Thursday, 16 November 2017

2018 FIFA WC - Predictions About Match Officials

The process of preselection for referees on the road to WC 2018 is coming to an end. Qualifiers have finished as well. So, now it's time to make the final predictions about the list of officials who will attend the WC on next year in Russia.

At first, I want to clarify that I will make predictions only about the main referees, without taking into account VAR and reserve referees. Surely the final number of selected officials will be higher than the previous edition.  Another important thing to say is that, without any chance to know more about the spots for each confederation, I will try to adapt what occurred in the previous editions, making changes only when really needed.
In Brazil we had 4 referees from AFC, 3 from CAF, 3 from CONCACAF, 5 from CONMEBOL, 1 from OFC, 9 from UEFA.
So, now let's start with a short analysis about all the confederations.

In this confederation I think we shouldn't have any doubt about Ravshan Irmatov (UZB), who is still strongly trusted by FIFA committee. He handled many tournaments and the very important play off between Australia and Syria (in which, among other things, he got injured). Second name is clearly Alireza Faghani (IRN), despite of some problems at Confederations Cup I think he has the full trust of the committee, like Irmatov, he officiated the play off between Syria and Australia and therefore  he will attend the WC as main referee. He was reserve referee in Brazil and then after that he handled two FIFA tournaments finals. So, everything is definitely speaking in his favor. Coming to a third name we should be quite sure that Nawaf Shukralla (BHR) will manage it. The  official from Bahrain has a great experience and he attended many FIFA tournaments as well. Now, the most interesting speech is surely about the fourth name. Here, I'm in trouble. According to what I watched and taking apart the performances, I would say that Fahad Al Mirdasi (KSA) would have the chance to attend the World Cup. But of course we have to say that he is young and surely a name for the future. In addition, difficult to think that all AFC officials will come from a certain Asian zone... therefore I think we can expect the Japanese Ryūji Satō. However, I must say that I didn't have any occasion to watch him in any FIFA tournament, and  he didn't look to be too much on the spotlights. It is difficult to imagine a WC without a Japanese or Korean referee, I know that this would be only a geo-political question, but we all know how it works sometimes with FIFA. This doesn't mean that the Japanese doesn't deserve the call, of course, but as said, I would have liked to see him more, and at moment, he has not the same reputation of the previously mentioned officials from AFC.

Things are turning interesting in Africa. Despite of a definitely poor performance at Confederations Cup, while having to assess some incidents via VAR, I think that Bakary Gassama (GAM) must be still considered as Africa's Nr.1. He got many CAF Champions League finals in his career, and it is impossible to think he wont fly to Russia. He also officiated  important games of qualifiers.  However, I want to say that before Confederations Cup I liked him definitely more than now. I had a very and extremely poor impression when he wasn't able to assess the incidents under his eyes, watching the monitor. But well, simply said, it was very likely the first time for him with this technology, so in a way he can be excused. A few months ago I was convinced he had endangered his position, but now i can easily say that I was wrong. He will be there. The second sure name should be Janny Sikazwe (ZAM): many important appointments in both CAF qualifiers and FIFA tournaments. The first African referee, after a very long time, to officiate again a FIFA tournament final, so this should definitely play in his favor. He will be in Russia. About the third name, the speech becomes more interesting: we should underline again that both Gassama and Sikazwe come from the Sub-Saharan Africa. This could mean that it would be difficult to have a third name from this area. It is the same speech as the previous one about AFC. So, in my opinion, despite of having attended 2014 WC as reserve referee, there aren't too many chances for Alioum (CMR), who, in "normal conditions", maybe 1 or 2 years ago, could have been quite sure of the call. Of course, it is still possible that he will attend WC, but I would go for a referee from the North of the continent. At moment, countries like Algeria, Tunisia and Morocco are working for new names in international refereeing.  On the contrary, Egypt has already the chance to offer Gehad Grisha, with already a certain experience in FIFA tournaments and surely waiting for this call. So, I would choice him as third CAF referee, considering as relevant motivation the speech about referees from " different areas".

Redarding this confederation, and assuming that three referees will go to Russia from Central America, the situation looks to be quite clear. Mark Geiger (USA) is the first choice. The experienced maths teacher from Beachwood is definitely liked by Busacca and the committee. I must say that, at FIFA level, he has been always good / very good. He had some problems in CONCACAF Gold Cup, as you all remember, but surely this wont affect at all the choice. Second name in terms of experience is surely Joel Aguilar (SLV), reserve referee in South Africa, main referee in Brazil and now main referee in Russia as well. However, I think it will be the last time for him, then it would be nice to read a different name, representing another country from CONCACAF at WC.  About the third name, it is more than easy to guess that a referee from Mexico will be there. The only doubt is about the real choice between the two preselected men from this country. At moment, César Ramos (MEX) seems to be ahead of Roberto García. The latter has been quite unlucky in his FIFA career, at first being the second option for Mexico, due to Marco Rodríguez presence in 3 WC, and now, with Ramos who seems to be ahead of him.

