Essam Abd El Fatah (Arabic: عصام عبد الفتاح) (born December 30, 1965) is an Egyptianfootball (soccer)referee. Abd El Fatah has been a referee since 2001; his first international game was between Morocco and Sierra Leone in 2003. He was the referee for the match between Australia and Japan in the 2006 FIFA World Cup. A controversial decision resulted in Japan's only goal, a decision which Australian media claimed that he later admitted was in error. Abdul-Fatah denied issuing an apology however, and said that "FIFA’s refereeing committee... agreed unanimously that Japan’s goal against Australia was correct," and would have awarded a penalty against Australia had the ball not gone in, as Takahara was pushed by Craig Moore into Schwarzer. FIFA communications director Markus Siegler told the press later that a penalty should have been awarded to Japan for a foul on Japanese midfielder Yūichi Komano by Tim Cahill. Siegler said "it was a clear mistake of the referee." Had a yellow card been shown to Cahill, who scored the deciding goal for Australia minutes later, he would have been sent off, with the score at 1-1. The Japanese coach Zico expressed frustration at FIFA's comments, saying that El Fahad had apologised for the mistake to the Australians but had not apologised for the error which FIFA admitted to.Japan Football Association filed an official complaint against the Egyptian referee, who was sent home along with English referee Graham Poll.
Abd El Fatah is a pilot in the Egyptian Army Air Force and he is currently a Lieutenant Major.