One of the longest-serving referees for Football NSW has made a tough decision to hang up the whistle as he ends an extraordinary 50 consecutive seasons in the league.
James Barnes, nicknamed ‘Barnesie’, has made a legendary contribution for refereeing in Football NSW, clocking up 50 consecutive seasons as an offical and has gained the reputation of being one of the more well-known referees across the state.
He was first registered as a Football NSW referee in 1978 and has not looked back since. In 2005, he was the oldest referee to debut in the National Premier Leagues NSW Men’s 1 competition, aged 53.
It was a career that he had the pleasure to officiate for some of Australian football royalty including Johnny Warren, Lawrie McKinna and Archie Blue.
Barnes’ decision to announce his retirement from refereeing has come as a surprise to those in attendance at the NSW State League Football Referees General Meeting at Bankstown Sports Club, but it has been confirmed that 2019 will be Barnes’ final season of officiating games.
However, Barnes won’t be completely lost to NSW refereeing, as he plans to stay involved by assessing and training the next generation coming through the ranks in a mentoring-type role. He will continue to spend some time with the Nepean Referees Group as well.
As with the nature of the game, Barnes will endeavour to stay up to date with any rule changes that do come in given some adjustments have been made recently, in order to make sure he and all up-and-coming officials are well informed.
Currently, Barnes’ total number of games sits at 2487, but will carry out his duties for the rest of the season.
His involvement in the Football NSW Champion of Champions and ANSA African Cup tournaments will see him reach the incredible 2500 game milestone and even surpass it. set to take the extraordinary tally past the 2500 mark.