Media Release

Federation Internationale de Football Association

FIFA Strasse 20, P.O Box 8044 Zurich, Switzerland, +41 (0) 43 222 7777

Countdown for 82 assistant referees

On 31 March 2006, the FIFA Referees Committee announced the 23 referees who will officiate at the 2006 FIFA World Cup Germany™. Now their assistants – and those joining the seven referees in the new support and development group also involved in the World Cup – will be tested for World Cup worthiness in Frankfurt/Neu-Isenburg from 18 to 21 April 2006.

The 82 assistant referees from all six confederations – including Frenchwoman Nelly Viennot – will be tested for physical fitness as well as for familiarity with and interpretation of the Laws of the Game.

Forty-four aspiring referees, 23 (or 30, including the seven on call) of whom were chosen, were subjected to close scrutiny at the same spot in Frankfurt from 21 to 25 March 2006. Of the 82 current assistant referee candidates, the FIFA Referees Committee will finally select 60 in early May for FIFA World Cup duty.

The burden of expectation weighs heavily on the candidates' shoulders in Frankfurt/Neu-Isenburg, especially as "their" referees have already been chosen. Two or three assistants for each referee are attending the course. At least two of the three assistants intended for each trio must pass the tests or else the entire quartet will be disqualified from the FIFA World Cup and replaced by a refereeing trio from the support and development group.

Germany 2006 will be the first FIFA World Cup to feature only refereeing trios from the same country, or at least from the same confederation. Well-rehearsed teams, according to the FIFA Referees Committee, react more quickly and accurately and will therefore improve the level of match officials' performances.

Note to editors:

A media conference, attended by FIFA General Secretary Urs Linsi and Ángel María Villar Llona, FIFA vice-president and chairman of the FIFA Referees Committee, will be held in the Kempinski Hotel Gravenbruch, Frankfurt/Neu-Isenburg, at 13.00h on 18 April 2006, ahead of the assistant referees' workshop.

Media reporters will have access only to the fitness tests to be staged in the Neu-Isenburg sports park from 09.00h to 11.00h on Friday, 21 April 2006. Reporters who wish to attend do not require accreditation.