Meet SA’s man at the Cup
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