2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup: Training the third team on the pitch

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Peter Koutroumpis, Triangle Sports Network

ZURICH, SWITZERLAND – As preparations for the upcoming 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup competition that will take place in Canada in early June continues for 24 teams, including the second-ranked United States, the sport’s governing body announced on Friday how the event’s ‘third team’ on the field, the officials working the tournament, were doing.

As per FIFA’s release, labeled as the event’s 25th squad, all officials, 29 referees and 44 assistant referees hailing from 48 countries, gathered at the FIFA headquarters in Zurich for some intense preparation that took place from April 20-24.

They underwent medical exams, fitness tests and theoretical and practical sessions led by FIFA referee instructors, with the goal of having them reach peak condition by the beginning of the tournament.

“We are definitely on the right track. We really worked hard in this seminar”, FIFA Head of Refereeing Massimo Busacca said.

“Our work is based on the same philosophy as in men’s refereeing: we aim for quality, uniformity and consistency, while working on positioning and a focus on reading the game. We are convinced that with this kind of preparation – through which we also give important attention to the physical and psychological aspects of refereeing – we will try to reduce mistakes and have good performances during the FIFA Women’s World Cup.”

In addition to advanced and detailed rules and mechanics training and preparation, the FIFA competition in Canada will mark the first time that Goal-Line Technology (GLT) will be featured and utilized at a major women’s soccer event.

To ensure match officials were comfortable with using this new technology as an officiating support tool, FIFA organized training sessions specifically on GLT and tests that referees would need to conduct prior to each match of the competition.

If the results of that test are not to the referee’s satisfaction, she may opt not to use the technology – in general, a decision that must be made no later than 75 minutes before kick-off.

FIFA is set to organize another GLT training session for the referees in Canada before the tournament.

“I’m very happy with the whole seminar and I’m convinced that Goal-Line Technology will be a big help for match officials in the FIFA Women’s World Cup”, Busacca said.

Busacca and his team of FIFA referee instructors will continue to monitor the 73 selected officials until they meet again in Canada.

FIFA Women’s World Cup Officials Training – FIFA.com (YouTube)