So I’ve figured out that the World Cup is just as insanely important for the referees as it is for the players, so I’ve decided to do a post on just how they’re chosen.

Choosing referees takes just as long, and the process started way back in 2007.  In September 2008, 53 potential referees gathered for a week in Zürich for an “Elite Referee” seminar.  They were assessed in various areas (technical, physical, mental and energy performance as well as medical and physio preparation).

The content of the week-long course was divided between academic and practical training.  On Tuesday, the group did fitness training comprising various coordination, concentration and mobility exercises.  Wednesday began with weight checks followed by another training session on the pitch with the focus on energy performance management.  To finish off the day, the participants went into the auditorium to study videos, analysing and taking decisions on various match situations.

Thursday was devoted to fitness tests while on Friday, to round the week off, the referees were given a written test on the Laws of the Game as well as an oral English language test.

The list was narrowed down to 38 in October 2009.

In January, 2010, 30 referees from 28 countries were chosen to referee the cup.

And the training process does not stop once the list of referees and assistants is revealed.  It will become even more intensive, with those chosen heading to Zürich in late February for a medical check-up ahead of a seminar in Spain.  In May, a series of meetings with refereeing instructors from each Confederation will be held, where the final round of fitness tests will also take place.

Who would have thought so much effort went into picking the officials.  I’ve never heard of such a long and rigorous process for any football or hockey match, that’s for sure.


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