The Japan Football Association said its referees dispatched to top level international matches have no trouble communicating in English, despite allegations to the contrary after the World Cup’s opening match last Thursday.
Veteran referee Yuichi Nishimura (photo) has received unwanted attention after some controversial calls during the match between Brazil and Croatia. Late in the second half, he awarded Brazil a penalty kick that allowed Brazil to take a 2-1 lead. He then disallowed what would have been Croatia’s second goal. Brazil went on to win 3-1. Afterward, Croatian player Vedran Corluka complained to reporters that Mr. Nishimura didn’t speak English when he approached him during the game. It was “embarrassing that the referee didn’t speak English, he was speaking Japanese”, Corluka said, adding that it was “really difficult to communicate with him”.
The JFA said it couldn’t comment on what took place, since Mr. Nishimura is still in Brazil, but that its referees don’t generally have trouble communicating in English. “Seminars are conducted in English whenever a referee is to take part in an international match organized by FIFA (the governing body of top-level international matches),” she said, adding that all referees sent to such games are fit to judge them in English. But she said the JFA doesn’t offer lectures specifically on English for its certified referees, and that exams for Class 1 referees, who are allowed to judge JFA matches, don’t include English tests. FIFA named Mr. Nishimura as referee for the Brazil-Croatia match, and he has plenty of experience, including officiating at the 2010 World Cup in South Africa, and at the 2012 London Olympics. He was named the Asian Football Confederation’s referee of the year in 2012. FIFA has defended Mr. Nishimura’s decision to award Brazil the controversial penalty kick, saying he “was in a very good position and he saw very clearly this situation.” No decision has been made on whether he will referee another game at the tournament.
Source: The Wall Street Journal