FIFA accused of snubbing referees from 'OneLove nations'

EXCLUSIVE: FIFA are yet to use a referee from a ‘OneLove’ nation at the World Cup, sparking accusations that officials are being snubbed… with Premier League pair Michael Oliver and Anthony Taylor among those still waiting for first assignments

  • Controversy surrounding the OneLove armbands have been rife in recent weeks
  • A number of European sides had put forward the idea to wear the sleeve in Qatar 
  • But, FIFA issued a ban over captains wearing the rainbow sleeve in matches 
  • They’ve now been accused of snubbing referees from those countries 
  • Premier League duo Michael Oliver and Anthony Taylor are yet to officiate

FIFA have not used one referee from a ‘OneLove nation’ at this World Cup, sparking accusations that officials including Michael Oliver and Anthony Taylor are being snubbed.

The highly-rated Premier League pair are among those still awaiting their first assignments, with Germany’s Daniel Siebert and Danny Makkelie of the Netherlands also yet to officiate a game.

Seven nations put their names to last week’s statement about the banned OneLove armband. The associations of England, Wales, Belgium, Denmark, Germany, Switzerland and the Netherlands jointly criticised FIFA for threatening their captains with sporting sanctions on the eve of the tournament.

All seven countries backed down from plans to wear the armbands, which include a rainbow design and promote anti-discrimination.

Sources have told Sportsmail that FIFA sidelining Oliver, Taylor, Makkelie and Siebert so far has raised eyebrows in refereeing circles. None of them have even been assigned fourth-official duties in Qatar.

Sportsmail asked FIFA yesterday why they had been overlooked and football’s world governing body responded that Siebert would oversee Tunisia v Australia on Saturday. 

Premier League referee Michael Oliver is yet to be assigned a fixture during the World Cup

Issues around the OneLove armband (pictured on Harry Kane) continue to ripple around Doha

France’s Stephanie Frappart (R) was the fourth official for Portugal’s clash with Ghana

The weekend assignments had not been confirmed on Thursday night, but it appears Oliver, Taylor and Makkelie, the Dutchman who oversaw England’s Euro 2020 semi-final win over Denmark, must continue to wait for their first fixtures.

Likewise, no female officials have yet refereed a World Cup game, but France’s Stephanie Frappart and Rwanda’s Salima Mukansanga have acted as fourth officials. 

Frappart became the first female official to work at a men’s World Cup in Mexico’s 0-0 draw with Poland on Tuesday, and Mukansanga was assigned France’s 4-1 win over Australia later the same day.

Japan’s Yoshimi Yamashita will be fourth official for England’s second group game against the USA on Friday night.

Pierluigi Collina, the chairman of FIFA’s refereeing committee, insisted last week that female officials would be put forward for all matches including those of Qatar, Iran and Saudi Arabia.

Anthony Taylor is another English official who is yet to feature in a World Cup match this year

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