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Athens Olympics official date for Wesley College principal

As principal of Wesley College Ian Faulkner has the ultimate responsibility to ensure 400 students observe school rules. The experience should serve his well this August when he heads to the Olympics in Athens as one of the technical team that will oversee the men’s hockey competition.

Ian is a former international hockey umpire. He officiated at the Hockey World Cup in Bombay in 1980 and at the Los Angeles Olympics in 1984.

He stopped top level umpiring in 1987 but became part of the International Hockey Federation’s technical team, which monitors major competitions.

“Members of the technical team are the eyes of the technical official. We report anything untoward and make sure nothing arises that can lead to a protest over the results of a game on technical grounds,” Ian says.

The technical team makes sure all players have regulation equipment, the markings on the field are correct, there are no holes in the net, games all last the regulation length of time, and the correct number of players is always on the field.

“When we are on duty we sit in a space at the half way line with one team to our right and the other to our left. Hockey has free exchange of players on and off the field so we have to ensure no one sneaks on an extra player.

“Most games are straight forward. We take the time, keep score and note on the score sheet when things happen. Other times players are in the sin bin, managers are talking, and alls sots of things are happening on the field.”

The increasingly commercial nature of modern sport adds another complication. The technical team has to ensure the players’ uniforms meet regulations.

“Sponsors are upset if their logo is too small or someone else’s is too big. We make sure the logos are on the right side of the uniform and that player presentation on the ground is appropriate.

“The way the game is marketed the players must be tidy. No one can have a sock down or a shirt out. If someone shows up wearing the wrong coloured shorts they are not allowed to take the field.”

Ian says the best thing about being an official is that it allows him to see world-class hockey.

He played hockey when he was a student at Wesley College and later played senior club hockey. His first experience at umpiring was when someone tossed him the whistle and said ‘it’s your turn’.