UAE: Meet the two Emirati referees at Fifa World Cup in Qatar

Mohamed Alhammadi and Hasan Almahri will have a big role to play in taking strong and fair decisions in the make-or-break moments of the high-octane matches

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Rituraj Borkakoty

Published: Wed 2 Nov 2022, 7:42 AM

Last updated: Wed 2 Nov 2022, 5:32 PM

With less than 20 days to go for the start of the 2022 Fifa World Cup in Qatar, fans in the UAE are waiting in great anticipation for the biggest football carnival.

It would have been the icing on the cake if the national football team of the UAE had qualified for the Qatar World Cup.

The UAE missed the Qatar spectacle by a whisker, having lost 2-1 in the dying minutes against a strong Australian team in the play-off back in June.

It was a heartbreaking defeat that ended the UAE's hopes of playing in the World Cup for the first time since 1990.

Nevertheless, the UAE will still have an important role to play once the football extravaganza kicks off in Qatar as two Emirati officials have been named assistant referees for the tournament.

Mohamed Alhammadi and Hasan Almahri will call the shots in some of the big matches in Qatar.

The two experienced UAE officials will assist the match referee in taking strong and fair decisions in the make-or-break moments of the high-octane World Cup matches in Qatar.

Experienced officials

Alhammadi and Almahri have officiated in several big international matches, with their resumes even featuring the 2018 Fifa World Cup in Russia.

"It is a wonderful feeling to be selected for the biggest sporting event in the world after great effort and it makes the years of sacrifice at work and the time away from my family well worth it," Alhammadi told the Asian Football Confederation website.

The two officials made history three years ago when they officiated in the 2019 Asian Cup quarterfinal match between Japan and Vietnam in Dubai —the first match in the history of Asian football to witness Video Assistant Referee (VAR).

Almahri now can't wait for the Qatar World Cup to start.

"It is a great feeling to represent my country and the AFC (Asian Football Confederation) in the largest sports event in the world. This is the outcome of years of effort that culminated first at the Fifa World Cup in Russia four years ago, and now again at the Fifa World Cup Qatar," he said.


The two veteran officials will head into Qatar on the back of months-long physical and mental preparations.

"For me, it is through physical preparation, reading the laws of the game and its new amendments, watching controversial cases (decisions in football) around the world, and benefiting from the learning points," Alhammadi said.

Almahri said it was a huge honour to feature in the 19-member match officials team from the Asian continent in the World Cup.

"Preparation did not start with the announcement of the match officials’ list, but rather it has been a lifelong journey and process officiating at the Asian, international, and local tournaments," he said.

"This includes preparing for the physical, mental, psychological, and technical demands to ensure you represent Asia well on the biggest stage."

The 2022 Fifa World Cup will kick off with the opening match between hosts Qatar and Ecuador on November 20.

The final will be played on December 18 at the magnificent Lusail Iconic Stadium.

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