The referees preparing for the upcoming FIFA Women’s World Cup France 2019 share a single aim: to deliver the best officiating performance ever seen at a Women’s World Cup. To help reach this target, 33 referees from all six confederations travelled to Doha to attend a seminar. The programme awaiting the potential Women’s World Cup participants included numerous theory lessons in the classroom, as well as practical exercises in which the officials were confronted with match situations recreated by local players. The referees received direct feedback on their positioning and decision-making from instructors while still out on the pitch. The theory sessions focused on topics such as reading the game, positioning, fitness and health. The candidates also watched video recordings of past matches before discussing technical and tactical aspects of the clips.
"I’m sure that you will continue your commitment and hard work, and will continue to pursue your dream of reaching the pinnacle of our sport", said Hany Ballan, Deputy Chairman of the FIFA Referees Committee, to the referees in his closing address at the seminar. "Everest is the highest mountain in Asia. It is 8,848 metres high. Only a few people have reached its peak. Do you know how long they had to prepare to reach the summit of Everest? More than three years. They took things step by step, stop by stop, level by level, until they reached the top. It took plenty of hard work and preparation, but when they achieved their goal, the joy they felt was incredible. I’m confident that you all deserve to stand on this particular summit. You deserve to succeed and experience the delight of seeing the fruits of the hard work you have put in all year. I’m sure that your practical, theoretical and fitness preparations will continue." Massimo Busacca, Head of the FIFA Refereeing Department, was also on hand in Doha to add his own encouragement. "Congratulations on successfully completing this seminar," he said. "We deal in facts, and you have proven just how hard you have worked. It is a moment to celebrate and be happy. My advice is that you enjoy yourselves tonight and get back to the hard work tomorrow". FIFA Referees Committee Chairman Pierluigi Collina also emphasised the importance of continued commitment. "How do you stay at the top? Hard work – nothing more, nothing less. France 2019 is the goal you are aiming for. It is the World Cup, the most important competition there is", said the Italian, who was named the world’s best referee for six successive years between 1998 and 2003. "Kari (Seitz, FIFA’s Senior Manager of Refereeing, - editor’s note) said how important it is to be a role model, and that is absolutely vital for us", Collina continued. "We need you to teach a new generation of referees, as this is essential for the future of our sport – and who is better equipped to help this new generation than you? You are the world’s best athletes. We trust you, your expertise and your knowledge. It is a great responsibility. Think about this on your journey home. It would be wonderful if each of you could help to develop a new referee, as this would mean our future is in good hands".