Michael Hester, the first New Zealander to referee a match at the World Cup, has called time on his career. Hester has refereed at the FIFA World Cup, Confederations Cup, Club World Cup, U-17 World Cup and Olympic Games as well many A internationals, ASB Premiership fixtures and has also been an A-League referee.
But the 39-year-old has decided he can no longer balance the demands of refereeing and a fulltime career as a supply officer for the Royal New Zealand Navy.
''Refereeing is a hobby I've taken from council grounds to World Cup stadiums and it's been an amazing adventure,'' Hester said.
''But the reality is that it's a hobby that you have to balance with your professional and personal demands.
"While I've been trying to find a way to stay involved and also work towards the next World Cup in Brazil, or certainly the campaign to be selected, some other challenges in my life mean it's no longer sustainable.''