The “forgotten” men of football.


Now 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

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

ASSISTANT REFEREES
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

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

ASSISTANT REFEREES
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

REFEREES
Name Country
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
Carlos VELASCO CARBALLO Spain
Howard Melton WEBB England

ASSISTANT REFEREES
Roberto ALONSO FERNANDEZ Spain
Mark BORSCH Germany
Darren CANN England
Bertino CUNHA MIRANDA Portugal
Dalibor DJURDJEVIC Serbia
Bahattin DURAN Turkey
Renato FAVERANI Italy
Jose Tiago GARCIAS BOLINHAS TRIGO Portugal
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

REFEREES
Name Country
Joel Antonio AGUILAR CHICAS El Salvador
Mark GEIGER USA
Walter LOPEZ Guatemala
Roberto MORENO SALAZAR Panama
Marco Antonio RODRIGUEZ MORENO Mexico

ASSISTANT REFEREES
Eric BORIA USA
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

REFEREES
Name Country
Norbert HAUATA Tahiti
Peter O LEARY New Zealand

ASSISTANT REFEREES
Jan Hendrik HINTZ New Zealand
Mark RULE New Zealand

VI. South American Zone

REFEREES
Name Country
Víctor Hugo CARRILLO CASANOVA Peru
Enrique OSSES Chile
Nestor PITTANA Argentina
Sandro RICCI Brazil
Wilmar Alexander ROLDAN PEREZ Colombia
Carlos Alfredo VERA RODRIGUEZ Ecuador

ASSISTANT REFEREES
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!

Categories: FIFA

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