Leading umpire Metchette forced to quit

Top Irish umpire Carol Metchette has admitted she was forced to retire from international tournaments against her wishes.

Metchette, who took up umpiring in 2002 after 18 years in the Old Alex first team and went on to referee at two Olympics, a World Cup and a Champions Trophy, hung up her whistle after overseeing the Champions Challenge I final in Dublin in early October.

While the International Hockey Federation (FIH) are looking into increasing the upper age limit for top-class umpires, they have yet to implement an official change to the current cut-off age of 47.

And that means Metchette was forced out despite producing the best fitness score of all the umpires in the Champions Challenge I, including those almost 20 years younger. It was her wish to continue to be involved based on performance.

“An umpire gets a performance report from every single tournament. It is very detailed: management, fitness, decision making etc. We receive a mark and it must reflect the level of umpire we are,” she told The Hook.

“Therefore, I had to get at least nine out of ten to stay in the world panel. I did this consistently so I wish this was what the FIH used to decide whether umpires had to retire and not age, based on performance and fitness.

“I wasn’t looking forward to retiring and really hoped I could continue but I knew the rules and didn’t think they would be changed. I had the best year of my career so it is a shame it had to end but maybe it was a nice time to finish.”

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