Sunday, Nov. 13, 2011
London — A Japanese referee will become the first non-British official to take charge of a match in the F.A. Cup, world soccer's oldest knockout competition.
Masaaki Toma, who is in Britain on a referee exchange program, was set to officiate Saturday's first-round match between third-tier team Brentford and non-league side Basingstoke.
David Elleray, chairman of the Football Association's referees committee, says Toma is a "world-class referee and his appointment shows that the F.A. Cup really does hold global appeal."
Toma has already taken charge of a Premier League reserve-team fixture and a non-league match during his time in England.