Esfandiar Baharmast is a retired Iranian-American football (soccer) referee best known for supervising two matches during the 1998 FIFA World Cup held in France.
At that tournament, he was briefly vilified for giving a controversial late penalty to Norway in the dying minutes of their first-round game with Brazil, only to be vindicated the following day when previously unseen TV footage from a new camera angle showed that he had made the correct decision, and that Norway’s striker Tore Andre Flo had indeed had his jersey pulled by Brazil’s defender Júnior Baiano.
He continued his involvement in refereeing by becoming the Director of Officials for US Soccer in August 1998. He has been a member of CONCACAF Referees’ Committee since 2003 and a FIFA Instructor.
As a FIFA instructor, he has been involved in numerous tournaments, such as FIFA U-17 World Cup in Finland (2003), FIFA U-20 World Cups in Netherlands (2005) and Canada (2007), FIFA World Cup in Germany (2006) and Beijing Olympic Games in China (2008).
He is currently working for FIFA as a technical instructor in the Referee Assistance Program (FIFA RAP) and deals with the instruction and preparation of the referees for the 2010 World Cup in South Africa.