Who Will Replace Collina?
FIFA has invited the world’s top forty-four referees to attend a five-day clinic next week in Frankfurt. Among them are two Australians, six Asians, six Africans, seven South Americans, seventeen Europeans, and six from CONCACAF (essentially the western hemisphere north of Colombia). Ten-year FIFA referee Kevin Stott will make his first trip to the quadrennial classic, supplanting thirteen-year FIFA vet Brian Hall as America’s top soccer official.
It should be noted that the FIFA Referees Committee will be making some cuts when they convene on March 31st as only thirty of the original fourty-four will actually see any action in Germany. And perhaps even more important than the fact that the IFAB (International Football Association Board) – the guardians of the rules – have made slight changes that allow referees to crack down on time-wasting, reckless play and simulation, FIFA has done something that it has never done before.
For the first time ever, the team of officials for each match will be from the same country (or at least the same confederation). This, I believe, will be extremely beneficial in ensuring that all four officials are at least somewhat familiar with one another.
Ultimately, I expect games will have the highest level of officiating possible, but there will undoubtedly be many debatable decisions that for which the losers and their supporters will still call for the head of the man in the middle. But that’s inevitable I suppose despite how much I wish people would cut the referee a little slack.
So as the tournament draws near and progresses throughout June, we’ll all be watching and wondering who Brazil will be facing in the finals. But I’ll also be paying close attention to the match officials. Who among them will shine above all others? And can any of them rise to such esteemed immortality as the freakish-looking Pierluigi Collina? I kinda doubt it.
But while most of us have very little knowledge about most of the world’s top forty-four referees, one thing’s for certain – each and every one of them is passionately committed to the game and possesses the utmost competence in their craft. For if that weren’t the case, they wouldn’t be heading to Germany.
Oh, and who do I think will be in the final?…well, unless the home side makes it to Berlin, my money’s on the German doctor Markus Merk to represent his country on July 9th.
That’s today’s view from the middle.
Until next time…
I don’t know Kevin Stott but I am glad that Brian Hall isn’t in the picture this time. Having all the officials from the same country and confederation does seem like a good idea. Hopefully we’ll see a well officiated tournament.
Posted from United States
“…and six from CONMEBOL (essentially the western hemisphere north of Colombia).”
I think you mean CONCACAF… Strangely enough, CONCACAF incorporates the countries of Guyana, French Guiana, and Suriname, even though they are in South America…
Nice work on the Ref Blog, btw.
Posted from United States
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