Tuesday, 22 June 2010

Central Asia's Finest

For chirayliq fans, the FIFA world cup offers a lot of dark and stocky men with powerful cheekbones or well-defined noses, but where are all the Central Asians? Look closer - at the moment, I'm watching the Greece-Argentina match because of this guy:

Ravshan Irmatov, Asia's referee of the year 2008 & 2009.

Graham Poll at the Daily Mail described him in these ominous terms before the England-Algeria match last week:

Uzbekistan’s Ravshan Irmatov is a young man at 32, but [...] there will be no playing around for Asia’s finest referee.

Irmatov is a correct referee — by saying that, I mean he is firm, strong and robotic in his reactions.

Reputations mean nothing to him; any technical offence will lead to a card.

The star referee is the first Uzbek to be selected to the world cup. Rafael Ilyasov (Uzbekistan) and Bahadyr Kochkarov (Kyrgyzstan) were selected as assistant referees. Irmatov's international career since 2003 is quite impressive. On the website of the Uzbekistan football league, he recalls some memorable events during his career. Irmatov has already officiated at two world cups before, which makes him stand out among the referees this year.

For some cute reason, the FIFA website does not only tell us his height (183 cm) and occupation (school football instructor), but also his mother tongue (Uzbek) and his hobbies (football, swimming, tennis). It is quite interesting to see what many of the referees do in their regular life. There are engineers, postmen, accountants, car mechanics, policemen...

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