The Confederation of North, Central America and Caribbean Association Football (CONCACAF) and The Asian Football Confederation (AFC) today announced that Mark Geiger, two-time FIFA World Cup veteran and 2014 CONCACAF Referee of the Year, will lead the CONCACAF referee team assigned to work the AFC Champions League return-leg semifinal in Suwon, South Korea on October 24, 2018, between Suwon Samsung Bluewings (KOR) and Kashima Antlers (JPN).
“CONCACAF is proud to continue collaborating with the AFC in the development of football and, specifically, refereeing. The exchange of referee trios for each Confederation’s Champions League semifinal is a historic achievement for the sport, as it provides new challenges for referees from each Confederation,” said CONCACAF Director of Refereeing Brian Hall. “We are certain that the CONCACAF team will have an exemplary performance as the AFC referee team did on our Scotiabank CONCACAF Champions League.”
The reciprocal referee exchange, which earlier this year saw Ravshan Irmatov from Uzbekistan officiate a Scotiabank CONCACAF Champions League semifinal, is part of the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Asian Football Confederation (AFC), established in 2017 to promote cooperation and continue the growth of the game across both regions.
“The AFC is pleased to enhance our spirit of reciprocity with our sister Confederations and our MoU with CONCACAF represent a valuable and strategic partnership to strengthen the refereeing standards in both Continents,” said AFC Director of Referees Shamsul Maidin. “The AFC’s Vision and Mission has underlined our ambitions to ensure our match officials excel on the biggest stages. This partnership plays an essential part in that process not only to increase the opportunities for our referees, but also to expose them in more diverse experiences, enabling a more holistic learning and development environment.”
Mark Geiger, who has been a FIFA referee since 2008 and holds the honour of being the first US referee to officiate three matches and a knockout stage match at a men’s FIFA World Cup (2014), will lead the CONCACAF referee team alongside assistants Joe Fletcher (CAN) and Frank Anderson (USA).