THE World Cup is nearly here and SunSport have been taking a look at the referees selected for the tournament.
Ma Ning is China’s only representative in Qatar, after his country failed to qualify.
You can read more about him below.
Who is Ma Ning?
Ma Ning was born in 1979 and has been a listed FIFA referee since 2011, taking charge of a range of Asian World Cup qualifiers this year.
Whether it be on the field or the playground, he is never without his whistle, working as a teacher alongside his refereeing career.
In 2015, Ma Ning was at the centre of controversy after producing three red cards in a Shanghai derby between Shanghai SIPG and Shanghai Shenhua.
Four years on, the 43-year-old was selected to become one of China’s professional referees, leading to his appointment in Qatar.
He is just the second Chinese referee to be hired for the tournament since Lu Jun in 2002.
However, Ma Ning won’t want to follow in his footsteps after Lu was jailed in 2012, admitting to match-fixing games.
Ma Ning entered the limelight again this summer, after he was deliberately knocked over by Brazilian player Henrique Dourado whilst officiating a match in the Chinese Super League.
Days later, the Chinese FA announced a 12-month suspension of the player, the most severe penalty in the history of the division.
Ma Ning will be hoping for a smoother ride at this year’s World Cup, though he will be well aware from his day job that football can bring out the ‘school child’ in anyone.
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