MOSCOW, May 30. /TASS/. The world’s governing football body, FIFA, announced a decision on Wednesday to withdraw Fahad Al Mirdasi, a referee from Saudi Arabia, from the list of referees selected to officiate at matches of the upcoming 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia.
Al Mirdasi was earlier banned for life by the Saudi Arabian Football Federation (SAFF) for participating in the organization of fixed matches.
"With reference to the current situation of the Saudi referee Mr. Fahad Al Mirdasi, the FIFA Referees Committee has considered that the conditions to be selected for the 2018 FIFA World Cup are not satisfied anymore and therefore has decided that the selection of Mr. Fahad Al Mirdasi is withdrawn with immediate effect," the statement from FIFA said.
"In line with FIFA’s overall philosophy of seeking to appoint match officials together as a team of three during the preparation, the FIFA Referees Committee has therefore also decided to remove the two assistant referees Mohammed Al Abakry and Abdulah Alshalwai, who are in Referee Al Mirdasi’s team," according to the statement.
"The Saudi Arabian Football Federation (SAFF) and the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) have been officially informed," FIFA added.
FIFA announced on March 29 that the organization’s Referees Committee selected 36 referees and 63 assistant referees, representing 46 different countries, for the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia.
The FIFA-approved list included a trio of specialists from Russia, namely referee Sergey Karasev and assistant referees Anton Averianov and Tikhon Kalugin. Last time a Russian referee worked at the FIFA world championships was at the 2006 FIFA World Cup in Germany, where Valentin Ivanov officiated some of the matches.
The 2018 FIFA World Cup kicks off in 14 days with the opening match in the Russian capital of Moscow.
Russia selected 11 host cities to be the venues for the matches of the 2018 World Cup and they are Moscow, St. Petersburg, Sochi, Kazan, Saransk, Kaliningrad, Volgograd, Rostov-on-Don, Nizhny Novgorod, Yekaterinburg and Samara.
The matches of the 2018 World Cup will be held between June 14 and July 15 at 12 stadiums located in the 11 mentioned above cities across Russia. Two of the stadiums are located in the Russian capital.