For­eign refs re­cruited for CSL con­clu­sion

China Daily - - SPORTS -

HONG KONG — Chi­nese soc­cer au­thor­i­ties have an­nounced for­eign ref­er­ees will be drafted in to work on the fi­nal weeks of the Chi­nese Su­per League sea­son in a move to boost the stan­dard of of­fi­ci­at­ing in the big-spend­ing league.

Swe­den’s Jonas Eriks­son and Tony Chapron from France will ref­eree Tian­jin Quan­jian’s meet­ing with Shan­dong Luneng and Shang­hai Shen­hua’s clash with Tian­jin Teda re­spec­tively as the first part of a move to “im­prove the ac­cu­racy of of­fi­ci­at­ing”, the Chi­nese Foot­ball As­so­ci­a­tion said in a state­ment.

“In or­der to en­sure a smooth fin­ish to the sea­son, from round 27 on­wards the Chi­nese Foot­ball As­so­ci­a­tion will in­vite ref­er­ees from Europe and the Amer­i­cas to of­fi­ci­ate on cru­cial games,” the state­ment said.

“The im­prove­ment of the qual­ity of of­fi­ci­at­ing has been an im­por­tant part of the CFA’s work and invit­ing es­tab­lished for­eign ref­er­ees will im­prove the ac­cu­racy of of­fi­ci­at­ing while also pro­vid­ing ed­u­ca­tion and com­mu­ni­ca­tion op­por­tu­ni­ties for Chi­nese ref­er­ees.”

While the move is seen as an at­tempt to im­prove the stan­dard of of­fi­ci­at­ing in the four re­main­ing rounds of the do­mes­tic sea­son, the coun­try has had to ad­dress se­ri­ous is­sues in the past.

Match-fix­ing scan­dals have plagued soc­cer since the game turned pro­fes­sional in China in 1994, with the im­pris­on­ment of for­mer World Cup ref­eree Lu Jun for ac­cept­ing bribes in 2012 one of many high-pro­file ex­am­ples.

Two of the clubs fea­tur­ing in this week­end’s CSL matches — Tian­jin Quan­jian and Tian­jin Teda — are cur­rently un­der in­ves­ti­ga­tion by the CFA fol­low­ing al­le­ga­tions of match fix­ing in their meet­ing last month, which rel­e­ga­tion­threat­ened Teda won 4-1.

How­ever, the CFA said that the move — and plans to im­ple­ment the use of video as­sis­tant ref­eree tech­nol­ogy un­til the end of the sea­son and for all of the 2018 cam­paign — is an at­tempt to fur­ther de­velop of­fi­ci­at­ing in the league.

“The Chi­nese Foot­ball As­so­ci­a­tion has en­hanced train­ing for ref­er­ees, putting em­pha­sis on mon­i­tor­ing and reg­u­la­tion, to build pro­fes­sional ref­er­ee­ing teams while im­ple­ment­ing new tech­nolo­gies and ex­plor­ing a new path for the de­vel­op­ment of Chi­nese ref­er­ees,” the CFA state­ment con­tin­ued.

“At the mo­ment, the Chi­nese Foot­ball As­so­ci­a­tion is work­ing with FIFA and the In­ter­na­tional Foot­ball As­so­ci­a­tion Board in or­der to im­ple­ment the video as­sis­tant of­fi­ci­at­ing sys­tem. It will be tested dur­ing the fi­nal phase of this sea­son and com­pletely im­ple­mented in the 2018 sea­son.”

Nasser Al-Khe­laifi, PSG chair­man and beIN Me­dia CEO

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