Football Federation Australia (FFA) has today announced that Japanese FIFA Referee Takuto Okabe and Class 1 Referee Koichiro Fukushima will referee two Hyundai A-League matches in Rounds 23 and 24, continuing FFA’s strong partnership with the Japanese Football Association (JFA).
These appointments mark the third season that Japanese referees have been invited to officiate Hyundai A-League matches and follows FFA referees Chris Beath and Jarred Gillett’s invitation to each referee J-League matches in May 2015.
Okabe, who refereed in the Hyundai A-League in the inaugural referee exchange in 2013/14, will referee the Round 23 Sydney FC vs Wellington Phoenix and Round 24 Western Sydney Wanderers FC vs Adelaide matches.
Fukushima, who has refereed 34 J-League matches, will control the Round 23 Newcastle Jets vs Western Sydney Wanderers and Round 24 Central Coast Mariners vs Sydney FC matches.
In addition to their matches, Okabe and Fukushima will also attend the FFA full time referee workshop in Canberra and train alongside fulltime referees Chris Beath, Jarred Gillett and Ben Williams.
FFA Director of Referees Ben Wilson was extremely pleased to see the continuation of the relation with the JFA.
“Exchanges such as this provide valuable international experience for referees from Australia and Japan.
“The two Japanese referees who are visiting this year are very experienced and we look to seeing them during the next two rounds of the Hyundai A-League.
“In addition, the Japanese referees will be working with our full-time referees in Canberra to prepare, train and review performances and will also attend a grassroots referee coaching session in Wollongong.
“We look forward to the opportunity of sending Australian referees to Japan in the coming months to reciprocate the experience,” concluded Wilson.
In additional to the national competition exchange program, Australian FIFA Futsal Referees Chris Colley and Ryan Shepheard were invited to Japan to referee two international Futsal matches between Japan and Costa Rica in January 2016.