Fisht Stadium Russia
Fisht Stadium Russia

The FIFA World Cup which is set to begin on Thursday in Russia will have a total of 99 referees but none of them are from Britain.

FIFA announced a couple of months back that there will 99 referees and assistants who will be in charge of the 64 games that are scheduled to take place over the course of one month.

But the list of referees does not contain names from England, Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland.

Mark Clattenburg was the only English referee to be named on the list but he forfeited his place when he moved from the Premier League to Saudi Arabia in 2017.

The FA did try and request FIFA to put in a replacement for Clattenburg but that request was rejected by the footballing governing body.

Why are there no British referees in the World Cup?

The only logical reason as to why there are no British referees in the World Cup can be drawn from the recent tensions between Britain and Russia due to the death of a former Russian spy and his daughter in Salisbury, England.

Britain has accused Russia of poising the ex-Russian spy, Sergei Skripal and his daughter supposedly using the nerve gas, Novichok.

And this incident has been the centre of heated debates between the two countries for months now.

It is not only the British referees who will not be travelling to Russia as it has been formally announced that no British dignitary or member of the royal family will attend the tournament.

Europe will be represented by referees from Germany, Turkey, Russia, the Netherlands, Poland, Spain, Serbia, Italy, Slovenia and France, while there are six each from Africa, Asia, North and South America and two from Oceania.

This is the first time since 1938 that the FIFA World Cup will not have a British referee.

Even the Video Assistant Referees(VAR) will be chosen from the pool of 99 officials that have been named by FIFA.

There are also a couple of theories doing the rounds that the exclusion of the British referees might have been influenced by Russia and FIFA did have the final say in it.

Mark Phillips of the Global Sports Integrity, said: “The question is whether they were rejected by FIFA or were they rejected by Russia?

“It looks like they were rejected by Russia, and if they were rejected by Russia, why is Russia having any say on who referees at the World Cup?”

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