The FIFA Referees Committee has confirmed the appointment of 88 match officials from over 40 countries to officiate at the Olympic Football Tournament Rio 2016.
The men’s competition will see 18 referees and 32 assistant referees officiate and at the women’s tournament, 14 referees and 24 assistant referees will be on duty. In both competitions, all six FIFA Confederations will be represented.
The Olympic Football Tournament Rio 2016 represents the first important step on the road to the FIFA World Cup Russia 2018 and the FIFA Women’s World Cup France 2019 for match officials.
In April two FIFA training seminars on refereeing took place in Doha, Qatar and Miami, Florida respectively. Hosted by FIFA’s Head of Refereeing Massimo Busacca. the seminars brought male and female referees together for the first time in FIFA’s history and saw them take part in various activities together, including theoretical classroom sessions and practical sessions on the pitch. Some of the selected Olympic Football Tournament match officials attended the events.
Speaking about the seminars Massimo Busacca said: “Our philosophy is that men and women have to work together, this is something we are certain of. The game and the decisions male and female referees have to take are the same, so it makes sense that the training of male and female referees and assistant referees should be the same too.”
Additionally FIFA’s Head of Refereeing underlined the importance of the technical side of football and the integration of FIFA’s Technical Department headed by Jean-Paul Brigger, in referee preparation programmes:
“FIFA’s Refereeing Team works just like the technical staff of any national football team. We are there alongside the coaches,” said Busacca. He added that: ” …during the preparation and on the pitch being able to read the game, understand football and protect the players as well as the image of football whilst insuring respect and fair play is maintained at all times, is crucial for a referee.”
A team of technical instructors including former international referees, fitness instructors, physiotherapists and sports scientists will regularly review the referees selected to officiate at the upcoming Olympic Football Tournament.
The Olympic Football Tournament Rio 2016 will take place from August 3rd – 21st, with the competition’s men’s and women’s finals taking place in the iconic Maracanã stadium. The opening game of the tournament, the first group game of the women's competition, will be played at the Olympic Stadium in Rio de Janeiro on Wednesday August 3rd.
Seven stadiums in total will host Olympic Football Tournament competitions including 2014 FIFA World Cup host venues: Belo Horizonte, Brasilia, Manaus, Rio de Janeiro, Salvador and São Paulo.