The appointments for the semi finals of the Asian Cup are interesting.

Two of the world’s top referees are missing.

Ravshan Irmatov from Uzbekistan was in charge of the opening match in FIFA World Cup 2010 in South Africa and also refereed a semi final. Yuichi Nishimura of Japan refereed the second match in South Africa and was also fourth official at the final. Together they refereed eight matches in the World Cup.

Not a bad record!

But they have not been appointed to the semi finals of the Asian Cup.

The problem of course is that their national teams are now in the semi finals and so they cannot be involved.

AFC Elite Referees Ben Williams of Australia and Kim Dong Jin of South Korea are also out of the equation for the same reason.

This is the reality of a top level football competition. As a referee, when your national team does well, your chances are limited.

But this is how it should be. Spectators want to see football teams, not referees.

Maybe if South Korea, Japan, Australia or Uzbekistan fail to reach the final of the World Cup in Brazil 2014, we will see them in another semi final – or final!

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