IFAB recommended VAR for World Cup 2018

Video Assistant Refereeing took another step towards becoming an integral part of World Cup after the International Football Association Board recommended that it be approved for use. The decision is seen to be the crucial seal of approval for the technology, which has been the subject of testing for the past two years across 20 football competitions. It will now be rubber-stamped at the IFAB’s AGM in March leaving it almost certain to be deployed in full at the World Cup final tournament this summer.
Tested across the world in competitions including the Portuguese Primeira Liga and North America’s MLS, data from the experiments was collated by a team of academics at Belgium’s KU Leuven University. These findings were presented to IFAB on Monday and described by the body as “positive and encouraging”. In the findings presented to IFAB, the academics made several statistical observations about the technology which allows referees to ask to review key moments in a match on video. Included among the observations the academics found that only 31.2% of matches during the trial called for the use of VAR. In those games, 56.9% of checks were for goals and penalty incidents (referees are also allowed to consult on red card decisions and matters of mistaken identity). The median length of time taken to check with VAR was 20 seconds and the median when a decision to take a full review was a minute. VAR was found to have a decisive impact in just 8% of all matches studied, but it was found also not to have corrected a “clear and obvious error” in 5% of matches.
IFAB’s recommendation at the meeting chaired by Zvonimir Boban, FIFA’s deputy secretary general, was widely expected. Final approval is now likely a formality and executives from FIFA have already spoken about the prospect of the technology being used in Russia this summer. FIFA’s chief commercial officer, Philippe Le Floc’h, gave an interview with the Associated Press in which he said: “VAR will definitely happen,” adding: “It’s great to have technology in football because this is also a fair[ness] thing.” Le Floc’h went on to reveal that FIFA have already had discussions with potential commercial partners for sponsoring the technology during the World Cup. “We are talking to various technological companies who are very interested with what we are doing on the technology side of things”, he said.

Source: The Guardian

Copa Libertadores – Round 1

First Leg, 22 January 2018

Montevideo Wanderers – Olimpia
Referee: Anderson Daronco (BRA, photo)
Assistant Referee 1: Rodrigo Correa (BRA)
Assistant Referee 2: Guilherme Camilo (BRA)
Fourth Official: Wagner Reway (BRA)
Referee Assessor: Jorge Jaimes (PER)

Deportivo Macara – Deportivo Tachira

Referee: Andrés Rojas (COL)
Assistant Referee 1: Alexander León (COL)
Assistant Referee 2: Wilmar Navarro (COL)
Fourth Official: Carlos Betancur (COL)
Referee Assessor: Juan Lugones (BOL)

Oriente Petrolero – Universitario
Referee: Carlos Orbe (ECU)
Assistant Referee 1: Byron Romero (ECU)
Assistant Referee 2: Luis Vera (ECU)
Fourth Official: Roberto Sánchez (ECU)
Referee Assessor: Claudio Puga (CHI)

Second Leg, 26 January 2018

Deportivo Tachira – Deportivo Macara

Referee: Michael Espinoza (PER)
Assistant Referee 1: Víctor Raez (PER)
Assistant Referee 2: Michael Orue (PER)
Fourth Official: Joel Alarcón (PER)
Referee Assessor: José Buitrago (COL)

Olimpia – Montevideo Wanderers

Referee: Fernando Rapallini (ARG)
Assistant Referee 1: Gabriel Chade (ARG)
Assistant Referee 2: Cristian Navarro (ARG)
Fourth Official: Fernando Echenique (ARG)
Referee Assessor: Nilson Monção (BRA)

Universitario – Oriente Petrolero
Referee: Esteban Ostojich (URU)
Assistant Referee 1: Miguel Nievas (URU)
Assistant Referee 2: Gabriel Popovits (URU)
Fourth Official: Jonathan Fuentes (URU)
Referee Assessor: Joel Ruiz (PAR)

