S. Korea fails to produce football referees for FIFA World Cup

March 30, 2018
This photo, provided by Adidas, shows Telstar 18, the official match ball of the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia, and the FIFA World Cup trophy. (Yonhap)

This photo, provided by Adidas, shows Telstar 18, the official match ball of the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia, and the FIFA World Cup trophy. (Yonhap)

SEOUL, March 30 (Yonhap) — South Korea will not have its football referees at the 2018 FIFA World Cup after the country’s match officials failed to earn selection from the world football governing body.

FIFA announced Friday (Korean time) that its referees committee has selected 36 referees and 63 assistant referees from 46 different countries for the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia. However, no South Koreans were on the list.

Among 36 referees, Asia was represented by officials from Saudi Arabia, Iran, Uzbekistan, the United Arab Emirates, Japan and Bahrain.

The absence of South Korean referees was already expected. In November, FIFA held a seminar in Abu Dhabi for World Cup referee candidates, but South Koreans weren’t invited.

With FIFA’s latest announcement, South Korea failed to produce World Cup referees for two consecutive editions.

The history of South Korean officials at the World Cup started in 1994, when Park Hae-yong worked as an assistant referee at the tournament in the United States. He was followed by Jeon Young-hyun, who also served as a linesman at the 1998 World Cup in France.

At the 2002 World Cup, which was co-hosted by South Korea and Japan, Kim Young-joo became the first Korean head referee for a World Cup match in a group stage contest between Brazil and Turkey in Ulsan. South Korea then produced Kim Dae-young and Jeong Hae-sang as assistant referees for the 2006 and the 2010 World Cups, respectively.

South Korea, however, failed to send a World Cup referee to Brazil in 2014 after FIFA started selecting match officials as a team.

Meanwhile, FIFA said the selected World Cup referees will go through preparatory seminars that will also cover issues regarding video assistant referee (VAR). The VAR system will be used at the World Cup for the first time.

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