Meet SA’s man at the Cup

The Advertiser - - NEWS - VAL MIGLIACCIO SOCCER WRITER

A SOUTH Aus­tralian mas­ter­mind parked deep in­side Saudi Ara­bia’s FIFA World Cup del­e­ga­tion has a chance to throw the book at the Soc­ceroos in Russia.

Mag­ill-based James Kitch­ing is pre­par­ing for all sce­nar­ios in­clud­ing — a long shot — Saudi Ara­bia meet­ing the Soc­ceroos in the knock­out stage of the World Cup.

Saudi Ara­bia kicked off the 2018 edi­tion with a clash against the host na­tion Russia early this morn­ing.

“I’m con­tracted to the Saudi Ara­bian na­tional team to over­see any dis­ci­plinary and reg­u­la­tory is­sues on and off the park,’’ said Kitch­ing who is cur­rently in Russia with the Saudi team.

“If any­one gets a red card, any is­sues with dop­ing, or any­thing else which may cause a vi­o­la­tion of any FIFA reg­u­la­tions, that's where I step in. We saw the other week that The FA (Eng­land) got heav­ily fined by FIFA be­cause one of their U-21 play­ers had the wrong logo on his wa­ter bot­tle. I'm also here to cover any tech­ni­cal vi­o­la­tions which might re­quire ap­peals to the Court of Ar­bi­tra­tion for Sport — let's hope that there are no VAR (video ref­eree) con­tro­ver­sies."

“Football is the other reli­gion for the Saudis who are cur­rently ob­serv­ing Ra­madan (fast­ing) un­til the day of the open­ing game of the World Cup.”

Kitch­ing, 33, a for­mer St Ig­natius Col­lege stu­dent and Univer­sity of Ade­laide bach­e­lor of law grad­u­ate, was the for­mer Head of Sports Le­gal Ser­vices, Dis­ci­plinary and Gover­nance at the Asian Football Con­fed­er­a­tion un­til Septem­ber.

The 33-year-old is now Man­ag­ing Direc­tor of Kitch­ing Sports, chair of Saudi Ara­bia’s dis­ci­plinary and ethics com­mit­tee, direc­tor of the newly formed Football Coaches Aus­tralia, and mem­ber of the ju­di­cial pan­els of the Bad­minton World Fed­er­a­tion and the e-Sports In­tegrity Coali­tion.

“They (the Saudis) have a huge game against Russia, then they meet Uruguay and then the Arab derby when they meet Egypt, it’s mas­sive. They have a real chance of go­ing through to the Round of 16’’ Kitch­ing said.

Kitch­ing has of­fices in Ade­laide and Kuala Lumpur.

Hav­ing only re­turned to Aus­tralia in De­cem­ber, he is start­ing to have more in­put in Aus­tralian soccer af­fairs, par­tic­u­larly with Football Coaches Aus­tralia and ed­u­cat­ing clubs, agents and play­ers on the in­ter­na­tional frame­work.

“This is a very, very big niche, there is no other spe­cial­ist busi­ness in Aus­tralia as far as I am aware that spe­cialises in in­ter­na­tional sports reg­u­la­tions, par­tic­u­larly in re­la­tion to football,’’ Kitch­ing said.

“I’m help­ing all stake­hold­ers un­der­stand FIFA reg­u­la­tions.” FIND OUT IF THE SAUDIS UP­SET RUSSIA: AD­VER­TISER.COM.AU

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