FIFA Overlooks Nigeria, Names Moroccan, Mauritanian Referees For 2022 U-17 Women’s World Cup
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By Amaechi Agbo
World football governing body, FIFA has released the list of 61 officials to take charge of the forthcoming 2022 U-17 Women’s World Cup in India with Morocco and Mauritania getting slot each for centre referees.
Despite Nigeria female referees international showing especially at the continent, FIFA did not select a Nigerian official for the tournament. FIFA-badged referees, Ndidi Madu and Mimisen Iyorhe made the initial pre-selection.
The duo of Karboubi Bouchra of Morocco and Rivet Maria of Mauritania were the two center referees selected from Africa while Jeroumi Fatiha and Hamdi Soukaira both Moroccans as well as Victoire Queency of Mauritania and Atef Said Yara of Egypt are appointed assistant refrees.
Abebe Lidya Tafesse of Ethiopian and Viana Letticia of Eswatini will man the Video Assistant Referee, VAR
FIFA on Tuesday released the list of 14 women referees, 28 women assistant referees, three support referees and 16 video match officials appointed for the tournament due to commence next month.
Africa is represented by 8 referees in the competition which will deploy VAR technology for the first time at a U-17 FIFA women’s youth competition
FIFA also announced that the appointed officials for the India championship will also be candidates for the FIFA Women’s World Cup Australia and New Zealand 2023
“We are delighted that the FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup is returning after a four-year hiatus caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. We are really looking forward to this important competition in India taking place in October. For the match officials, of course, it’s another big stage in the preparation of the potential candidates for the FIFA Women’s World Cup Australia & New Zealand 2023,” said the chairman of the FIFA’s Referees Committee, Pierluigi Collina.
“As already mentioned on several occasions and following appointments of referees for other FIFA competitions, we’ve always worked aiming for uniformity and consistency in decision-making. We are convinced that the appointed match officials can gain useful experience with a view to the biggest women’s football competition in the world, the FIFA Women’s World Cup Australia & New Zealand next year,” he added.
Not Every Country Produces Referees For International Competitions – NRA Publicity Secretary
Reacting to the exclusion of Nigerian referees from the three-week competition, the Publicity Secretary of the Nigeria Referees Association, NRA, Mr Kelechi Mejuobi said that there is nothing wrong in omitting Nigerians from the games adding not all counties will produce match officials for such competition.
Mr Mejuobi who spoke to our correspondent via telephone said that Nigeria has her own slot and will fill it when the time is due.
“It is not compulsory that Nigeria will produce referees for all FIFA competitions from U-17, U-20. It is not every country that produces referees for such competitions.
“For instance, in the just concluded Women’s Africa Cup of Nations, WAFCON in Morocco, we had referees. Other countries are there, how many referees did they have?
“It is a world championship, you don’t expect to have all the whole countries (produce referees. We have been producing referees for international competitions and we will continue to out a mechanism that will facilitate it,” he said.
When asked why “smaller” countries like Mauritania and Eswatini produced officials for the tournament, the NRA image maker said referees appointment is not measured by countries population
“Two out of how many countries in Africa? You don’t relegate (any country). Referees strength is not measured by distance or population. We have our own slot which we will fill. Others will also. It is not compulsory that Nigeria must be there,” he concluded.
The FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup India 2022 will take place in Bhubaneswar, Goa and Navi Mumbai.
The competition will be played between 11 and 30 October 2022, with the D Y Patil Stadium in Navi Mumbai hosting the final.