November 1, 2012

2012 Club World Cup - Preview

After having met on 17th and 18th October, FIFA's referee committee has appointed seven trios to take control over December's 2012 Club World Cup which will be, like in the past years, hosted by Japan.  

Although they are competitions solely joined by clubs and not by national teams, these annual Club World Cups are actually of fundamental relevance for the selection of the 2014 World Cup officials, since the main condition the chosen referees and assistant referees had to fulfill is being on the short list for the 20th World Cup. In addition, it is certainly an opportunity for these referees to show their skills and collect experiences in an international competition. However, it may be questioned to what extent a tournament with only eight matches allows that at all...
The most meaningful circumstance of this competition is that FIFA will test their recently approved Goal-Line Technology for the first time ever in an official competition.
Besides, it is rumoured that the officials who will attend this year's Club World Cup could be excluded from the youth World Cups and Confed Cup in 2013. But now, let's talk about those who have been selected.

Asia (AFC zone)
First, the good news is that FIFA has finally gathered its wits and realized that the whole seven slots AFC has got on the prospective list of referees for 2014 World Cup do not only consist of the name Irmatov. However, they still do not bestow a FIFA competition bow on Alireza Faghani, who maintains the only Asian official on the list without a FIFA competition match as main referee. Faghani, Kamranifar and Sokhandan, all from Iran, will attend the tournament as reserve trio.
Instead, another aspiring official has been nominated.

Nawaf Shukralla (2nd left) (c) flickr
After having participated in 2011 FIFA U-17 World Cup, Bahrain's Nawaf Ghayyath Shukralla has been invited for the second time by FIFA to attend a FIFA organized tournament prior to 2014 World Cup. In Mexico, where the tournament was held, he lost his assistants due to failed fitness tests and only refereed two matches including the round of 16 match between Argentina and England.
In October 2012, it was made public that Shukralla would be in charge of 2012 AFC Champions League final (in South Korea on 10 November), which means his first final in an internationally prestigious competition. 
At Japan's Club World Cup, the Bahraini will be accompanied by Yaser Abdulla Tulefat and Ebrahim Saleh, both of Bahrain. As the quality shown by officials like Ravshan Irmatov, Yuichi Nishimura, Ali Al Badwawi and also Benjamin Williams has been very high at their past FIFA involvements, Shukralla's way to a potential World Cup is certainly stony; FIFA and its committee therefore must have very high expectations from him.

Africa (CAF zone)
Algeria's Djamel Haimoudi will head the only African trio at the tournament. After his compatriot Benouza's appearance at a Club World Cup (in 2008) and Mohammed Guezzaz of Morocco (in 2005), this will be the third time for North African referees to officiate at this tournament.
Djamel Haimoudi (c) maracana
For the 41-year old Algerian, it is also the second FIFA tournament in his career. He attended Colombia's U-20 World Cup in 2011 and refereed three matches including the round of 16 clash between Portugal and Guatemala where he decided the match with a wrong penalty kick decision. There has been a change with regard to his assistant referees by the way. After Foaad El Maghrabi and Ayman Degaish, his new assistant referees are the experienced Redouane Achik of Morocco, who stayed in one's mind for a brilliant onside call in the 2010 World Cup match between Slovenia and USA, and the significantly younger Algerian Abdelhak Etchiali.
Having been elected as best Arabian referee in 2011, it is quite difficult to point out the chances Haimoudi has got with regard to the next World Cup. With Belaid Lacarne, he naturally has someone in the FIFA committee who could be able to push him a bit. Nevertheless, the aspect which I most connect with this referee is an excessive usage of his whistle, specially after scored goals. So please Mr Haimoudi: save our ears!

North - and Central America and the Caribbeans (CONCACAF zone)
Marco Rodríguez (l.), one of his 15 red cards (c) ZIMBIO

Instead of appointing a referee who could need as much international and intercontinental experience as possible, FIFA has taken the decision to appoint someone who is certainly no "no-name", specially in Australia or Chile. Two times World Cup referee Marco Rodríguez of Mexico, widely called "Chiquidracula" or "Chiquimarco", will attend the Club World Cup for the second time. Assisted by Marvin Torrentera and Marcos Quintero, the teacher who works at a German school in Mexico City will therefore go to his seventh FIFA organized tournament.
In 2007, he took charge of the Club World Cup's final between Boca Juniors and AC Milan, where he dismissed two players. His card statistics are unbelievable. In 15 matches at FIFA organized tournaments, he issued 83 yellow cards and dismissed 15 players. Consequently, the players should be warned..

