Press release

Two referees retire upon conclusion of FIVB Club World Championships


Al-Khelaifi (second from left) and Omelio Castillo (second from right) with Sesi Sao Paulo captain Murilo Endres (left) and Zenit Kazan captain Alexander Volkov

Doha, Qatar, October 14, 2011 – Two referees from different areas of the world retired upon the conclusion of the current FIVB Volleyball Club World Championship on Friday in Doha, Qatar. Both referees have reached the mandatory retirement age of 55.

Mr. Abdullah Al-Khelaifi of Saudi Arabia and Mr. Omelio Jesus Castillo Perez blew their international referee whistles for the final time during the FIVB Club World Championship competition in Doha. Al-Khelaifi and Castillo Perez refereed together in the men’s bronze-medal match on Friday.

However, they have all given many years of service to the International Volleyball Federation (FIVB).

Al-Khelaifi, distinguished as an FIVB referee since 1998, was first nominated for international referee in 1984 and has 27 years of experience blowing his whistle for FIVB contests. His 389th and final international match was with Castillo in the men’s bronze medal match. Al-Khelaifi was a referee at the Olympic Games in 1996 and 2004. Among his other notable events were the FIVB World Championships in Argentina (2002), Japan (2006) and Italy (2010). Al-Khelaifi served as a referee in the FIVB World League since 1996.

Al-Khelaifi, chairman of the referee committee in Saudi Arabia and the general secretary of the Arab Referee Committee, is no stranger to the FIVB World Club Championships as he has whistled in three years in the seven tournament editions.

Among his 389 international matches, Al-Khelaifi points out his top memories being the two Olympic Games.

Castillo, who holds FIVB international referee status, earned his international referee nomination in 1993. He has been part of seven FIVB World League competitions from 2003 to 2010, as well as officiating in the FIVB Women’s World Championship. Castillo is well-known in NORCECA circles by officiating many of the top zonal tournaments. In his home country, Castillo was selected as the best referee at the National Games of Cuba in 2008 and the best referee of the Cuba National Federation in 2009. He serves on the Cuban National Referee Commission.

Meanwhile, Mr. Osamu Sakaide of Japan, who refereed the semifinal match between Trentino Diatec versus Zenit Kazan on Thursday, will retire after officiating in the World Cup.

Sakaide, who participated in a candidate course in 1994, was nominated for international status in 1997 and currently holds the status of FIVB referee. He has been nominated to several FIVB World League Final Rounds from 2004 to 2010 as a trusted referee. Last year Sakaide also officiated in the FIVB Men’s World Championship held in Italy.

After World Cup life will change for Sakaide. Along with refereeing international matches, he will discontinue his referee status in his home country.

“I am a physical education teacher, and I now must concentrate on my job,” said Sakaide on his future plans.


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