VAR on the agenda for the IFAB ABM

The IFAB has confirmed the agenda for the forthcoming Annual Business Meeting (ABM) which will take place at Home of FIFA in Zurich on Monday, 22 January 2018. The main focus of the meeting will be on video assistant referees (VARs) and members will discuss the latest results from the experiment and the scientific study report from the Belgian university KU Leuven which has been conducting an independent analysis of the use of VARs, including data from all participating countries and competitions since the start of the experiment in March 2016. The IFAB and FIFA administrations will also provide detailed reports on the VAR experiment including the key learning areas and experience from the two-year trial period. Based on the analysis and evaluation of all relevant data and information, the Board may make a recommendation for the Annual General Meeting (AGM) to consider on whether the use of VARs in football should be permitted and, if it is, how the use of VARs can be made accessible to as many competitions as possible.
The ABM will also assess the impact of the amendments made to the Laws of the Game implemented in 2017/18 and consider the amendments proposed for the 2018/2019 edition. Additional agenda items include an update on the two-year experiment with additional substitutes in extra time, the use of electronic and communication equipment in the technical area as well as an update on the development of the FIFA Quality Programme for electronic performance and tracking systems (EPTS). Furthermore, the members will discuss which Play Fair! topics could be further explored, following the first feedbacks received from various stakeholders and trials since the launch of the initiative. The ABM prepares and agrees on topics and material for the AGM, the meeting which has exclusive authority to make changes to football’s Laws of the Game. The next AGM will take place in Zurich, on 2 March 2018.

Source: IFAB

Recopa Sudamericana 2018

First Leg, 14 February 2018

Independiente – Gremio
Referee: Roddy Zambrano (ECU, photo)
Assistant Referee 1: Byron Romero (ECU)
Assistant Referee 2: Christian Lescano (ECU)
Fourth Official: Luis Quiroz (ECU)
VAR 1: Mario Díaz de Vivar (PAR)
VAR 2: Milciades Saldívar (PAR)
AVAR: Roberto Tobar (CHI)
Referee Assessor: Alberto Tejada (PER)

Second Leg, 21 February 2018

Gremio – Independiente
Referee: Enrique Caceres (PAR)
Assistant Referee 1: Eduardo Cardozo (PAR)
Assistant Referee 2: Juan Zorrilla (PAR)
Fourth Official: Eber Aquino (PAR)
VAR 1: Andres Cunha (URU)
VAR 2: Nicolas Taran (URU)
AVAR: Jose Argote (VEN)
Referee Assessor: Ubaldo Aquino (PAR)

CONCACAF Program of Refereeing Excellence produces results

The word “development” in football is associated most often with players. For example, a Member Association will introduce a new program that focuses the development of youth footballers’ skills. Development, however, also pertains to referees. The match officials are key to any effectively presented match. It is common for them to receive a degree of scrutiny just as intense as those they oversee on the pitch. Earlier this month, three alumni of the inaugural CONCACAF Program of Refereeing Excellence (PORE) – Ivan Barton (El Salvador, photo), Oshane Nation (Jamaica) and Reon Radix (Grenada) – earned FIFA status. “The success of the Program of Referee Excellence can be seen in the results,” said Brian Hall, CONCACAF’s Director of Refereeing. “CONCACAF is proud that three inaugural course graduates have earned the special recognition of becoming a FIFA Referee. Earning the FIFA badge is not an easy task and takes a tremendous amount of focus, dedication, passion, and commitment. It is clear that Oshane, Ivan, and Reon have committed themselves to excellence both on and off the field.”
In January 2017, CONCACAF launched PORE in conjunction with the Federación Mexicana de Fútbol (FMF). Over the course of two separate four-week sessions at the FMF headquarters in Toluca, ending in October 2017, 13 top national-level referees were trained by professional Mexican referees and FIFA instructors. The participants – each between 18 and 25 years old – were required to pass the FIFA Referee Fitness Test the first week of both sessions at high altitude in Mexico City. They were immersed into a total football environment, attending daily field/classroom technical sessions, as well as specialized classes in English, social media, nutrition, leadership and other life skills. The referees were also appointed to officiate games in the Mexican second division or below and were given feedback on their work. Thanks to PORE’s success, Hall is confident that the program will generate even more positive results. “I am certain that the future will see many more PORE graduates excelling and representing their member association on the world stage”, he finished.

