FIFA’s Referees Committee on Wednesday selected 17 referees, 37 assistant referees and 10 Video Assistant Referees (VARs) for the final phase of its 2018 World Cup, holding in Russia.
Pierluigi Collina, the committee’s head, told reporters in Moscow that this was because the number of referees at the 32-day competition has to be reduced at this point in time.
“The number of referees has been reduced in view of the number of matches left and the teams that have qualified for the next round.
“We have only eight matches left and only eight teams left also.
“These are in the quarter-finals (four matches), the semi-finals (two matches), third-place or losers’ final (one match) and final (one match).
“Only eight matches are involved in this number of matches also.
“So, there is, therefore, a need for a reduction in the number,’’ the former Italian referee said.
The 17 referees picked for the next phase include Alireza Faghani (Iran) and Nawaf Shukralla (Bahrain) from the Asian Football Confederation (AFC).
Others are Malang Diedhiou (Senegal) and Janny Sikazwe (Zambia) from the Confederation of African Football (CAF).
From the Confederation of Central American and Caribbean Football (CONCACAF) are Mark Geiger (U.S.), Jair Marrufo (U.S.) and Cesar Arturo Ramos (Mexico).
Also retained for the competition are Andres Cunha (Uruguay), Nestor Pitana (Argentina) and Sandro Ricci (Brazil) from the Confederation of South American Football (CONMEBOL).
From the Oceanic Football Confederation (OFC) is Matthew Conger (New Zealand).
The rest are from the European Football Association (UEFA), namely Cuneyt Cakir (Turkey), Bjorn Kuipers (The Netherlands), Antonio Mateu (Spain), Milorad Mazic (Serbia), Gianluca Rocchi (Italy) and Damir Skomina (Slovenia).
Ten VARs were also picked to continue on in the competition.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that 36 referees and 63 assistant referees were selected in March for the competition, with 13 VARs.
They were picked from the 53 groups of three referees placed under FIFA’s radar for the competition since September 2014.