The 44 referees in the running for an appearance at the 2006 FIFA World Cup Germany™ are set to attend a workshop in Frankfurt on 21-25 March. At this workshop the officials from the six FIFA confederations will be put through an extensive medical check-up and fitness test. In addition, the candidates will be tested on their knowledge of the rules and their interpretation and their aptitude in English. They will also be required to undergo a psychological test before being invited to a meeting with the members of the FIFA Referees Committee.

At its meeting in Zurich on 31 March the FIFA Referees Committee will decide which 30 or so referees and their assistants will ultimately be deployed at the World Cup finals.

The 44 candidates taking part in the Frankfurt workshop also attended an initial workshop at the same venue on 12-16 February 2005. Afterwards they were required to demonstrate their ability in various international competitions, including several FIFA tournaments.

"The referees will be a key factor for the success of the 2006 FIFA World Cup™, which is why we are placing very high demands on the officials who take part in the World Cup in Germany," says FIFA President Joseph S. Blatter. "The referees attending the Frankfurt workshop are currently the best in the world."

This year's FIFA World Cup finals in Germany will be the first to feature teams of match officials from the same country or at least the same confederation. The Referees Committee hopes that teams who are used to working with each other will react faster and better, which should also serve to raise the quality of refereeing at the tournament.

At its most recent meeting the International Football Association Board (IFAB), the guardians of the Laws of the Game, agreed various adjustments to the rules. The IFAB called upon the referees and their assistants to act in accordance with these instructions and take rigorous action against time-wasting, reckless play and simulation. The primary objective is to protect players and thus the game itself.

The 44 candidate referees for the 2006 FIFA World Cup Germany™ are:
AFC (6): Khalil Ibrahim Al Ghamdi (Saudi Arabia), Toru Kamikawa (Japan), Jong Chul Kwon (Korea Republic), Shamsul Maidin (Singapore), Subkhiddin Mohd Salleh (Malaysia), Masoud Moradi (Iran).

CAF (6): Esam El Deen Abd El Fatah (Egypt), Coffi B. Codjia (Benin), Mourad Daami (Tunisia), Jerome K. Damon (South Africa), Mohamed Guezzaz (Morocco), Modou Sowe (Gambia).

CONCACAF (6): Benito Armando Archundia Téllez (Mexico), Carlos Alberto Batres Gonzalez (Guatemala), Peter Prendergast (Jamaica), Marco Antonio Rodriguez Moreno (Mexico), Rodolfo A. Sibrian (El Salvador), Kevin R. Stott (USA).

CONMEBOL (7): Carlos Arecio Amarilla Demarqui (Paraguay), Carlos Luis Chandia Alarcón (Chile), Horacio Marcelo Elizondo (Argentina), Jorge Luis Larrionda (Uruguay), René Ortube Betancourt (Bolivia), Oscar Julián Ruiz Acosta (Columbia), Carlos Simon (Brazil).

OFC (2): Mark A. Shield, Matthew Breeze (both Australia).

UEFA (17): Massimo Busacca (Switzerland), Frank De Bleeckere (Belgium), Massimo De Santis (Italy), Herbert Fandel (Germany), Alain Hamer (Luxembourg), Terje Hauge (Norway), Valentin Ivanov (Russia), Claus Bo Larsen (Denmark), Luis Medina Cantalejo (Spain), Manuel Enrique Mejuto Gonzalez (Spain), Markus Merk (Germany), Lubos Michel (Slovakia), Graham Poll (England), Eric Poulat (France), Roberto Rosetti (Italy), Alain Sars (France), Kyros Vassaras (Greece).

Notes for editors:
To mark the start of the Referees Workshop a media conference to be attended by FIFA General Secretary Urs Linsi will be held at the Hotel Kempinski Gravenbruch in Frankfurt Neu-Isenburg on Tuesday, 21 March (14.30 CET).

On Friday, 24 March (15.30 CET) all 44 candidate referees will be available for interviews and photos at a media event (mixed zone).

During the workshop itself media representatives will be admitted only to the fitness tests taking place at the Sportpark Neu-Isenburg on 24 March from 10.30 to 13.00 CET.
Interested media representatives do not require accreditation