Media Release

Federation Internationale de Football Association

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

Match Officials set up camp: 22 referees from 21 countries

Following in the footsteps of the 32 competing nations, the "33rd team" at the 2006 FIFA World Cup™ is poised to occupy its base camp for the tournament.

The Kempinski-Hotel Gravenbruch in Neu-Isenburg just outside Frankfurt began its role as the central HQ for the tournament match officials on Monday 21 May, when supervisors appointed by FIFA and LOC took up residence in advance of the referees' arrival on Friday 26 May.

Twenty-two referees from 21 different countries plus their assistants will journey from here – which in many cases means the ten kilometres to the vast Rhein-Main Airport – to fulfil their match duties, returning to Neu-Isenburg after the final whistle.

For the first time, the 33rd team at the FIFA World Cup includes a group on stand-by officials, comprising five referees and ten assistants in a 'Task Force' ready to step in if colleagues assigned to a match fall victim to illness or injury, for example.

Five days after moving in, the match officials face a final fitness test on 31 May, before a motivational pre-tournament FIFA Referees Dinner at the former Benedictine Abbey in Seligenstadton on 2 June.