The 2002 World Cup final referee Pierluigi Collina, now president of the FIFA Referees Committee, has hailed the outstanding capabilities of Qatar to host the FIFA World Cup 2018 Referees Workshop, which is currently being held in Doha. There are 48 referees: 35 referees and 13 video assistant referees (VARs). Following the workshop, the confirmed list of selected referees is set to be announced by FIFA.
The opening ceremony of the seminar was held at the InterContinental Hotel Doha and was attended by Pierluigi Collina, Chairman of the FIFA Referees Committee, Massimo Busacca, Head of the FIFA Refereeing Department, Hani Ballan, Vice-Chairman of FIFA and AFC Referees Committees and Chairman of QFA Referees Committee and Mansoor Al-Ansari, General Secretary of the Qatar Football Association (QFA). During his welcome speech, Pierluigi Collina, Chairman of FIFA Referees Committee thanked QFA: “I would like to thank the state of Qatar and QFA for their support and providing the best facilities in the world to this 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia Seminar. It’s a pleasure to welcome the best referees of the world here in Doha. We are grateful for the support received so far from the QFA.” He added: “We are using very good facilities and pitches that are 10 minutes away and are easily accessible.” He also said: “I would also like to extend a special thanks to Al Kass Sports Channel for providing us with their state of the art studios, staff and their latest technology and equipment to us for this seminar.” When commenting about the seminar, he said: “The target of this seminar is not something new for old referees here, but this is a very important week because after the seminar we will make the final decision regarding which referees will be selected for the World Cup 2018 next summer”. He urged the assembled referees to retain their ‘hunger’ to be selected for Russia. “The months between today and the day when the World Cup in Russia kicks off is everything”, he said. The referees will practice using the Video Assistant Referee (VAR) system during their stay in Doha, said Massimo Busacca, FIFA’s Head of Refereeing, ahead of its expected use in Russia. Asked how many referees will be selected for the 2018 World Cup, Busacca said FIFA is looking for quality, not quantity.
Hani Ballan, Vice-Chairman of FIFA and AFC Referees Committees said: “It brings me great pleasure to welcome you all to the opening ceremony of the seminar for 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia Referees, which witnesses the referees gathered from all over the world who will be officiating the matches of the most prominent event in the world, the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia. I would like to thank FIFA and those involved in organising this seminar here in Doha, which I am convinced will be extremely valuable for you.” He added: “We are pleased to host you here during the next few days to conduct your medical and fitness tests, as well as theoretical and practical analysis in preparation for the World Cup.” He also said: “Throughout the week, 48 referees and VARs from all confederations will benefit from both theoretical and practical sessions, while having the opportunity to discuss new trends and programs in the refereeing world. The seminar will also provide training on VAR, taking into consideration FIFA’s intention to apply the technology at the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia”.
This World Cup Referees Seminar is the second of the four workshops hosted by QFA this February. Last week, the first workshop held was the FIFA Technical Experts Workshop and next week the FIFA Women’s World Cup 2019 Workshop will be held from 12-16 February, followed by the FIFA Master Futuro Workshop, which will be held from 19-23 February.