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Zitouni earns Qatar call-up

Abdelkader Zitouni in action in 2019. Credit: FIFA via Getty Images

Tahiti referee Abdelkader Zitouni will be winging his way to Qatar in February following his appointment as a match official for the FIFA Club World Cup 2021.

Zitouni is the only match official set to represent the Oceania Football Confederation at the first FIFA event for 2021, with the OFC Referee Development team pleased to see continued recognition of Oceania referees on the world stage.

OFC Referee Development Officer Neil Poloso said: “We are happy FIFA continues to recognise the ability and competence of OFC match officials, and the work and effort we put into developing our match officials, by appointing them to FIFA final competitions.”

Zitouni has held his FIFA badge since 2012 and has officiated at numerous OFC and FIFA tournaments. His first FIFA event was the 2014 Youth Olympic Games and since then he has added the FIFA U-17 World Cup, the FIFA U-20 World Cup, FIFA Club World Cup, and the FIFA Confederations Cup to his list of accomplishments.

“We’d like to congratulate Kader on his appointment, and wish him well for his preparations as he represents his colleagues from OFC at the Club World Cup,” Poloso said.

Seven referees and 12 assistant referees have been selected for the tournament and, together with them, FIFA has also selected seven video match officials (VMOs) to operate the VAR during the tournament.

The appointment of the female trio led by Edina Alves Batista continue the path started at the FIFA U-17 World Cup India 2017, where Swiss referee Esther Staubli officiated one game, followed by Uruguayan referee Claudia Umpierrez who officiated two games at the FIFA U-17 World Cup Brazil 2019.

All of the selected match officials will complete their final preparations in Qatar the week before the first match kicks off. In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, FIFA and the host country will provide the required safeguards to protect the health and safety of all involved in the competition.

The draw to finalise the detailed pairings will take place in Zurich on 19 January, with Oceania representatives Auckland City FC already scheduled to face Al Duhail SC at Ahmad Bin Ali Stadium on 1 February.

The full match schedule is available here.

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