As the 2023 Women’s World Cup approaches, FIFA has snubbed Nigerian referees among the 33 referees, 55 assistant referees, and 19 video match officials (VMO) that have been named for the tournament
The list of referees who will oversee games during the tournament that will be hosted in Australia and New Zealand was announced by the football governing body on Monday. The tournament is billed to hold from July 20 to August 20, 2023
According to FIFA, the referees were chosen based on their qualifications and recent performances at FIFA tournaments as well as other international and national championships. Six female VMOs have also been chosen for the first time in the FIFA Women’s World Cup’s history.
It will be noted the FIFA and CAF have often bypassed Nigerian referees for their flagship competitions and according to Christian Emeruwa, the Nigerians were never nominated because of a lack of uniformity in the nomination process. here is a reason why.
“As always, the criteria we have used is ‘quality first’ and the selected on-field match officials represent the highest level of refereeing worldwide,” said the chairman of the FIFA Referees Committee, Pierluigi Collina.
“We all remember the very successful FIFA Women’s World Cup 2019 in France. The high standard of refereeing contributed significantly to that success. The aim for the FIFA Women’s World Cup Australia & New Zealand 2023 is to repeat that success and to convince again with excellent referees’ performances.”
The “Road to Australia & New Zealand” project started back in 2020, with more than 170 candidate match officials going through intensive preparation. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, however, this preparation was anything, but easy as in-presence activities were suspended for a long period.
“Even though the pandemic affected our activities, we had enough time to provide the candidates with good preparation. As we did for the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022, we are announcing these selections well in advance to be able to work in a purposeful and focused manner with all those who have been appointed for the FIFA Women’s World Cup, monitoring them over the coming months. From the selected referees, we expect a rigorous and focused preparation for the Women’s World Cup, a competition that FIFA and its president hold in the highest of regards,” said Collina.
Kari Seitz, FIFA’s Head of Women Refereeing, stressed that the match officials will continue to receive all necessary support from FIFA, as their preparation is paramount.
“With critical time lost due to the pandemic in preparation for the Women’s World Cup, we developed some new programmes to accelerate our referee development, such as our very effective Tracking & Support programme, where each referee candidate was assigned a FIFA coach who provided feedback on their matches each month. This programme will continue to be critical in the final phase of preparation for the FIFA Women’s World Cup.”