The Zico Football Centre in Rio de Janeiro will host a very important team during the FIFA Confederations Cup this June and next year’s FIFA World Cup. The referees will use the venue as their base camp training site for the daily physical and tactical match preparations.

 The Local Organising Committee and Arthur Antunes Coimbra, known worldwide as Zico, signed a contract for the use of the Football Center of Brazil’s football icon, who starred in the FIFA World Cup in 1978, 1982 and 1986. The 52 referee candidates for the 2014 FIFA World Cup are currently attending a comprehensive preparation seminar in Rio de Janeiro (26-31 May) and held today already their first training sessions at the Zico Football Centre or as it is called in Brazil Centro de Futebol Zico.

“As for the teams the referees have to undergo a thorough qualification process. For us it is the most important to have the strongest line-up and as such we must provide the best facilities for our referees to ensure that their performance will be at their best. We are very pleased that Zico is providing us his facilities and also for his support to our team. It is a fantastic infrastructure and the referees are very pleased”, said Massimo Busacca, FIFA’s Head of Refereeing and former two-times FIFA World Cup referee.

“The engagement of such an important sport personality as Zico is of major relevance for the success of the FIFA Confederations Cup and the FIFA World Cup. Zico Football Center is a high standard football ground and its use will be of great importance for the preparation of the referees”, explained Ricardo Trade, CEO of the Local Organising Committee.

“It is an honour to have our football centre as the training site for the referees who will officiate at the FIFA Confederations Cup and the FIFA World Cup. Our club is modest but we have a very good structure and there is nothing alike in Rio de Janeiro. I have always had a good relation with the referees as a player and I know the importance of these activities so they can do their job in the best possible way”, said Zico.

To conclude the preparation seminar, former two-time FIFA World Cup referee Massimo Busacca and Arnaldo Cezar Coelho, match official at the 1982 FIFA World Cup final, will on Friday (31/5) talk about the road to the 2014 FIFA World Cup and the changes in the world of refereeing since 1982.