Peter O'Leary (referee)

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Peter O'Leary
Born (1972-03-03) 3 March 1972 (age 42)
Wellington, North Island, New Zealand
Other occupation Biology Schoolteacher
Years League Role
? - NZFC Referee
? - A-League Referee
Years League Role
2003- FIFA listed Referee

Peter O'Leary (born 3 March 1972[1]) is a New Zealand Association football referee, previously of Wellington but now residing and working in Whangarei. He operates in the Australian A-League and the New Zealand Football Championship, and his other occupation is as a biology teacher at Whangarei's Tikipunga High School.[2]

He currently has the record for controlling the most matches in the FIFA World Club Cup.[2]


He first took up refereeing in 1994. He has officiated in many Oceania Football Confederation tournaments since becoming a FIFA referee in 2003,[3] notably the OFC Nations Cup in 2004, and the Oceania Club Championship in 2006.

In 2007, he was selected to officiate at the FIFA Under-20 World Cup in Canada during June and July of that year.[4] He took charge of the Group F game between Nigeria and Costa Rica at the Royal Athletic Park in Victoria, British Columbia, on 1 July.[5] He was then assigned the Group B match between Uruguay and Jordan at the Swangard Stadium in Burnaby, on 4 July.[6] At the English Premiership tie between Aston Villa and Sunderland F.C. as a guest of top English referee Steve Bennett, O’Leary was summoned from the stands to assume Bennett’s role on the touchline as 4th official for the second half of the match.[7]

O'Leary officiated at the FIFA Club World Cup in Japan, as the referee for the fifth place playoff between Adelaide United and Al Ahly and at the 2009 FIFA U-20 World Cup in Egypt, refereeing group games between Italy and Trinidad and Tobago and between Hungary and the United Arab Emirates, along with one game at the 2009 FIFA Club World Cup in United Arab Emirates, refereeing TP Mazembe and Pohang Steelers FC.[8]

O'Leary was included on the short list to officiate at the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa along with fellow New Zealand referee Michael Hester,[9] both of whom were confirmed in the final 30 officials to take charge at the finals.[10]

On 19 June 2014, he was announced as the referee for the group match between Nigeria and Bosnia-Herzegovina at the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil.[11] The match, won by Nigeria 1-0, was controversial: a goal by Edin Džeko of Bosnia-Herzegovina was disallowed when he was ruled offside by the assistant referee, but replays later appeared to show that he was actually onside on the play by at least a step.[12][13][14]


  1. ^ Birthdate confirmation and biography: NZFC website.
  2. ^ a b Tapaleao, Vaimoana (21 June 2014). "All eyes on Kiwi ref at World Cup". The New Zealand Herald. Retrieved 24 June 2014. 
  3. ^ Biography detailing OFC Tournaments: A-League website.
  4. ^ Selection for 2007 FIFA U-20 World Cup: NZSoccer website.
  5. ^ Nigeria v. Costa Rica, FIFA U-20 World Cup, 2007: website.
  6. ^ Uruguay v. Jordan, FIFA U-20 World Cup, 2007: website.
  7. ^ "Kiwi ref tastes premier league action". Stuff. 29 September 2008. 
  8. ^ "Denilson fires Steelers into semis". 13 December 2009. 
  9. ^ In 2013 O'Leary was selected to officiate in the 2013 ASB Premiership Grand Final between Waitakere United and Auckland City. "Refs O'Leary and Hester on FIFA World Cup short list". Oceania Football Confederation. 25 October 2008. 
  10. ^ "NZ referees selected for football World Cup". NZPA. 6 February 2010. 
  11. ^ "Referee designations for matches 27-29". FIFA. 19 June 2014. 
  12. ^ Hannah Duncan (2014-06-21). "World Cup 2014: More controversy at World Cup as Edin Dzeko is wrongly denied goal as Bosnia crash out against Nigeria | Metro News". Retrieved 2014-07-13. 
  13. ^ Chris Greenberg (21 June 2014). "Bosnia-Herzegovina Robbed Of Goal By Offside Call In Loss To Nigeria, Eliminated At World Cup". Retrieved 21 June 2014. 
  14. ^ Peter Staunton (22 June 2014). "Dzeko: 'Shameful' referee should be sent home after Bosnia-Herzegovina loss". Retrieved 22 June 2014.