Source: CONCACAF

Banned for life, referee Lamptey had 6 years of match-fixing history

A FIFA investigation linked a referee accused of match-fixing a World Cup qualifier in 2016 to “numerous publicly documented scandals” in the previous six years. FIFA investigators said Joseph Lamptey of Ghana had “a history of being suspended for poor performances” before being banned for life and typically awarded more penalty kicks than any other African referees of his grade. A common match-fixing tactic is for referees to award penalty kicks after non-existent fouls or handball incidents to help betting syndicates cash in bets on the number of goals scored.
"This conduct – and its repeated occurrence – establishes a clear and consistent pattern behavior for matches refereed by Mr. Lamptey,” investigators wrote in a document published by FIFA on Monday. Still, Lamptey remained eligible for World Cup qualifying duty on FIFA’s international list requiring annual approval, and also by the Confederation of African Football (CAF) and Ghana’s soccer federation. FIFA did not immediately respond to questions about how Lamptey came to be selected for the South Africa-Senegal qualifier in November 2016. Portugal’s 2-2 draw in Gabon in a 2012 friendly, which included three penalties scored, was among six games identified as suspicious that Lamptey handled before the game that ended his career. His decisions in South Africa’s 2-1 win – helping the home team score twice late in the first half – led FIFA to ban him for life and order a replay. Lamptey’s history is detailed in evidence to the Court of Arbitration for Sport, whose detailed verdict to explain why it dismissed his appeal last August has now been published by FIFA. ”This CAS decision underlines FIFA’s commitment to protecting the integrity of football and its zero-tolerance policy on match manipulation,” FIFA said in a statement. However, suspicions about Lamptey’s conduct dated back to African club matches organized by CAF in 2010, Portugal’s visit to Libreville without Cristiano Ronaldo in 2012, and a September 2016 qualifier for the African Cup of Nations, in which Cameroon beat Gambia 2-0, the FIFA investigation concluded. Footage of the Portugal game shows that, at 1-1 close to halftime, Lamptey initially awarded a goal to Gabon despite the ball never even touching the goal-line before it was grabbed by the goalkeeper. Portugal captain Pepe urged the referee to consult his assistant before the goal was disallowed. ”Mr. Lamptey displayed specific conduct and actions on the pitch which were anticipated on the international betting markets by bettors which seemed to hold prior knowledge of goal given by Mr. Lamptey,” the FIFA investigative report said. In his final international game, Lamptey helped South Africa’s goals from a penalty awarded for a non-existent handball, and after the Senegal defense was unbalanced by him allowing a free kick to be taken quickly and far from where the foul was committed. The referee’s lawyers argued at CAS that he made innocent mistakes, however betting monitoring experts detailed how the pattern of wagers was suspicious. From the 12th minute until South Africa scored in the 43rd, the odds for at least three goals to be scored “failed to increase as logically expected.” Senegal won the replayed game 2-0 in November, and eventually qualified to play at the World Cup in Russia.

Source: AP

PRO named Webb as General Manager

PRO today announced that following General Manager Peter Walton’s successful professionalization of match officials both in the United States and Canada, the organization has named Video Review Operations Manager Howard Webb as the new GM effective Thursday, 18 January 2018.
As the leader of PRO since inception in 2012, Walton has cultivated the structural framework and provided essential resources through support staff, training, education, and welfare, all of which will continue with Webb at the helm. Walton will remain involved as a consultant, and Manager of Assistant Referees Greg Barkey will continue his current role while taking on additional responsibilities as Manager of Senior Assistant Referees and Video Review Operations. “Developing PRO into the organization that it is today has been a tremendous honor,” said Walton. “Our officials have more resources than ever before, and their world-class training has been rewarded with opportunities at the highest levels both in the CONCACAF region and globally. I have incredible faith that Howard Webb will continue to lead this organization with referees reaching even higher standards and realizing many more ground breaking achievements”.
Since Webb joined the organization in March 2017, PRO and MLS successfully implemented video review into 154 MLS games last season with Video Assistant Referee (VARs) becoming the fifth member of officiating crews league-wide. In addition, PRO referee Mark Geiger was named VAR for the 2017 FIFA Club World Cup Final in Abu Dhabi. The extensive training in video review and overall match preparedness has resulted in two PRO referees being retained on the FIFA World Cup shortlist for the first time in organization history. “Peter Walton and I have been friends for a very long time, and our respect for one another has only grown stronger as we’ve collaborated to continue the improvement of officiating standards over the last year,” said Webb. “We have great opportunity with the growth of the game here, and I look forward to drawing upon my experiences to provide the best possible training, resources, and technologies as we strive to become the global standard.” Prior to Webb joining PRO, the world-renowned former FIFA referee had a strong track record of leadership in officiating organizations. He oversaw the development of referees in the English Premier League, English Football League (EFL), and Football Association (FA) as Technical Director for the Professional Game Match Officials Limited (PGMOL), He also served as the Saudi Arabian Football Federation Director of Referees. Webb’s remarkable 25-year officiating career featured more than 500 combined matches in the English Premier League and Football League, and his landmark 2010 season remains the only instance of a referee officiating both a UEFA Champions League and FIFA World Cup Final in the same year.