South America (CONMEBOL zone)
Carlos Vera (c) deportespe.terra
Carlos Vera is the first Ecuadorian ever to take charge of a FIFA Club World Cup. The 36-year old was never in charge of a FIFA organized tournament, nor of more than a Copa Libertadores quarterfinal in South America. This tournament will be fundamental for FIFA to figure out whether he is a referee to be regarded as promising for 2014 World Cup. Therefore it may be presumed that they'll appoint him for two matches at this competition. Personally, I cannot imagine that this will stay his last FIFA tournament before 2014, as such a short and swift tournament like the Club World Cup is surely unable to create a profound image him.
Two very young assistant referees are accompanying Vera on the prospective list and also at Japan's Club World Cup: 1983 born Christian Lescano (who also accompanied Omar Ponce in 2011 FIFA U-17 World Cup) and 1980 born Byron Romero.

Oceania (OFC zone)
It is honestly speaking quite annoying to always repeat oneself. Peter O'Leary (photo) of New Zealand will again take charge of a Club World Cup (for the fifth time; he always stayed with one match the previous three times), it will be his ninth appearance at an international FIFA competition.
After a good and promising U-20 World Cup in Colombia with four matches, where he partly showed very good performances, and Michael Hester's retirement, everything seemed to be ready for O'Leary to finally referee a World Cup match himself. However, he then received the second lowest mark of our blog observers at 2012 Olympic Games, where his first match (UA Emirates - Uruguay) was also his last one. His assistant referees Jan Hendrik Hintz of New Zealand and Ravinesh Kumar of Fiji revealed weaknesses in different terms, but will accompany him again.
Tahiti's Norbert Hauata has to stay at home again, nonetheless, his time will and must come I suppose. At this point, one may again outline the aptitude of New Zealand's federation. Instead of risking that there will be a World Cup without a New Zealander, they just split their officials onto both available trios so that they then can boast at any rate how excellent they have done their work, since there is a NZL official at a World Cup...just a theory? I am not sure..

Europe (UEFA zone)
Last but not least, UEFA's representative. Turkish official Cüneyt Çakır will head his common team further consisting of Bahattin Duran and Tarik Ongun at this tournament. After five matches at 2011 U-20 World Cup in Colombia, this is another device that not only UEFA, but also FIFA has taken a fancy to this referee.

Cüneyt Çakır (TUR) (c)

After a very good performance in last season's UEFA Champions League semifinal between Barcelona and Chelsea, he became one of those referees at 2012 UEFA Euro who were spared from crucial mistakes and who showed two good performances in both group stage matches. Not many officials managed that at this European Championship. The logical consequence was the circumstance that Çakır had the honour to take control over the Iberian semifinal between Spain and Portugal and furthermore accompanying Pedro Proenca in the final match as fourth official. In addition, one has to underline he was the first Turkish referee ever who managed that.
Without any doubt and with the benefit of hindsight, one can state that this referee is one of the best "accomplishments" since Collina is joining UEFA's referee committee and that he certainly counts to 2012's top3 in Europe. One of his key elements are his mental strength, phlegm and partly zero tolerance style.
One may raise doubts concerning the sense of appointing him for this tournament, anyway, there will be enough opportunities for other referees, who have not made their FIFA debut like Milorad Mazic or Jonas Eriksson, to still show their skills in one of the three major FIFA competitions in 2013 - probably, Çakır will attend one of them as well: the U-20 World Cup is going to take place in his mother country Turkey.

Related Item:
2012 FIFA Club World Cup - Match Officials


  1. Great text, just one mistake: This is fifth time Peter O'Leary is appointed for FIFA Club World Cup.

  2. Nothing more to add, as always. I would be even more harsh saying about O'Leary and especially Rodriguez :)

    CAF Champions League Final:
    Al-Ahly (EGY) - Esperance ST (TUN) (Djamel Haimoudi - ALG)
    Esperance ST (TUN) - Al-Ahly (EGY) (Bouchaib El-Ahrach - MAR)

    Probably very very hot matches...

  3. I want to be honest. I hate Haimoudi's style which is very pedantic, and absurd with mimics. And, he whistles every small touch which yields at least 40 fouls average per match.

    I liked O'Leary performances during U-20. Most probably, if Chelsea proceeds to final, O'Leary may be given final.


    from 6:30 penalty or not???

  5. Clear penalty. There is the difference between Subotic and such a handball. The arm his carted out approximately 0,5m, even seconds before the ball came. This is no natural position of the hand and therefore a clear penalty.

    1. It's my feeling too but I doubt observer evaluate it as crucial mistake...

  6. Thanks for the feedback and remark, I will edit O'Leary's number of CWC participations.

    I could have written more, believe me, but blaming everything would be too easy as well.

  7. petschovschi2/11/12 09:07

    "Derby of Romania":

    Steaua Bucuresti- Dinamo Bucuresti:
    Referee: A. Boucaut (Belgium)

    1. petschovschi2/11/12 09:10

      Here is a link where you can see a lot of big names who were in charge at this game in last 7 years:

    2. I did not know Busacca comes from Italy :D
      Boucaut has little international experience, so a clear contrast to names like Benquerenca or Bergonzi.

