VANCOUVER • A run of controversial calls has raised worries that officiating has not kept pace with the quality of play at football's Women's World Cup, putting an unwanted spotlight on referees ahead of tomorrow's final.
Both the United States and Japan reached the championship match with help from arguable calls in their semi-finals that have put into question the overall calibre of officiating in the tournament.
All World Cup matches staged at six venues across Canada have been officiated by women and Fifa said it has no plans to bring in more experienced male officials for the crucial matches.
"Right now, not at all," Tatjana Haenni, the world governing body's head of women's competitions, said.
"Now that women's football has become so popular, I see it as a risk that we now have the discussion why don't we have more male referees. On the women's refereeing side, we now have to decide, do we give more opportunities to the women's referees to be at the top level of the game or do we still not do enough, and at one point women will have huge difficulties to be at the top level."
Massimo Busacca, Fifa's head of refereeing who officiated at two World Cups, acknowledged that the overall quality of officiating needed upgrading but assured that the referees for the semi-finals and final were up to the challenge.
"For me, they are doing well," Busacca said.
"Round of 16, quarter-finals, we did not have big complaints, the results were correct.
"The referees who remain now know what they are doing.
"They are the best, I am not afraid to say they will do a great game in the final."