Source: PRO

World’s Best Futsal Referee 2017: Tomic (CRO)

1. Sasa Tomic (CRO, photo) 714 p.
2. Bogdan Sorescu (ROU) 505 p.
3. Dario Santamaria (ARG) 451 p.
4. Tomohiro Kozaki (JPN) 358 p.
5. Daniel Rodriguez (URU) 296 p.
6. Nurdin Bukuev (KGZ) 266 p.
7. Mohamed Hassan (EGY) 170 p.
8. Carlos Gonzalez (GUA) 169 p.
9. Christopher Sinclair (NZL) 104 p.
10. Rex Kamusu (SOL) 90 p.

Source: Futsal Planet

French referee Chapron kicks out at Nantes player before sending him off

Ligue 1 referee Tony Chapron has been suspended after being caught kicking out at Diego Carlos and then sending off the Nantes player following an apparently accidental collision between the pair during their clash with Paris St-Germain.
Chapron aimed a kick at the Nantes defender while on the floor after the pair accidentally collided in added time at the Stade de la Beaujoire. Carlos was shown a second yellow card, apparently for dissent, a decision that left the hosts baffled. The player's dismissal was overturned on Monday. Chapron had been due to take charge of Wednesday's Ligue 1 game between Angers and Troyes, but will now sit out "until further notice," a Referees' Technical Directorate (DTA) statement confirmed on Monday. The decision was made after a phone call between DTA director Pascal Garibian and the president of the Federal Refereeing Commission (CFA), Eric Borghini. According to L'Equipe, Chapron, 45, has sent a report to the football authorities and acknowledged he made a mistake in showing Carlos a second yellow card in added time at the end of Nantes' 1-0 defeat. 
In a statement released via French media on Monday, Chapron apologised to Carlos for his actions, writing: "This maladroit gesture was inappropriate. As a result, I would like to present my apologies to Diego Carlos. A complementary report has been sent to the disciplinary commission so that the booking received by the FC Nantes player be rescinded, as the images showed me his gesture did not seem voluntary. During the match, I collided with Diego Carlos. At the moment of impact, I had a very sharp pain on a recent injury. It was bad reflex action that meant I stuck my leg out at the player". Garibian criticized Chapron's "loss of control" in the incident. "His action was unacceptable," Garibian told L'Equipe. "I will not say more than that; it is for the LFP disciplinary commission to decide on. It was a bad reaction. He lost control of his emotions in the context of the fall. As a provisional measure, he will not be available to take charge of matches until the end of the [disciplinary] process." French referees organisation SAFE said it would stand with Chapron through the proceedings but acknowledged his fault in the incident. "Tony Chapron reacted badly. Even if he is not an aggressive character, his gesture was inappropriate," a statement said. "He has apologized to Mr. Diego Carlos Santos Silva. He has also addressed the second booking in an updated report and explained that the dismissal should not stand. Referees must know how to handle their responsibilities on the pitch in highly pressurized situations but also away from the pitch if they realize that they handled an incident poorly".

