Italian referee Roberto Rosetti has called time on his officiating career in order to take an administrative role with the Italian Referees' Association (AIA).
The 42-year-old announced his shock decision today, fresh from directing two games at the FIFA World Cup in South Africa.
"It is fair to say I have had an extraordinary career – I started when I was 16 and soon I will be 43," he said.
"It has been a huge part of my life – 13 seasons in Serie A, two World Cups, three UEFA Champions League semi-finals, the Euro 2008 final."
The Turin-based hospital manager, who joined the FIFA list in 2002, scaled a number of refereeing peaks, most notably at UEFA Euro 2008 in Austria and Switzerland where he officiated the opening game between co-hosts Switzerland and the Czech Republic, and the final between Spain and Germany.
In South Africa he handled the fixtures between Australia and Ghana in the group stage, and Argentina and Mexico in the Round of 16. But he was not kept on for the quarter-finals after he was heavily criticised for allowing a clearly offside goal for Argentina.
Despite being more than two years short of the mandatory retirement age for Italian match officials, he said he was happy to be hanging up his whistle.
"Now I have received this offer I have decided to take a different path in my career. I'm leaving when I'm still at the top, to make way for younger referees. I'm very happy to have taken this decision. The disappointment of the World Cup did not influence my decision."
From his Serie A debut in April 1998 – a Sampdoria victory at Napoli – Rosetti went on to referee 189 Italian top-flight matches, including five Milan derbies, three Rome and four Genoa.
He was assigned three Coppa Italia finals and was voted Best Italian Referee by the AIC five years running between 2006 and 2010.
Rosetti's new role will be to designate referees for the newly re-branded Italian second division, Serie Bwin. He replaces Stefano Braschi who has been promoted to take over from retired Italian refereeing great Pierluigi Collina as Serie A's match-official selector.
Collina was appointed by UEFA as its organiser of referees for European competitions.