ONLY when you visit a foreign country you get to know about the good things you’ve at home. Foreign obsession, just for the sake of it, won’t bring any tangible results. Having said that, if a particular thing or expertise isn’t available at home, we need to get it from abroad initially, but must develop it locally.
There’re a total of six referees and five assistant referees from Qatar in FIFA’s elite list. Most of them have shown exceptional progress over the past few years, thanks to the initiatives taken by the Qatar Football Association’s (QFA) Referees Committee.
The performances of some of them matched that of their counterparts from elsewhere and they’re recognised by FIFA and the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) with some prestigious assignments as well. It may be recalled that Qatar’s Fahad Al Marri was in charge of the Australia-Thailand World Cup qualifier, watched by more than 36,000 fans in Bangkok on November 15.
Yet, the QFA is bringing foreign referees to officiate some matches involving top teams in the Qatar Stars League. It’s beyond comprehension why we’re still depending on overseas officials at a time when our own people are controlling big matches.
Laws are same all over the world. A referee gets his licence only after he passes the test. Obviously, he’s aware of them. The problem comes in its interpretation and application which should be done with absolute consistency wherever the game is played.
FIFA and continental federations have a policy of ongoing training for officials to ensure that their standards continue to improve and the Laws of the Game are applied the same way everywhere. In fact, all Qatari elite referees are currently attending an AFC seminar in Dubai.
There could be occasions when we may’ve to give chances to foreign referees, especially if the QFA is a party to any exchange programme, like the one it has with the Swiss Football Federation. But as far as possible, our own officials should be given opportunities to take charge of big matches. That’s the only way to boost their confidence.