I must admit, and I really apologize, that CONMEBOL is a confederation that I don't follow too much. However, it is not difficult to make predictions, considering all what I saw at FIFA level, and given the presence of very strong names. Without making it too long, we all know that Sandro Ricci (BRA) and Néstor Pitana (ARG) at moment are the most important names, with excellent assignments. The Brazilian had to renounce to U17 WC to officiate some crucial games of CONMEBOL qualifiers. Pitana got the intercontinental play off. Then, I think that Wilmar Roldán (COL) is another sure name. The referee from Colombia has the trust of the committee. However I must admit that I was always unlucky while watching him, I never had the impression of the talent who is reported to be. That's of course can be my fault, because I don't follow too much CONMEBOL, as said, but regarding his FIFA appearances, the Colombian in my opinion showed too often many weaknesses. However, no doubts that he will be at WC, and at the same time I wish him to have a very good experience in Russia. The fourth name should be the experienced Enrique Cáceres from Paraguay: among other things, he has officiated 2017 U17 FIFA WC final. Now, it becomes difficult while having to select the fifh name. I think for this spot there is a contention between Andres Cunha (URU) and Julio Bascuñán (CHI). The latter joined the list as preselected officials later than the other names, as replacement, following Enrique Osses retirement. Having to choose one name, I would say  Bascuñán, considering also the recent appointment for Copa Libertadores final, along with Caceres In any case, Cunha is surely the  alternative choice. The latter could work as VAR.

Only one referee, as always, from Oceania will attend WC. I think that we have to consider two names: at first, Norbert Hauata (TAH), reserve referee in Brazil, with some appearances in other FIFA tournaments, and then Matt Conger (NZL). The latter got many interesting assignments in FIFA tournaments as well, and he will attend 2017 Club World Cup. Having to choose one of them, I would say Matt Conger (NZL), based on the appointments he got. Two group stage games both at 2015 and 2017 FIFA U20 WC, the same at Olympic tournament and some appearances at CWC. Hauata got only fifth place game at CWC and one group stage game at FIFA U17 2017 WC it seems Busacca has not a big trust in him. The experience as fourth official at WC 2014 for a referee from French Polynesia could be already a very good achievement. 

I could write a very long chapter about "our" confederation, but of course I will try to make it short because there are many things more than clear. Without doubts, we can say that Cüneyt Çakır (TUR) and Björn Kuipers (NED) are the first choices for Busacca and the FIFA committee, among the European preselected officials. They got an immense trust in the past by FIFA. They will go without doubts to WC. For the Dutch, it will be the last act of his career, as he already announced. Coming to the other names, German Felix Brych (GER) is another safe bet. He will go to Russia, after having shown a great consistency in many years at UEFA  and also FIFA level. Serbian Milorad Mažić (SRB)  has a great experience and a very good attitude to take his games under control. He is not a referee who likes to show cards, but his players management has worked for years at high level. Of course, to be added, he was in the middle for Confederations Cup final. In my opinion he will go to Russia. I wish him, and that's very important, a better WC than the previous one. He can manage that. Even though there aren't rumors in this regard, it is possible that he could retire after WC, as well, being already 45 years old. We will see. Italian Gianluca Rocchi (ITA) is another sure name, if you ask me. He was solid in recent years at UEFA level, showing good performances, but, more important than that, he spent his whole international career, being the shadow of Nicola Rizzoli. It is impossible to think that he could miss this big chance, the occasion of his life. Absolutely deserved. Szymon Maciniak from Poland has shown in recent times a more than outstanding development as FIFA referee. He has impressed for his style, feeling for the game and skills. For this reason I'm sure he will attend WC as main referee, being still quite young (1981), but the call will be absolutely deserved. Antonio Mateu Lahoz (ESP), despite of  the criticism he got for Italy - Sweden, should be a safe name as well. Before the match in Milan, he had shown some excellent performances in UEFA competitions. Making an analysis on a long-term period, he deserves without doubts WC. Now, starting from the eighth name, things become more difficult to read, or at least not clear like the previous ones. In any case, for what he did in recent times, despite of having missed a WC play off appointment, I'm sure that Damir Skomina (SVN) will be in Russia, absolutely deserved  call, considering that he is in top form. I think committee decided to avoid an appointment for keeping him safe, after what happened 4 years ago. He could fly to Russia, that's of course just my idea, directly after having officiated CL final in Kyiv.  My nineth choice is Jonas Eriksson (SWE). This decision was not easy for me, especially if compared to all the other ones, very like this was the most difficult to be taken. I think that the Swedish has still the trust of Busacca and FIFA committee, in 2014 WC he got a Round of 16 game, it is true that now he is not at the top of the form, but surely he has the experience and he can be helpful for certain types of games. To be added, in recent times I got the impression he recovered a bit, but of course, and here we all agree, he is not the old Eriksson we knew. Also in this case, I think it was a question of opportunity by FIFA when they didn't appoint him for a play off. He is another name who, after WC (in case of call, of course) could retire. Difficult, very difficult to think that he could miss this chance. That's my feeling. So no room for all the "young" and talented officials like Karasev, Hațegan and Turpin, but surely, thank to VAR and FO duties, all them could be in Russia as well. 

