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Largest-ever cast of match officials appointed for UAE 2019

Kuala Lumpur: With the expansion of Asia’s most prestigious tournament from 16 to 24 teams, a record 60 match officials – comprising 30 referees and assistant referees each – have been appointed to the AFC Asian Cup UAE 2019, which is scheduled to kick-off in one month’s time on January 5, 2019. 

The largest-ever contingent, which will also be supported by four reserve officials, will see a diverse range of nationalities, with 19 Member Associations represented across the five AFC zones.

The Continent’s best referees and assistant referees were selected based on their skill, technical knowledge, management competence and physical fitness. They will be expected to perform various roles including Additional Assistant Referees, Reserve Assistant Referees as well as Video Assistant Referees (VAR), which will come into force from the quarter-final stage.

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AFC President Shaikh Salman bin Ebrahim Al Khalifa said: “The AFC’s Vision and Mission underlined our desire to be leaders of the global game and the world-class stature of AFC referees was further underlined when a record 16 match officials were appointed to the FIFA World Cup in July.

“Today, we announce the largest-ever contingent to the UAE and I would like to congratulate all our match officials on their appointments to the biggest and best AFC Asian Cup in history.

“The expansion of the AFC Asian Cup was a strategic decision which benefitted not only the teams and players, but in all areas of football development, including enhancing the opportunities for our referees to shine on the biggest stages.”

As part of the main cast, the AFC also appointed a guest trio from Concacaf, led by FIFA World Cup Russia referee Cesar Arturo Ramos from Mexico, as part of the existing exchange programme between the two Confederations with an Asian trio set to feature in the Concacaf's Gold Cup later this year.


UAE 2019 - Meet the teams

The appointments are a culmination of a robust and comprehensive preparation programme dating back to the conclusion of the AFC Asian Cup Australia 2015.

Since then, ten seminars have been organised to ensure optimum consistency and uniformity and the highest level of refereeing standards.

As the Continent shifts its attention to the UAE, a final preparatory course is scheduled to take place in Abu Dhabi five days prior to the competition, which has been designed specifically to focus on the seamless implementation of the VAR system.

The list of AFC match officials can be found here.

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