Interview by Farrokh Hesabi

Nazemi happy to be nominated as best futsal referee of the year

January 11, 2022 - 19:15

TEHRAN - Gelareh Nazemi has expressed her happiness for being nominated as the best futsal referee in the world in 2021.

“I’m very happy to receive all the kind messages for being nominated among the best of the world. I'm proud of it,” said Nazemi in her interview with Tehran Times.

She is the first female referee to officiate in an Asian Football Confederation (AFC) men's futsal competition.

“It's the fourth consecutive year, since 2018, that I'm a candidate to receive the prestigious award in the futsal world," she added.

The Iranian elite female referee was the timekeeper at the 2021 FIFA World Cup final showpiece between Portugal and Argentine.

“I expected to be among the nominees of the best referees in the world because I officiated at the 2021 FIFA World Cup in Lithuania and was selected as the fourth referee in the final match,” explained the 38-year-old.

When asked about her chance to win the 2021 award, Nazemi said: “It's hard because both female and male referees have been considered for selecting the best referee award but I am hopeful of winning the award,” she said.

Nazemi will have to compete with Nurdin Bukuev (Kyrgyzstan), Juan José Cordero Gallardo (Spain), Mohamed Hassan Hassan Ahmed Youssef (Egypt), Alejandro Martinez Flores (Spain), Valeria Nicole Palma Palma (Chile), Chiara Perona (Italy), Maria Estefania Pinto (Argentina), Antony Riley (New Zealand) and Irina Velikanova (Russia) to win the accolade.

"Mr. Nurdin has a big chance to win the prize because he whistled the 2021 World Cup final and is one the best referees in the world. But I still hope to reach the award after four years,” she said.

“It is the result of more than 20 years of hard work to reach this point. We could break the barriers in the way of female officials. We could convince the AFC and FIFA to accept and approve us as hijab-wearing referees. It's the path that I'm proud of,” concluded Nazemi.

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