World Cup: FIFA ignores African referees in VAR selection

World Cup: FIFA ignores African referees in VAR selection

No African referee was selected among the thirteen Video Assistant Referees (VAR) that will officiate at the forthcoming 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia, world’s football governing body FIFA revealed on Monday.

The technology based VAR will be used at the mundial for the first time this summer after its successful trial at last year’s FIFA Confederations Cup, also in Russia.

The FIFA Referees Committee has thus selected thirteen Referees, who will act solely as Video Assistant Referees (VARs) during the 2018 FIFA World Cup with only one among those that trialled it last summer among the thirteen.


In a release made available to, FIFA revealed that the selection criteria for the VARs was primarily based on their experience as Video Match Officials in their respective National Associations and Confederation competitions, in addition to their successful participation in several preparatory seminars and FIFA competitions, where they enhanced their VAR knowledge and skills by using the system.

A bulk of the referees came from Europe, with Italy who use VAR in their league games supplying three – the most from a single country.

Portugal’s Artur Dias Soares is the only referee from that Confederations Cup tournament named in this thirteen although FIFA added that some of the conventional referees and assistant referees selected for the tournament will also act as Video Match officials during the main competition.

During the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia, the 13 selected Video Match Officials will be appointed in each match as VAR, AVAR1, AVAR2, AVAR3.

Video Assistant Referees

Wilton Sampaio – Brazil

Gery Vargas – Bolivia
Mauro Vigliano – Argentina
Abdulrahman Al Jassim – Qatar
Bastian Dankert – Germany
Felix Zwayer – Germany
Artur Dias Soares – Portugal
Tiago Bruno Lopes Martins – Portugal
Massimiliano Irrati – Italy
Daniele Orsato – Italy
Paolo Valeri – Italy
Danny Makkelie – Netherlands
Gil Pawel – Poland

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