10 Jan 2023

New Zealand referees to take charge during football World Cup

9:40 am on 10 January 2023
Referee Anna-Marie Keighley.

Anna-Marie Keighley will referee at a third Women's World Cup this year. Photo: Photosport

New Zealander Anna-Marie Keighley has been appointed as a referee for this year's Women's Football World Cup in Australia and New Zealand, with compatriot Sarah Jones named as an assistant referee.

Maria Salamasina from Samoa has also been chosen as an assistant referee to round out Oceania's representatives.

The 2023 event on home soil will be the third FIFA Women's World Cup for Auckland-based Keighley, who also attended the World Cup in Canada in 2015 and France in 2019. This will be her seventh global FIFA event, along with the 2016 Olympic Games.

At the 2015 World Cup, the Taranaki-raised school teacher made history to be the first referee to lead five matches at one World Cup including a semi-final.

Jones is also a veteran of international officiating, featuring at the 2019 FIFA Women's World Cup in France, the 2016 Olympic Games, the FIFA U17 Women's World Cup in Uruguay in 2018, and more recently the FIFA U20 Women's World Cup in Costa Rica.

The Waikato-based referee was the first New Zealand woman to be appointed to run the line an A-League Men's match in 2016.

The 2023 World Cup will be the second FIFA Women's World Cup for Salamasina after she also featured in France four years ago.

Salamasina has long been part of the OFC team, after also officiated at the FIFA U20 Women's World Cup in 2022 and FIFA U17 Women's World Cup in 2018, in many occasions alongside her Kiwi colleagues.

A total of 33 referees, 55 assistant referees and 19 video match officials (VMOs) have been chosen in cooperation with the six confederations, based on the officials' performances at FIFA tournaments as well as at other international and domestic competitions in recent years.

For the first time in the history of the FIFA Women's World Cup, six female VMOs have also been selected. The VAR system was implemented with resounding success at the 2019 world cup.

"As always, the criteria we have used is 'quality first' and the selected on-field match officials represent the highest level of refereeing worldwide," chair of the FIFA Referees Committee Pierluigi Collina said.

"Even though the pandemic affected our activities, we had enough time to provide the candidates with good preparation. As we did for the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022, we are announcing these selections well in advance to be able to work in a purposeful and focused manner with all those who have been appointed for the FIFA Women's World Cup, monitoring them over the coming months. From the selected referees, we expect a rigorous and focused preparation for the Women's World Cup, a competition that FIFA and its president hold in the highest of regards."

FIFA's Head of Women Refereeing, Kari Seitz, stressed that the match officials will continue to receive all necessary support from FIFA, as their preparation is paramount.

"With critical time lost due to the pandemic in preparation for the Women's World Cup, we developed some new programmes to accelerate our referee development, such as our very effective Tracking and Support programme, where each referee candidate was assigned a FIFA coach who provided feedback on their matches each month. This programme will continue to be critical in the final phase of preparation for the FIFA Women's World Cup."

In January and February, the selected match officials will participate in preparatory seminars (in Doha and Montevideo), reviewing and analysing video clips of real match situations and taking part in practical training sessions with players, which will be filmed to enable participants to receive instant feedback from instructors.