So, my final list is the following:

AFC (4)
Ravshan Irmatov (UZB), Alireza Faghani (IRN), Nawaf Shukralla (BHR), Ryūji Satō (JPN).

CAF (3)
Bakary Gassama (GAM),  Janny Sikazwe (ZAM), Gehad Grisha (EGY)

Mark Geiger (USA), Joel Aguilar (SLV), César Ramos (MEX)

Sandro Ricci (BRA), Néstor Pitana (ARG), Wilmar Roldán (COL), Enrique Cáceres (PAR)Julio Bascuñán (CHI)

OFC (1)
Matt Conger (NZL)

UEFA (9)
Cüneyt Çakır (TUR), Björn Kuipers (NED), Gianluca Rocchi (ITA), Damir Skomina (SVN), Jonas Eriksson (SWE), Antonio Mateu Lahoz (ESP), Szymon Marciniak (POL), Felix Brych (GER), Milorad Mažić (SRB) 

As already said, VAR and FO should be added, and the list of selected officials will be surely longer than than this one.  
What do you think? Now it's your turn, have your say. 


  1. Not only based on location but also based on performances Sato is miles ahead of Al-Mirdasi here in Asia... I saw all of Sato's games in the U-17 World Cup as well and he is a far, far better referee than Al-Mirdasi at this moment for me :)

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  2. If we consider geopolitical reasons, Karasev not to be appointed for WC it would seem strange for me , at least as Support Referee.

    I don't know any case of a host nation not having a single referee.

    2014: Ricci
    2010: Damon
    2006: Merk
    2002: Kamikawa and Young-Joo Kim
    1998: Batta
    1994: Angeles
    1990: Agnolin
    1986: Márquez Ramírez
    1982: Lamo Castillo
    1978: Coerezza
    1974: Schulenburg and Weyland
    1970: Aguilar and De Leo.

    Can be also the 1st WC without any single English referee?

    1. 2014: Howard Webb
      2010: Howard Webb
      2006: Graham Poll

      Can anyone add to this with World Cups with English referee in it?

    2. 2002 Poll
      1998 Durkin
      1994 Don
      1990 Courtney
      1986 Courtney
      1982 White
      1978 Partridge

      And then you have names like Ling, Reader, Finney, Leafe et al

    3. And of course the great Jack Taylor!
      Refereed the Final in 1974.

  3. Guys you know better than me, what will be a second choice from Spain instead of Antonio Mateu Lahoz? I really didn't like a lack of confidence in his last game.
    If no other names from Spain, maybe Turpin from France, he was really good last night.

    1. Mateu will definitely, definitely go to WC 2018.

    2. I just hope he's sent packing after 2 easy group stage matches :) I don't want too see a match turning into Italy v Sweden there in the KO phase :)

    3. "Lack of confidence"? Are you kidding? If he had something in the game (apart from the possible mistakes), it was confidence.

      Please, try to analyze the games as they really were. 5 penalty appeals, all rejected. 4 of them very controversial. A possible missing foul and 2nd YC. Full match control. Possible overreaction in some situations. Those are the facts.

      From these controversial calls, two are, IMO, crucial mistakes (the second penalty appeal from Sweden and the missing foul and 2nd YC to Chiellini. Possibly also the last controversial penalty appeal for Italy, but I still have not seen any videos that prove that there was not a handball. If there wasn't, that is the third crucial mistake).

      But nothing of this shows any "lack of confidence", in fact, for some people, more likely the opposite when dealing with some players. Maybe you meant "lack of braveness", but I would disagree with that too.

      As I and others already said, there is a difference between this performance and many others with 2+ crucial mistakes, and it was match control.

      Is this match enough to kick him out of the WC given his performances since he was preselected? I think it is not, but others may think it is as there were too many crucial mistakes (for some people, up to 5/6 if they considered he made all calls wrong).

      However, there is something worth a thought about the next WC. It will, presumably, be played with VAR. That reduces significantly the probability of making crucial mistakes. However, it does not (necessarily) help the referee with match control. Is refereeing evolving (or will be) towards less importance of live detection of incidents and more importance of management? Is that the right path to go? Surely, something worth discussing.

