Yuichi Nishimura

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Yuichi Nishimura
Yuichi Nishimura.jpg
Nishimura refereeing at Australia versus Oman in 2010
Full name Yuichi Nishimura
Born (1972-04-17) 17 April 1972 (age 44)
Tokyo, Japan
Years League Role
1999– J. League Division 1 Referee
Years League Role
2004–2014 FIFA listed Referee

Yuichi Nishimura (西村 雄一 Nishimura Yūichi?, born 17 April 1972) is a Japanese football referee. He has refereed in the Japanese J. League Division 1 since 1999 and has been a full international referee for FIFA since 2004. He recently became noticed for his work as referee of the opening game in the 2014 FIFA World Cup between hosts Brazil and Croatia and also 2014 AFC Champions League second-leg final.

2008 African Cup of Nations[edit]

Nishimura was the only Asian referee and one of Asian officials selected to officiate at the 2008 African Cup of Nations in Ghana along with assistant referees Toru Sagara from Japan and Jeong Hae-Sang from South Korea. He was not appointed to any more matches in the tournament by CAF after the quarter-final between Egypt and Angola after he failed to dismiss players from the latter team for pushing him. The entire Angolan team was banned for 5 years from certain jurisdictions for their part in the incident.[1]

2010 FIFA World Cup[edit]

Nishimura was preselected as a referee for the 2010 FIFA World Cup.[2] On 11 June 2010 he was the referee for the Uruguay against France game at the 2010 FIFA World Cup, along with fourth official Joel Aguilar and assistant referees Jeong Hae-Sang, and Toru Sagara.[3] Nishimura produced the first red card of the tournament, when he sent Uruguay midfielder Nicolás Lodeiro off the field for two yellow cards.

On 2 July 2010, during the first quarter-final game between Brazil and the Netherlands at Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium in Port Elizabeth, Nishimura sent off Felipe Melo of Brazil in the 73rd minute of the game. On 11 July 2010, Nishimura was the 4th official for the final match of the World Cup, Netherlands vs. Spain. He refereed the final of the 2010 FIFA Club World Cup between Inter Milan and TP Mazembe.[4]

On 13 November 2010, Nishimura was the referee for the final match of the 2010 AFC Champions League Final, Seongnam Ilhwa Chunma vs. Zob Ahan, at the National Stadium in Tokyo.[citation needed]

2011 AFC Asian Cup[edit]

Nishimura officiated at the 2011 AFC Asian Cup.[citation needed]

2012 Olympic Games[edit]

At the 2012 Men's Olympic Football Tournament, Nishimura officiated the group stage matches between Brazil and Belarus[5] and host Great Britain and Uruguay.[6]

2014 FIFA World Cup[edit]

Nishimura (right) at the opening match

Nishimura was appointed for the 2014 FIFA World Cup. Nishimura was chosen by FIFA to referee the opening game between Brazil–Croatia. With this, he became only the third Japanese referee to officiate at two FIFA World Cup finals, after Shizuo Takada and Toru Kamikawa.[7] In the match, Nishimura became the first referee to use vanishing spray at a World Cup finals, as well as to have access to goal-line technology.[8]

The game ended with a 3–1 victory for hosts Brazil, with many commentators perceiving multiple controversial calls in favour of Brazil. These included a penalty kick awarded to Brazil in the 71st minute, converted for 2–1,[9] a Croatia equaliser disallowed for goalkeeper interference in the 83rd minute for 2–2,[10] and a yellow card on forward Neymar in the 26th minute considered lenient by various critics.[11][12][13][14][15] Nishimura's performance received negative reviews,[16][17][18][19][20] while Massimo Busacca, FIFA referees chief, defended the officials, insisting that there had been some contact between Lovren and Fred, even if it was minimal: "The left hand touched and then also the right. If you play with the hands out, the referee sees that clearly and decides one way.[...] we can discuss; was it enough (contact)?"[21] However, he admitted that there were doubts as to whether Nishimura would be appointed to other games in the tournament.[22] Croatia defender Vedran Ćorluka was critical of Nishimura's verbal skills, saying that he had never seen a referee who doesn't speak English—a requirement of World Cup referees—and that Nishimura "was speaking something in Japanese but no one could understand him."[21] FIFA's marketing director Thierry Weil rejected suggestions that Brazil was favored by Nishimura.[21]

Nishimura was appointed to two other games in the tournament as the fourth official: the Group E match between Honduras and Ecuador (2–1 win for Ecuador), and the third place play-off match between Brazil and the Netherlands (3–0 win for the Netherlands).[23][24][25]

2014 Asian Champions League[edit]

Nishimura was appointed to the second leg of the 2014 AFC Champions League Final in which Al-Hilal FC faced Western Sydney Wanderers FC. The match ended in a dramatic 0-0 upset which saw the Western Sydney Wanderers crowned AFC champions courtesy of their 1-0 victory in the first leg.[26] During the match, Al-Hilal were denied three penalty claims, with two of the denials appearing to be mistakes made by Nishimura.[27] He also failed to cite Nasser Al-Shamrani for clearly headbutting Matthew Spiranovic.[28] After the match, the Al-Hilal board of directors called the appointment of Nishimura for the match "surprising" and said that what happened during the final was "a black spot in the history of Asian football". The AFC and FIFA both submitted negative reviews of Nishimura. On the Japanese Sports television station, an interview with Nishimura showed him stating that he made a mistake and three penalties should have been called for Al-Hilal.[citation needed]


Nishimura was chosen as the J. League Referee of the Year in 2009 and 2010.[29]

In 2012, Nishimura was named Best Men's Referee of the Year by the Asian Football Confederation.[30]


