Football: Singaporean trio set to referee Fifa tournament for the first time

Muhammad Taqi Jahari has been selected to referee at the Fifa Under-17 World Cup in India from Oct 6 to 28.
Muhammad Taqi Jahari has been selected to referee at the Fifa Under-17 World Cup in India from Oct 6 to 28.PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - Singapore will be represented at the Fifa Under-17 World Cup by a trio of match officials, with referee Muhammad Taqi Jahari and assistant referees Edwin Lee and Ronnie Koh set to take the reins at the Fifa Under-17 World Cup, which will be held in India from Oct 6-28.

At the senior level, the only two Singaporeans to have officiated in a World Cup as official referees are George Suppiah in 1974, and Shamsul Maidin in 2006.

Shamsul had the unique distinction of handing out the first red card of the 2006 World Cup - to Trinidad and Tobago's Avery John during their group stage tie against Sweden.

And while Singaporean referees have officiated international matches such as World Cup qualifiers, this will be the first time three Singaporeans have been appointed to take charge at a Fifa international tournament.

The experience will not be a new one for Taqi, having previously officiated as a video assistant referee at the Fifa Under-20 World Cup in South Korea earlier this year, and as a support referee at the Fifa Under-20 World Cup in New Zealand two year ago.

For Lee and Koh, it will be their first time officiating at a Fifa tournament.

Said Lee: "I have to thank my family for supporting me in my refereeing career, as well as FAS for their efforts in developing us. We are all looking forward to the tournament and doing Singapore proud as the first trio to be appointed to a Fifa tournament."

The Singaporeans will be one of just three refereeing trios representing the Asian Football Confederation, with the other two hailing from Japan.

Said Football Association of Singapore president Lim Kia Tong: "We are very proud that our referees are flying our Singapore flag high at international tournaments, and we are very confident that Taqi, Edwin and Ronnie will acquit themselves with distinction at the tournament."