Former World Cup referee Lucien Bouchardeau has died on 20 February 2018, at the age of 56, following a heart attack. He started to referee in 1987 and earned his FIFA badge in 1993. Lucien Bouchardeau is to date the only referee to have represented Niger at a World Cup. It was in 1998 in France. FIFA entrusted him with the group match between Italy and Chile (2-2), when he awarded a controversial penalty kick awarded to Italy following a handball by the Chilean Fuentes. Bouchardeau justified his decision in an Italian newspaper and that ended his participation at the World Cup, FIFA prohibiting any speech in the media. Close to Joseph Blatter, president of FIFA from 1998 to 2015, Lucien Bouchardeau said three years ago in an interview with So Foot that Issa Hayatou, former president of the Confederation of African Football (CAF) had "ruined his career". His national federation did not spare him either. "My career has been shortened by CAF and my federation, so instead of going to three World Cups, I only had one. When Hayatou ran against Blatter in the 2002 FIFA elections, I became the enemy of the African confederation because I got on well with Blatter", explained Bouchardeau in that interview.
Two African Cups of Nations (1996 and 1998) including a semi-final (Zambia-Tunisia) in 1996, a participation in the 1997 FIFA Confederations Cup in Saudi Arabia, where he refereed three games, including the match for the third place (Czech Republic-Uruguay), Lucien Bouchardeau also took part in the Atlanta Summer Olympics in 1996. In 2001, he resigned, although he still had five years of potential refereeing, as a protest following the non-selection of any referee from Niger for the 2002 African Cup of Nations in Mali and the 2002 World Cup in Japan and South Korea. His son, Issa Bouchardeau, followed in his father's footsteps by becoming a referee.