FIFA World Cup 2018 Referees

Fans may tune in to football matches in order to see the players but there is an equally vital group of people at every game, and those people are the match officials. They may not be superstars or even household names but, without them, top-flight football simply couldn’t exist.

The 2018 World Cup will feature referees from all around the globe and will be the first World Cup to use the new VAR video technology system to double-check referees’ decisions. For the first time in the post-war period, not one referee from the UK has been selected.

FIFA World Cup 2018 Finals Referee List

The following officials have been selected for the tournament.


  • Fahad Al-Mirdasi (Saudi Arabia)
  • Ryuji Sato (Japan)
  • Alireza Faghani (Iran)
  • Mohamed Abdulla (UAE)
  • Ravshan Irmatov (Uzbekistan)
  • Nawaf Shukralla (Bahrain)


  • Gehad Grisha (Egypt)
  • Mehdi Abid Charef (Algeria)
  • Bakary Gassama (Gambia)
  • Malang Diedhiou (Senegal)
  • Janny Sikazwe (Zambia)
  • Bamlak Tessema Weyesa (Ethiopia)


  • Joel Aguilar (El Salvador)
  • Mark Geiger (United States)
  • Jair Marrufo (United States)
  • Ricrado Montero (Costa Rica)
  • John Pitti (Panama)
  • César Arturo Ramos (Mexico)


  • Néstor Pitana (Argentina)
  • Sandro Ricci (Brazil)
  • Julio Bascuñán (Chile)
  • Wilmar Roldán (Colombia)
  • Enrique Cáceres (Paraguay)
  • Andrés Cunha (Uruguay)


  • Matthew Conger (New Zealand)
  • Norbert Hauata (French Polynesia)


  • Felix Brych (Germany)
  • Cüneyt Çakir (Turkey)
  • Sergei Karasev (Russia)
  • Björn Kuipers (Netherlands)
  • Milorad Mažic (Serbia)
  • Antonio Mateu Lahoz (Spain)
  • Szymon Marciniak (Poland)
  • Gianluca Rocchi (Italy)
  • Damir Skomina (Slovenia)
  • Clément Turpin (France)

Referee Kits to be used at the FIFA World Cup 2018

World cup referees kits

The new Adidas 2018 World Cup referee kit has been available since the start of December 2017 and is available in five different colours: black, red, blue, green and yellow. It will also be used for the 2018-19 season in Adidas supplied leagues.

The shirt features a tonal Adidas logo above the right hem, next to the new Climacool branding. It incorporates subtle hoops and its black collar matches that used for the Adidas Condivo 16 template.

Video Assistant – How They Work and Interact with the Match Referee

As mentioned in the introduction, the 2018 World Cup will use a system called VAR, abbreviated from, ‘Video Assistant Referee.’ It involves three people using video replays to review decisions made by the match referee.

That team is composed of the Video Assistant Referee himself (a current or retired referee), his assistant and a replay operator. These three are located in a room in which monitors afford them multiple camera angles.

Four types of decisions can be analysed by VAR; goals (and violations in the build-up to them), penalties red cards and mistaken identity in the awarding of cards.

For the match referee’s decision to be challenged, it must be adjudged to be a clear error. The process for reviewing a decision may then be pursued in two ways; the referee can request a review after making a decision or the VAR team can recommend one. If the latter applies, they can inform the referee who will then respond in one of three ways. He can overturn his previous decision (based on their advice), he can use a monitor on the touchline to review the incident himself, or he can reject their advice and stand by his initial decision.

Interesting Facts & Information on FIFA World Cup Referees

In his debut match (France-Honduras, 15th June 2014), Sandro Ricci was the first ever referee to award a goal with assistance from goal-line technology.

  • Argentina’s Néstor Pitana is a former actor.
  • Jair Marrufo’s father, Antonio, was also a FIFA referee and served on the Mexican Referee Commission.
  • At the 2014 World Cup, Mark Geiger became the first referee from the United States to officiate a knockout match at a World Cup.
  • Alireza Faghani was part of the youth team of Bank Melli. He also appeared for Etka, Shahab Khodro and Niroye Zamini and played in Iran’s League 2, the third tier of the Iranian football pyramid.
  • Germany’s Felix Brych is a qualified doctor of law, having written his doctorate about sport.
  • At the age of 44, Serbia’s Milorad Mažic is narrowly the oldest referee in the 2018 tournament.