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Five U.S. Soccer Referees Selected To Officiate At 2022 FIFA World Cup

CHICAGO (May 20, 2022) – U.S. Soccer and FIFA Referee Ismail Elfath, Assistant Referees Kyle Atkins, Kathryn Nesbitt and Corey Parker plus Video Match Official Armando Villarreal have been selected as match officials for the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar. For the first time, six female match officials, including Nesbitt, have been selected for the FIFA World Cup. FIFA announced 129 match officials from all six confederations for the competition, which begins November 21 in Doha, Qatar.

The selected officials are five of 31 U.S. Soccer referees that are a part of the 2022 FIFA Panel, the world’s highest level of officiating. Selection grants the 31 officials the opportunity to referee at the highest levels of international soccer.

Elfath has been a member of the FIFA Panel since 2016 and previously refereed the rescheduled 2020 Tokyo Olympics, 2019 FIFA Club World Cup and 2019 FIFA Under-20 World Cup. Named MLS Referee of the Year in 2020, he officiated the 2017 and 2018 Concacaf U-20 Championships, the 2014 and 2015 MLS All-Star Games and 2013 MLS Cup.

Atkins’ last major assignment came at the rescheduled 2020 Tokyo Olympics, while he also served as an official at the 2019 Club World Cup plus the 2019 U-20 World Cup. He ran the touchline at the 2019 and 2021 Concacaf Gold Cups and the 2016 Copa America Centenario.

Nesbitt is one of the United States’ most accomplished female referees. At the 2020 MLS Cup, she became the first woman to referee a championship game in North American professional sports. Nesbitt won MLS Assistant Referee of the Year in 2020 and she also officiated at the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup, 2018 FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup and 2016 FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup. At the continental level, she served as an AR at the 2021 Concacaf Gold Cup and 20202 Concacaf Women’s Olympic Qualifying Championship.

Parker has been a member of the FIFA Panel since 2015. He ran the sidelines at the rescheduled 2020 Tokyo Olympics, 2019 Club World Cup, 2019 U-20 World Cup and 2016 Copa America Centenario. He was named MLS Assistant Referee of the Year in 2015 and officiated his first MLS Cup Final that same year before also refereeing the league championship in 2020.

Qatar 2022 will be Villarreal’s first FIFA world championship event as an official. He previously worked the 2021 and 2019 Concacaf Gold Cups, the 2016 Copa America Centenario as well as the 2021 MLS Cup and All-Star Game. He was selected to the FIFA Panel for the first time in 2015 and as a Video Match Official in 2021.

Referees from Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Suriname and Trinidad and Tobago, will also represent Concacaf at the World Cup. FIFA selects its best match officials from around the world for FIFA competitions.

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World cup semifinal ref assignments confirmed — every team feels cheated and wronged.

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After a controversial and emotionally charged quarterfinal round (who could've predicted that?), the 2022 FIFA World Cup semifinal referees have been announced before Tuesday and Wednesday's matches of Argentina vs. Croatia and France vs. Morocco, respectively.

World Cup semifinal referees

On Tuesday, the Argentina vs Croatia ref is Italian Daniele Orsato. You know he's legit because he took charge of Qatar's opener and Ecuador won it 2-0. He was also in charge of Argentina's victory over Mexico.  

He famously took charge of the 2020 Champions League Final when Bayern Munich beat PSG. — FIFA Media (@fifamedia) December 11, 2022

On Wednesday, the France vs Morocco ref is Mexican César Ramos. This is the 38-year-old's fourth match in Qatar. He took charge of a scoreless draw between Denmark and Tunisia, Morocco's upset of Belgium and Portugal's 6-1 thrashing of Switzerland in the last-16. — FIFA Media (@fifamedia) December 12, 2022

Who will referee the World Cup final?

On Monday, FIFA made some decisions with regards to who will referee the World Cup final.

The most-talked about game of the quarters was undoubtedly the "Battle of Lusail" between Argentina and the Netherlands. Spanish referee Antonio Mateu Lahoz whistled 48 fouls, dished out 14 yellow cards and a red in one of the greatest World Cup matches ever. It was so feisty that Lahoz wasn't handed any further games so he's going home. 

But Brazilian Wilton Sampaio, who took charge of France vs. England, could potentially play a role in the final after FIFA told him to stick around. The English were heavily critical of Sampaio after the match with both Harry Maguire and Jude Bellingham calling him out, but maybe Sampaio will offer a sympathetic eye to Les Bleus tactic of fouling-on-sight in their own area in the final. 

Argentine referee Facundo Tello, at the center of Morocco's upset of Portugal, is also going home. Tello was accused of knocking Portugal out of the tournament by both Bruno Fernandes and Pepe, who said FIFA's handing Argentina the Cup because Tello was obviously weakening the other side of the bracket by disrupting Portugal's second-half rhythm. That's one way to accept defeat.

English referee Michael Oliver is also out after his performance during Croatia's upset of Brazil. The Canarinho didn't complain much because they knew it wasn't Oliver's responsibility to track runners in the 117th minute. 

His compatriot Anthony Taylor, who took charge of two group stage matches, is still in contention for the final.

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