SYDNEY (Reuters) – AFC President Shaikh Salman bin Ebrahim Al Khalifa has ignored the complaints of players and coaches about the standard of officiating at the Asian Cup and praised the work of the referees.
The Bahraini, accompanied by Asian Football Confederation general secretary Alex Soosay, met with officials in Sydney on Tuesday, a day after Japan’s Keisuke Honda slammed the performance of the Qatari referee in their 4-0 win over Palestine.
“Shaikh Salman relayed his trust in the referees’ ability and his hope that they would continue their positive contributions to the tournament, something which would greatly help further enhance the reputation of referees in Asia,” the AFC posted in a release.
Honda had described Abdulrahman Hussain style of officiating as “basketball like” after what he felt was another substandard performance by Asian referees at the show piece.
Hussain dished out five yellow and one red card to the Palestinians, who produced some rough and tumble tackles in Newcastle with Ismail Al Amour fortunate not to also be sent off after a studs in the chest challenge.
“I don’t want to complain but they have to change something about the level of referees,” Honda was quoted as saying by Kyodo News.
“During the game I don’t want to say that because I don’t want to waste my energy but it was like basketball, right? If we touched their bodies it was a foul.”
Honda’s compatriot Ryuji Sato also had a poor game officiating Australia’s 4-0 win over Oman on Tuesday.
The Japanese referee only booked Ahmed Mubarak for a dangerous two-footed lunge on Tim Cahill in the first half, while he questionably pulled back play for a penalty to the hosts despite Mark Milligan already putting the ball in the net.
Iran boss Carlos Queiroz also voiced his complaints that Australian official Ben Williams, the 2013 AFC referee of the year, allowed too many strong tackles in the 2-0 win over Bahrain.