Six PRO officials selected for 2022 FIFA World Cup

The 2022 FIFA World Cup will have six officials from the Professional Referee Organization working across games in Qatar later this year.

The group consists of referee Ismail Elfath, assistant referees Kyle Atkins, Kathryn Nesbitt, and Corey Parker, and video match officials Drew Fischer and Armando Villarreal.

Elfath, the 2020 MLS Referee of the Year, has been on the international panel since 2016 and officiated at two Concacaf Gold Cups and the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games held last summer.

Working with him at the Olympics and again in Qatar are assistant referees Atkins and Parker. In 2019, the duo also teamed with Elfath at the FIFA Club World Cup and U-20 World Cup, where they officiated the final match.

Atkins and Parker have a combined total of 13 years’ experience on the FIFA panel, having joined in 2018 and 2015, respectively, and more than 300 MLS regular-season games between them.

They are joined by Nesbitt, who worked with Atkins and Elfath to officiate the MLS is Back Tournament Final in 2020. She has been a regular on the international stage since her induction in 2016, notably working the FIFA Women’s World Cup in 2019 after officiating U-17 (2016) and U-20 (2018) tournaments.

She joins a pioneering list of five other female officials who FIFA has selected as the first women to officiate in a men’s World Cup.

Fischer and Villarreal have been selected as video match officials. Fischer has previously been called up to the booth in two Club World Cups and the 2019 Women’s World Cup, as well as MLS Cup and the Concacaf Nations League Final.

Villarreal became a FIFA VMO with Fischer in 2021 and has continued to impress on the field and in the booth, taking charge as referee of last year’s MLS Cup and MLS All-Star games.

A total of 36 referees will head to Qatar from around the world, in addition to 69 assistant referees and 24 video match officials.

Howard Webb, PRO General Manager, said: “We are delighted that the years of dedication and commitment these officials have invested to develop their skills and serve the game have been rewarded through selection to this prestigious event.

“I know they will represent our organization in the most positive way. They will undoubtedly inspire others to join the officiating ranks and, as their colleagues did at the 2018 World Cup, again demonstrate to the World the high quality of match officials we have here in North America.”

Please click here for the full list of officials who have been selected for the Qatar World Cup this year.