Fifa referees’ chairman Pierluigi Collina has insisted that female officials at the World Cup will be made available for all matches, raising the possibility of the women refereeing matches involving Saudi Arabia or Iran.
Stephanie Frappart, Salima Mukansanga and Yamashita Yoshimi are the female referees in Qatar and there are three assistants at the tournament, with the only restrictions based on geographical and language, with selections based otherwise on performance.
It means they are potentially officiating matches for countries where women have faced discrimination. “For us they are referees, they are match officials and this is the message I gave them when they attended their first seminar: you are here not because you are a women but because you are officials,” said Collina.
“Our match officials can be for any match, if there are restrictions it is concerning their role here, for instance due to neutrality, but they are here as Fifa World Cup 2022 match officials and are ready to officiate any type of match depending on their performance in sessions and depending on our thoughts and the decisions will be based on these topics.”
Referees at the World Cup are also expecting matches to last more than 100 minutes as they clamp down on time-wasting during the 64 matches in Qatar.
As highlighted by Telegraph Sport columnist Keith Hackett, lower-ranked teams trying to run down the clock will be one of the big issues for officials during the next month, with the high-profile refs saying nine minutes of stoppage time could be played at the end of each half.
Michael Oliver and Anthony Taylor from the Premier League are among the 36 referees in the Gulf state, looking to make it to the final on December 18, while three female referees will be at the tournament for the first time and will be wearing shorts like their male counterparts despite local customs of modest dress without showing knees.
Fifa has confirmed semi-automated technology will be used to speed up the time taken to reach offside decisions but there will be a close watch on teams trying to slow down games and keep the ball out of play to waste time.
“Yes, you can expect longer halves, for sure,” said Dutch referee Danny Makkelie. “This is one of the topics we have spoken about. It will not be strange to see six, seven, eight minutes extra time. We did this in Russia and everybody was positive. And for sure we will continue this approach here.
Chris Beath, of New Zealand, added: “It won't be uncommon to see additional time. That might be six, seven, eight, nine minutes perhaps but depends on the game.”
The referees trained on Friday at the Qatar Sports Club ahead of the decision over which matches they will be in charge of during the first week of the tournament.
Mukansanga, from Rwanda, who is one of the three female referees, says she is prepared to officiate games involving countries where women’s rights have been highlighted as a concern.
“Whatever game I am designated to be at, I will do it,” she said. “I will do it from the bottom of my heart because I want to be here and deserve to be here. Whatever game, I don’t care. The importance is that I’m going to get the game and work towards giving my best to perform.
"We deserve to be here. We have worked hard and are working with our brothers to be here. It’s not easy or difficult to be a woman. It’s about understanding what we have to do and giving the best we have to succeed. Everywhere we are we share our identity as referees.
“It’s a privilege. In football, it is not about the sex of the referee. The decision is always the decision. Being a woman doesn’t matter. The importance is the decision and the performance. This is my dream to perform at the World Cup. If I got to the final I would be appreciating that it is my dream.”
Kathryn Nesbitt, the assistant referee from USA, confirmed that female referees will be in their usual kit. “We are all in the same matching for training and have been provided the same clothing. We are just trying to be respectful of the culture here,” she said.
How many referees will be working at Qatar 2002?
36 referees will take charge of the 64 matches in the World Cup tournament. Those referees come from 29 different countries.
Which country has the most referees at the World Cup?
Of the different nations represented; four countries have two. That’s serial World Cup winners France, Brazil, Argentina and, what do you know, little old England.
So how many English referees are going to the World Cup?
England will have two referees – Michael Oliver and Anthony Taylor.
Does Wales have a referee at the World Cup?
Who is the most famous referee at the World Cup?
The most familiar names to England eyes might be the Premier League pair of Oliver and Taylor, but Champions League viewers will recognise Slavko Vinčić of Slovenia, Antonio Mateu Lahoz of Spain and Clement Turpin of France.
Any local men in black (or other Fifa-mandated shirt colour?)
All hail Abdulrahman Al Jassim, will become the first Qatari referee in World Cup history.
Who will be the referees at Qatar World Cup 2022?
Ivan Barton (Slovenia)
Chris Beath (Australia)
Raphael Claus (Brazil)
Matthew Conger (New Zealand)
Ismail Elfath (United States)
Mario Escobar (Guatemala)
Alireza Faghani (Iran)
Stephanie Frappart (France)
Bakary Gassama (Gambia)
Mustapha Ghorbal (Algeria)
Victor Gomes (South Africa)
Istvan Kovacs (Romania)
Ning Ma (China)
Danny Makkelie (Netherlands)
Szymon Marciniak (Poland)
Antonio Mateu (Spain)
Andres Matias Matonte Cabrera (Uruguay)
Mohammed Abdulla Mohammed (UAE)
Salima Mukansanga (Rwanda)
Maguette N’Diaye (Senegal)
Michael Oliver (England)
Daniele Orsato (Italy)
Kevin Ortega (Peru)
Cesar Ramos (Mexico)
Fernando Rapallini (Argentina)
Wilton Sampaio (Brazil)
Daniel Siebert (Germany)
Janny Sikazwe (Zambia)
Anthony Taylor (England)
Facundo Tello (Argentina)
Clement Turpin (France)
Jesus Valenzuela (Venezuela)
How many assistant referees and video referees will there be?
There will be 69 assistant referees and 24 video match officials. Var will be in use at the World Cup.
Which female referees will be at the Qatar World Cup?
Stephanie Frappart of France, Salima Mukansanga of Rwanda and Yoshimi Yamashita of Japan will be running games.
And are there any female assistant referees?
Yes, bad news for Qatar’s favourite migrant workers Richard Keys and Andy Gray. Neuza Back of Brazil, Karen Diaz Medina of Mexico and Kathyrn Nesbitt of the United States are assistant referees.
What referees at Qatar have got history with England?
Dutchman Danny Makkelie was in charge of England’s 2020 Euro semi-final with Denmark and was criticised for giving the foul on Raheem Sterling in extra time.
Slavko Vinčić of Slovenia has a wealth of continental competition experience; Arsenal fans might remember him from their 2021 Europa League semi with Villareal. He was also the referee for the 2022 UEFA Europa League Final between Eintracht Frankfurt and Rangers.
Antonio Mateu Lahoz, the Spaniard, was in charge of the 2021 Champions League final between Manchester City and Chelsea.
Do they mix and match the refs and assistant refs?
No, they come as a power trio.
How do they pick the referees at the Fifa World Cup?
All the refs are Fifa Grade 1, they have to be nominated by their national association. They also have to pass fitness tests – presumably in conditions that are something like Doha in November, not Doncaster – over 40 metre sprints, and an interval test featuring 75-metre sprints and two 12.5 metre recovery walks.
Who are the strictest refs at the World Cup?
Keep an eye out for Italian Daniele Orsato; he has dished out 33 cards (one of which was a red) as well as giving two penalties all in just five European qualifiers to Qatar.
Frenchwoman Stephanie Frappart only did two qualifying games but produced 10 cards.
Further afield, Raphael Claus of Brazil saw fit to put 30 people on his naughty list in just five qualifying matches.
Young Master Michael Oliver, who famously became the youngest Premier League referee at the age of just 25, also has a high yellow card rate: he booked 26 in his five qualifiers.
We cannot wait to see Argentina’s Facundo Tello doing his thing. During Argentina’s Champions Trophy final this November, he managed to dish out fully ten red cards after Racing Club midfielder Carlos Alcaraz prompted a massive barney in front of Boca Juniors fans with his match-winning goal celebration.