FIFA has dismissed 24 referees and retained 12 ahead of the remaining four matches in the World Cup.
The world football’s governing body is currently trimming the number of referees retained, with few matches remaining to the end of the tournament.
A total of 36 referees across member countries were called up for the tournament. Now, only 12 have been retained ahead of the two semifinals, third-place, and final match.
Some referees have been dismissed by the body due to controversial decisions during matches and poor officiating, while others have been dismissed purely out of logistical issues as the tournament nears its end.
FIFA has also retained controversial referees that some pundits think should be sent home and not allowed to officiate further in the games.
Leading the list of referees sent home by FIFA for controversial officiating is Spanish referee Mateu Lahoz.
Mateu Lahoz, a top La Liga referee, was sent home after a controversial officiating in the Netherlands Vs Argentina quarterfinals clash.
Mateu Lahoz issued a record 18 yellow cards in the match and took the game way beyond the extra time before the Netherlands netted an equaliser that took the game to extra time and then to penalty shootouts.
Lionel Messi was among the first players who pointed at the wrongs of Mateu Lahoz during the game, asking FIFA not to deploy a referee of that kind in subsequent matches.
Mateu Lahoz was immediately sent home by FIFA after his explicit and controversial decisions in the Netherlands Vs Argentina quarterfinal clash.
Another referee that has been sent home by FIFA is Michael Olivier. However, FIFA’s decision to send home Olivier is believed to be due to logistical issues.
Michael Olivier is an English referee known for his top-notch and absolute mastery of his art. Olivier has been deemed the best referee in the Premier League and replicated the same in the World Cup. He oversaw three World Cup games – Costa Rica 1-0 Japan, Mexico 2-1 Saudi Arabia, and Croatia 1-1 Brazil – and was praised for his performances.
The three female referees who made the record for becoming the first female referees to be called for men’s tournament – Stephanie Frappart of France, Salima Mukansanga of Rwanda, and Yoshimi Yamashita of Japan – have been axed off the final 12-man list.
Michael Olivier was among the two English referees that FIFA selected for the tournament. Another renowned English referee that made the list was Anthony Taylor who officiated Ghana’s 3-2 win over South Korea and Croatia’s 0-0 draw with Belgium.
Taylor is among the 12 referees retained by FIFA ahead of the four remaining matches. He is tipped to take charge of the finals.
FIFA retains controversial Brazil Referee Wilton Sampaio. Sampaio officiated the England Vs France quarterfinal and made a number of shocking decisions.
Among his controversial decisions was not awarding a penalty when Upamecano brought down Harry Kane in the box. However, poor tackles by the French defence led them to concede two penalties under the referee’s watch.
Now that Brazil has been eliminated from the tournament, Wilton Sampaio is tipped to take charge of the final but must contend with the likes of Anthony Taylor, who is tipped to be the best among the 12 retained referees.
Below is the full list of the axed and retained World Cup referees in Qatar.
Chris Beath Australia
Matthew Conger New Zealand
Mario Escobar Guatemala
Alireza Faghani Iran
Stephanie Frappart France
Bakary Gassama Gambia
Victor Gomes South Africa
Istvan Kovacs Romania
Ning Ma China
Szymon Marciniak Poland
Mateu Lahoz Spain
Andres Matias Matonte Cabrera Uruguay
Salima Mukansanga Rwanda
Maguette N’Diaye Senegal
Michael Oliver England
Kevin Ortega Peru
Fernando Rapallini Argentina
Daniel Siebert Germany
Janny Sikazwe Zambia
Fancundo Tello Argentina
Clement Turpin France
Slavko Vincic Slovenia
Yoshimi Yamashita Japan
Anthony Taylor (England)
Daniele Orsato (Italy)
Danny Makkelie (Netherlands)
Szymon Marciniak (Poland)
Abdulrahman Al-Jassim (Qatar)
Muhammad Abdulla Hassan Muhammad (UAE)
Mustapha Ghorbal (Algeria)
Cesar Ramos (Mexico)
Ismail Elfath (USA)
Raphael Claus (Brazil)
Wilton Sampaio (Brazil)
Jesus Valenzuela (Venezuela)