Who Is Walter Pless?

Walter_Pless

A teacher by profession, but is now in his 38th year as a football writer. Has written for "Soccer Action" (Melbourne), "Australian Soccer Weekly" (Sydney) and "World Soccer" (London), as well as for several Tasmanian newspapers. Currently contributing to "Goal!Weekly" in Melbourne and the Australian magazine "Soccer International". Played for Croatia-Glenorchy, Caledonians, Metro, Rapid and University in Tasmania, as well as in the United States of America. Coached University, Metro and Croatia-Glenorchy.

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Peart Tony Thursday 25 October 2018 - Copy

Photo:  FFT's head of referees, Tony Peart [PlessPix]

Tony Peart, Football Federation Tasmania’s head of referees, has been appointed to the A-League refereeing panel for the 2018-19 A-League season.

He will be assistant referee in Sunday’s A-League game between Melbourne Victory and Perth Glory.

Tony Peart signals off-side - Copy

Photo:  Tony Peart flags for off-side [PlessPix]

Peart caught the eye nationally after being assistant referee in this year’s FFA Cup competition.

He is also one of the finest referees in the NPL Tasmania competition

Peart was an assistant referee in The Championship, the league under the English Premier League, before moving to Tasmania.

He is the first Tasmanian official to be appointed to the A-League panel.

In the 1980s, Tasmania’s Jack Johnston refereed regularly in the National Soccer League, the precursor to the A-League.

Jack Johnston 02 12 10 003 - Copy

Photo:  Jack Johnston was a member of the FFT Board in 2010 [PlessPix]

Johnston, a police officer, who eventually became the Tasmanian Commissioner of Police, was also a FIFA referee and he remains the only Tasmanian to have reached that level.

Johnson refereed international matches at the Under-20 World Cup Finals in Mexico and was also in charge of senior international games, including those involving the Socceroos.

Peart hopes that his elevation to the national panel will demonstrate a pathway for Tasmanian referees to follow and lead to more Tasmanians refereeing in the A-League in the future.

Tony Peart at KGV Park 25 October 2018 - Copy

Photo:  "We want you!"  Recruitment of new referees has been good this season. [PlessPix]

He has been a success as FFT’s head of referees and has overhauled the refereeing body in Tasmania, acting as a leading driver of recruitment and seeing a significant increase in refereeing numbers.

“I was part of the ‘possibles’ process a few months ago and did a few FFA Cup games in the early rounds and then was fortunate enough to be selected to be part of the A-League panel,” Peart said.

“It’s very competitive. We’ve got 36 assistant referees on the panel and there were probably 80 being considered.

“[Sunday’s game] will probably not be too dissimilar to some of The Championship games I’ve been involved in. I’ve probably done 300 Championship games and it won’t be too dissimilar to many of those.

“The players are just shirt numbers when you’re out there.

“The main thing is performing as part of the team and getting the big decisions right, and the off-sides are a big role for the assistant referee.”

The Video Assistant Referee (VAR) system is part of the A-League, but Peart doesn’t believe it puts pressure on the officials.

“It’s probably a bit of a safety net, if anything,” he said.

“You know that if there’s a howler decision that’s a shocker, then it’s going to get corrected.

“And, equally, those marginal decisions, sometimes even the TV cameras can’t get them right.”

Throwin signal by Peart - Copy

Photo:  Tony Peart signals a throw-in [PlessPix]

Peart said he was heartened by the increase in refereeing numbers and the quality of some of the young up-and-coming referees.

He said Tasmanian clubs and supporters were usually very understanding of younger officials and there was rarely any trouble, unlike some other places interstate.

ACT referees are considering strike action because of unruly supporters.

He said some young Tasmanian officials were on the verge of bigger things after refereeing at national youth championships and catching the eye of assessors.

Chris Hey and AIS captain and Jack Johnston - Copy

Photo:  Jack Johnston (right) is Tasmania's only referee to have reached FIFA referee level.  Here he introduces Tasmania's captain, Chris Hey (No.5), to the captain of the Australian Institute of Sport team before a game at KGV Park in the early 1980s.  On the left is the late John Howlin, who was a linesman for the game, while partially obscured is the other linesman, Basil Masters.  The three officials were household names in Tasmanian football in the 1980s. [PlessPix]

Comments   

-6 #9 Twins 2018-10-29 03:35
Did i hear right that Tony has taken a job on the mainland ?
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+1 #8 Anon 2018-10-29 03:07
Quoting Twins:
Tell you something for free Jayden is a chip of the old block. Just about identical to his father.. cant believe chris was that thin once upon a time.

And they both run all day.
Good greyhound breeding.lol
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+2 #7 Charles Calthrop 2018-10-28 19:49
Quoting Jack Taylor 74:
Tony superb referee one of the best things FFt done bringing him here
Walter you seemed to have dropped the ball in moderating the comments allowed on here; this one contains a compliment for FFT. Disgraceful
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-3 #6 Anon 2018-10-26 12:48
Walter, I need to know... In the picture of Tony flagging offside, how did you manage to play the off side trap whilst holding and snapping a camera in his direction????
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+3 #5 Brian Young 2018-10-26 00:43
Congratulations Tony Peart. Good (!!?) to se Basil's white laces on black boots.
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+7 #4 A-League 2018-10-25 21:25
Perhaps with his previous experience he should be straight into the middle officiating A-League games. Can't be any worse than what we have seen in the opening round!
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+9 #3 Twins 2018-10-25 10:49
Tell you something for free Jayden is a chip of the old block. Just about identical to his father.. cant believe chris was that thin once upon a time.
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+16 #2 Jack Taylor 74 2018-10-25 07:37
Tony superb referee one of the best things FFt done bringing him here
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+13 #1 Brian 2018-10-25 05:40
Congratulations on your appointment.

My best wishes for your future career,
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