In a few days, a referee seminar will be held in Dubai and will decide the final list of referees and their role at the 2018 FIFA World Cup. Massimo Busacca, Head of the FIFA Refereeing Department, said: "We have not yet defined how many trios will be selected, but their numbers will not be very different from the last World Cup in Brazil, where 25 trios had been selected". Published five months before the 2014 World Cup, the final list of referees for the 2018 edition has been postponed pending the decision of the International Football Association Board (IFAB) in relation to the introduction of the video assistance (VAR). It's done since last Saturday. "The requirements for the referees have changed and we need to make sure that the referees are able to take part in the most watched sports event on the planet", added Massimo Busacca. The last seminar will take place in Florence in April. The referees will arrive in Russia on 3 June 2018.
Asked about the presence of a Russian referee at the World Cup, Massimo Busacca explained that Sergey Kasarev "has the same chances as the other preselected; we choose the referees only based on their performance and not on political criteria". In recent days, the Russian Football Federation is putting pressure on FIFA with strong arguments. In 1998, Marc Batta represented the host country at the World Cup in France. He was not supposed to take part in the World Cup following a qualifying match between Germany and Portugal when he sent off Rui Costa. Joseph Blatter, then FIFA President, did not want Batta at the World Cup. But, thanks to lobbying by Michel Vautrot and Joël Quiniou, the leaders of the French refereeing at the time, Batta went to the World Cup, much to the dismay of Gilles Veissière. Second argument, Clément Turpin's presence at Euro 2016 was due to the fact that the competition was taking place in France, the French referee having been promoted to the Elite category at UEFA only five months before the publication of the list of referees for the European Championship. The last Russian referee selected for the World Cup was Valentin Ivanov in 2006, in Germany.