Friday 05 April 2019, 12:59

Referee preparations for France 2019 continue in Doha

  • Another preparatory seminar for match officials completed successfully

  • Further step taken to prepare for use of VAR

  • Final adjustments to be made in France before the big event

Last week, a preparatory FIFA Women’s World Cup France 2019™ refereeing seminar was hosted in Doha for the second time this year. Ninety elite FIFA match officials, representing all six confederations, took another important step in the preparations leading up to the big event in France.

The Qatar Amateur League organised a special tournament in conjunction with the seminar that provided match officials with another crucially important opportunity to officiate in live competitive matches with Video Assistant Referee (VAR) support. This tournament and seminar was another essential step on the road to France.

“We have only two more months to get ready for the FIFA Women’s World Cup France 2019,” said Kari Seitz, FIFA Senior Refereeing Manager and head of the refereeing project for the Women’s World Cup. “Live matches, like the ones in this new Qatar Amateur Cup, give match officials greatly needed experience of refereeing with the help of VAR. We are very grateful to the Qatar Football Association for their valued support.”

The practical training with players, theoretical sessions and fitness activities during the seminar were specifically designed to prepare match officials for the ever-increasing demands of the modern game.

Referees seminar in Doha

“We’ve had a successful preparation week here in Doha,” said Carole Ann Chenard, an elite referee from Canada who also officiated at the 2011 and 2015 Women’s World Cups. “Everything was perfect; the conditions were great; the venues were amazing; we could not have asked for a better preparation. The whole team, including the VARs and all of the staff, did a great job. We are completely focused on the final steps leading up to our performance in France.”

The state-of-the-art Aspire Academy dome that hosted practical training in the morning and the Qatar Amateur Cup matches in the evening provided the ideal conditions for this successful event, as did the perfect weather and beautifully manicured outdoor pitch for assistant referee and fitness training.

“We prepare for the World Cup almost exactly like a national football team,” emphasised Seitz. “Just like players, our match officials focus on our tactical approach, uniformity, consistency, fair play and safety.”

Full support

Pierluigi Collina, the chairman of the FIFA Referees Committee, and Massimo Busacca, the FIFA Director of Refereeing, both attended the seminar. They were delighted with the hard work and dedication of the match officials, and confirmed that they would continue to provide their full support. They stated that the priorities of match officials at the FIFA Women’s World Cup France 2019™ would be the same as at every other tournament: helping to ensure the safety of each player, upholding The IFAB Laws of the Game and protecting the integrity of each match.

Seitz added: “We are definitely on the right track to meet or even exceed the demands of the game in France. The teamwork between match officials on the pitch and VARs in the video operations room has improved to an excellent level within a short time. As of today, I would say that we have reached the 90 per cent mark of the preparation phase. The remaining ten per cent will be achieved in Paris during our customary pre-competition seminar. We are happy with our progress and confident that the extensive preparations will lead to a reduction of mistakes in France as compared to previous World Cups.”

From the much-anticipated whistle signalling the kick-off of the opening match between France and Korea Republic at the iconic Parc des Princes in Paris to the final whistle of the last game, referees, assistant referees and VARs are sure to demonstrate that the FIFA Referees Committee has placed its trust in the right team.