FIFA has selected Uzbek Farhad Abdullah, head of Saudi Arabian Football Federation Referees Committee, as a general supervisor of referees for the World Cup 2022, scheduled between November 20 and December 18, a source familiar with the matter told Asharq Al-Awsat.
Farhad Abdullah attended the first meeting of the Saudi Pro League held in Jeddah, where he showcased the top events that took place during the first four rounds of the league, the committed mistakes and how they were addressed, and stressed the importance of taking the right decision in the field at all costs.
In an interview with Asharq Al-Awsat, Farhad hailed the remarkable progress Saudi referees have made, and applauded their capacity to manage competitive games, which they acquired in major games they led during the AFC Cup and AFC Champions League.
About the absence of Saudi referees during the World Cups since the participation of former international referee Khalil Jalal in the 2006 and 2010, Farhad said “there are many steps that should be taken, and we should start with the local league. We must review the local performance before partaking in international games. A referee should manage important and competitive games in his country, and gain the trust of the continental union before he leads World Cup games.”
Farhad promised nothing about the participation of a Saudi referee in the World Cup 2026, noting that “we are working to ensure the comeback of Saudi referees, and we worked on their return to the local league.”
The head of Saudi Arabian Football Federation Referees Committee denied what is being said about the confusion of Saudi referees in major games, and that it’s the reason behind the mistakes they commit during the matches, assuring that Saudi referees are qualified to lead important and competitive games.
“We saw Saudi referees leading regional games in AFC contests, the semifinals of the AFC Champions League, and the semifinals of AFC Cup. Our referees are making a significant progress, which is reflected in their selection by the AFC for many games,” he said.