Controversial referee Sato won't be in Doha

KUALA LUMPUR: Of the three referees who made Malaysian football fans see red in recent years, one of them will be in Doha, Qatar, for the Asian Cup from Jan 12-Feb 10.

Japanese Ryuji Sato and Australian Christopher Beath won't be officiating in the quadrennial Asian showpiece. But Australian Shaun Evans will be among 74 match officials on duty.

Sato flashed a questionable red card to Malaysia's Azam Ami Murad in the 3-0 loss to Vietnam in a 2022 AFF Cup match in Hanoi.

Beath sent off Malaysia's Rizal Ghazali and Aidil Zafuan Radzak during an Asian Cup qualifier in Melaka in 2017 which ended in a 1-1 draw.

Evans awarded three controversial penalties against Johor Darul Ta'zim in their 4-1 loss to South Korea's Pohang Steelers in an Asian Champions League match in Bangkok in 2021.

For now, it's unclear whether Evans will be officiating Malaysia's Group E matches against Jordan (Jan 15), Bahrain (Jan 20) and South Korea (Jan 25).

Meanwhile five Malaysians will be on duty at the Asian Cup. They are Subkhiddin Salleh (technical expert), C. Ravchandran (fitness instructor), Nazmi Nasaruddin (referee), Zairul Khalil Tan (assistant referee) and Arif Shamil Rasid (assistant referee). The Doha tournament will also feature female referees for the first time.

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