 (181 NSL, 57 A-League)
- Chris Beath (QLD) – 234 matches, 2008-2023 (all A-League)
A-League/A-League Men’s Referees
- Chris Beath (QLD) – 234 matches, 2008-2023
- Peter Green (QLD) – 200 matches, 2005-2019 (plus 40 NSL matches)
- Ben Williams (ACT) – 161 matches, 2005-2016 (plus 24 NSL matches)
- Jarred Gillett (QLD) – 159 matches, 2010-2019
- Shaun Evans (VIC) – 157 matches, 2012-current
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