Hiddink urges Fifa to pick best referees

- Associated Press, St Petersburg

Jun 25, 2017-

Fifa should pick the best referees for the World Cup and not limit its list to one per nation, according to coaching great Guus Hiddink. 

Hiddink, a two-time World Cup semifinalist said three or four referees should be chosen from the same country if they were best at a job getting more complex as video review is tested. “It’s not a World Cup for referees, it’s a World Cup for football teams,” the Dutch coach said in St Petersburg where he is analyzing Confederations Cup games for American broadcaster Fox Sports. “We want to have the best teams so we want to have the best referees as well. Not necessarily European. Without looking to their nationality, which are the best referees?” 

At the 2014 World Cup, Fifa had 25 referees from 25 different countries working in Brazil. “I don’t think it’s a law that you have to have from every country or from every continent a referee,” said Hiddink, who led the Netherlands in 1998 and co-host South Korea in 2002 to within a game of the World Cup final. 

While Hiddink’s South Korea benefited from controversial referee decisions, his Australia team in 2006 lost to a stoppage-time penalty against eventual winner Italy in the Round of 16. 

Hiddink likes the video review which Fifa hopes will get fast-track approval for the 2018 World Cup, though with one concern. Trials are scheduled next season in only some national competitions worldwide. “Referees who are coming from, with all respect, less developed countries regarding this system, let them learn as soon as possible,” he said. 

Hiddink’s favorite from the first two rounds of group games in Confederation Cup was Chile and Germany playing to a 1-1 draw in Kazan. It was a “beautiful example” of trying to outplay an opponent from the first whistle. Hiddink, whose last coaching job was with Chelsea in 2016 after Jose Mourinho was fired, enjoys the fast pace of Champions League games “I don’t think the nature of the game is changing,” the 70-year-old coach said. 

Published: 25-06-2017 09:56

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