    4. George, for me as a referee, confidence is equal with braveness, especially at the moment when you put a whistle in your mouth to call something, and then you change your mind.
      But you are right; one game does not make him a bad referee, maybe it was just not his day.

    5. I disagree: for me, "confidence" is how sure you are about the decisions you have made so far, the way you are refereeing the game, about your presence in the field of play, in your quality as a referee and your capability of reading the situations correctly, whereas "braveness" is the aptitude to make the call you feel is right in a difficult situation. For instance, to whistle a penalty against the home team, with the match drawn, in the last minute if you think it was a penalty.

      I simply can't believe that there is any UEFA referee who is not brave. It is not the matches they referee at top level, but also all the matches they have had to handle in their way up to there, maybe even in situations in which there was physical risk to themselves. If they lack that braveness, they do not get to the point they have reached.

      About the whistle I would not say it is related: handballs need some time to be evaluated. Remember, the replays are in slow-motion. It completely looks like it was an instinctive reaction to me: he had seen the handball, he reacted to that and then deemed it as undeliberate (a decision I agree with as I explained in the relevant post). I agree it is a gesture that should be avoided, specially to prevent this kind of suspicions, but, once again, I would not read it further than an instinctive gesture.

  4. I expect Karasev as referee and Hategan as FO. Turpin Dias Zwayer and Makkelie as VAR from the UEFA.

  5. My list
    + Certain
    ?+ Not Certain, but imo will make it
    ?- Not Certain and will miss out or function as VAR imo
    The order is a kind of personal ranking, also, not based on appointments just my feeling

    + Irmatov,
    + Faghani,
    + Shukralla,
    ?+ Sato,
    ?- Al Midarsi

    + Gassama,
    + Sikazwe,
    ?- Diedhiou
    ?- Camille (Injured?)
    ?+ Grisha (Politics, but Rio 2016 QF, and he is a good referee tbf)
    ?- Alioum

    ?+ Ramos
    ?+ Garcia (I hope there are two Mexicans)
    + Geiger
    + Aguilar
    ?- Lopez (Panama - Costa Rica, sorry for him, Batres is a hope)

    + Pitana
    + Ricci
    ?- Cunha (Brazil - Peru, not so much experience)
    + Roldan
    ?+ Bascuñan
    ?+ Cácares (For the last two, Libertadores Final is enough to write their names)

    ?+ Conger
    ?- Hauata

    + Çakir
    + Kuipers
    + Mazic
    + Mateu Lahoz (To suggest the Mission Impossible in Milano means he misses WC, is not a serious consideration imo)
    + Brych
    + Marciniak
    + Skomina
    + Rocchi
    ?+ Turpin (UEFA I think will have ten, I hope not for Kassai/Eriksson, I think it's Turpin against Hategan and playoffs are enough for the French with politics also)
    ?+ Karasev (Improvement and host)
    ?- Hategan (Belfast :-/)
    ?- Kassai
    ?- Eriksson

    I think that's twenty-eight referees, you could take or add four to that number, it allows some flexibility.

    1. Irmatov, Faghani, Shukralla, Sato
      Gassama, Sikazwe, Grisha
      Ramos, Garcia, Geiger, Aguilar
      Pitana, Ricci, Roldan, Bascuñan, Cácares
      Çakir, Kuipers, Mazic, Mateu, Brych, Marciniak, Skomina, Rocchi, Turpin, Karasev

      Is my list

  6. When is the official anouncment of WC referees

    1. February 2018

  7. Out of that list who are the youngest and oldest referees?

  8. I have already given my opinion on the UEFA selections. I agree with all of your other confederation selections excluding AFC who I believe will lose a space to allow UEFA ten.

    I would choose Sato over Shukralla based only on my viewing at the U17 World Cup. One clear missed penalty by Sato but a major error in each of Shukralla's three assignments(you could support disallowed goal in his opening match perhaps) surely can't be considered good enough.

  9. He had some very good games this year. He deserves a chance.

  10. I agree fully with the original list this post, with the only exception being Karasev over Eriksson. I am not totally convinced on Ramos over Garcia, but that is a 50/50 tossup so hard to quibble.

    With that said, I think FIFA would have a hard time leaving Eriksson home. So like Gerry above, I think UEFA could get a 10th spot. If UEFA gets that 10th spot, then Eriksson goes. I don't think FIFA would cut an AFC spot, though, particularly since it would eliminate Sato and ensure no one from East.

    For the same reason (geo-politics) you can't cut a spot from CAF, because you have the Arab north (Grisha), the West (Gassama) and sub-Saharan (Sikazwe) represented right now.

