“A Brestois, affiliated with the Tahitian Federation and designated for an Australia – American Samoa match… It is sure that it is atypical! Finding a French referee on the other side of the world, like that, we can not imagine, “he proclaims all smiles, at the end of the line. Now settled in Corsica, Ronan Léaustic has had a very unique career which led him to Finistère, where he still retains family ties on the side of Ploumoguer and Saint-Renan in particular, to French Polynesia via Africa, Mayotte or the Antilles.
It was on June 1, 1968, in Brest, “near Kerédern”, he said straight away, that Ronan Léaustic was born and raised before leaving the region, according to family peregrinations. His years of college and high school saw him flourish in Ivory Coast before he returned to Cherbourg, then to Paris where the Breton studied and ended up taking the labor inspectorate exams to progress in the public service.
He becomes a Fifa referee
At the same time, Ronan Léaustic embraces the love of football, transmitted by his father, a big fan of football. He plays in cadets and juniors at AS Cherbourg and at the same time launches into arbitration where he gradually climbs through the ranks, in District and League, until playing the whistle in D4 (current National 2). “As part of my professional career, I wanted to marry a career with island experiences, so I worked in Mayotte, Guadeloupe,” he says. But over the course of my assignments, I have always continued to officiate ”.
Until arriving, in 1997, in French Polynesia. “I found myself affiliated with the Tahitian federation, registered with Fifa (International Football Federation), which offered to introduce myself in order to be able to referee international matches and I was selected”, details the Finistère. “It was certain that it was a unique opportunity that I would not have had elsewhere, but the sporting criteria to be fulfilled are similar whether in Europe, South America or Oceania with minimum times to be respected on 2 x 200 m or 2 x 50 m: these are not discount tests! “
This experience allows him to be whistle, in total, about twenty international matches: matches of less than 20 years, but also seniors like Australia – New Zealand, “often very tense”, or, in particular , this Australia – American Samoa in the qualifiers of the 2002 World Cup, remained in the memories.
I hadn’t realized what was going on
“The ball went and came back just as quickly in the Samoa court”
“We suspected that it would be a game with a lot of goals because there were a lot of results of this type in the Oceania zone. But we would never have imagined that it would take on such a scale, “recalls the man dressed in red on April 11, 2001. The match takes place in Coffs Harbor, a city” an hour’s flight from Sydney. The Samoans are rounded back for the first ten minutes, resist the Australians, before conceding the first goal. “It always makes you smile when I say it, but it’s the truth: I had to run a lot in this game. You always have to be 5, 10 meters from the ball, and as the ball went and came back so quickly in Samoa’s court, I kept going back and forth. At the end of the match, I was emptied! », Laughs the former referee.
The clock is ticking and the goals are accumulated. “I was not aware of what was happening,” says Ronan Léaustic. The scoreboard, managed manually, shows the score of 32-0 at the final whistle. “We greet the players, and we go into the locker room. After a few minutes, I hear noise outside, there is the delegate of the match accompanied by several journalists. People ask me what the exact score is because, if I hadn’t realized it, they knew it was a record! Well, it turns out that we note all the events of the match: it was 31-0, because an Australian was signaled in an offside position on a goal but nobody noticed. “
We talk to him about it “at each new take-up”
Twenty years later, this world record holds more than ever. And continues to stick to the skin of the 52-year-old Brestois who “could even have gone to referee at the Confederations Cup if he had not left Polynesia that year! “. Now back in France, Ronan Léaustic, who is also an inveterate supporter of Stade Brestois 29, still follows football from Corte where he is now sub-prefect. “Each time I take up my post, people type my name on the internet and come across this match, so I still hear about it regularly,” smiles the man who still takes so much pleasure in telling about his career and his true passion for football. arbitration. “From a human and professional point of view, I learned a lot from him. I have fond memories of it ”. And if he confides, with a smile on his lips, that he no longer has a VCR to take advantage of it, he has treasured the VHS tape of his famous match in April 2001.
June 1, 1968
Born in Brest (29)
Beginning in arbitration
Arrived in Papeete (French Polynesia) at the labor inspection service
April 11, 2001
Referee in the 2002 FIFA World Cup qualifying match: Australia-American Samoa
Since October 2018
Holds the functions of sub-prefect in Corte (Haute-Corse)
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