When referee Cesar Arturo Ramos and his compatriots Miguel Hernandez and Alberto Morin step out of the Zayed Sports City Stadium this evening to referee the match between United Arab Emirates and India, they will create AFC Asian Cup history.
For the CONCACAF Referee of the Year in 2017 and his assistants are the first to take charge of an AFC Asian Cup match under the exchange programme created between the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) and their North and Central American and Caribbean counterparts, CONCACAF.
AFC Director of Referees, Shamsul Maidin said, “The AFC is pleased to enhance our spirit of reciprocity with our sister Confederations and our MoU with CONCACAF represents a valuable and strategic partnership to strengthen the refereeing standards in both Continents.”
“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.”
Referees from both Confederations have already taken control in club competitions with Ravshan Irmatov from Uzbekistan, the youngest ever FIFA World Cup referee, taking charge of a CONCACAF Champions League semi-final second-leg in April last year.
In return, Mark Geiger, from the United States and a FIFA referee since 2008, took control of the AFC Champions League semifinal between South Korea’s Suwon Bluewings and Japan’s Kashima Antlers at the Suwon World Cup Stadium in October 2018.
But when Cesar Arturo Ramos blows the first whistle tonight in Abu Dhabi, the hugely successful exchange programme will move to another level of cooperation and knowledge sharing.
CONCACAF Director of Refereeing Brian Hall said, “The appointment of FIFA World Cup referee Cesar Ramos and his team to this important Asian Cup 2019 match is a proud moment for CONCACAF as we built on our partnership with the AFC for referee development. We thank the AFC for providing this opportunity to our referees.”