The spotlight falls on Frankfurt from Saturday 12 to Wednesday 16 February when 46 top match officials gather just outside the city in Neu-Isenburg for the first workshop of the 2006 FIFA World Cup Germany™ Referees' Project. The German banking metropolis also hosts a workshop for the eight FIFA Confederations Cup 2005 contenders on 14 and 15 February.

The importance of the get-together for potential FIFA World Cup™ referees will be underlined by the presence of FIFA President Joseph Blatter together with OC President Franz Beckenbauer. The leading personalities will personally invite the 46 candidates to prepare for the challenge ahead. "The referees will play a key role in making the 2006 FIFA World Cup a sporting success. This course is a first step in a 16-month preparatory phase. We intend to leave nothing to chance," Blatter explained. "The course is also a contribution towards FIFA's general target of greater professionalism among referees."

The seminar falls under the auspices of the FIFA Referees' Committee headed up by FIFA vice-president Angel Maria Villar Llona and FIFA Executive Committee member Worawi Makudi of Thailand.

Technique, tactics, fitness and mental preparation
A busy schedule awaits the participants. Specific aspects of the laws of the game come under the microscope in a series of modules. The match officials will undergo a thorough medical to assess their current physical condition. The refs will be asked to demonstrate stamina and focus in a number of training sessions and fitness tests.

Two keynote addresses follow the FIFA President's welcome speech. FIFA Legal Director Heinz Tännler will outline the broad spectrum of legal and contractual conditions attached to the position of referee, before a psychologist examines methods of dealing with competitive stress and the ongoing burden of the job.

The initial results of the 2006 FIFA World Cup refereeing project will be presented at a news conference at 11am on Wednesday 16 February at the Hotel Kempinski, the location for the course.

Star line-up for FIFA Confederations Cup 2005 Workshop
The eight FIFA Confederations Cup 2005 hopefuls - hosts Germany, continental champions Mexico, Japan, Australia, Greece and Tunisia, FIFA World Cup winners Brazil and South American runners-up Argentina - will send high-ranking delegations to Frankfurt, including national coaches Roger Lemerre of Tunisia, Argentina supremo José Pekerman and Otto Rehhagel of Greece. The workshop, chaired by FIFA Executive Committee member and Organising Committee President Chuck Blazer (USA), features presentations covering accommodation, transport, security, the media, matchday schedules, refereeing and disciplinary procedures, and financial matters.