FIFA have not used one referee from a ‘OneLove nation’ at this World Cup, sparking accusations that officials including Michael Oliver and Anthony Taylor are being snubbed. The highly-rated Premier League pair are among those still awaiting their first assignments, with Germany’s Daniel Siebert and Danny Makkelie of Hollaned also yet to officiate a game.
Seven nations put their names to last week’s statement about the banned OneLove armband. The associations of England, Wales, Belgium, Denmark, Germany, Switzerland and the Netherlands jointly criticised FIFA for threatening their captains with sporting sanctions on the eve of the tournament.
All seven countries backed down from plans to wear the armbands, which include a rainbow design and promote anti-discrimination. Sportsmail asked FIFA on Thursday why they had been overlooked and football’s world governing body responded that Siebert would oversee Tunisia vs Australia on Saturday.
The weekend assignments had not been confirmed on Thursday night, but it appears Oliver, Taylor and Makkelie, the Dutchman who oversaw England’s Euro 2020 semi-final win over Denmark, must continue to wait for their first fixtures.
Sources have told Sportsmail that FIFA sidelining Oliver, Taylor, Makkelie and Siebert so far has raised eyebrows in refereeing circles. None of them have even been assigned fourth-official duties in Qatar.
Likewise, no female officials have yet refereed a World Cup game, but France’s Stephanie Frappart and Rwanda’s Salima Mukansanga have acted as fourth officials. Japan’s Yoshimi Yamashita will be fourth official for England’s second group game against the USA on Friday night.
Frappart became the first female official to work at a men’s World Cup in Mexico’s 0-0 draw with Poland on Tuesday, and Mukansanga was assigned France’s 4-1 win over Australia later the same day.
Pierluigi Collina, the chairman of FIFA’s refereeing committee, insisted last week that female officials would be put forward for all matches including those of Qatar, Iran and Saudi Arabia.