SHEN Yinhao and ZHANG Cheng, two teachers from International College of Football, Tongji University, participated in AFC (Asian Football Confederation) Elite Referees & Assistant Referees Seminar 2018 from November 26th to December 1st in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, and passed the assessments by AFC to become new AFC elite referees. As a result, they will be eligible to referee international football matches such as those of AFC Asian Cup and AFC Champions League.
Although Asia has over 400 referees and assistant referees qualified for international football matches, it sees mixed levels of competence in refereeing on account of the uneven development of football undertakings in different countries. Consequently, AFC decided to establish an “elite referees system” in 2005 as a solution to this problem. Every year the AFC Referees Committee selects some elite referees for the “elite referees group” on the basis of all Asian referees’ performances in international football matches in the previous year. Such being the case, those who have been selected are unarguably the crème de la crème as all candidates are leading referees of various countries. According to AFC regulations, only members of the “elite referees group” are eligible for refereeing major international football matches, which shows that the eligibility of the two teachers from Tongji University was indeed hard-earned.