Top Japanese whistleblowers to ref A-League games

Two of Japan’s top whistleblowers will referee A-League matches as part of an ongoing exchange program to lift the standard of match officials.

Yudai Yamamoto and Kazuyoshi Enomoto will referee two games each in a strategic deal between Football Federation Australia and the Japan Football Association.

Yamamoto, a professional FIFA referee who recently officiated at the Asian Cup, will take charge of Sunday’s clash between Brisbane Roar and the Western Sydney Wanderers FC and the March 12 match Adelaide United and Central Coast Mariners.

Enomoto, a Class 1 referee in the J-League, will referee the A-League encounter between the Newcastle Jets and Adelaide United on March 29 as well as the Brisbane Roar FC and Central Coast Mariners clash on April 2.

In a reciprocal agreement, Australian referees Jarred Gillett and Chris Beath will oversee two J-League matches each between 27 April and 3 May.

FFA Director of Referees, Ben Wilson believes these exchanges provide significant development opportunities for Australian and Japanese referees and enhance the strong relationship between the JFA and FFA.

“The exchange program is designed to help referees from both countries gain valuable international experience as well as expose players in the Hyundai A-League and J-League to different styles of officiating,” Wilson said.

“As part of our referee’s strategic plan, one of the important aspects is to offer our referees meaningful international experience which will enable them to become better referees.

“This will be the first time that Australian referees have been invited to officiate in the J-League which will provide us with an excellent opportunity to showcase our referees in another top quality domestic league.”

In addition to the exchange program, a team of Australian match officials made up of the AFC Asian Cup trio of Ben Williams, Matthew Cream and Peter Cetrangolo and Strebre Delovski will officiate at the Kirin Cup in Japan this month, taking charge of Japan v Tunisia (27/3) and Japan v Uzbekistan (31/3).