World football governing body Fifa and Confederation of African Football (Caf) on Saturday, 27th November signed a historic Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) that will pioneer a new era in the advancement of professional refereeing in Africa.
The MoU was signed by Fifa President Gianni Infantino and Caf President, Dr Patrice Motsepe in Cairo, Egypt during the 13th Caf Extraordinary General Assembly.
The anchor of the agreement is Refereeing “Star Project” – an initiative that aims to produce world class referees from the African continent and also contribute towards the development of referees in the 54 Caf Member Associations.
“Refereeing is such an important element of football. 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,” Fifa President Infantino said in a statement.
For his part Caf president, Dr Patrice Motsepe said that Africa is embarking on a journey that will see Africa play a very impactful role in global football.
“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.”
He thanked Fifa President for the support: “We are grateful to have a Fifa President who is deeply committed to our cause – the cause to advance the development of football.”
Fifa Chairman of Referees, Pierluigi Collina made a presentation to the Extraordinary General Assembly on the Fifa refereeing star project.
He 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.”