First, the denial of Iran’s request for a “non-Chinese” match official appears strange. This is because international matches, even friendlies, are usually officiated by referees who do not come from the same countries as the two teams.
Second, Wei’s insistence that the referee be Chinese (i.e. from the host country) also appears strange. Perhaps Wei is “giving face” to Chinese referees but this action puts the appointed Chinese referee in an unfortunate and awkward position (also, see point 3). No matter what, the Chinese referee will be criticized for either favouring the home team, or favouring the visiting team. It will be rare for everyone to acknowledge that the referee is officiating according to the Laws of the Game, without fear or favour to any team.
Third, Wei has specifically asked Chinese referees to: “deliberately make calls against Chinese players in matches against other countries. In international games, the Chinese referees should be more strict to China, which could improve the team's mentality in a negative situations”. This does not encourage any impartiality, neutrality or objectivity and therefore puts the Chinese referee in an awkward situation.
The elimination of corruption, untoward practices, suspect ethics—call it what you will—in China and in Chinese soccer will hardly succeed if the head of the CFA makes highly dubious comments like those reported by the Xinhua news agency and by Reuters.
Chinese officials deserve Iran snub: soccer chief
Sep 03, 2010
Iran's demand for a neutral referee for their friendly against China this week is disrespectful but officials have only themselves to blame, according to soccer chief Wei Di.
Three top referees were arrested for their involvement in a match-fixing scandal earlier this year and Wei said he thought that was behind Iran's request for a non-Chinese to officiate in Zhengzhou tonight.
"It is not too odd in principle, but objectively it shows their lack of respect for Chinese referees," Wei told a training camp for referees in Hebei. His speech was reported by Xinhua.
Wei was brought in to clean up national soccer after his predecessor Nan Yong and several other top Chinese Football Association (CFA) officials were arrested in connection with allegations of corruption.
One of the referees arrested in March was 2002 World Cup official Lu Jun, who had been known as the "golden whistle" in contrast to the corrupt "black whistles" who had been suspected of fixing matches over the past decade.
Wei conceded that many referees had fixed matches at the behest of CFA officials and so earned the nickname "official whistles" but said that must now stop if they were to gain credibility with fans and players.
"The CFA must start within itself to eliminate the `official whistle'," he said. "And the referees must resist the pressure of `official whistle'. A referee must immediately report to the CFA as soon as any CFA official makes such a request."
Wei, who has declined Iran's request, then called on referees to deliberately make calls against Chinese players in internationals.
"In international games, the Chinese referees should be more strict to China, which could improve the team's mentality in negative situations," he said.
Post Script: The match result between China and Iran was 0-2.
For the good of the game, it would have been better for all parties had the match officials come from different countries to the two teams (i.e. Iran was happy to have a South Korean referee, but China rejected that request).
Iran beats China 2-0 in friendly
Fri Sep 3, 2010 4:49PM
Iran's national soccer team has defeated China 2-0 in an international friendly match at the Tianhe Stadium in China.
Iran had the upper hand in almost every minute of the game and performed well as the players were in harmony and well-coordinated, Fars News Agency reported on Friday.
Andranik Teymourian and Mohammad Gholami scored the goals for Iran while the referee disallowed a goal by China as offside.
The appointed referee from the host country served Iranian players Hadi Aghili, Mohammad-Reza Khalatbari, Karim Ansari Fard and Masoud Shojaee with yellow cards.
Iran had demanded that the match be judged by a South Korean referee , but China rejected the plea out of what it cited as respect for Chinese referees.
Iran's national soccer team will play against South Korea in another friendly game [on Tuesday 7 September].