Ravshan Irmatov gets Order of People’s Honour

Referee Ravshan Irmatov is awarded with Order of People’s Honour of Uzbekistan. The match official officiated at 2014’s World Cup in Brazil. All three major football papers devote their frontpage to Uzbekistan’s World Cup referees they day after the event.

That is how more countries and sports papers should honour referees. I love it.

It’s not just an Order of People’s Honour that Ravshan Irmatov got.

Thanks to Sanjar Rizayev, the press officer, I am allowed to publish a photo series from the ceremony and the new car Irmatov got from the president.

The car keys for the referee and his assistant.

Car keys for Ravshan Irmatov

Press conference after ref gets honoured.

Ravshan Irmatov press conference

Ravshan Irmatov and his new Chevrolet car.

Ravshan Irmatov's new car

The speech from Ravshan Irmatov.
Ravshan Irmatov's speech.

“I am learning more and more and I am gaining more experience. I am very happy that I have this opportunity”, the Uzebekistan referee says. Read the interview I did with Ravshan Irmatov. Thee Uzbezkistan refree was one of the referees who surprised the World in 2010. In 2014 he got the record of refereeing 9 World Cup matches. In 2010 he got the semi-final between The Netherlands and Uruguay. In 2014 he officiated a quarter final between The Netherlands and Costa Rica.

Change decision: Irmatov gives penalty … oh no, a goal

Ravshan Irmatov whistled for a foul in the Confederations Cup match between Italy and Brazil and awarded a penalty. Then he realised that another Italian player scored a goal immediately after he whistled. He choose to change decision and awards the goal.

Is that a correct call by the referee? Below an explanation based on the Laws of the Game, but first the video from that match.

“He has admitted he made a mistake,” said FIFA spokesman Pekka Odriozola. Below there’s an explanation why it was a mistake, so you could learn from that.

A short description of the situation: There’s a corner kick for Italy and players are duelling for the ball. Ravshan Irmatov sees an offence by a Brazilian defender in his own penalty area. Due to fans and commentators you might not hear the whistle, but you can see him pointing to the penalty spot. But he sees that the ball goes to an Italian player who has a clear shooting opportunity and he kicks the ball in the net.

The reaction of Italian player Chiellini shows that he thinks the goal is cancelled, but then he sees the referee pointing to the middle line.

But was that correct? No, because the referee already whistle for a foul. The Laws of the Game say that “the ball is out of play when A) it has wholly crossed the goal line or touch line whether on the ground or in the air; B) play has been stopped by the referee”.

The latter option (B) is why nobody could have scored. At the moment he whistled, Irmatov has stopped play and when play is stopped, nobody could score any more. That’s one of the basic rules every referee should know.

Change decision

But can’t a referee change his decision? Yes, referees can.

Uzbebistan referee Irmatov at the 2010 World Cup with Jubilani ball.

Uzebistan referee Irmatov at the 2010 World Cup with Jubilani ball.

The LATG say: “The referee may only change a decision on realising that it is incorrect or, at his discretion, on the advice of an assistant referee or the fourth official, provided that he has not restarted play or terminated the match.”

It does not mean that if he stops play, he can correct it by letting play continue for a goal being scored. What Irmatov could have done after allowing the goal, is changing that decision and still give the penalty he whistled for in the first time.

Read an interview with Ravshan Irmatov from this blog during the latest World Cup

Ravshan Irmatov about his tactical approach

Asian top referee Ravshan Irmatov talks about his tactical approach of matches.

See more recent referee video’s on the Asian Football Conferation’s YouTube Channel.
AFC Elite Referee Instructor, Shamsul Maidin on AFC’s Referee Development Program.
Benjamin Jon Williams with an advice for young referees.
AFC Elite Referee Instructor Ali Traifi explains the selection process for AFC Project Future Referees.
AFC Elite Referee Fitness Instructor, Utsumi Toshio speaks about the importance of physical fitness in modern day refereeing.

Dutch Referee Blog has spoken with Ravshan Irmatov form Uzbekistan during 2010’s World Cup in South-Africa. Read the article here.

Ravshan Irmatov

Ravshan Irmatov with fantastic Asian refereeing

Ravshan Irmatov was the youngest referee in this World Cup in South Africa. But his age was no problem in his first big football tournament. Actually, the Uzbezkistan refree was one of the referees who surprised the World. The Fifa awarded his good performances with 5 WC matches and the semi-final between The Netherlands and Uruguay.

Valdir Bicudo, blogging about refereeing for the Brazilian website Parana Online , and Jan ter Harmsel (me) interviewed him.

Ravshan Irmatov

He stayed at the referee headquarters of Kievits Kroon until the end of this World Cup and only two referees before him were allowed to officiate in five matches during one World Cup. Armando Archundia (Mexico) and Horacio Elizondo (Argentina) reached that number, both during the 2006 WC in Germany.

Such a debut is part of a fast development of the referee from Uzbekistan. He started his international career at the U17 World Cup in Fianland in 2003, followed by his first international (non-youth) match between Vietnam and Libanon. After that he got appointed in different tournaments. He got the 2008 final of the World Cup for club teams between LDU Quito (Ecuador) and Manchester United (England).

