MLS veteran referee Mark Geiger will head up a Concacaf team of officials working the AFC Champions League return-leg semifinal in Suwon, Korea Republic on October 24 between South Korean club Suwon Samsung Bluewings and Japanese side Kashima Antlers, Concacaf announced today.
"Concacaf is proud to continue collaborating with the AFC in the development of football and, specifically, refereeing," Concacaf Director of Refereeing Brian Hall said. "The exchange of referee trios for each Confederation’s Champions League semifinal is a historic achievement for the sport, as it provides new challenges for referees from each Confederation. We are certain that the Concacaf team will have an exemplary performance as the AFC referee team did on our Scotiabank Concacaf Champions League.”
The reciprocal referee exchange, which earlier this year saw Ravshan Irmatov from Uzbekistan officiate a Scotiabank Concacaf Champions League semifinal, is part of the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Asian Football Confederation (AFC), established in 2017 to promote cooperation and continue the growth of the game across both regions.
The team will include American Frank Anderson and Canadian Joe Fletcher. Geiger and Anderson will also be two of four Concacaf referees participating in the FIFA Club World Cup from December 12-22 in the United Arab Emirates; the squad also includes Americans Jair Marrufo and Corey Rockwell.
Geiger, a FIFA referee since 2008, is the first US referee to officiate three matches and a knock-out stage match at a men’s FIFA World Cup in 2014.