review,  world cup

Review on World Cup refereeing

The group stage of this World Cup has almost finished. The referees today where doing good. Howard Webb has a very solid performance in a crazy match. I think he’s up for a place at the final sixteen. But he’s not the only candidate. A review of World Cup refereeing 2010.

Swiss newspaper Blick blames referee Al Ghamdi for the loss against Chile:'Ref, you camel'.
The first round was good for the referees, as mentioned in the guest blog ‘Golden medal for the referees by the befriended Brazilian journalist Valdir Bicudo.

But just a few hours after I published the blog there were some controversial moments in the match between USA and Slovenia. Malinese referee Koman Coulibaly disallowed a last minute goal by the Americans (see video), which caused a lot of criticism. Dear (American) readers, what about Dempsey’s offence in the first minute?

In the first weeks I’ve never heard the sports programs on television talk about the referees. But that changed. And I totally agree with the tweet after the match between Brazil and Ivory Coast by Grant Wahl, a senior writer at Sports Illustrated.

“I’ll say it again: I love this sport, but I tire of how often the postgame discussion centers on the officiating.”

How was the referee coverage in your countries’ sports programmes?

Tomorrow are the last matches in the group stage. The final rounds are almost ready to begin. But who should be officiating that matches? My top 5 referees (in no particular order): Howard Webb, Ravshan Irmatov, Hector Baldassi, Carlos Simon and Wolfgan Stark.

Update: Fifa announced the first referees of the final round.

Which referees should be send home and who deserves a spot in one of the finals? Who’s your favourite for the final? Please let me now your opinion in the comments section below.


  • Hamed

    I really like your selection, but I also like Massimo busacca, Carlos Simon, Roberto Rossetti. I hope Ravshan gets a quarterfinal match, he has done really well in this tournament, and Al ghamdi and Japanese referee are not strong enough for the next round.

    • dutchreferee

      Carlos Simon is already in my list. There are a few more referees which had (in my opinion) a very good World Cup. Rosetti and Busacca too. Rosetti’s got a last 16 match and he is very lucky that the Italians are out of the tournament. He’s a good candidate for the final.
      Irmatov has the luck Uzbekistan will not be at any World Cup soon. The last World Cup final referee in 2006 was from South America (Horacio Elizondo), in 2002 from Italy/Europe (Pierluigi Collina), in 1998 from Marocco/Africa (Said Belqola), in 1994 from Hungary/Europe (Sándor Puhl), in 1990 from Mexico/Norther America (Edgardo Codesal), in 1986 from Brazil/South America (Romualdo Arppi Filho) and in 1982 from the same country (Arnaldo César Coelho). (the last facts are provided by Wikipedia).

      Didn’t look any further back, but I think Fifa will be pleased with an Asian referee with good performances. Maybe they’ve given the opening match to an Asian, because the opening match is also important. Now he’s actually doing very good, he’s a good candidate for the final. Nishimura (Japan) as well, but Japan is with the last 16.

      So I think continent would also be an important factor for the final.

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