Source: ESPN

AFC U-23 Championship 2018

China, 9-27 January 2018

Referees
1. Chris Beath (AUS, photo)
2. Peter Green (AUS)
3. Nawaf Shukralla (BHR)
4. Fu Ming (CHN)
5. Ma Ning (CHN)
6. Liu Kwok Man (HKG)
7. Alireza Faghani (IRN)
8. Ali Sabah (IRQ)
9. Mohanad Sarray (IRQ)
10. Ryuji Sato (JPN)
11. Jumpei Iida (JPN)
12. Adham Makhadmeh (JOR)
13. Kim Dong-Jin (KOR)
14. Ko Hyung-Jin (KOR)
15. Ahmed Al-Kaf (OMA)
16. Abdulrahman Al-Jassim (QAT)
17. Khamis Al-Marri (QAT)
18. Fahad Al-Mirdasi (KSA)
19. Turki Al-Khudhayr (KSA)
20. Muhammad Taqi (SIN)
21. Hettikamkanamge Perera (SRI)
22. Mohammed Abdulla (UAE)
23. Ravshan Irmatov (UZB)
24. Valentin Kovalenko (UZB)

Assistant Referees
1. Matthew Cream (AUS)
2. Ebrahim Saleh (BHR)
3. Yaser Tulefat (BHR)
4. Cao Yi (CHI)
5. Huo Weiming (CHI)
6. Mohammadreza Mansouri (IRN)
7. Reza Sokhandan (IRN)
8. Yagi Akane (JPN)
9. Toru Sagara (JPN)
10. Ahmad Al-Roalle (JOR)
11. Yoon Kwang-yeol (KOR)
12. Sergei Grishchenko (KGZ)
13. Mohd Yusri Mohamad (MAS)
14. Abu Bakar Al-Amri (OMA)
15. Saud Al-Maqaleh (QAT)
16. Taleb Al-Marri (QAT)
17. Mohammed Al-Abakry (KSA)
18. Abdullah Al-Shalawi (KSA)
19. Koh Min Kiat (SIN)
20. Palitha Hemathunga (SRI)
21. Mohamed Al-Hammadi (UAE)
22. Hasan Al-Mahri (UAE)
23. Abdukhamidullo Rasulov (UZB)
24. Jakhongir Saidov (UZB)

Support Referees
1. Minoru Tojo (JPN)
2. Ilgiz Tantashev (UZB)

Support Assistant Referees
1. Ahmad Ali (SYR)
2. Nguyen Trung Hau (VIE)

The oldest FIFA match official in 2018: Kochkarov (KGZ)

At 48, Bakhadyr Kochkarov (KGZ) is currently the oldest match official on the FIFA List. Former assistant referee in Ravshan Irmatov’s team at the 2010 and 2014 World Cups, Kochkarov (photo) was born in 1970 and, although still active, will not participate in his third World Cup. Martin Atkinson (ENG) and Ali Alsamaheeji (BHR), both born in 1971, are the oldest FIFA referees still active. On the Assistant Referees List there are five FIFA ARs born in 1971: Hugush Mohammed (ERI), Angesom Ogbamariam (ERI), Belachew Yetayew (ETH), Marvin Torrentera (MEX) and Konrad Sapela (POL). Interesting is that Torrentera, 47, has been selected for the 2018 World Cup. Finally, there is only one Futsal referee older than 45, Elchin Samadli (AZE) and also only one, Libor Kastanek (CZE), on the Beach Soccer List, both of them born in 1971.

I got it wrong: referee admits error in Northern Ireland's World Cup play-off

The referee who awarded Switzerland their all-important penalty against Northern Ireland in the World Cup play-off has admitted that he made a mistake. Ovidiu Hategan adjudged Corry Evans to have handled Xherdan Shaqiri's shot inside the area during the second half of the first leg at Windsor Park. Ricardo Rodríguez tucked away the spot-kick to score the only goal of the tie and end Northern Ireland's hopes of a place in Russia.
It was a decision that also ended Hategan's hopes of making it onto the pitch in Russia, as he was subsequently left off FIFA's 36-strong panel of officials."It's not a secret and I'm not hiding," he said. "It was a sad, unpleasant moment for me, sad because I made the mistake. It's painful because for three and a half years I had some results and very good benefits with my team". Hategan didn't rule out going to Russia as a Video Assistant Referee, with the new technology possibly set to be used and 10 more officials expected to be named.