    3. petschovschi2/11/12 09:31

      Few words from Platini here:

      "Cinque arbitri possono vedere tutto -sostiene il presidente Uefa - e se sbagliano vuol dire che devono fare un altro mestiere"

      My translation: "five referees can see everything - says UEFA's presdent- but if make mistake they should find another job"

      When I read this words I'm thinking at Istvan Vad...

    4. Hello Niclas,
      Massimo Busacca is from Switzerland, yes, but he is of Italian descent (his relatives are from a small town in Sicily). He was anyway born and grown in Bellinzona, Canton Ticino, near the Italian border.

      And Bergonzi is not at the same level of Benquerença :D of course.

    5. petschovsch: yes, corect translation
      Platini wants to mean that 5 referees are the best possble choice in order to officiate a match, if they do mistakes it means that they have to change their work because unable. He was talking about that because he is against the technology on the pitch.

    6. I find this statement unbelievable.

  8. And finally, my thoughts about FIFA choices:

    Here I can accept the name of Shukralla, even though he already refereed at U17 World Cup last year. It seems anyway a consistent decision, because Faghani needs moer than one match, in order to be tested, since he never referees in a FIFA tournament. Probably Ali Al Badwawi will be at Confederations Cup.

    Having already seen Alioum, Gassama and Jedidi, and being Doue and Bennett well-known referees by FIFA, the choice was between Diatta and Haimoudi. The Algerian was finally choice because he already refereed last year in a FIFA tournament, so he doesn't need still many matches. Badara Diatta was on the 2010 pre list and he appeared at Olympics 2008. FIFA should know already him, but probably the Committee was different, so he will referee in the Confederations Cup next year. The choice here is still acceptable.

    Marco Rodriguez: there would be many things to say about him. It's true that in many matches he refereed, there were controversial decisions and cards. But if FIFA has put him again on the list, it means that they trust him. And it also means that he had to be appointed at least in one of the FIFA tournaments of these years. Of course, the CLUB WORLD CUP under this aspect is the best choice, because it's just one match (or two) and so after that, FIFA could not appoint again him for a longer tournament. By the way, the fact that he is a man with already 2 WCs in his experience must be underlined, we can blame him for his performance on the pitch, but (as I have often said) FIFA often looks also at the experience of a man. And, it seems absurd yes, but at moment Rodriguez is one of the most experienced referees all over the world, considering his World Cups. By the way, I would like to know is Marrufo will be really tested or his presence is just a perfunctory thing on this list. Many doubts about USA referees. Instead, Aguilar from El Salvador seems to be in a safe position.

    Here I'm not so expert, and so I can just say that it's a good thing to appoint a referee never involved in a FIFA tournament, let's see how Carlos Vera will act. The name of his second assistant, Byron Romero, here in Italy seems something like Byron Moreno, furthermore they are from Ecuador, too :)

    Why O'Leary again and not Hauata? The only hope is that they wanted to preserve Hauata for a bigger tournament, and that would be a really good choice, but the doubts are still many, because FIFA absolutely doesn't show trust in those OFC referees who are not from New Zealand. We will see.

    And finally UEFA. Here the referees never called in a FIFA tournament were (and are): Eriksson, Mazic, and (it seems strange but true) Pedro Proença. Probably, these 3 names will join bigger tournaments next year. The choice of the Turkish man in anyway my opinion is another important signal for his career. Unfortunatey, in this tournament, it's very rare that a UEFA referee officiates the final match.

    1. Forgot Velasco Carballo among the referees without a FIFA tournament

    2. I agree, specially on what you said concerning Rodríguez. A federation cannot be so blind to ignore bad performances if they existed in the past, they must have some kind of trust in him. But one may never forget that there are people who decide who is on the list and who not.

      In addition, it will certainly happen in a post one day that I mix up Byron Romero with Byron Moreno..I have often to look up who's who as well..

    3. Although it was not a "FIFA tournament", Euro 2012 must be taken into consideration for selection of WC referees.

    4. For sure, now it seems clear the cooperation between FIFA and all the six confederations, especially UEFA.


  10. AFC Cup Final 2012
    Arbil – Kuwait SC
    Referee: Valentin Kovalenko (UZB)
    Assistant Referee 1: Rafael Ilyasov (UZB)
    Assistant Referee 2: Mamur Saidkassimov (UZB)
    Fourth Official: Vladislav Tseytlin (UZB)

    A referee from Uzbekistan which is not Irmatov :D
    Even though is "just" the AFC Cup, I'm happy for him...

  11. Bosnian superclasico Sarajevo-Željezničar will be played tonight for the 100th time. For the first time in BiH match will be refereed with additional assistant referees, referee will be FIFA referee Elmir Pilav.

