Selected 129 World Cup officials meet ‘quality first’, says FIFA

by Oviri Kelvin, Sports Editor, Abuja

  • Appoints six female officials first time in history

International FIFA says the selected officials to officiate the 2022 World Cup in Qatar were on the criterion of ‘quality first’ that meets the best standard practices The Trumpet gathered.

The world’s football governing body which announced on Thursday, 19 May, the list of officials comprising 36 referees, 69 assistants and 24 Video Match Officials (VMO) noted that the six football considerations were also involved in the selection process.

FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022
FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022

According to the Chairman of the FIFA Referees Committee, Pierluigi Collina, the 2018 World Cup was successful because of the high standard of officiating, promising that the 2022 Qatar World Cup will be better.

FIFA added that the officials selected for the Qatar World Cup also exhibited a high level of performance in FIFA tournaments, continental and domestic competitions.

Collina said that preparation for the 2022 Qatar World Cup could have happened earlier than envisaged but was disrupted by the Covid-19 pandemic with its activities put on hold in 2020 and the beginning of 2021.

However, the Chairman, FIFA referees Committee, stressed that there is still time to prepare effectively for the World Cup and advised the selected match officials not to rest on their laurels but to continue to do their best.

He said, “The pandemic affected our activities, in particular in 2020 and at the beginning of 2021. Luckily, the World Cup was still quite far, and we had enough time to provide the candidates with good preparation.

“We are announcing these selections well in advance as we want to work even harder with all those who have been appointed for the FIFA World Cup, monitoring them in the next months.

“The message is clear: don’t rest on your laurels, keep working hard and prepare yourselves very seriously for the World Cup,” Collina reiterated.

However, FIFA applauded its innovative programme where all the referees being subjected to FIFA Referees’ instructors will be guided and tracked to ensure they maintain the best referee standard across board.

“Thanks to an innovative tracking and support programme, all the match officials can be supervised by FIFA referees’ instructors even more closely and intensively than in previous years,” Massimo Busacca, FIFA’s Director of Refereeing said.

“This is a very important factor, from which we expect considerable improvements and progress given the FIFA World Cup 2022.

FIFA World Cup Trophy
FIFA World Cup Trophy

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“In addition to that, there will be tailor-made individual programmes, in particular concerning health and fitness. Each match official will be carefully monitored in the next months with a final assessment on technical, physical and medical aspects to be made shortly before the World Cup, to have them in the best conditions when the ball starts rolling in Qatar,” he added.

Nonetheless, FIFA assured that the selected match officials will be exposed to seminars to be held in Asunción the capital of Paraguay, Madrid in Spain and Doha in Qatar to review video clips of real-life matches, undergo practical training and get feedback from instructors.

Busacca continued: “The key focuses of the preparation remain protecting players and the image of the game, consistency, uniformity, reading the game from a technical and tactical perspective and understanding a variety of player and team mentalities,”

“We can’t eliminate all mistakes, but we will do everything we can to reduce them,” he said.

Meanwhile, FIFA for the first time in history have included six female referees among the list of officials for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.

The six officials which were evenly shared between referees and assistant referees comprise Téphanie Frappart from France, Salima Mukansanga from Rwanda and Yoshimi Yamashita from Japan, as well as assistant referees Neuza Back from Brazil, Karen Díaz Medina from Mexico, and Kathryn Nesbitt from the USA.

FIFA explained that their selection of female match officials has further asserted their stand of putting ‘quality first’ and hopes that in the nearest future the inclusion of female referees to officiate the men’s game will be considered normal instead of sensational.

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