AFC Referees Special Award 2017: Namazov (UZB)

The Asian Football Confederation (AFC) presented the AFC Referees Special Award to Uzbekistan’s Bakhtiyor Namazov at the AFC Futsal Referees and Instructors Seminar in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
The 43-year-old capped off another remarkable year for Asian refereeing in 2017 when he became the first AFC referee to officiate in the final of the FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup in Bahamas between eventual champions Brazil and Tahiti. AFC President Shaikh Salman bin Ebrahim Al Khalifa said: “Our ambition with the AFC’s Vision and Mission is to see our players and officials succeed on the world’s biggest stages. Bakhtiyor Namazov’s performance reinforces once again the enormous strides our match officials continue to undertake and solidifies Asia’s position as global leaders in world refereeing. I am confident that this achievement will inspire not just match officials, but our teams and players in the Continent to aspire and reach the pinnacle of world football. One Asia, One Goal!”
In the Bahamas, Namazov also oversaw the group-stage match between Poland and Brazil, as well as the Brazil and Portugal quarter-final encounter. He was also a second referee, timekeeper and reserve assistant referee throughout the tournament.Namazov, who became a FIFA referee in 2009, also officiated the 2015 AFC Beach Soccer Championship - including the final between Oman and Japan - as well as the semi-finals of the competition's most recent edition in Malaysia in March 2017.

Source: AFC

CONMEBOL U-20 Copa Libertadores 2018

Uruguay, 10-24 February 2018

Referee: Fernando Echenique (ARG, photo)
Assistant Referee 1: Julio Fernandez (ARG)
Assistant Referee 2: Maximiliano Yesso (ARG)

Referee: Ivo Mendez (BOL)
Assistant Referee 1: Reuly Vallejos (BOL)
Assistant Referee 2: Ariel Guizada (BOL)

Referee: Rodolpho Toski (BRA)
Assistant Referee 1: Fabricio Villarinho (BRA)
Assistant Referee 2: Danilo Manis (BRA)

Referee: Cesar Deischler (CHI)
Assistant Referee 1: Edson Cisternas (CHI)
Assistant Referee 2: Alejandro Molina (CHI)

Referee: Nicolas Gallo (COL)
Assistant Referee 1: Eduardo Díaz (COL)
Assistant Referee 2: Dionisio Ruiz (COL)

Referee: Guillermo Guerrero (ECU)
Assistant Referee 1: Flavio Nall (ECU)
Assistant Referee 2: Edwin Bravo (ECU)

Referee: Jose Mendez (PAR)
Assistant Referee 1: Rodney Aquino (PAR)
Assistant Referee 2: Darío Gaona (PAR)

Referee: Luis Garay (PER)
Assistant Referee 1: Stephen Atoche (PER)
Assistant Referee 2: Jesus Sanchez (PER)

Referee: Gustavo Tejera (URU)
Assistant Referee 1: Carlos Pastorino (URU)
Assistant Referee 2: Carlos Barreiro (URU)

Referee: Alexis Herrera (VEN)
Assistant Referee 1: Franchescoly Chacon (VEN)
Assistant Referee 2: Lubin Torrealba (VEN)

Reserve Referee
Roberto Sanchez (ECU)

IFAB to recommend VAR for 2018 World Cup and all club competitions

Video replays to correct refereeing mistakes are set to be recommended for use at this summer's World Cup - and everywhere else next season - at a key meeting in Zurich on Jan. 22. The five members of football's law-making body, the International Football Association Board (IFAB), are gathering at FIFA's headquarters in Switzerland for their annual business meeting. This meeting will set the agenda for IFAB's annual general meeting, which is where changes to football's laws are approved.
Football is arguably the last of the major global sports to fully embrace video technology but, having finally decided to trial video assistant referees (VARs) in 2016, the decision at IFAB's annual general meeting in Zurich on March 2 is now widely believed to be a formality. Those trials have taken place in 15 national leagues, including the Bundesliga, Major League Soccer and Serie A, as well as several FIFA competitions, and their results have been analysed by Belgium's top university KU Leuven. IFAB will publish the most recent data from the pilots in the week before the Jan. 22 meeting, and they are expected to show that decisions have been corrected once every three games and the average time taken on each review has been greatly reduced as officials have become more used to the system. A spokesperson for IFAB told Press Association Sport these results will be discussed at the meeting and a vote will be held to provide an "indicative recommendation" to the AGM. As a reflection of British football's role in the game's development, IFAB is comprised of the football associations of the four home nations, each with a single vote, and FIFA, which has four votes and the deciding vote in the result of a tie. The Jan. 22 meeting will be chaired by FIFA's general secretary Fatma Samoura and attended by the chief executives of the English, Northern Irish, Scottish and Welsh FAs, as well as technical experts. FIFA has made no secret of its desire to use VARs at Russia 2018 and has already, in its view, successfully trialled them at several age-group tournaments, two Club World Cups and last summer's World Cup dress rehearsal, the Confederations Cup. The Irish Football Association (IFA) has already said it will be voting for VARs after Northern Ireland's World Cup hopes were ended when Corry Evans was wrongly adjudged to have handled the ball in November's play-off against Switzerland. IFAB's plan for video reviews is that they are only used in four circumstances: to decide if goals should be awarded, penalty decisions, red-card incidents and rare cases of mistaken identity.

