Friday, 1 February 2019

Ravshan Irmatov in charge of 2019 AFC Asian Cup Final

Ravshan Irmatov has been appointed to handle 2019 AFC Asian Cup final, it will be the second time for him after 2011 edition. 

1 February 2019, 15:00 CET - Abu Dhabi (Zayed Sports City Stadium)
Referee: Ravshan Irmatov (UZB)
Assistant Referee 1: Abdukhamidullo Rasulov (UZB)
Assistant Referee 2: Jakhongier Saidov (UZB)
Fourth Official: Ma Ning (CHN)
Video Assistant Referee: Paolo Valeri (ITA)
Assistant Video Assistant Referee 1: Muhammad Taqi Aljaafari Bin Jahari (SIN)
Assistant Video Assisstant Referee 2: Chris Beath (AUS)


  1. As Mikael pointed out with his analysis, the only possible option.
    His last games had been: South Korea - Qatar (quarterfinal), Japan - Saudi Arabia (Round of 16). So, as you can see three similar appointments: an Arabic team against an East Asian.

  2. Probably you don't agree with me and very probably this appointment tis not fare because not based on performance criteria,but I'm very happy to see that Irmatov has been awarded with such final. IMO he has been to much criticized in the past, much more he deserved.
    Very good appointment for Valeri too. After Irrati at FIFA WC, another Italian referee as main VAR in a big final match

  3. Just reading now Mikeal's analysis: Why Bon Jihari and Green are not permitted to use VAR by IFAB ? Discrimination ? :-)
    How are the referee not allowed to be main VAR ? and why ?

    1. To be honest, without official sources, I have doubts about this story. I don't think that IFAB can make something like that, all FIFA referees should be allowed to handle games with VAR. The only issue should be about their training and experience with the technology, but that's another argument.

    2. I also don't understand this as Green uses VAR every week in Australia. He was probably one of the most experienced referees to have used it at the tournament.

    3. I cannot confirm it for certain, but I am almost fully sure in it. IFAB want to 'protect' the VAR project, without refereeing 'fudging' it, and casting the whole project in a bad light.

      I am confused about Green. Perhaps the comment here before was wrong, as you say he uses it every week in A-League, maybe AFC had already decided he was to only have one match. He would have been very 'handy' in the knockout stage, and his performance in Saudi Arabia - DPR Korea was a fully convincing one, he deserved sth more for sure anyway.

      Approved referees should come from Australia, China, Korea Republic and all six referees that attended WC 2018. But I am sceptical that even all these referees got 'the green light', eg. Green and Fu.

      I would be really interested if anyone else has any more information in this regard?

    4. @f

      No discrimination at all. It's a matter of handling the exact number of non-competitive games with use of VAR which is required by IFAB in order to allow the referee to handle official games with VAR.

      In Poland, the required number of games the referee had to handle before being authorized to be VAR / use VAR in an official game were as following:
      for VAR: 5 offline test games and 5 online test games
      for referee: 3 online test games
      AVAR: no requirements

      In my opinion, that perfectly explains why at Asian Cup VAR was introduced only from quarter-finals and only World Cup referees + Chris Beath were allowed to handle it. That also explains why performance principle was not used.

    5. Still strange, why Green, the Korean and the Chinese referees were not allowed, when they already handle VAR matches in their domestic leagues.

  4. Congratulations to Irmatov, not his worst tournament but certainly not his best. I am still bothered at the red card he did not give in the Iran v Iraq game.

  5. I want to write a balance about the Final designation:

    * Firstly, we must recognise this was an appointment of necessity. AFC surely didn't plan the Uzbek before a whistle was blown (Shukralla, is my feeling), but the constellation eventually played into his favour.

    * This could also have partly been avoided if AFC gave the 2011 Final to Subkhiddin Mohd Salleh from Malaysia, as I remember, his performances were better than Irmatov. It was the last time of Mohd Salleh's career, whereas Irmatov could even carry on past WC 2022. But this is a long time in the past.

    * His performances in the group stage were not good. He made two crucial mistakes in the Syria - Palestine game, and 'lost it' having started quite well in the Iran - Iraq derby match (I would recommend to look at the excellent reports by Vlad and Howard Maxi on those games). According to the performance principle, he shouldn't have been appointed in the knockout stage.

    * But as we saw with many referees, we have to say not just Irmatov, performances didn't really matter to AFC. To be fair, in both of his knockout matches, the performances were good. No problems with the very easy Japan - Saudi Arabia game, and the Quarterfinal between Korea Republic - Qatar, he was really good in the 1H but slightly failed in the 2H especially regarding the scene at 53'; overall his performance was a more-or-less good one in quite a tough match.
    More importantly, he generated low (negative) medial resonance from his games.

