A-League Referee Exchange with Japan
The answer to the A-Leagues questionable refereeing might finally be here. In the last few games, some games have been officiated by Japanese Referees as part of a referee exchange program between Football Federation Australia (FFA) and the Japanese Football Association (JFA).
This article is going to get personalised to my opinion of A-League referee’s but take it with a grain of salt – the A-League officiating has been widely criticised and honestly there is good reason for it. I find it important that it be addressed and quite frankly in the spirit of the game it is great to see people wanting their local football to be improved.
Disclaimer over, onwards ho.
The program, as described by the FFA, is designed to help referees from both countries gain important international experience (this is the world game after all) as well as allow players in the Hyundai A-League a different styles of officiating… a style called real officiating
Takuto Okabe has taken the whistle down under for a few games already and will again in round 24. He has seen his fair share of pitch action having refereed 124 J-League matches since being promoted to a Class 1 referee in Japan during the 2006 season.
A-League clubs have so far supported this exchange as it gives our local players and Australian clubs to Asian referees ahead of the anticipated AFC Champions League matches over the next few months. The best part of the plan, raising the standards of our officials in the A-League.
No more pass-backs, questionable off sides and perhaps a harder stance on diving (sorry Del Piero).
As part of the exchange, a delegation from Australia will officiate the Japan v New Zealand international game to be played in Japan early March.