Japanese ref to officiate FA Cup match

A Japanese referee will become the first non-British official to take charge of a match in the FA Cup, world football’s oldest knockout competition.

Masaaki Toma, who is in Britain on a referee exchange program, will 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 FA 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.