Monday, November 19, 2012


Referees in the Barclays Premier League have been lauded by their Japanese counterparts after two came over to England and took charge of matches in the Barclays Under-21 Premier League and FA Cup.

Hiroyuki Kimura and Jumpei Iida, both FIFA-approved referees from Japan, flew over as part of an exchange programme with foreign officials that the Professional Game Match Officials Limited, the referees organisation, started in 2007.

Kimura took charge of the FA Cup first-round tie between Bishop's Stortford and Hastings United, before refereeing the Barclays Under-21 Premier League tie between Manchester United and Stoke City.

Iida was placed in charge of Mansfield Town v Slough Town in the FA Cup and Arsenal’s Barclays Under-21 match with Bolton Wanderers. In-between they saw their English counterparts in action at Liverpool v Newcastle United in the Barclays Premier League.

This was the third year of the exchange with Japanese officials and proved valuable for them in that the football Kimura and Iida encountered differed from that in their native country.

It is not just the behaviour of those on the pitch that was a new experience for the Japanese referees, Iida found the attitude of crowds in England were different, too.

While saying that the abilities of referees in Japan and in the Premier League to judge foul play was not much different, Iida added that his colleagues could learn from the communication that Premier League referees undertake with players in the field.

He expressed sympathy for his counterparts in the Barclays Premier League over the greater pressure that they are under because of the global exposure that the league has, something that the J-League and its officials do not face.

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