Saudi Arabia FF to introduce foreign referees

The Saudi Arabian Football Federation has decided to use foreign referees for important league and cup matches following crowd trouble triggered by poor refereeing in two recent league encounters. "Blatant mistakes by referees in the Al Hilal-Al Nasr and Al Ahli-Al Hilal matches upset the crowd who threw missiles on the pitch and resorted to violence in the car-parks outside it," AFCMedia reported.

Prince Sultan Bin Fahd, President of the SAFF and Youth Welfare Presidency, expressed his regret over the incidents. “The Youth Welfare Presidency is keen on preserving fair play in the competition among all clubs. The presidency is also keen on doing away any negative effects or acts inside or outside our stadiums. Such actions, off late, have come as a result of referee's mistakes leading to destruction of property and private cars."

The FF has suspended the referee of the Al Ahli-Al Hilal match for a year and set up a committee to study the reasons behind the poor refereeing. Al Ahli have also been ordered to play one match outside Jeddah because of their fans’ behaviour.