Video: referees prepare for the 2014 World Cup

Referees of three confederations (UEFA, AFC and OFC) met in Zürich for a seminar prior to the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil.

“Seminars like this are important to reset our focus”, says Felix Brych. “We are in the middle of the season at home and in the Champions League. You can’t lose the focus on the World Cup, that’s why this seminar is important.”

For the German top class referee the exchange of thoughts with peers from other countries and continents is very important. The selected World Cup referees will also watch a lot of video’s and these meetings will help them to get a standard interpretations of the Laws of the Game.

Another thing referees do is prepare physically. Watch the photo series of the training session during the World Cup referee meeting.

Referees got a medical check at the World Cup referee meeting.

Referees got a medical check at the World Cup referee meeting.

Howard Webb says that referees should be physically ready for the job they’re asked to do: refereeing at a World Cup. But it’s not just that. The meeting was also about health and well-being. The referees also got a medical check-ups last week: is the cholesterol level right? The heart? Blood pressure?

“I’m impressed by the dedication of the referees and assistant referees during this week”, says Fifa referee boss Massimo Busacca. He also told Reuters that referees should care for the players’ safety: “The safety of the players is very important so the referees have to read the situation carefully at the beginning of the game.”

“That is the role of the referee, to try to understand and anticipate”, says Busacca. “Sometimes, the players forget because of the adrenalin. The role of the referee is to say: ‘Do you want to play today or do you want to take a shower?'”

See for yourself which tests the referees had to pass and how the referees prepare for the 2014 World Cup in June and July.

PS: referees should be alert and focus on details. Do you remember which referee gave a red card in the video?

Steinhaus: ‘Getting more excited for Women’s WC’

Bibiana Steinhaus is proud to be a referee at the Women’s World Cup in her own country. “It’s getting more and more exciting, but it’s a very positive feeling”, says the referee from Germany to German television channel ZDF.

Steinhaus is officiating in the second ‘Liga’ since 2007. Very sovereign, says the commentator after 2:30 in the video below.

She has no problem dealing with the male players. When saw a player running at her after deciding for a penalty kick (see vid), she immediately replies with ‘Herr (mister) Hübbner, move immediately away’.

The player ignores her, shouts at her – and gets booked. Then she calls the both captains with her and says: “We’ve still 45 minutes to go. No revolt here, otherwise both of you are going to take a shower.”

The 32-year-old referee refuses to talk about a possible promotion the German highest men’s league.
It’s very special to be part of a World Cup tournament, especcially now it’s in my home country. That’s a priviledge. That’s the only thing I’m focussing on right now.”

Mike Hester enjoys the priviledges of a top referee

World Cup Referee Mike Hester had a good 2010 with an invitation for the World Cup in South Africa. But that’s just the start. He’s set his target on refereeing during the 2014 tournament. And now in 2011, the road to that WC in Brazil has already started.

“It’s a realistic target”, says Mike Hester to the Dutch Referee Blog.

Hester during Columbia v  Switzerland - Semi Final 1 - FIFA U17 World up. Photo courtesy Mike Hester.

Hester during Columbia v Switzerland – Semi Final 1 – FIFA U17 World up. Photo courtesy Mike Hester.

“In refereeing, you are only as good as your next game. As a referee, you can only live one day at a time so it is important to keep working towards that next performance. Of course, there are many opportunities coming up over the next four years and the World Cup in 2014 is a realistic target for my team.”

“It will however depend on many factors – performance, fitness, health, professional demands, personal demands, availability and motivation – and many of these are still unclear. So for now, we are just living one day at a time and enjoying the priviledges this brings.”

Last December, Hester’s good year got a nice end for Michael Hester with the invitation for the World Cup for club teams. He refereed the 3rd place match between Internacional (Brazil) and Seongnam (South Korea), which ended in a 4-2 win by the Brazilians.

Hester: “I am very honoured to have been selected for the FIFA Club World Cup. It is a very important tournament in the International Football Calendar and to be selected is a great priviledge. My primary target is to do the best in my match by keeping the game safe, fair and enjoyable for all those involved.”

In the beginning of this year, Hester has also a good advice for every referee: “My advice to anyone that wants to go far in refereeing – never give up a chance to practise your craft. I firmly believe that there are no short cuts to success and investing thousands of hours in your passion is an important part of the recipe.”

Mike Hester quits playing and commits to refereeing

“I did my first referees course in 1994 at the age of 22 because I was interested in this part of the game”, says Michael Hester. “I continued playing for a few years and refereed some low level matches for my club and some futsal in my spare time. At the age of 28, I decided to commit to refereeing full time and started in my local leagues in 2001.”