    So to summarize, I have the exact same list as Chefren, with Karasev added and maybe Garcia over Ramos.

  11. My list (26 referees)
    Brych, Cakir, Eriksson, Karasev, Kuipers, Marciniak, Mateu Lahoz, Mažić, Rocchi, Skomina
    Bascunan, Caceres, Pitana, Ricci, Roldan
    Aguilar, Geiger, Ramos
    Gassama, Grisha, Sikazwe
    Faghani, Irmatov, Sato, Shukralla

  12. I repeat the conclusion of my extensive post from the previous thread: Europe should have in Russia 2018 more than only 10 referees. With all my respect I have to say that european referees are much better than others. I understand that we must have referees from all confederations but World Cup should be a competition of best teams, best referees, best football …

    Which is the criterion of your lists ? The performance of the referee or his nationality ? We select persons or we select countries ? I don't want to hear anymore about the geopolitical factor. If it's possible to have a World Cup without a referee from England than it's perfectly possible to have a World Cup without a referee from Mexic, Japan/Korea, Maghreb or any other country in the world.

    If Africa doesn't have 3 decent referees than we must select only 2 (or even 1). Probably you remember the performance of Gassama (best referee in Africa) at the Confederations Cup. Also, many of you watched during the years African Cup of Nations. This is the level of refereeing that we expect in a World Cup ?

    Irmatov is a huge name but he is the only referee that I know who allowed a goal after he whistled. Do you remember ? Irmatov is the same person who forgot to show a yellow card (in Costa Rica- Holland) despite the fact he noted the name of the player. Vassaras revealed (in an interview for a romanian TV) this was the reason because he didn't whistle the World Cup final in 2014. Do you remember that huge penalty not awarded in Chile- Portugal (SF of Confederations Cup)? Who was VAR ? Who was main referee ? Irmatov and Faghani. These are best referees in Asia and sure bets for World Cup. Honestly, I don't see why we must have 4 referees from Asia.

    CONMEBOL has 10 nations and you selected 5 referees ? UEFA has 54 members and you selected only 9 (or 10) referees. Is this fair ? I hope you agree the level of football (and refereeing) in Europe is much better than in South America.

    From CONCACAF I would select maximum 2 referees. I don't know why Mexico must have a referee. England doesn't have a referee and it's not a tragedy.

    Europe has 14/32 teams at this World Cup (not enough imo). That means 43,75 %. I want to see (at least) the same percentage regarding referees from Europe.

    Few words about european referees: I have serious doubts about Mateu Lahoz. I was sure about his place in Russia before the play-off. But I can't close my eyes (and I hope also FIFA won't) regarding his disastrous performance in Italy- Sweden. It's a matter of common sense because, in the end, there were 5 big mistakes. What example would give FIFA ? It will be also unfair for Hategan and Turpin (I mentioned them, and not Karasev or Kassai, because they had a play-off game). Honestly, I'm curios how FIFA will manage this situation.

    1. Mexico must have a referee because the Mexican officials have historically been very good and Ramos and Garcia are also, usually, very good.

      And England not having a referee is somewhat of a tragedy. It's just a tragedy we accept. Clattenburg and Atkinson were, a year ago, probably two of the best 10 referees in the world. It's unfortunate that neither will be at the World Cup.

      As to your larger point, it's a World Cup. And FIFA takes the "world" part seriously--particularly when they use confederational neutrality in the first round (most of the time). If you have too many European referees, then European referees would be on too many matches with European teams. It's simple math. It makes no sense to bring 43.75% of referees as European, just because that's how many teams are from Europe. If anything, that data point argues for FEWER European referees.

      Nine or ten is the most FIFA can bring while still maintaining--mostly--confederational neutrality and distributing the matches somewhat evenly.

  13. My personal choices :

    AFC : Ravshan Irmatov (Uzbekistan), Alireza Faghani (Iran), Nawaf Shukralla (Bahrain), Ryuji Sato (Japan)

    CAF : Bakary Papa Gassama (Gambia), Janny Sikazwe (Zambia), Malang Diedhiou (Senegal)

    CONCACAF : Mark Geiger (United States), Joel Aguilar (El Salvador), Cesár Ramos (Mexico)

    CONMEBOL : Nestor Pitana (Argentina), Sandro Ricci (Brazil), Andrés Cunha (Uruguay), Julio Bascunan (Chile), Enrique Cáceres (Paraguay)

    OFC : Matt Conger (New Zealand)

    UEFA : Felix Brych (Germany), Björn Kuipers (Netherlands), Cüneyt Çakir (Turkey), Damir Skomina (Slovenia), Milorad Mazic (Serbia), Szymon Marciniak (Poland), Antonio Mateu Lahoz (Spain), Jonas Eriksson (Sweden), Sergei Karasev (Russia)

  14. In Turkish Media, there are news that FIFA appointed Cuneyt Cakir to World Cup with his regular assistant. It is written as official. We know that it is expected but I thought all officials are announced. Can we find other names?

