This summer, the world will watch the best soccer being played in Brazil as part of the 2014 World Cup (WC)! The referee team in charge of managing the WC games will be the best in the world thanks to a long preparation process. The referees work for years on their individual training and preparation as top level referees and then hope to get selected as candidates for a WC.
FIFA selects candidates, as early as three years before the WC, and starts training them as a team in order to get them to be at their top level of performance. The FIFA training focus has been, and will continue to be, on referee concepts that apply to all levels of the game including AYSO youth games. To get you in the spirit of WC mania here are some training highlights from the FIFA WC Referee program.
FIFA selects candidates who have top level refereeing skills and an effective ability to manage games with their personality. This video clip has the highlights for the first referee team meeting, where checking their fitness is the priority. Just like in AYSO, referees should always make sure they are physically healthy to referee games.
Next, FIFA assigns the referees from the candidate pool to the different FIFA international tournaments, including the Olympics and FIFA Youth tournaments. FIFA uses these tournaments to polish the referees’ skills and start selecting the referees who demonstrate the best overall ability to referee WC games. For the 2014 WC, FIFA started with 52 referee trios and ended up with 25 in the final pool.
After defining the final WC referee team, FIFA concentrates on providing specific training in key referee concepts such as fitness, reading the game, protecting payers, fair play, and offside decisions. This video clip provides highlights.
FIFA continues the training because the referees must keep learning but also remain focused on the WC expectations. The final referee team already has top skills, so the key concept for their training is consistency from all members in managing the game, especially in the area of foul recognition. Extensive video clip analysis is used to get the referee team on the same page when it comes to making decisions. This video clip provides the highlights for part of the process. Mark Geiger, our representative along with Eric Boria and Sean Hurd, discusses the importance of consistency.
As we get closer to the WC, FIFA makes sure that the referees will maintain the right awareness and concentration by providing ongoing training related to the key referee concepts. This video clip provides the highlights.
And to get you in the mood for Brazil 2014 World Cup, here are two great clips, and remember, refereeing is fun at all levels of the game!