Source: ESPN

CAF African Nations Championship 2018

Morocco, 12 January – 4 February 2018

Referees

1. Mustapha Ghorbal (ALG, 1985)
2. Helder Martins (ANG, 1977, photo)
3. Pacifique Ndabihawenimana (BDI, 1985)
4. Abou Coulibaly (CIV, 1985)
5. Ibrahim Aly Elsaid (EGY, 1979)
6. Bamlak Tessema (ETH, 1980)
7. Daniel Laryea (GHA, 1987)
8. Hamada Nampiandraza (MAD, 1984)
9. Mahamadou Keita (MLI, 1983)
10. Noureddine El Jaafari (MAR, 1978)
11. Jackson Pavaza (NAM, 1984)
12. Jean Ndala (COD, 1987)
13. Louis Hakizimana (RWA, 1979)
14. Maguette Ndiaye (SEN, 1986)
15. Victor Gomes (RSA, 1982)
16. Sadok Selmi (TUN, 1984)

Assistant Referees
1. Mokrane Gourari (ALG, 1982)
2. Seydou Tiama (BFA, 1980)
3. Elvis Noupue (CMR, 1983)
4. Soulaimane Amaldine (COM, 1985)
5. Steven Moyo (CGO, 1986)
6. Mahmoud Ahmed (EGY, 1984)
7. Berhe Tesfagiorghis (ERI, 1975)
8. Sidiki Sidibe (GUI, 1982)
9. Gilbert Cheruiyot (KEN, 1985)
10. Souru Pathsouane (LES, 1988)
11. Attia Amsaaed (LBY, 1980)
12. Moriba Diakite (MLI, 1980)
13. Lahcen Azgadu (MAR, 1986)
14. Arsenio Marengula (MOZ, 1986)
15. Abdallah Ibrahim (SDN, 1986)
16. Yamen Melloulchi (TUN, 1979)

Video Assistant Referees (VARs)
1. Mehdi Abid Charef (ALG, 1980)
2. Ghead Grisha (EGY, 1976)
3. Bakary Gassama (GAM, 1979)
4. Malang Diedhiou (SEN, 1973)
5. Janny Sikazwe (ZAM, 1979)

Assistant Video Assistant Referees (AVARs)
1. Jerson Dos Santos (ANG, 1983)
2. Marwa Range (KEN, 1977)

CAF scrapped Referee of the Year Award

CAF president Ahmed Ahmed has come out to explain the body’s decision to scrap off the African-based Footballer of the Year and the Referee of the Year from its 2017 edition. Despite releasing a shortlist of 10 footballers and referees, the continent’s football governing body decided to drop the categories which prompted several stake holders to demand for explanations.
Speaking at a press conference in Accra on the eve of the awards, CAF president Ahmed Ahmed finally explained the scraping of the African Footballer of the Year based in Africa saying: “It’s very simple; we want to promote African football. There are no two levels of football in Africa. Best is best, not best for the bad or best for the best. That’s the reason. We don’t have two bests, the players based in Africa are also capable of winning the African Player of the year Award, so there is no need to categorize them”, he added. “We felt that a double standard could not be promoted by awarding distinctions for second choice. When you aim for excellence, you must rise to the highest standards. The goal is to work for the best players to stay on the continent. One can evolve in Africa and be the best player in Africa. We must create the conditions to keep the best on the continent and have one day the best African player who plays in Africa. On the scrapping of the category “Referee of the Year”, Ahmed noted that the “referees already have their rewards and marks of recognition. They are evaluated at each match by the Referees Committee and the best are designated for big games such as the CAF Champions League final. In addition, there is a risk of violation of ethical rules because this distinction can be a factor of corruption in the near future”.
Uganda’s goalkeeper Denis Onyango who scoped the honor last year will officially be the last player to receive the African-based Player of the Year award, while Gambian referee Bakary Gassama will be the last to receive the Referee of the Year Award.