    1. It is impossible that names are already official.
      Very likely Turkish press read something somewhere and they wrote this news.

    2. Even if officially not confirmed, we know very well it's very much certain to happen :D

    3. Yes, the call for the Turkish is 100% sure, however I read that very likely the final list will be officially confirmed only on next February.

  15. Hi all, in my post I would like to distinguish between my favorite choice according to my personal (maybe wrong)feedback on referees and what I think could be FIFA choice according to appointment and trust

    AFC : Ravshan Irmatov (Uzbekistan), Alireza Faghani (Iran), Nawaf Shukralla (Bahrain)
    CAF : Bakary Papa Gassama (Gambia), Janny Sikazwe (Zambia), Bernard Camille (Seychelles)
    CONCACAF : Mark Geiger (United States), Joel Aguilar (El Salvador), Roberto Garcia Orozco (Mexico)
    CONMEBOL : Nestor Pitana (Argentina), Sandro Ricci (Brazil), Wilmar Roldan (Colombia), Andrés Cunha (Uruguay), Enrique Cáceres (Paraguay)
    OFC : Norbert Hauata (Tahiti)
    UEFA : Felix Brych (Germany), Björn Kuipers (Netherlands), Cüneyt Çakir (Turkey), Damir Skomina (Slovenia), Milorad Mazic (Serbia), Szymon Marciniak (Poland), Antonio Mateu Lahoz (Spain), Jonas Eriksson (Sweden), Gianluca Rocchi (Italy), Vitkor Kassai (Hungary)

    AFC : Ravshan Irmatov (Uzbekistan), Alireza Faghani (Iran), Nawaf Shukralla (Bahrain)
    CAF : Bakary Papa Gassama (Gambia), Janny Sikazwe (Zambia), Malang Diedhiou (Senegal)
    CONCACAF : Mark Geiger (United States), Joel Aguilar (El Salvador), Cesár Ramos Palanzuela (Mexico)
    CONMEBOL : Nestor Pitana (Argentina), Sandro Ricci (Brazil), Roddy Zambrano (Ecuador), Julio Bascunan (Chile), Enrique Cáceres (Paraguay)

    OFC : Matt Conger (New Zealand)

    UEFA : Felix Brych (Germany), Björn Kuipers (Netherlands), Cüneyt Çakir (Turkey), Damir Skomina (Slovenia), Milorad Mazic (Serbia), Szymon Marciniak (Poland), Antonio Mateu Lahoz (Spain), Jonas Eriksson (Sweden), Sergei Karasev (Russia)

    One question for Sohan: why do yuo exclude Rocchi ?

    1. I just forgot to include Rocchi... He's definitely in my list :D

  16. My list(uefa):
    Felix Brych (Germany), Björn Kuipers (Netherlands), Cüneyt Çakir (Turkey), Damir Skomina (Slovenia), Milorad Mazic (Serbia), Szymon Marciniak (Poland), Antonio Mateu Lahoz (Spain), Jonas Eriksson (Sweden), Gianluca Rocchi( Italy).
    Sergei Karasev(Russia)- reserve, var

  17. My list.

    AFC: Irmatov, Shukralla, Faghani, Sato
    CAF: Sikazwe, Camille, Grisha
    CONCACAF: Aguilar, Garcia, Geiger
    CONMEBOL: Pitana, Ricchi, Cunha, Roldan
    OFC: Hauata
    UEFA: Brych, Cakir, Rocchi, Marciniak, Eriksson, Kassai, Skomina, Kuipers, Karasev, Turpin

    1. Camille IMO has 0% chance... He's not in CAF's absolute top flight if referees... Plus he was injured for a long time after the AFCON 2017 and has no FIFA tournament trial this year... So with names like Gassama, Sikazwe, Diedhiou, Grisha all well ahead of him, I think Camille isn't going to Russia at least as a main referee!!

