Africa’s referee of the year Papa Bakary Gassama is one of the match officials dropped by World football governing body, FIFA ahead of the final eight matches of the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia.
FIFA’s Referees Committee headed by retired Italian referee Pierluigi Collina on Wednesday pruned down the list of centre referees from thirty six (36) to seventeen (17) while also selecting thirty-seven (37) assistant referees and ten (10) Video Assistant Referees (VAR).
Two African referees were included in the final seventeen among which will officiate the quarter final, semi final and final matches of the competition, but there is no place for Gassama.
Gassama was in charge of Denmark’s group C win over Peru in Saransk but only Senegalese Malang Diedhiou and Zambia’s Janny Sikazwe made the cut. Both Diedhiou and Sikazwe have officiated two matches each in the tournament, with Diedhiou in charge of the classic second round game between Belgium and Japan.
Given the number of matches left and the teams that have qualified for the next round, the referees appointed for the next phase are:
AFC: FAGHANI Alireza (IRN); SHUKRALLA Nawaf Abdulla (BHR)
CAF: DIEDHIOU Malang (SEN); SIKAZWE Janny (ZAM)
CONCACAF: GEIGER Mark (USA); MARRUFO Jair (USA); RAMOS PALAZUELOS Cesar Arturo (MEX)
CONMEBOL: CUNHA Andres (URU); PITANA Nestor (ARG); RICCI Sandro (BRA)
OFC: CONGER Matthew (NZL)
UEFA: CAKIR Cuneyt (TUR); KUIPERS Bjorn (NED); MATEU LAHOZ Antonio (ESP); MAZIC Milorad (SRB); ROCCHI Gianluca (ITA); SKOMINA Damir (SVN).
The quarter final round gets underway on Friday with the match between France and Uruguay at Nizhny Novgorod.