Complying with a suggestion from the FIFA President, Joseph S. Blatter, the FIFA Referees' Committee, chaired by Senes Erzik (Turkey), will appoint only women referees to the Women's World Cup due to be played in the USA from 19 June to 10 July 1999. It is also planned to hold a workshop for the 15 female referees and 16 assistants prior to the World Cup along the lines of that organised for the male referees chosen for France '98.
In his introductory comments, President Blatter stressed how important refereeing was for the future of football. "We must take care of those who are in charge of the game so that they can enforce the universal Laws of the Game. We cannot tolerate a situation in which external pressures split our game into football for the rich and football for the poor".
Referring to a survey conducted among the 67 match officials at this year's World Cup in France, the Committee came to the conclusion that, in future, more attention would have to be paid to the psychological well-being of the referees. It was also thought that more often sophisticated means should be applied to assess referees' performances. All in all, the Committee was pleased with the results and regarded the match officials' performances as generally good.
With regard to the 2002 World Cup and the probably more than 700 qualifying matches due to be played, President Blatter suggested that the refereeing group of four should be accompanied by a coach from the same country. The function of the coach would be to protect the referees from external pressures and to give them technical, psychological and administrative support before, during and after the game.
Other points: * Plans to professionalise refereeing will continue. A working party will draw up specific proposals by the next meeting in February 1999. * Another working party will revise the booklet "Questions and Answers" to the Laws of the Game and redraft it by March 1999 * The FIFA Lists of International Referees were ratified by the Committee. The associations will be informed of them in December and the lists published early in 1999. * Sixteen referees and twenty-four assistants will be named for the 1999 World Youth Championship in Nigeria by the end of the year. * The Committee discussed a proposal to amend Law 12. If a player pretends to have been fouled, the referee should interrupt the game, award an indirect free kick to the opposing team and caution the guilty player. The International Football Association Board will take this and several other points up at its meeting near Cardiff (Wales) on 20 February 1999.