President supports “number one team” of FIFA Arab Cup Match Officials in Doha

  • President Infantino thanks team of Match Officials for commitment and professionalism

  • 52 match officials from 27 countries and six confederations in Qatar

FIFA President Gianni Infantino has visited the headquarters of the FIFA Arab Cup Match Officials in Doha, offering words of encouragement to FIFA’s “number one team” at the tournament and thanking their group for their commitment, professionalism and responsibility both on and off the pitch.

The 12 referees, 24 assistant referees and 16 video match officials of the tournament represent all six FIFA confederations and are closely accompanied by a diverse team of technical specialists, including FIFA referee and video match official instructors, fitness coaches, physiotherapists and sports scientists, all of whom were addressed by Mr Infantino ahead of the third round of group stage matches in Qatar.

“You are the first team for FIFA”, Mr Infantino encouraged. “You are our first team because without you, there is no FIFA Arab Cup, there is no FIFA World Cup: there is no football. With the introduction of VAR and all of the work that you are doing - which is extremely professional and thorough – the whole refereeing category has moved to a different level and you are part of the elite in the world of refereeing.

“That is why it is so important that you realise the responsibility that you have”, he continued. “That responsibility is to referee games in the best possible way with your conscience and your preparation but it is also towards football: towards the billions of boys and girls who love the game, who believe in the game and the honesty and transparency of the game. It is a game where there are rules and where there is somebody who makes sure that these rules are respected. As the elite of the refereeing movement, it is crucial to transmit this message.”

The Match Officials are working together for the best possible arbitration between the 16 teams competing for glory in Doha. The FIFA President was eager to emphasise the importance of that teamwork throughout the tournament.

“Football is much more than just a sport; football is truly a life skill for children because by playing, you learn”, he added. “I think you are also part of a team and you know better than me how important it is to be able to count on your teammates. I can only thank you all for the great work that you are doing by being role models and examples together with the team here under the leadership of [Chairman of FIFA Referees Committee] Pierluigi Collina.”