    2. You forgot Mazic in UEFA.

    3. Edward to choose Mazic?? The world will end that day :D

    4. I didn't forget him. I wouldn't have send him.

  18. Dear Soham, without Italy and without an Italian referee it would be impossible to play WC ;)

    1. Of course I missed Rocchi accidentally :D Would've been 10 UEFA referees in my list anyway... Of course he's in everyone's list without any doubt :D

  19. CAF Confederation Cup Final 2017
    First Leg, 19 November 2017

    TP Mazembe – Super Sport United
    Referee: Mehdi Abid Charef (ALG, photo)
    Assistant Referee 1: Abdelhak Etchiali (ALG)
    Assistant Referee 2: Aboubacar Doumbouya (GUI)
    Fourth Official: Mustapha Ghorbal (ALG)

    Second Leg, 25 November 2017

    Super Sport United – TP Mazembe
    Referee: Malang Diedhiou (SEN)
    Assistant Referee 1: Djibril Camara (SEN)
    Assistant Referee 2: El Hadji Samba (SEN)
    Fourth Official: Maguette Ndiaye (SEN)


    1. Does this mean Gehad Grisha isn't even in the top 4 of CAF refereeing??

    2. I'm not sure, I don't follow CAF refereeing much. Maybe Chefren can comment on this.

    3. I don't know too much about CAF ranking, of course.
      One can just guess that Gassama at moment should be the first name. He handled 5 CAF Champions League finals in a row.
      As explained, I guessed that Grisha will be at WC because a referee from Northern Africa has been already there. This time Egypt can take the chance. Of course, this doesn't mean that "in normal conditions" Grisha wouldn't deserve the call, indeed I think now he deserves it. He attended several FIFA tournaments and he has the right experience.

    4. 5 CAF Champions League finals in a row? Can you imagine if that happened in Europe?

  20. I really have the same impression of the possible selection as Chefren (+ Mikael and others). If we take the number of referees as given, I come to the same conclusions.
    But while this seems to be the most likely option, we also know that we have to expect the unexpected, especially with VARs now.

    So my alternative idea is, that FIFA will select 30 main referees in the first selection, who would also work as VARs, if they will be used. Then they could nominate ~10 pure VARs after the IFAB decision (and maybe some support referees). We must not forget, that then there are 4 referees needed in each game, of which two have to travel. If there are no VARs, 30 is still an acceptable number, if some of them mainly work as 4th officials.
    30 referees would also mean more flexibility in appointments. Everyone could get a first match, and if that is bad, you will only be VAR or 4th afterwards. And a larger number solves some of the selection dilemmas outlined by Chefren...

    30 referees:
    Irmatov, Faghani, Shukralla, Sato
    Gassama, Sikazwe, Grisha, Alioum
    Geiger, Aguilar, Garcia, Ramos
    Pitana, Ricci, Roldan, Cacereres, Bascunan, Cunha
    Cakir, Kuipers, Brych, Mazic, Marciniak, Mateu, Skomina, Rocchi, Karasev, Turpin, Eriksson

    10 pure VARs
    Bin Jahari, Diedhiou, Marrufo, Vigliano, Sampaio, Waldron, Makkelie, Orsato, Zwayer, Soares Dias

    Potential support referees
    Al Mirdasi, Charef, Lopez or Montero, Haro, Hauata, Hategan

  21. It seems as FIFA has informed the officials about their participation at WC. However, roles are still unknown, it is possible they will be main referee, VAR, FO....
    Çakir, Ramos and Bascuñan have been confirmed.
    I suggest to follow Árbitro Internacional official account on twitter:
    Thank always to their work!

  22. Julio Bascunan, Cüneyt Çakir, Cesar Ramos and Gehad Grisha confirmed for World Cup :)

    Source : Arbitro Internacional

    1. Where did you read Grisha? I don't find his name.

    2. This comment has been removed by the author.

    3. Grisha's name just showed up. Soham knows something we don't know!

    4. This comment has been removed by the author.

    5. It's there in Arbitro Internacional's tweets now... Plus confirmed in Grisha's fb page as well :D I'm innocent usaref :D

    6. Why are some being confirmed now whilst others aren't?

    7. Because they send separte list to all federations. It will take some time to know while it goes public from there... Even some referees dont even know yet since its stuck in the federation and no one contacted them...

    8. That's weird we know before they know themselves!

  23. This comment has been removed by the author.

  24. Yes, now confirmed. Well, good so far for me, it seems as some predictions were right, but let's wait. :)
    And most important, we all should remember, in any case this is not still an official confirmation, we have always to wait FIFA, but of course our source Árbitro Internacional is infallible.

  25. There is a course next week that all appointed officials will attend. All of those officials were informed yesterday.

  26. AFC
    Fahad AL MIRDASI (KSA)
    Alireza FAGHANI (IRN)
    Ravshan IRMATOV (UZB)
    Mohammed Abdulla MOHAMED (UAE)
    Ryuji SATO (JPN)
    Nawaf Abdulla SHUKRALLA (BHR)

    Malang DIEDHIOU (SEN)
    Bakary Papa GASSAMA (GAM)
    Ghead GRISHA (EGY)
    Janny SIKAZWE (ZAM)
    Weyesa Bamlak TESSEMA (ETH)

    Joel AGUILAR (SLV)
    Mark W. GEIGER (USA)
    Jair MARRUFO (USA)
    Ricardo MONTERO (CRC)
    John PITTI (PAN)