    * As Chefren points out, he is from a neutral region in Asia. This is very important. Furthermore, he is clearly respected, experienced referee who Japan and Qatar would accept, as well as the crucial clearance from IFAB regarding VAR.

    Overall I would say this is the designation that sums up quite well the refereeing in this championship. Bound by IFAB clearances and regional politics, closing their eyes to performances when it suited them, and not a very satisfying overall picture for sure. Asian refereeing has much to reflect on after this championship.
    But they reached the best compromise here.

    1. Ma Ning as fourth official also breaks the performance principle, perhaps Fu Ming's performance in the United Arab Emirates - Kyrgyz Republic was just too controversial.

      It seems medial resonance is the only gauge of performances at this championship...

      On a more positive note, both Taqi and Beath both fully deserve their involvement.
      Well done to them on a successful championship.

  6. OT: This situation from yesterday's Copa del Rey match was being discussed in the previous post, but as the video came today, I post it here too. What are your thoughts?

    It is a 2nd YC incident.

  7. Videos for Ramos: RC for VC after VAR intervention In-box decisions Disciplinary control Management

  8. OT: IMO Missed Penalty in Betis-Espanyol no VAR intervention (as usual in Spain). around 27'-28'

  9. OT

    Very sad news from Denmark...after longtime illness Peter Mikkelsen passed away. One of the best referee ever, and he was also a wonderful, friendly and helpful person.
    May he rest in peace! The refereeing community will never forget you!

    1. Oh, I wasn't aware of his illness. My heartfelt condolences to the family and friends.

      Rest in peace...

  10. This comment has been removed by the author.

  11. OT: Tonight it was a very special day for Spanish football as it was the most attended Women's football match ever in my country (around 50.000 people in San Mamés, Bilbao), to watch Athletic "ladies" v Atlético "ladies" match.

    However, concerning refereeing a very strange and crucial situation happened. There's SPA vs DOGSO, advantage and identity management in this clip.

    Many questions here:

    -Was it a RC deserving foul?
    -Was advantage correctly applied?
    -What do you think about how the referee dealt with players? (besides, IMO, a terrible decision of mistaken identity)


    1. IMO it is fine to judge the situation as foul.
      Hmmm but the rest... I think she should't give advantage in this DOGSO situation as it was not a crystalclear chance afterwards to score. This was also the reason for further confusion.
      I am sure she also got completely confused. I am wondering why AR is not giving advice to avoid mistaken identity. It was so obvious who committed the foul. It's really a mess.

  12. OT

    Danish Michael Tykgaard (UEFA 2nd) will take charge of the Greek derby AEK-PAOK on Sunday. His assistants will be Dennis Rasmussen and Niels Hog. Fourth official will be Emmanouil Skoulas and observer Leif Lindberg.

  13. Interview with Rawshan Irmatov made in the last few days.
    You can translate it with Google, it will be pretty accurate, it's in Swedish.

  14. OT: So, we have Barcelona-Madrid and Betis-Valencia in Copa del Rey semifinals.

    As the Final, no matter the contenders, will be 99% surely assigned to Undiano Mallenco, there's a very interesting situation concerning the referees. On one hand, neither Estrada Fernández nor Del Cerro Grande can handle a Clásico as Estrada is Catalan and Del Cerro from Alcalá de Henares, near Madrid.

    On the other hand, Mateu Lahoz (Valencian), Martínez Munuera (Valencian) and Munuera Montero (Andalusian). Gil Manzano, Hernández Hernández, Sánchez Martínez or De Burgos Bengoetxea would be completely "neutral" choices, but the two latters have already officiated in QF 2nd leg.

    For 1st leg, González González, despite not being a FIFA referee, would be a experienced and rather safe choice for semifinals (plus complete neutrality as he's Castilian), also, CTA-RFEF could also try with a still-non-FIFA-but-already-"cored" referee like Alberola Rojas, as they did with De Burgos Bengoetxea in 2017.

    So, my early prediction is:

    Barcelona-Madrid: González González/Gil Manzano

    Betis-Valencia: Alberola Rojas/Hernández Hernández

    1. Based on how the fact that Estrada Fernández already had Valencia in 3 consecutive rounds this season (first leg against Ebro, second leg against Sporting and second leg against Getafe), the fact that all 8 refs in the previous round were FIFA and the relevance of the semifinals, I think all 4 Elite referees will be appointed. That means that Mateu Lahoz will surely have one of the two Clásicos, Del Cerro one of the matches between Betis and Valencia. I would say that Undiano will be the other ref in Betis-Valencia (and will have the Clásico in LaLiga) and Gil Manzano, the other Clásico.

