Queensland has a long and proud history of producing some of Australia’s best match officials, with a host of referees from the state currently officiating at the top level both domestically and internationally.
From community to elite level, Sunshine Coast referee Alex King is perhaps one of the best examples of the success of Queensland’s referee pathway as the third member of Football Australia’s full-time Professional Referees Panel alongside Shaun Evans, Alireza Faghani and fellow Queenslander Chris Beath.
The 29-year-old A-League referee was also selected on the FIFA Panel of International Referees for a second consecutive year in 2021.
The Queenslander began his career officiating local junior and senior matches, before progressing through to the National Premier Leagues (NPL) Queensland, and more recently refereeing matches in the FFA Cup.
“I started refereeing at 13 years old on the Sunshine Coast, working my way up to the [Sunshine Coast] Premier League Final,” King said.
“When I turned 18, I moved to Brisbane and started my NPL journey before moving into the A-League for three years and transitioning into the fourth official panel before refereeing full-time.
“The introduction of the FFA Cup in 2014 was a crucial moment in my career, where I had the opportunity to officiate the first FFA Cup match in Queensland.
“It was the biggest game I had refereed at the time, and it inspired me to achieve more and chase a position in the A-League.
“For the next phase of my career, I am really looking forward to doing AFC tournaments and international matches once COVID eases up.”
Football Queensland delivers community and advanced courses and training programs alongside guidance from referee assessors and mentors to provide development opportunities and support match officials progressing on the referee pathway in Queensland.
The pathway begins with qualifications that prepare referees to officiate in junior, youth and lower divisions of senior football, while the advanced level requires further intensive training in Level 2 and Level 1 courses.
“I pursued refereeing because I wanted to have a job that I loved doing every day. I am really lucky that I can referee full-time because I think it is the best job in the world,” King said.
“I encourage people to get involved in refereeing because it’s a really rewarding experience where you will make good friends and develop your skills in a supportive environment.
“I received a lot of support from professional match official colleagues over the years and that has helped me become the referee I am today.”
Words: Charlotte Monteath