This resulted in two consecutive prizes as Asian referee of the year in 2008 and 2009. It’s not yet decided who’ll win 2010’s award, but it’s going to be exciting with great performances of Yuichi Nishimura too during this World Cup.

Back to the moment when Irmatov started officiating. How did you become a referee instead of a player and what was your first game as a referee?
Ravshan Irmatov: “My Father was national referee. After recovery from injury I could not continue to play football. Then he advised me to try to be a referee. I was officiating a U-13 match first time with the age of 20 and I liked it a lot. So I went step by step.”

When did you become a professional referee in Uzbekistan? How do you combine it with your job as a school football instructor?
“In 2001 I did the first time officiate a Premiere league match and in 2003 I became a FIFA referee and the same year I was appointed to the FIFA U17 World Cup in Finland. After this tournament my attitude towards the refereeing became very professional, and my football instructor job became a part time job.”

You’re the first WC referee from Uzbekistan. How important is this for your country?
“To be the referee in W.C is a dream for every Referee, and it is very important for me and my country as well. The refereeing level in Uzbekistan is good enough. On a Confederation level we are working very hard to be on the level with the best referees in the world.”

You had outstanding performances in FIFA competitions in the years before this World Cup, including the final of the Club World Cup in Japan (2008) between LDU Quito and Manchester United. Tell us what paths did you walk to be nominated for a game of such importance and what were the experiences of whistling this game?
“I am always working very hard in order to be ready for my matches and this match was a wonderful experience for me.”

How do you feel after having officiated five games during this World Cup?
“My attitude to all matches is the same – as it was at the beginning from local level and up to now on FIFA level. Every match is a new experience for the referee, I felt with each match more experienced and learned a lot from my matches.”

What goal did you set before this World Cup and did you reach it? What’s your goal for the rest of this tournament?
“My goal for the tournament was in every match to work with full commitment and to be winner at the end of every match.”

Ravshan Irmatov. Fifa.com

What do you do when you’re not officiating or training for a match?
“I am watching movies, listening music, love to be in contact with family and friends.

If you got invited to work in Brazil some soccer games would accept the invitation?

What is your best experience at this World Cup so far?
“I am learning more and more and I am gaining more experience. I am very happy that I have this opportunity.”

Facts about referees in World Cup finals

Some more statistics about the World Cup. Fifa announced today that Howard Webb will get the final of 2010’s World Cup in South Africa. The last English referee was Jack Taylor in the match between The Netherlands and West Germany. In all 19 WC finales (including 2010) there were 4 referees from Britain.

Referees in World Cup finals

2010 Howard Webb (England)
2006 Horacio Elizondo (Argentina)
2002 Pierluigi Collina (Italy)
1998 Said Belgola (Marocco)
1994 Sandor Puhl (Hungary)
1990 Edgardo Codesal Mendez (Mexico)
1986 Romualdo Arppi Filho (Brazil)
1982 Arnaldo Coelho (Brazil)
1978 Sergio Gonella (Italy)
1974 Jack Taylor (England)
1970 Rudolf Glöckner (East Germany)
1966 Gottfried Dienst (Switzerland)
1962 Nickolaj Latychev (Russia)
1958 Maurice Guigue (France)
1954 William Ling (England)
1950 George Reader (England)
1938 Geroge Capdeville (France)
1934 Ivan Eklind (Sweden)
1930 Jan Langenus (Belgium)
Source: Fifa

Number of referees per country
4 England
2 Italy
2 France
2 Brazil
1 Argentina
1 Hungary
1 Sweden
1 Belgium
1 Marocco
1 Switzerland
1 Mexico
1 East Germany
1 Russia

Youngest referees in a World Cup final

Everyone is talking about the age of Ravshan Irmatov (32), who got five matches during this World Cup. But he wouldn’t be the youngest if he got the final this year.

29 Ivan Eklind from Sweden (1934)
38 Howard Webb (2010; he’ll become 39 on the 14th of July)
39 Jan Langenus from Belgium (1930)
39 George Capdeville from France (1938)
39 Arnaldo coelho from Brazil (1982)
39 Edgardo Codesal Mendez from Mexico (1990)
39 Sandor Puhl from Hungary (1994)

Oldest referee in a World Cup final

These days there’s an age limit for international refereeing at 45. Earlier World Cups proved that also older referees are able to get the most important match in the world.

54 George Reader from England (1950)
51 Rudolf Glöckner from East Germany (1970)
49 Nickolaj Latychev from Russia (1962)

Total number of yellow cards in World Cup finals: 40
Maradona is the only player with two yellow cards in World Cup finals who’s not sent off. And yes, it was against the same opponent: West Germany. In both finals in 1986 (win) and 1990 (loss) he got one yellow card.

Total number of red cards in World Cup finals: 4
Monzón and Dezotti (both from Argentina) were sent off in 1990. Marcel Desailly during France’s WC win in the home country against Brazil. And the last red card was from Zinedine Zidane in the most recent World Cup final in 2006 in Germany.