    Julio BASCUÑAN (CHI)
    Enrique CACERES (PAR)
    Andres CUNHA (URU)
    Nestor PITANA (ARG)
    Sandro RICCI (BRA)
    Wilmar ROLDAN (COL)

    Matthew CONGER (NZL)
    Norbert HAUATA (TAH)

    Felix BRYCH (GER)
    Cüneyt CAKIR (TUR)
    Sergey KARASEV (RUS)
    Bjorn KUIPERS (NED)
    Szymon MARCINIAK (POL)
    Antonio Miguel MATEU LAHOZ (ESP)
    Milorad MAZIC (SRB)
    Gianluca ROCCHI (ITA)
    Damir SKOMINA (SVN)
    Clement TURPIN (FRA)

    1. I can confirm, thats the list.

    2. No Jonas Eriksson 😱😱😱

    3. Wow!!

      UEFA absolutely as I expected, as for the rest?!?!

      Two from USA, what a fantastic achievement.

      With the support referees and VAR's to be added the referee team will be 120. I now think it's likely only VARs will be added and referees will act as fourth official.

      Congratulations to all.

    4. Are we sure Marrufo is going? I've seen one list with Marrufo and another with Lopez.

      Also, isn't it VERY possible that some of these officials are support team only? I cannot imagine Tessema or Pitti or Mohammed getting matches as referees, for example.

      Seems like the only thing missing are dedicated VARs. That might be another 6-8 officials, I would guess.

    5. Can you better explain what does this list mean ? Officials to attend wc training in Abu Dabhi 25-29 november ?
      Does it mean that all the attendees will be in Russia next summer, even with diffrrent role ?
      All of them ?
      Just 2 comments from my side. It doesn't make sense 6 referees from Afc, caf and concacaf and only 10 from uefa. Ratio is crazy for me.
      Regretted for Kassai

    6. All of them will be in Russia. From what I know, there are not VAR on the list, only referees and support referees.

  27. Dedicated VARs must be missing, right? How are Zwayer, Orsato, Vigliano and Makkelie not on the list?

    1. I have the same concerns. I will wait on the complete list.

      I think some VARs and support are included but certainly not UEFA. Orsato, Zwayer and Makkelie will attend in some capacity for sure.

    2. The list doesn't include VAR. Turpin as reserve referee.

    3. Is Marrufo a reserve? CONCACAF is confusing for me.

      Geiger, Aguilar and Ramos as referees is obvious.

      Montero and Pitti as reserves (with maybe one of them refereeing) makes sense.

      But what is Marrufo if he's not a VAR?

    4. @RayHD
      "The list doesn't include VAR"
      Source? I'm reading that all the names, VAR and FO have been included there. Marrufo is surely a VAR official...

    5. Indeed I find very strange that some VAR "specialists" like Orsato, Zwayer, Makkelie wont be there. Can we be sure about the fact that this is the final list with all names included?

    6. My guess is that Marrufo will MOSTLY do VAR but by putting him on this list, he will have a reserve AR with him (Rockwell?).

      There is absolutely no way that FIFA will have VARs at the World Cup and will leave out the four people most experienced and well-trained (Orsato, Makkelie, Zwayer and Vigliano). That makes zero sense. The VARs who will be going to Russia ONLY to be VARs are almost certainly not on this list. Maybe it's only those four names. Maybe there are a couple more.

    7. You are right Usaref- There aren't other explanations.
      Maybe it is better to wait.

    8. Maybe they simply wait for the official confirmation that VAR system will be used at the WC. Indeed, it would be very strange if Zwayer, Orsato, Makkelie,... will be missing.

    9. Decision about VAR use is not made yet, hence VAR are not included in the list from what I know. But who knows, maybe some of them will be used as VAR in case of (obvious) confirmation?

    10. Will the ones who use VAR in their respective leagues have a greater chance of going as VAR, in comparison to some officials who are from countries that don't?

    11. @RayHD yes, now it makes sense, I think so as well... however in case of NO VAR at WC, committee will appoint them as FO.

    12. @Ryan
      Surely, indeed you have Orsato, Zwayer, Makkelie, they all know VAR, and it is used in their domestic competitions.

    13. Thanks for the reply Chefren. Could you possibly give me a list of the leagues which use VAR at the moment please?

    14. Poland, Germany, Italy, Netherlands (if I'm not wrong, they use it only in cup competitions), Portugal and maybe also France? I don't knwo exactly about the latter, but I have read that some French officials used it...

    15. The chart on this page shows the usage of VARs worldwide in a neat timeline:

  28. In France, VAR will be used in the French Cup and French League Cup at the 1/4 finals and so on. Also in the promotion/demotion play off

    1. Thanks, I've heard something similar will happen over here in England.

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