2016 and 2018 AFC Referee of the Year Alireza Faghani will officiate his first match in the A-League this Saturday, when the Wanderers play Central Coast.
The Iranian recently migrated to Australia for family reasons and was offered a contract by the FFA to referee in the A-League.
The addition of Faghani coincides with A-League bosses investing $150,000 in new Hawkeye technology, as the league tries to minimise errors and focus on further improving refereeing standards.
The last two A-League grand finals have both had VAR errors and could be a reason why many are disenchanted with the league at the moment.
A man of Faghani’s experience and respectability worldwide may lead to less reliance on the technology.
The 41-year-old recently refereed in two matches at the AFC Asian Cup 2019, as well as being in charge for four matches at last year’s FIFA World Cup. These games included the Round of 16 match between France and Argentina and the third-place play-off match between Belgium and England.
This won’t be the first time Australian fans will have seen the Iranian official, as he was the man in the middle when the Socceroos beat the Korea Republic in the AFC Asian Cup 2015 final.
Other honours include officiating two matches in the 2017 Confederations Cup and the 2016 Olympic Games gold medal match between Germany and Brazil.
Faghani will join Shaun Evans, Alex King and Chris Beath as the full-time referees for the 2019/20 A-League season.
Alireza recently spoke of his excitement about his new experience.
“Once my family made the decision to move to Australia, it was fantastic that the opportunity to referee in the Hyundai A-League came about,” said Faghani.
“It was a very big decision to leave our home country, but I am extremely thankful that I am still able to referee professionally in one of the top domestic leagues in Asia and also continue my career as an international match official.
“I have refereed many times in Australia and with Australian clubs so I am very familiar with the players and venues.”