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Soccer

Referees named ahead of FIFA Club World Cup

Six match officials have been nominated to oversee the tournament which kicks off in Morocco on 1 February.

Update:
English referee Anthony Taylor
LINDSEY PARNABYAFP

FIFA have confirmed the names of the six lead referees who will be responsible for overseeing the action at the Club World Cup which kicks off in Morocco on 1 February.

Two UEFA match officials have been called up along one a piece from CAF, CONCACAF, CONMEBOL and the AFC confederations. 12 assistant referees and eight VAR officials have also been named to take charge of the games that will be hosted in Tangiers and Rabat.

The FIFA Club World Cup Trophy
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The FIFA Club World Cup Trophy Angel Martinez - FIFAGetty

FIFA Club World Cup referees

  • AFC: Ning Ma (China)
  • CAF: Mustapha Ghorbal (Algeria)
  • CONCACAF: Ivan Barton (El Salvador)
  • CONMEBOL: Andres Matonte Cabrera (Uruguay)
  • UEFA: Anthony Taylor (England)
  • UEFA: Istvan Kovacs (Rumania)

Referees will explain to crowds and TV audiences the reasoning behind VAR decisions during a 12-month trial across FIFA tournaments, starting with February’s Club World Cup.

The Morocco-hosted event will see officials communicate their decisions to audiences for the first time in football.

General view of the big screen displaying a VAR review
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General view of the big screen displaying a VAR review TONY OBRIENREUTERS

While conversations with the VAR officials will not be heard by the public, referees are to be provided with a microphone that links them to the in-stadium public address system and broadcasters.

The International Football Association Board (IFAB), the sport’s lawmakers, announced the trial on Wednesday following recommendations made by its advisory panels in October.

All eyes on Morocco

The tournament will take place from 1 to 11 February and will feature seven sides with the respective winners from each confederations top competition with Champions League winners Real Madrid and Flamengo (Copa Libertadores winners) firm favourites.

Flamengo
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Flamengo Buda MendesGetty Images

The other five participating sides are: Auckland City (Oceania), Al Hilal (AFC) Seattle Sounders (CONCACAF), Wydad Casablanca (CAF) and Egypt’s Al Ahly as guests given that Wydad are the ‘host nation’ and also CAF Champions League winners.

Club World Cup: participating teams

  • Real Madrid (Spain)
  • Flamengo (Brazil)
  • Auckland City (New Zealand)
  • Seattle Sounders (United States)
  • Wydad Casablanca (Morocco)
  • Al Hilal (Saudi Arabia)
  • Al Ahly (Egypt)