  1. ^ "2014 World Cup: Japanese soccer fans express regret over referee Yuichi Nishimura's penalty call for Brazil - NY Daily News". Daily News. Retrieved 13 June 2014. 
  2. ^ List of prospective 2010 FIFA World Cup referees
  3. ^ "Uruguay v France | Result | World Cup 2010 - Yahoo! Sports". Yahoo! Sports. Archived from the original on 14 May 2013. Retrieved 18 June 2014. 
  4. ^ "TP Mazembe Englebert - F.C. Internazionale Milano". FIFA. 18 December 2010. Retrieved 29 December 2010. 
  5. ^ "Men's Olympic Football Tournament: Brazil 3:1 (1:1) Belarus - Summary - FIFA.com". FIFA.com. 29 July 2012. Retrieved 18 June 2014. 
  6. ^ "Men's Olympic Football Tournament: Great Britain 1:0 (1:0) Uruguay". FIFA.com. 1 August 2012. Retrieved 18 June 2014. 
  7. ^ "Nishimura to referee the opening match of Brazil 2014". FIFA. 10 June 2014. Archived from the original on 11 June 2014. Retrieved 13 June 2014. 
  8. ^ Ben Smith (12 June 2014). "Brazil 3 Croatia 1". BBC Sport. Archived from the original on 8 July 2014. Retrieved 13 June 2014. 
  9. ^ Adam Sshergold (12 June 2014). "Niko Kovac rages at referee Yuichi Nishimura after Croatia lose to Brazil in World Cup opener in Sao Paulo". Daily Mail. Retrieved 13 June 2014. 
  10. ^ Hamouda, Omar (13 June 2014). "Brazil 3-1 Croatia: Neymar and Oscar complete Brazil turnaround in Group A opener". Squawka News. Retrieved 16 June 2014. 
  11. ^ "Japan FA defends ref Nishimura". Independent Online. South African Press Association. 16 June 2014. Retrieved 17 June 2014. 
  12. ^ Perera, Ayeshea (13 June 2014). "Brazil Live: In Japan football fans 'ashamed' of referee Nishimura". Firstpost. Retrieved 17 June 2014. 
  13. ^ "7 truths: One big waste of money, Neymar and a familiar debate". Eurosport. 13 June 2014. Retrieved 17 June 2014. 
  14. ^ Ram Ranjitkar, Sri (14 June 2014). "Neymar should have seen red". República. Retrieved 17 June 2014. 
  15. ^ "Japanese fans express regret over Nishimura's call". The Tampa Tribune. Associated Press. 13 June 2014. Retrieved 1 July 2014. 
  16. ^ Graeme Yorke (12 June 2014). "Neymar escapes red card in World Cup 2014 opener as referee Yuichi Nishimura hands Brazil soft penalty after Fred appeared to dive". Daily Mail. Retrieved 13 June 2014. 
  17. ^ Robin Andraca (13 June 2014). "Stéphane Lannoy: "C'est Fred qui a abusé l'arbitre" (in French). Le Monde. Retrieved 13 June 2014. 
  18. ^ "Favor a Brasil para empezar" (in Spanish). Marca. 13 June 2014. Retrieved 13 June 2014. 
  19. ^ "Mondiale, Brasile-Croazia, Kovac infuriato: "Rigore Fred? Una vergogna" (in Italian). La Gazzetta dello Sport. 13 June 2014. Retrieved 13 June 2014. 
  20. ^ "Brazil beats Croatia 3-1 as World Cup kicks off amid protests". Japan Today. 13 June 2014. Retrieved 13 June 2014. 
  21. ^ a b c Ziegler, Martyn (13 June 2014). "FIFA chief backs referee Yuichi Nishimura, as Massimo Busacca calls it 'a fantasy' to think official favoured hosts Brazil". Mail Online. Associated Newspapers Limited. Retrieved 17 June 2014. 
  22. ^ De Menezes, Jack (13 June 2014). "Brazil 3 Croatia 1: Fifa defend under-fire referee Yuichi Nishimura as Japanese official caught up in diving row during opening World Cup match". The Independent. Archived from the original on 13 June 2014. Retrieved 16 June 2014. 
  23. ^ "Nishimura named third-place match fourth official". Asian Football Confederation. 12 July 2014. Retrieved 12 July 2014. 
  24. ^ "Nishimura named 4th official for Honduras-Ecuador". USA Today. Associated Press. 18 June 2014. Retrieved 12 July 2014. 
  25. ^ Oryada, Andrew (11 July 2014). "Algerian referee to handle Brazil-Netherlands tie". USA Today. Retrieved 12 July 2014. 
  26. ^ Cohen, Kate. "Western Sydney Wanderers win Asian Champions League title". The Guardian. Retrieved 4 November 2014. 
  27. ^ "Furious Al-Hilal demands AFC investigation after Wanderers' win". Sydney Morning Herald. Australian Associated Press. Retrieved 4 November 2014. 
  28. ^ Bossi, Dominic (2 November 2014). "Saudi striker's spiteful display mars Western Sydney Wanderers' celebration of ACL win". Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 4 November 2014. 
  29. ^ "2010 J.LEAGUE AWARDS(6 Dec. 2010)". 6 December 2010. Retrieved 7 December 2010. 
  30. ^ "AFC Referee of the Year (Men): Yuichi Nishimura". Asian Football Confederation. 29 November 2012. Retrieved 16 January 2016. 

External links[edit]

Preceded by
Mexico Benito Archundia
FIFA Club World Cup
final match referee

Succeeded by
Uzbekistan Ravshan Irmatov
Preceded by
Bahrain Nawaf Shukralla
AFC Champions League
final match referee

Succeeded by
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