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A-League ref Delovski set to retire

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 20/04/2016

Experienced and highly-respected A-League referee Strebre Deloski has announced he will hang up his whistle at the end of the finals series.

The 40-year-old Delovski said he felt the time was right to announce his retirement to allow younger referees to pursue their dreams.

"I have loved every minute of this amazing journey and I will miss the camaraderie amongst the match officials as well as the buzz and atmosphere of walking out at the start of a match in a packed stadium," he said.

Widely recognised as one of Australia's best match officials, Delovski was the A-League's referee of the year in 2009-10 and has controlled a number of high-profile AFC Champions League and FIFA World Cup qualifiers through the course of his 26 years as a referee.

He will control Friday night's elimination final between Adelaide United and Melbourne City and is still in contention to oversee next weekend's A-League grand final.

His retirement announcement has prompted tributes and sympathy from an unlikely source - players.

"Congrats to Strebre Delovski! One of the best refs I've ever shared a field with. Always took time to talk and explain decisions," tweeted former Brisbane Roar and Melbourne City midfielder Erik Paartalu.

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