THE BLOG BY CPD FOOTBALL | The World of Indian football and beyond by Chris Punnakkattu Daniel

AFC Referees Committee reinforces ambitions to build on Asia’s proud legacy

The Asian Football Confederation (AFC)

The Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Referees Committee held its fifth meeting today and applauded the world-class standards of Asian refereeing whilst reiterating its ambitions towards increasing the talent pool and opportunities for AFC match officials to maintain the Continent’s proud record on the world stage.

In the virtual meeting, chaired by His Excellency (HE) Du Zhaocai, the Committee commended the continued appointments of Asia’s match officials to some of the most prominent matches in global football. Since its last meeting, the AFC’s match officials were appointed to manage the finals of both the FIFA Club World Cup 2021 in the United Arab Emirates as well as the Algarve Cup 2022 in Portugal.

At the same time, members also noted the remarkable achievements of the largest-ever cast of AFC women’s match officials at the AFC Women’s Asian Cup India 2022™, who were instrumental in the implementation of the Video Assistant Referee (VAR) system from the Quarter-finals for the first time in the tournament’s history before the final was officiated by an all-female team.

As part of efforts to further develop the capabilities of the AFC match officials and in anticipation of growing demands, the Committee approved the recommendation to increase the limit of the FIFA Video Match Officials (VMOs) International Nomination List, from seven men and two women VMOs, to a maximum of seven men and four women, subject to the approval of FIFA.

The nominated VMOs must fulfil the relevant FIFA criteria which include officiating regularly at the highest levels in their Member Associations (MAs) for at least two years, possessing comprehensive experience in at least 15 matches as a VMO and certification by FIFA or the AFC.

Meanwhile, in recognising the continuing impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Committee also agreed to maintain the current AFC MAs International Referees Quota as decided in March 2020, for the 2023-2024 competitions’ cycle.

Underlining its commitment to nurture a more sustainable pathway for promising AFC match officials and to ensure Asian refereeing continued to dominate the world stage, the Committee also decided to include FIFA registered AFC Referee Academy graduates to the upcoming AFC age-group competitions, paving the way for more equal opportunities and a robust assessment of refereeing abilities.

Since its launch in 2017, the first-of-its-kind AFC Referee Academy has produced or is in the midst of benefitting 109 match officials from 33 MAs, with as many as 46 now registered on the FIFA international list.