Hester: “The Navy have been fantastic in allowing me to balance some meaningful but flexible military roles whilst refereeing at an elite level around the world. I would not have had the success I have had without their support. It does mean for some long nights when I am overseas as I often have to continue working via a laptop and the internet but this probably no different for many top referees. It also helps keep things in perspective – Monday to Friday, I deal with real problems whereas on Saturday it is only football problems.”

“The World Cup was a tremendous experience and a great honour to become the first New Zealander to officiate at this tournament. Whilst I only controlled one match, I fully recognise that I was one of the most junior referees there and, with more experience, my time will come in future tournaments.”

Referee Mike Hester is heading forward to the World Cup 2014 in Brazil. But how did he look back at his first World Cup tournament ever?

“The selection of Peter and I for the World Cup has been a great achievement for a country where the game is mostly semi professional or amateur”, says Hester in (the last part of) his interview with the Dutch Referee Blog.

“Notwithstanding this, New Zealand Football does have a fully established talent identification and development programme in place so our selection has validated the importance and commitment of these programmes. It hopefully will also serve a a great example to those following behind us that with hard work, dedication and commitment, anything is possible.”

Hester and his assistants Jan-Hendrik Hintz (New Zealand) and Tevita Makasini (Tonga) in action during the World Cup in South Africa in the match between Greece and the Korean Republic.

How’s competition between the two NZ referees at one tournament?
“I would like to think there has been a healthy amount of respect between Peter and I throughout the programme. We were both very happy to advance to the final group of selection for the World Cup but we recognised that only one NZ referee would be selected to officiate at the tournament itself. Whilst referees are in competition for these final places, in reality, you are only in compeition with yourself. You have to referee to the best of your ability and then leave the decisions as to who gets selected up to those that decide such matters. If you are good enough, you will be selected.”

In South Africa the use of video camera’s became a hot topic. How did all the media attention influence the referees?

“The issue of technology was obviously a talking point throughout the World Cup. It was not, however, discussed in any great detail by the referees as this is a matter for the game to decide rather than referees. The game currently allows for three point control (one referee and two assistances plus a 4th official) so this method of control was our current focus. Whilst we were not oblivous to the media coverage, our job was to referee the matches as best we could with the three point control system.”

What do you think of the use of technical help in soccer games?

“The role of technology in football and the value it will add is ultimately for the game to decide, not referees. It most likely comes down to a balance between accuracy and flow. Referees would love to get all the decisions right but this would most likely come at the expense of flow so everyone in the game needs to decide on what represents the best balance between getting the big decisions right and not compromising the natural flow of the match.”

Discipline and sacrifice brought Carlos Simon 3 WC’s

Carlos Eugenio Simon in action. Photo from Simon's Twitter

Referee Carlos Eugenio Simon is preparing to hang up his whistle at the end of the season. He’s mentioned as a candidate for Minister of Sport in his counrtry Brazil and perhaps will engage in political life in the near future.

Written by Valdir Bicudo, a befriended Brazilian journalist and referee commentator at Parana Online.
Simon was the Brazilian representative in the last three World Cups. He’s, as a well-known referee, adored by many and opposed by many other fans. In an interview with Parana Online, Simon speaks about all the years in his career, the experience gained over time, analyzes the current arbitration in Brazil and abroad, and comments on the need for professionalization of refereeing and the changes that may revolutionize the role of the officials on the field and football as a whole.

Carlos Eugenio Simon graduated in journalism and wrote the book Na Diagonal do Campo (On the diagonal of the field) about the rules of the game and the routine of an referee. In addition to three World Cups, Simon also officiated four finals of the Brazilian Championship, five cup finals in Brazil and another one of the Copa Libertadores and the World Cup for Clubs, which will be held again December of this year.

You are the most important Brazilian referee these days. What is the feeling of having participated in three World Cups, a milestone in Brazilian arbitration?
Carlos Eugenio Simon: “The feeling of participating in a World Cup is wonderful – think of three. All of this is the result of much discipline, sacrifice and determination. It is worth noting the importance of family support, referees, assistants and friends.”

Why did the referees and linesmen during the recent World Cup in South Africa make mistakes to such an extent, even though the selection process was considered unprecedented by Fifa when it comes to arbitration?
“Most of the decisions were correct. There were a few mistakes, but fallibilityis part of being human. I think referees and assistants did proper training and preparation. A process which is progressing.”

Why were you and your assistants Altermir Hausmann and Roberto Braatz, although you’ve all done an excellent job, not scheduled in most games?
“We did our part, which was coming to South Africa on and work competently. We worked on two sets which had great magnitude and were praised by everyone – the committee, instructors, colleagues and the press. We are referees and are not responsible for scales.

