FAS ● Jan 11, 2023

Taqi Jahari makes history with Women’s World Cup 2023 appointment

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Taqi Jahari in the VAR room ahead of the FIFA World Cup 2022 match between Spain and Costa Rica, 23 November 2022 (Photo supplied by Taqi Jahari)

 

SINGAPORE, 11 JANUARY 2023 – When he takes up his post at the FIFA Women’s World Cup Australia & New Zealand 2023™ later this year, Taqi Jahari will become the first Singaporean to officiate at both a Men’s and Women’s World Cup.

 

The 36-year-old’s appointment as a video match official (VMO) for the tournament was announced by FIFA on Monday, making him part of a team of 19 that will operate the Video Assistant Referee (VAR) system. They will be joined by 33 referees and 55 assistant referees at the ninth edition of the Women’s World Cup, which will be jointly hosted by Australia and New Zealand starting from 20 July till 20 August.

 

It is a historic achievement for Taqi, who experienced his maiden men’s World Cup in Qatar last year. He will be the only Southeast Asian among the 107 match officials at the upcoming Women’s World Cup and is the second Singaporean to officiate at one after Abirami Naidu, who was the fourth official for four matches (three group-stage, one round of 16) in 2015. Taqi has also previously been involved in one Under-17 (2017) and three Under-20 (2015, 2017, 2019) World Cups.

 


Taqi Jahari with his VAR team for the FIFA World Cup 2022 match between Brazil and Serbia. L-R: Anton Shchetinin, Paulus van Boekel and Abdullah Al-Marri, 24 November 2022 (Photo supplied by Taqi Jahari)

 

“My first reaction was surprise as I have only recently returned from Qatar and never expected to be involved in this Women’s World Cup,” he told FAS. “I am grateful for the trust and belief shown by FIFA to grant me this appointment and I will be looking to execute my duties to the best of my ability. Of course, it is an honour and I am proud to have been selected because this is only the second edition of a Women’s World Cup that will be using VAR.”

 

Nazeer Hussain, Director (Referees), Football Association of Singapore (FAS) said: “The FAS is both delighted and proud that Muhammad Taqi has been selected to be one of the 19 Video Match Officials for the FIFA Women’s World Cup 2023. It is yet another feather in his cap after his similar appointment at the recent FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 tournament and a continued testament to Taqi’s ability, dedication, commitment, and level of sacrifice. This appointment also makes him the first Singaporean to officiate at both the men’s and women’s World Cups, and we are confident that Taqi will do the nation proud once again.”

 


Taqi Jahari observing a match at the FIFA World Cup 2022, 21 November 2022 (Photo supplied by Taqi Jahari)

 

Taqi is looking forward to the tournament, noting that the standards of women’s international football have “evolved drastically” since the previous Women’s World Cup in 2019. The 2023 edition will feature an expanded roster of 32 teams, up from 24, and he aims to draw on the experience from his appointments in Qatar as well as the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, where he was a VMO for both the men’s and women’s competitions.

 

As part of preparations, all the selected match officials will undergo preparatory seminars in Doha and Montevideo this January and February that include review and analysis of “video clips of real match situations” and take part in “practical training sessions with players”. On his own, Taqi will keep tabs on international matches involving countries that have qualified in order to observe their playing styles. He will also be part of the officiating roster for the three inter-confederation qualification play-offs between 18 and 23 February.

 


Taqi Jahari at a VAR training session, 20 November 2022 (Photo supplied by Taqi Jahari)

 

Taqi also hailed the increasing involvement of women’s officials at the highest levels of football. The latest example came in Qatar, where Stéphanie Frappart, Karen Diaz and Neuza Back became the first female match officials to take charge of a men’s World Cup match and continues with this upcoming Women’s World Cup where six female VMOs have been appointed for the first time. They include the likes of Sian Massey-Ellis, who has officiated in England’s Premier League since 2010.

 

“At the end of the day, it is about how much I can contribute to the tournament with my experience and work hand in hand with the women’s referees, as I think most of us will be working with them for the first time,” he said.

 

“I am very happy to see women’s referees in men’s competitions as I believe that football is a universal game and should not be gender-biased. The female officials have proven their ability and I will also be able to learn from them, as they have different experiences (from other major competitions) as well as styles of refereeing.

 

“When we talk about the World Cup, it does not matter whether it is the men’s or women’s – the entire football fraternity understands that the World Cup is the biggest stage for every football player.”

 

 

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