  12. Well this is a first.

    Read this:

  13. Hi ofical infos FIFA teste new technology GOAL - LINE in CWCH

  14. Having refereed only Benfica-Barcellona in group stage, Cakir should be appointed both for Matchday 4 (next week) and 5.
    In fact, he will be already in Japan when Matchday 6 will be played.
    If UEFA knew already that, why wasn't he appointed for the first 2 matchdays?
    Anyway strange.

  15. Having CL MD4 does not exclude Cakir for MD5, so I think there should not be a problem. UEFA did not know it by the way, the decision was taken on 17 October, FIFA let the federations know much later.

    Concerning Zimbabwe, actually Angola should be replaced then as well.

    Have you read Platini's latest statements on goal line technology? No? Does not matter, he does not deserve attention with such stupid arguments :D

  16. A small report from London

    1. Poor Mathias Klasenius who has lost his luggage at Heathrow :D

  17. "Derby d'Italia"
    top clash Juventus-Inter this evening


    Very important appointment for Preti and Marzaloni. We finally read different names for a such important match.
    Preti, along with Giallatini (Marzaloni is out due to age) are going to become FIFA assistants.

  18. For Maggiani and Nicoletti?
    Very interesting appointment. How old are Preti and Giallatini (because last times, Manganelli e.g. became FIFA AR with already 37 years).

    I will open a CL thread for next week where predictions may be issued. Keep in mind that we already know these referees will be appointed (ordered by the way they came into my mind)

    Ovidiu Alin Hategan, Aleksandar Stavrev, Marijo Strahonja, Pawel Gil, Carlos Velasco Carballo, Alberto Undiano Mallenco, Florian Meyer, Felix Brych (have I forgotten a ref?)

    1. You forgot Cakir. There isn't the official news but he must be appointed for the reasons that we have enunciated above.

      This time the FIFA limit year for assistant referees (new in 2013) is 1975.
      Giallatini 04/07/1975
      Preti 24/02/1978
      Another assistant still in course is Passeri (19/03/1976) but he seems to have lost points in the last times.

      Maggiani out is 100% sure, I don't know if you heard the last news after Catania-Juventus. The other name, I agree with you, could be Nicoletti, never appointed again in Champions League as before. But Nicoletti is still 1971 born, we have also Grilli (1969) which is older.
      So the choice will be between Nicoletti and Grilli.
      This is what we known for now.

    2. Of course Cakir.
      Thanks for the dates, but there is again a clear contrast to other federations. One seems to become a FIFA assistant in Italy being not that young, here they normally prefer 33 year-old officials.

    3. This is the biggest problem of Italian refereeing.
      Referees and assistants get the FIFA badge always in a older age than other countries.
      There are many reasons: here we have a lot of lower categories in which referees have to stay years and years.
      And the speech about assistant referees is even worse because here most of the assistant referees are former referees which retired and then, after hacving attended a course, they become assistants. Therefore, they join the major categories when they have already a certain age.
      Under this aspect, if Preti will get the badge, he will become one of the yougest Italian FIFA assistants at least of the last 10 years but probably also more than that.
      Stefani, Faverani, Nicoletti, Di Liberatore, Manganelli, Grilli, Cariolato, Di Fiore, Maggiani, Tonolini... all were around 36, 37 or 38 years old when they got the badge... that is very bad, they can't have a important international career. Stefani and Faverani are the only lucky men, probably after EURO2012 they will be able also to be in Brazil, but when they will be already 45 y. o.

  19. Watch this picture. It shows Montpellier's 1-0 last MD, correct onside by Grilli, but I ask myself how he was able to detect that :O

    1. Watch his position. He has a totally wrong position but he makes the correct call.

    2. Absolutely, probably feeling, but a clear lack of concentration.

  20. Take a look also at this blatant mistake by Emmanuel Boisdenghien yesterday in Ligue 1 match Brest - Lorient.
    Luckily, it was an irrelevant goal, the 2-0 scored in the last minute of the game, 93'.
    Referee in charge was Tony Chapron.



  21. Oh yes, huge error, perhaps he was distracted by the other striker or was mentally already in the cabine..

  22. Biggest discussion point of referee decision;
    The incident was yesterday at Istanbul Belediye--Galatasaray match...

    I believe that Gocek correctly waved it off as no foul, and RC for DOGSO

    Any opinion??
    Most referee comentators believe thats a foul, and red.

    1. It seems even a dive, I agree with Gocek.

      Too slight contact (a hand on the chest?) to justify a foul.

  23. Laurent Duhamel has given a straight red card to Ibrahimovic for that:

  24. Correct and correct.
    Göcek's situation is of course borderline, there is a contact, but that was simulation. Not enough for a whistle, I agree with you and the ref/AR1.
    Duhamel with a brave call to send him off, studs are stretched forward, serious foul play (personally, I would even send him off if he had not touched him fully).


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