What is the influence of the media on the work of the referee in Brazil, South America and the world?
“Some in the media world knows or has worked in the arbitration, but the majority knows very little of this activity.”

Are you in favor of the professionalization of arbitration in its entirety or only for the major competitions? In Brazil, there are conditions for the professionalisation of football referee?
“It’s the only way I see it. Football has long ago turned into a big business and the referee remains ‘amateur’. I’ve always defended and will continue to support the professionalization of refereeing.”

What o you think of the implementation of two more assistants behind the goal?
“From what I’ve read and heard so far, I am in favor. I think these introduction of these AR’s will help a lot, yes.”

How do see the use of technology in football?
“The chip in the ball would be one solution, for example in WC situations in games of England and Germany, where the ball crossed the goal line completely for 33 inches and cannot be seen with the naked eye by arbitration. I support a chip in the ball. What do not favor is to stop play and look at the replay. ”

What about the suffering of the referees and assistants when their performance is shown with 32 television camera’s?
“As I wrote earlier, the emotions and pressures are strong in football and we need support from psychologists, coaches, instructors, body language. All this to ease the tension.”

Isn’t the use of high technology versus a referee who has only two eyes unfair?
“It may be unfair, but we live in an age of technology. But the mathematics of arbitrage is also unfair. If you whistle ten games and make a mistake in one, is it that one they remember. The official takes on average about 150 decisions in a game and hits most, but there’s a debate that he is wrong. ”

You leave the FIFA because of the age limit of 45 years. Which Brazilian referee will succeed you?“The Brazilian Arbitration is competent and have referees who may well succeed me.”

What are your projects after you’ll stop?
“For now I do not think much about it. I want to finish my career in full physical, technical and psychological strength.”

This guest blog is translated from Portugese. Mistranslations are my bad, but you can find the original text on Bicudo’s blog. I’m very happy we could exchange copy for our blogs. If you have a good idea for a guest blog, you are more than welcome.

Read also other articles from Valdir Bicudo on the Dutch Referee Blog.

Duffy and Perez on the line at U20 female WC

The South African World Cup has ended more than a week ago, but there’s another World Cup going on in Germany. The female U20 talents are playing to become the world’s best. Forty officials are taking care of the matches.

Tonight Korea DPR plays against Sweden in Augsburg with three North American officials: Carol Anne Chenard (Canada) and Veronica Perez and Marlene Duffy (both assistants from the USA). “This match could be a very exciting match! We are happy to have another opportunity to work with Carol Anne and to receive another assignment in the tournament”, writes Duffy on their blog.

Duffy, Radzik (4th official from Poland), Chenard and Perez. Photo from personal blog of American assistants.

The match tonight will be the second appointment for the trio. They officiated also in the match between Germany and Colombia which ended in 3-1. “It was an exciting match, full of decisions down to the final minutes of the match. 15,000 fans attended the match, and the atmosphere was loud and absolutely great”, they wrote.

Veronica Perez
Role: Assistant Referee
Country: USA
Date of Birth: 31.10.1979
Height: 168 cm
Occupation: ?
Mother tongue: English
Other languages: Spanish
International since: 2008
Marlene Duffy
Role: Assistant Referee
Country: USA
Date of Birth: 04.08.1979
Height: 160 cm
Occupation: Geologist
Mother tongue: English
Other languages: Spanish
International since: 2008


Serbia coach Radomir Antic charged with a 4 match ban after insulting referee Jorge Larrionda

Radomir Antic had been sanctioned with a ban of 4 matches afther insulting referee Jorge Larrionda after the match Australia versus Serbia. That’s what Fifa announced on Monday.

The coach was angry at the Uruguayan referee after their team was send home in the World Cup in South Africa. But he should have blamed his team, said BBC in the match report.: “Antic’s team wanted a penalty for a handball against Cahill but they only had themselves to blame for failing to score a second when Pantelic missed.”

And there have been more decisions made by the Fifa Disciplinary Committee about incidents during the 2010 Fifa World Cup.

1 match for Anther Yahia (double yellow in match USA – Algeria)
1 match for John Heitinga (double yellow in final)
2 matches for Sani Kaita (in match Greece – Nigeria; already served 1 match)
2 matches for Yoann Gourcouff (violent conduct in France – South Africa)
3 matches for Ricardo Costa (violent conduct in match Spain versus Portugal)
3 matches for Felipe Melo (violent conduct against Arjen Robben in the quarter final Holland – Brazil)
(No more stats about other cards available yet)