Football: FIFA replaces Qatari referee for UAE World Cup qualifier; Singaporean steps in

Football: FIFA replaces Qatari referee for UAE World Cup qualifier; Singaporean steps in

Taqi Singapore FIFA referee
File photo of Singaporean referee Taqi Jahari. (Photo: Suresh Nair/ Facebook) 

SINGAPORE: Singaporean referee Taqi Jahari has been selected by FIFA to replace a Qatari referee for Tuesday's (Jun 13) World Cup qualifier between Thailand and the United Arab Emirates (UAE). 

The head of the Football Association of Singapore's referees department Visva Nathan confirmed on Monday that Taqi will officiate the fixture, alongside Singaporean assistant referee Lim Kok Heng and two other Malaysian officials.

Taqi was a video assistant referee (VAR) at the recently concluded Under-20 World Cup in South Korea.

FIFA removed the Qatari referee after UAE reportedly protested his appointment for the fixture at Bangkok's Rajamangala Stadium. Both Qatar and the UAE are currently embroiled in a diplomatic crisis. 

"We can confirm that FIFA has replaced the match officials originally appointed for the said game," FIFA said in a statement. "The decision has been taken for sporting reasons and in view of the current geopolitical situation."

Political differences between Qatar and neighbouring Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain, as well as Egypt, exploded into a full-blown regional crisis last week.  

Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and others accuse Qatar of supporting extremist groups and have imposed punitive measures on Doha. These include banning Qatar Airways from using their airspace, and Saudi Arabia also revoked Qatar Airways' licence to operate out of the kingdom.  

FIFA president Gianni Infantino has said that he does not believe that the diplomatic crisis will threaten Qatar's staging of the 2022 World Cup. 

Source: CNA/am