FIFA President Gianni Infantino has visited the headquarters of the FIFA Arab Cup Match Officials in Doha, offering words of encouragement to FIFA’s “number one team” at the tournament and thanking their group for their commitment, professionalism and responsibility both on and off the pitch.

The 12 referees, 24 assistant referees and 16 video match officials of the tournament represent all six FIFA confederations and are closely accompanied by a diverse team of technical specialists, including FIFA referee and video match official instructors, fitness coaches, physiotherapists and sports scientists, all of whom were addressed by Mr Infantino ahead of the third round of group stage matches in Qatar.

“You are the first team for FIFA”, Mr Infantino encouraged. “You are our first team because without you, there is no FIFA Arab Cup, there is no FIFA World Cup: there is no football. With the introduction of VAR and all of the work that you are doing – which is extremely professional and thorough – the whole refereeing category has moved to a different level and you are part of the elite in the world of refereeing.

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