Lahore, 19 February : Newly-listed FIFA Referee Khurram Shahzad will supervise the Lahore soccer match of four-match series between Pakistan and Palestine at Lahore’s Punjab Stadium on 1 March 2011.
Kohat, a city of the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, 354 KM from Lahore, produced 30-years-old Khurram Shahzad who get the honor of becoming FIFA Referee on 1 January 2011 as world soccer ruling body have awarded a total of seven Referee and Assistant Referee badges for 2011 to Pakistani referees.
His assistants will be Muhammad Ali Jr, Shafaat Habib and 4th Official Waheed Murad. It will be first time in six years that a FIFA referee from Pakistan will supervise international friendly on home soil. The last one was Lahore-born Asif bin Younus who supervised third match of Pakistan-India Series at same venue on 18 June 2005. Asif was then 26 and remained in FIFA referee list from 2005-10.
Born at Kohat’s Village Billitan, Khurram, was one of main referees in Pakistan Premier League and PFF Leagues besides age limit competitions of PFF, is the new entrant in the international refereeing list after occupying National Referees badge from 2006-10. Although Billitang’s Shaheen FC former player is recognized for his own talent as a smart referee, it is perhaps his brilliant refereing in Second Super Football League (SFL) what makes him most notable in the history of football in Pakistan. He supervised the tense Karachi Energy- Quetta Zorawar final at the Peoples Sports Complex on 31 July 2010, and was later on voted “ Best SFL Referee.” He was also Best Referee in National U14 Championship at Lahore 2007 and in Inter Club Women Championship a year ater at Islamabad.
“Referees in receipt of a FIFA badge are entitled to officiate at FIFA and AFC fixtures, both at club and international level. I hope that they will keep their fitness level and refereeing for the rest of the year.” said Pakistan Football Federation (PFF)’s President Makhdoom Syed Faisal Saleh Hayat.
“The work of these officials would be constantly monitored and the matches awarded to Khurram and Naseer are part of the monitoring and it is mandatory that each of them shows consistent high-level performance,” said Faisal.
“The quality of the game also plays a major role in the development of refereeing. No referee in the world can claim to be the best in the world. One can only become a good referee when one makes the least number of mistakes,” he added.
Son of Muhammad Hayat, born on 28 August 1980, Khurram joined Rana Naseer Ahmed (Faisalabad) as one of the two referees from Pakistan for FIFA List 2011. Five Assistant Referees Waheed Murad, Shafaat Habib, Shahid Hussain, Muhammad Ali Jr., Rana Jehanzeb Tipu complete the numbers. Naseer will act as main referee of 4th March Match at Karachi with Shahid Hussain, Shafaat being ARs and 4th official Rana Rehanzeb.
Also member of the AFC Executive Committee and Chairman Disciplinary Committee, Faisal added : “The nominations for these badges are for one year only and nominations for the following year will depend on performances along with the successful completion of physical tests and fulfilling their duties in a professional manner throughout the season.”