The 2006 FIFA Soccer World Cup will be held in Germany and, with gametime approaching, the final 44 referee candidates are hoping that they will be among the selected officials chosen to preside over this year’s championship event. “I’ve prepared well, and I’ve comfortably overcome every hurdle in this last test,” admits Herbert Fandel, Germany’s second representative in the refereeing squad. World famous official Markus Merk declares, “I can live with the result now, whichever way it goes. You get highs and lows in any sport.”

The remaining 44 FIFA World Cup 2006 potential referees have recently gone through a final test during a five-day session held near Frankfurt. The selection process will be complete and the results announced at the end of March. While FIFA has yet to decide on the final total number of referees to be used in this year’s World Cup event, the expected number is thought to be no less than 30. “We’ve done everything we can to ensure the referees correspond to the standards expected of this wonderful World Cup in Germany,” said Angel Maria Villa Llona, who serves as an FIFA Executive Committee member who is responsible for match officials.

The 44 referee soccer World Cup candidates have remained under close observation for an entire year. The FIFA watch has been focused on each domestic league appearance, as well as each international event. “Their performances over the last 12 months are definitely a more important factor than the tests we’ve performed here,” Llona expressed. The observation included a check on the candidate’s skills relating to the English language, the knowledge and understanding of the soccer World Cup rules, psychology and fitness. Referee candidates were required to defeat a time of 6.2 seconds over 40 meters during each of the six consecutive trials. In addition, the potential referees underwent an additional test of strength and exercise with their participation in a 150 meter dash and a 50 meter walk.

Australian candidate Mark Shield explains, “The refs have never been scrutinized for so long and so minutely.” According to experts, the current candidates will be selected to oversee the soccer World Cup championship based solely on their performance. Those who are selected will be given a whistle at the tournament and will continue on to be recognized as game officials.


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