Chief referee Choe Kwang Hyon (third from right) poses before a regional preliminary match at the 2019 AFC U-19 men’s championship.
“Choe Kwang Hyon is a referee who works hard to raise his qualifications,” said O Il Son, staff member of the DPRK Football Association.
Choe is a referee of the DPRK Football Association working at the Naegohyang women’s football club. Having served as an AFC elite referee since last year, he is recognized as a fair, enthusiastic and young promising referee by the personnel of the AFC and football fans for his high physical fitness, keen judgment and quick decision-making.
He demonstrated his ability in different international matches including the preliminaries and qualifiers for the 2019 AFC Cup and the game between Mongolian and Tajik teams belonging to Group F in the second-round Asian regional preliminaries of the 2020 FIFA World Cup.
It is not known whether he was influenced by his footballer father, but he had loved soccer since childhood. He learned the sport at Kaeson Juvenile Sports School and started his career at the then Pyongyang sports club at the age of 17.
He became a referee in 2014 at the recommendation of the DPRK Football Association.
Refereeing was not an easy job from the beginning. Though he had thought he was well versed in football rules, he faced lots of unexpected problems to solve in the pitch. And then one day, he learned a bitter lesson that made him keenly aware of the importance of refereeing.
In a game at the national premier league in 2015 he misjudged a situation and failed to give a penalty kick, which completely changed the overall game situation, bringing about a result different from forecasts.
This prompted him to try hard by taking it as his three-point principle as a referee to be conversant with the rules, to attain physical fitness as high as players’ and to be proficient in foreign languages. As a result, he qualified as an international referee in 2016 and an AFC elite referee in 2018.
“Every referee has their eye on such large-scale international games as World Cup and Olympics. The most important principle the referees should uphold is impartiality which constitutes a main ideal of football. Regarding it as my iron rule, I’ll apply myself to improving my ability as referee,” said Choe Kwang Hyon.