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The “forgotten” men of football.

b2ap3_thumbnail_worldcupball.jpgNow that most domestic seasons have been completed and the international club competitions have reached their conclusions, with highs and lows on all fronts, we are gearing up for the “greatest show on earth.” The great Brazilian legend Pele once called it, “the beautiful game.”


The 2014 World Cup is “just around the corner” and the makeup and seedings have been completed. It just remains for the time to tick by to the June 12 launch in Rio de Janeiro.


By the time it reaches its climax on Sunday 13th July a new world soccer champion will be “crowned” to the acclaim of many and the disgust perhaps of some.



In the middle of all this razzmatazz – literally – will be the referees, the arbitrators, the whistlemen, the match officials, the men-in-black or whatever you want to call them. Black seems to be used less and less these days as a uniform much to my disappointment. Traditionally black was the uniform for referees and whoever changed it needs to tell us why.


It’s strange in some ways that we (referees and assistant referees) are the forgotten contributors to this and other competitions whether local or international. I know that this phenomenon is not peculiar to soccer only. No one ever said it would be an easy task to arbitrate between two competing sides, but a little compliment here and there would be welcome.


It’s a well versed phrase that a game cannot proceed without a referee yet when it comes to compliments and plaudits they are in very short supply. Plenty of criticism and scrutiny yes, but little else.


How many times have you heard people say “the ref wants to be the centre of attention” or as was said to me by Sir Alex Ferguson when I red carded the former Manchester United and England captain Bryan Robson “the ref wanted to be the star of the show.” Not true Sir Alex, not true at all.


There are many excellent referees around at the moment and I’m sure they will all be vying for that ultimate match appointment – the World Cup final.


Now I’m sure I’ll be criticised for saying that it’s not always the best guy who gets that honour. There is a lot of politics involved. There is also the composition of the two teams in the final. You cannot have a referee from say Germany if Germany are in the final. That goes without saying.


There were lots of rumours around the 2010 final referee Howard Webb from England. There were whisperings that he only got the final to appease the English FA, who ultimately are responsible for referees, when they were knocked out on a controversial goal they were denied.

As we are all aware, GLT (goal line technology) was not around then. If it were it would have proved that England were denied advancement when a legitimate goal which had clearly crossed the line was disallowed.


Mr Webb has again been selected to officiate along with 24 other middlemen. Webb showed 14 yellow cards in the 2010 decider between Spain and Holland and was chosen ahead of his fellow countryman Mark Clattenberg.


FIFA says that referees were picked “on their personality and their quality in football understanding by being able to read the game and the teams’ tactical approaches towards each game.” That sound like a large slice of BS to me.


Be that as it may, the teams have qualified and the match officials have been selected.


Europe provides nine of the 25 officiating teams, South America has five, Asia four, Africa and the CONCACAF region three each and Oceania one.


FIFA also says that a further eight referees and eight assistants will go to Brazil as reserves.


The middlemen were chosen with their regular two assistants. It has been pointed out by FIFA that should any of the team fail a fitness test before the June 12th kick off the entire team will be dropped and replaced by officials from the reserve list. Who said referees and their assistants don’t have pressure???


The 2014 World Cup referees are:



I. African Zone


Alioum ALIOUM                     Cameroon  
Daniel Frazer BENNETT South Africa  
Noumandiez Desire DOUE Côte d'Ivoire  
Bakary GASSAMA Gambia  
Djamel HAIMOUDI                                 Algeria  


Redouane ACHIK   Morocco  
Jean Claude BIRUMUSHAHU                 Burundi  
Djibril CAMARA Senegal  
Abdelhak ETCHIALI Algeria  
Felicien KABANDA Rwanda  
Evarist MENKOUANDE Cameroon  
Marwa RANGE Kenya  
Songuifolo YEO                                    Côte d'Ivoire  


II. Asian Zone


Alireza FAGHANI Iran  
Ravshan IRMATOV Uzbekistan  
Yuichi NISHIMURA Japan  
Nawaf Abdulla Ghayyath SHUKRALLA Bahrain  
Benjamin Jon WILLIAMS                         Australia  


Yaser Khalil Ebrahim ABDULLA TULEFAT Bahrain  
Hakan ANAZ Australia  
Matthew James CREAM Australia  
Hassan KAMRANIFAR Iran  
Bakhadyr KOCHKAROV Kyrgyzstan  
Toshiyuki NAGI Japan  
Abduxamidullo RASULOV Uzbekistan  
Toru SAGARA Japan  
Ebrahim Mubarak Sabt Moosa SALEH Bahrain  


III. European Zone


Felix BRYCH                                          Germany  
Cüneyt ÇAKIR Turkey  
Jonas ERIKSSON Sweden  
Björn KUIPERS Netherlands  
Milorad MAZIC Serbia  
Svein ODDVAR MOEN Norway  
Pedro PROENCA Portugal  
Nicola RIZZOLI Italy  
Howard Melton WEBB England  


Mark BORSCH Germany  
Darren CANN England  
Bertino CUNHA MIRANDA Portugal  
Dalibor DJURDJEVIC Serbia  
Bahattin DURAN Turkey  
Renato FAVERANI Italy  
Kim HAGLUND Norway  
Mathias KLASENIUS Sweden  
Stefan LUPP Germany  
Michael MULLARKEY England  
Tarik ONGUN Turkey  
Milovan RISTIC Serbia  
Andrea STEFANI Italy  
Sander VAN ROEKEL Netherlands  
Daniel WARNMARK Sweden  
Juan YUSTE Spain  
Erwin ZEINSTRA Netherlands  


IV. North, Central American and Caribbean Zone


Joel Antonio AGUILAR CHICAS               El Salvador  
Walter LOPEZ Guatemala  
Roberto MORENO SALAZAR Panama  
Marco Antonio RODRIGUEZ MORENO Mexico  


Joseph FLETCHER Canada  
Mark Sean HURD USA  
Leonel LEAL BERMUDEZ Costa Rica  
Marcos QUINTERO HUITRON                 Mexico  
Marvin Cesar TORRENTERA RIVERA Mexico  
William Alexander TORRES MEJIA          El Salvador  
Juan Francisco ZUMBA GALAN El Salvador  


V. Oceanian Zone


Norbert HAUATA Tahiti  
Peter O LEARY                                   New Zealand  


Jan Hendrik HINTZ New Zealand  
Mark RULE                                         New Zealand  


VI. South American Zone


Enrique OSSES                                       Chile  
Nestor PITTANA Argentina  
Sandro RICCI Brazil  
Wilmar Alexander ROLDAN PEREZ Colombia  
Carlos Alfredo VERA RODRIGUEZ Ecuador  


Rodney AQUINO Paraguay  
Carlos Alexis ASTROZA CÁRDENAS         Chile  
Juan Pablo BELATTI Argentina  
Emerson DE CARVALHO Brazil  
Humberto CLAVIJO PRIETO Colombia  
Eduardo DIAZ BARRERO Colombia  
Christian Daniel LESCANO GUERRERO Ecuador  
Hernan Pablo MAIDANA Argentina  
Sergio Mauricio ROMAN RETAMAL Chile  
Byron Norberto ROMERO IBARRA Ecuador  
Marcelo VAN GASSE Brazil  


Happy whistling!

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