Source: CAF

Collina reveals VAR plans ahead of FIFA World Cup 2018

Pierluigi Collina has revealed that FIFA are already instructing potential World Cup referees on how to use VAR (video assistant referees) ahead of next year’s tournament. No decision has been made on the use of video assistant technology in Russia, with the final decision set to be made in March. But football’s top brass offered their strongest hints that they are confident it will be introduced for the 2018 World Cup at the Dubai International Sports Conference.
FIFA President Gianni Infantino said that its implementation – across seven domestic leagues around the world so far – has been ‘very encouraging and very positive’ with only ‘fine-tuning’ needed. And former official Collina, now the chairman of the FIFA Referees Committee, says that VAR tutorials are one of the governing body’s top priorities ahead of the World Cup. “We are doing a good job as FIFA to get our referees ready,” said Collina. “There will absolutely be (special training in VAR). Between the beginning of the January and the start of the World Cup, there will be five seminars – once in January, two in March and two in April in different locations. Certainly we will be meeting more times and at more stages than the national sides. The referees will be in Russia 10 days before the kick-off. The next step in the IFAB (International Football Association Board) general business meeting is the changes of the rules in the game to be approved and then implemented, so there will be an assessment between mid-January and beginning of March.” Felix Brych, the German who refereed last season’s Champions League final, is in support of the system, though admitted there are ‘communication’ problems that need to be ironed out. But Collina believes the system will evolve into a tool that empowers referees rather than diminishes them. “The referee is still the final decision maker – he has to be,” said Collina. “The referee cannot be seen as someone who executes a decision taken by someone else outside the field of play. He knows there is a monitor by the side of play, and he goes to review the incident by himself. When it is a factual decision, like an offside, then it can be taken outside the field of play. But when it is a matter of interpretation, and most of the time for a referee it is, the referee must review the incident because he is taking the final decision. He cannot listen to someone from the outside saying ‘you must do this’ because there would be two kinds of problems. The referee would lose credibility and the player would not think he is the final decision maker. Second is a matter of self-confidence, because the referee feels monitored and not supported if someone is correcting him”.

Source: Sport 360

KNVB and Makkelie are in line again

The KNVB and Danny Makkelie discussed the recent commotion around the 34-year-old referee's loan from former referee Jaap Uilenberg and expressed the difference of opinion. In an interview between director Eric Gudde and Danny Makkelie, the referee let the KNVB know his position and accepted the association's actions. The KNVB has indicated that it will continue to respect the coaching relationship between Makkelie and Uilenberg, because it has not been shown that there has been any conflict of interest in any way. 
The KNVB considers integrity to be of paramount importance and wants to avoid any appearance of conflicts of interest. In order to prevent misunderstandings in the future, the rules of conduct in this area will therefore be tightened up. During the last round of the KNVB Cup and the last round of Eredivisie before the winter break, Makkelie was kept away due to the commotion and not appointed for any competitions. After the winter break, the referee will be appointed again.

Source: KNVB

Globe Soccer Awards 2017: Brych (GER)

Felix Brych (photo) distinguished himself as one of the best referees of Europe in 2017, when he was appointed to referee one of the season’s most important competition, the final of UEFA’s Champions League 2016-2017, which was played between Juventus and Real Madrid in Cardiff last 3 June. The German referee was called upon to officiate also at the Club World Cup 2017, where he refereed a semi-final. (Source: Globe Soccer)


Nominees for the 2017 Globe Soccer Awards:
AFC: Ravshan Irmatov (UZB)
CAF: Bakary Gassama (GAM)
CONCACAF: Cesar Ramos (MEX)
CONMEBOL: Sandro Ricci (BRA)
UEFA: Felix Brych (GER)

CONCACAF Referees of the Year 2017

Men
1. Cesar Ramos (MEX, photo)
2. Joel Aguilar (SLV)
3. Kimbell Ward (SKN)

Women
1. Lucila Venegas (MEX)
2. Carol Anne Chenard (CAN)
3. Marianela Araya (CRC)


Source: CONCACAF