The Asian Football Confederation (AFC) announced that with less than four months to go to the AFC Asian Cup Qatar 2023, the largest-ever cast of 74 match officials have been appointed to the Continental showpiece, which is scheduled to be held in Qatar from 12 January to 10 February 2024, across nine world-class venues.
A total of 35 referees and 39 assistant referees including two standby nominees for each position from 18 Member Associations have been selected based on their game management skills and competence, technical knowledge, physical fitness as well as performances delivered at the highest levels of both Continental and global football in recent years.
The list included 6 Qatari referees, consisting of 4 field referees, namely Abdulrahman Al Jassim, Abdullah Ali Al Athba, Salman Falahi and Khamis Al Marri, and 2 assistant referees, who are Taleb Salem Al Marri and Saoud Ahmed.
For the first time-ever, women match officials are poised to make their debut at Asias most prestigious mens national team competition, with Japans Yoshimi Yamashita one of six women officials who were historically selected for the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 leading the stellar ensemble of five female match officials appointed to Asias Cup.
At the same time, the most experienced men officials include Alireza Faghani, who will be officiating in his third AFC Asian Cup as well as Qatars Abdulrahman Al Jassim, who oversaw the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 third-place playoff between Croatia and Morocco.
History will also be made when the Video Assistant Referee (VAR) system makes its full debut in Qatar following its successful implementation from the Quarter-final stage in the last edition of AFC Asian Cup.
To ensure the Confederation maintains the highest refereeing standards, the biggest ever appointment in Continental football history also takes into consideration the expansion of existing roles and introduction of new positions, which include Video Match Officials.
A dynamic, extensive and specially curated preparatory programme spanning more than four years has been implemented to ensure Asias top officials meet the demands of the modern game.
The appointed referees will gather in Kuala Lumpur in October for a final seminar before all appointed match officials assemble in Qatar for a seven-day preparatory course prior to the competition.
Additionally, more than 20 seminars and workshops have been organised to ensure the highest standards of consistency and uniformity across all levels since the conclusion of the 2019 edition.
The State of Qatar will host the continental competition, that was launched in 1956, for the third time, after 1988 and 2011.
Source: Qatar News Agency