World Football governing body FIFA has put pen to paper with CAF on a Memorandum of Understanding to advance professional refereeing in Africa.
The deal was sealed at the 13th CAF Extraordinary General Assembly on Saturday with FIFA President, Gianni Infantino and CAF President, Dr Patrice Motsepe in attendance in Cairo, Egypt.
According to the FIFA President, the need to raise the standards of the game and professionalise the level of officiating in the continent has led to this historic MoU.
“Refereeing is such an important element of football,” President Infantino stated.
“We have to professionalise and elevate the level of refereeing in Africa and ensure that we have the referees that are in the best conditions. This historic MoU is just an example of how FIFA and CAF can work together to raise the standards of the different aspects of football in this great continent.”
On his part, CAF President, Motsepe added that it was time for Africa to make an impact in World Football by producing the best.
“Africa is embarking on a journey that will see this continent play a very impactful role in global football,” Motsepe posited.
“We are clear, Africa must be the best and must produce the best; not just players, but administrators but also referees. We want to see African referees officiating in the FIFA World Cup finals and we want to see our match officials excelling.
As CAF, we are fully backing the talent we have in Africa and the qualities of referees. With this partnership with FIFA, we are taking practical steps to move in that bold direction.”
Speaking further on how the world governing body intends to help Africa develop her referees, FIFA Chairman of Referees, Pierluigi Collina, said;
“FIFA is dedicated to supporting the African refereeing stars of today, but also to develop the CAF refereeing stars of tomorrow.
To achieve that, FIFA and CAF want to identify 24 top candidates from across Africa, men and women, to participate in this project.
We strongly believe that these referees will not only further professionalise refereeing in Africa, but they will also give something back to the young referees in their member association so, in a way, they can eventually become the instructors themselves.”
The MoU is tagged “Star Project” – an initiative that aims to develop world class referees from the continent and also contribute towards the development of referees in the 54 CAF Member Associations.
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