The life of Mexican referee Juan Genaro Medrano has not been easy in the past year. His last match in the First Division was Atlas – Tijuana in the Apertura 2011. As required by the Mexican Referees Committee, he and his family moved ten months ago from Ciudad Juarez to Irapuato, which houses one of the five "Super Delegations" in which are concentrated the elite referees. His problems began after not passing the fitness test, which prevented him from refereeing matches at the highest level. While studying for his bar examination, Medrano had to referee in amateur leagues to financially support his family. In January, his condition weakened. His weight dropped from 76 kg to 62 kg and his body fat from 21% to 11%. He appeared very tired. Sources close to the referee say the doctor initially detected an anemia, but after the subsequent bone marrow biopsy he was diagnosed with a second grade leukemia. Sources close to the referee immediately pointed to the poor nutrition and supplements that he used to lose weight and prepare for the fitness tests as the cause for the disease. In spite of failing the fitness tests in November and January, the Referees Committee never asked Medrano to undergo a medical examination, but instead requested that the subject does not come to light.
When the situation finally emerged, the president of the Mexican Referees Committee, Aaron Padilla, confirmed the disease and said that "the situation is not as dramatic as people said on television and it has nothing to do with the fitness tests. We have 750 referees and all have been fine, have worked with great dedication and it never happened before". The reality is that the Mexican Referees Committee made their fitness tests stricter. They held their most recent fitness at noon, under high humidity and temperature. The reduction from 35 to 30 seconds for rest during the interval fitness test has caused problems for more than one referee and, as it leaked last week, the top referee Marco Rodriguez had to be restrained so as not to faint after the last sprint. A couple of months ago, another FIFA referee, Paul Delgadillo, was forced to travel from Guadalajara to Mexico City, although he suffered from sinusitis for which even had to stay in the hospital. Before that, referee Jaime Herrera was forced to withdraw from the tests with tachycardia and had to go to hospital. Former FIFA World Cup Referee Felipe Ramos Rizo summed up the situation: "Medrano did everything he was asked by the Referees Committee and is now abandoned. He changed residence, moved his family along, tried to be at the fitness levels required and now he is sick and not even able to support his family. This is very sad".
Before the start of the season, the Mexican Referees Committee created five "Super Delegations" and forced referees to change their residence. Without receiving a fixed salary, they must stay in one of these cities (Mexico City, Guadalajara, Monterrey, Aguascalientes and Irapuato), which allows them to be eligible for appointments whenever needed, the only guarantee of getting paid. Also, they have to pass fitness tests more stringent than the FIFA tests. The latter calls for referees to complete 10 laps of a 400-meter track at various intervals, with 35 seconds recovery walk after every 150 m sprints. In Mexico, referees must complete 12 laps and the walking time for recovery is reduced from 35 to 30 seconds.
Source: Medio Tiempo