World Cup 2014: Meet the Refs!

FIFA has put up short YouTube videos of each of the center referees who will participate in the World Cup in Brazil beginning this Thursday. They’re pretty fascinating and a great way to get to know these men who will have such an impact on the tournament.

The referees themselves are pretty adorable. And because I know you’re dying to know, here are a few of my thoughts:

  • Could they have chosen cheesier music to introduce each of these guys? Apparently, the music is supposed to represent each referee’s “culture”, and is apparently chosen by the same guy who took those horrible pictures. The belly dancing music for the Iranian referee was a particularly nice touch. Nicola Rizzoli gets something you’d hear in a bad Italian restaurant and Yuishi Nichimura gets … geisha music? I…I don’t even know. And what the hell are those little bells going off for Svein Oddvar Moen? It’s like a bunch of Norwegian fairies that are all high on acid. No. Just, no.
  • I didn’t really understand anything Pedro Proenca said. I mean, yes, they were English words, but…
  • Nicola Rizzoli rather hilariously admitted that he got into refereeing because he was insufferable as a player and decided he was going to prove he was smarter than the referees. (You kinda suspected he was insufferable, didn’t you?) He also insisted he’s completely normal because, in addition to being a world class referee he’s also an architect. Yeah, that’s not ‘normal’, dude…(Architect joke: What do all architects have in common? Rich parents.)
  • Howard Webb did tell the story of the other English refs calling him Shrek (complete with a glimpse of his phone’s Shrek home screen) and said that he didn’t want to be a referee when he was 18 because all referees were “old bald guys.” (See what he did there?) Adorable.
  • Felix Brych is so dreamy it almost hurts to look at him. He’s definitely got the Hottest Ref title in the bag. Plus, hopefully the ESPN commentators can review his video so they don’t have to take their usual 50 stabs at the pronunciation of Brych.
  • Last but not least, Jonas Eriksson needs to sit up straight.

But I’ll let you pass your own judgement. To make it easier for you to browse through them, I’ve linked them all here:

Ravshan Irmatov, Uzbekistan
Yuichi Nishimura, Japan
Nawaf Shukralla, Bahrain
Ben Williams, Australia
Alireza Faghani, Iran (Support)

Noumandiez Doue, Ivory Coast
Bakary Gassama, Gambia
Djamel Haimoudi, Algeria
Neant Alioum, Cameroon (Support)
Daniel Bennett, South Africa (Support)

Joel Aguilar, El Salvador
Mark Geiger, United States
Marco Rodriguez Moreno, Mexico
Roberto Moreno Salazar, Panama (Support)
Walter Lopez Castellanos, Guatemala (Support)

Enrique Osses, Chile
Nestor Pitana, Argentina
Wilmar Roldan Peres, Colombia
Sandro Ricci, Brazil
Carlos Vera Rodriguez, Ecuador
Victor Carroll Casanova, Peru (Support)

Peter O’Leary, New Zealand
Norbert Hauata, Tahiti (Support)

Felix Brych, Germany
Cuneyt Cakir, Turkey
Jonas Eriksson, Sweden
Bjorn Kuipers, Netherlands
Milorad Mazic, Serbia
Pedro Proenca, Portugal
Nicola Rizzoli, Italy
Carlos Velasco Carballo, Spain
Howard Webb, England
Svein Oddvar Moen, Norway (Support)

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