    2. Official:

      Betis - Valencia: Carlos del Cerro Grande
      Barcelona - Real Madrid: Antonio Miguel Mateu Lahoz

    3. Moreover, this round will have two AVARs.

      Betis - Valencia:
      Ref: Carlos del Cerro Grande
      AR1: (GUESSED) Juan Carlos Yuste Jiménez
      AR2: (GUESSED) Abraham Álvarez Cantón
      VAR: Xavier Estrada Fernández
      AVAR1: Guillermo Cuadra Fernández
      AVAR2: Roberto Alonso Fernández

      Barcelona - Real Madrid:
      Ref: Antonio Miguel Mateu Lahoz
      AR1: (GUESSED) Pau Cebrián Devís
      AR2: (GUESSED) Iker de Francisco Grijalba
      VAR: Ricardo de Burgos Bengoetxea
      AVAR1: José Luis González González
      AVAR2: Roberto Díaz Pérez del Palomar

    4. Ouch. I could expect those for 2nd leg, not for 1st one. Gil Manzano could be appointed then in 2nd leg (I'd say in the Clásico) and maybe a 2nd Group like Hernández Hernández or Sánchez Martínez in the other one. I expect Undiano in the Copa del Rey Final rather than in league Clásico.

    5. So did I. However, this might be a sign. Things have changed with Velasco, and too much relevance is being given to Elite refs. With that in mind, I think now Carlos del Cerro and Antonio Mateu are the main candidates for the final (and because of that they have been appointed for first legs instead of second), depending on the teams who progress and their performances in the semis. I still expect Undiano and Gil Manzano in the second legs.

  15. PK by Irmatov after VAR review for handball. Quite similar to Mateu Lahoz's one in Denmark-Australia.

  16. Irmatov had a decent game so far, although not overly challenging. Now a correctly awarded pk for handball after VAR consultation makes it 3-1 for Qatar. Not a blatant miss, good intervention, for me a fully correct call.

  17. JAPAN - QATAR, Ravshan Irmatov

    Penalty (mute the incompetent co-commentator):
    Refereeing highlights:

    First, the most crucial scene: Penalty for Qatar (handball) in 81' after on-field review. For me, it is a correct decision, you can watch the scene above.

    Apart from that, the final was a rather fair game and Irmatov handled the first 80 minutes without much fuss. Good foul detection, the one rough tackle he carded, apart from that a good warning (9') to avoid an earlier YC. One point for improvement would be the missed YC for reckless use of arms in 30'.

    The final part of the match got a bit more scrappy, but he was never in any danger of relinquishing control. We know Irmatov is not always the most "involved" referee, but for this match, I think that style was well-fitting. I agree with all the other cautions handed out, especially the one in 86' was very good, perhaps he had the scene from 9' involving the same player in mind.

    Final assessment: Decent performance by Irmatov in a good game between two teams focused on playing football. Correctly solved crucial scene with help from the VAR. Kudos for solving it rather quick as well! He had some weaker moments at this tournament, but in the end, he can be quite satisfied with it overall.

    As the tournament is now history, I would like to give a big thank you to MichaelW and Vlad for their tremendous work on reporting on this tournament and for cutting and uploading all the video material. It was an absolute pleasure to read and watch it as well as work with you!

    Also, we're discussing writing an overview of the referees and the tournament, so stay tuned for that one!

    1. For me, it's a wrong decision to award a penalty. The Japanese jumps for the ball (not to block a shot), the ball is unexpected and played from a very short distance. Nah, it's not deliberate handling.

      The rest on an expected level, especially good and wise management at the beginning, what was nice to see from the Uzbek.

      Thank you, Howard and Mikael, for your great work through the bigger part of the tournament due to my inability.

    2. 79 (penalty) - For me, it is a very harsh decision to award the penalty. Arms are in a natural position when jumping and as Vlad outlined above, unexpected ball and very short distance meaning Yoshida is unable to prevent ball from hitting hand. Very similar to the call made in World Cup Final after OFR by Nestor Pitana

    3. I follow Vlad's logic, but I would argue that this should not formulate a criticism of Irmatov, who executed AFC's expected decision, and probably also UEFA's. Handling seems to be considered in a very computerised, box-ticking way, rather than a common-sensical one these days.
      Still, I am okay with this decision.

      I only echo both your thoughts about the rest of the performance.

      I would also like to thank Vlad and Howard Maxi for their dedication during this championship to bring all the readers a holistic coverage of the Asian Cup. I understand it is difficult to follow the competition from Europe (only Balkans even bothered to televise matches), so I would like to thank everyone who tried their best in order to follow it.

      To draw the competition to a close, you can look forward to our retrospect of the refereeing in the championship, which you can expect coming up soon.

      Finally, if we look ahead to the summer, we can see that there are many interesting championships to look forward to.
      Let me say that we will need more (than three) reporters in order to do these competitions (AFCON, Gold Cup, Copa América, U20 WC, U21 EURO and more) justice!


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