AFC boss backs referees

AFC President Shaikh Salman bin Ebrahim Al Khalifa has sent a message to those complaining about Asian Cup referees by praising the officials.

Japan star Keisuke Honda and Iran manager Carlos Quiroz were among those who slammed the refereeing at the Asian Cup, but Al Khalifa responded with a press release supporting and praising the performances of the referees.

The release read: "Shaikh Salman relayed his trust in the referees' ability and his hope that they would continue their positive contributions to the tournament, something which would greatly help further enhance the reputation of referees in Asia."

This is despite Honda complaining about Abdulrahman Hussain's refereeing in Japan's Group A match against Palestine; and Queiroz's comments about Australian official Ben Williams.

Honda said: "It was like playing basketball. I don't want to complain but something has to be done about the level of refereeing here.

"There's no point saying anything during the game because it's a waste of energy but every time we touched them it was a foul, just like basketball."

Quieroz and Oman boss Paul Le Guen were also critical of the standard of refereeing.