Wales gets Qatar selection by FIFA /

Caleb Wales is the lone foot­ball of­fi­cial from T&T to be se­lect­ed by FI­FA ahead of the FI­FA World Cup in Qatar from No­vem­ber 21 to De­cem­ber 18, this year. Wales is one of 69 as­sis­tant ref­er­ees cho­sen.

The sports world gov­ern­ing body yes­ter­day re­vealed the ap­point­ments of 36 ref­er­ees, 69 as­sis­tant ref­er­ees and 24 video match of­fi­cials for the World Cup which will com­prise 32 teams that will even­tu­al­ly be ex­pand­ed to 48 for the 2026 World Cup.

Ac­cord­ing to FI­FA, 36 ref­er­ees, 69 as­sis­tant ref­er­ees and 24 video match of­fi­cials have been cho­sen in close co­op­er­a­tion with the six con­fed­er­a­tions, based on their qual­i­ty and the per­for­mances de­liv­ered at FI­FA tour­na­ments as well as at oth­er in­ter­na­tion­al and do­mes­tic com­pe­ti­tions in re­cent years.

«As al­ways, the cri­te­ria we have used is ‘qual­i­ty first’ and the se­lect­ed match of­fi­cials rep­re­sent the high­est lev­el of ref­er­ee­ing world­wide,» said the chair­man of the FI­FA Ref­er­ees Com­mit­tee, Pier­lui­gi Col­li­na. «The 2018 World Cup was very suc­cess­ful, part­ly be­cause of the high stan­dard of ref­er­ee­ing, and we will do our best to be even bet­ter in a few months in Qatar.»

Wales fol­lows in the foot­steps of Merere Gon­za­les who was cho­sen to of­fi­ci­ate at the French World Cup in 1998 as an as­sis­tant ref­er­ee, and Michael Ra­goonath, who en­joyed a stint at the 2002 World Cup in South Ko­rea and Japan as an as­sis­tant ref­er­ee as well.

Apart from that, Dou­glas James, a then a teacher at Mal­ick Com­pre­hen­sive, was the first of­fi­cial from T&T and the Caribbean to ref­er­ee at a World Cup in 1994 in the Unit­ed States.

His achieve­ment was repli­cat­ed by Ramesh Ramd­han, as a ref­er­ee in the World Cup in 1998 in France.

The «Road to Qatar 2022» project start­ed al­ready in 2019, with more than 50 trios con­sid­ered pos­si­ble can­di­dates and go­ing through in­ten­sive prepa­ra­tion. Due to the COVID-19 pan­dem­ic, how­ev­er, this prepa­ra­tion was any­thing, but easy, as in-pres­ence ac­tiv­i­ties were sus­pend­ed for a long pe­ri­od.

«The pan­dem­ic af­fect­ed our ac­tiv­i­ties, in par­tic­u­lar in 2020 and at the be­gin­ning of 2021. Luck­i­ly, the World Cup was still quite far, and we had enough time to pro­vide the can­di­dates with good prepa­ra­tion. We are an­nounc­ing these se­lec­tions well in ad­vance as we want to work even hard­er with all those who have been ap­point­ed for the FI­FA World Cup, mon­i­tor­ing them in the next months. The mes­sage is clear: don’t rest on your lau­rels, keep work­ing hard and pre­pare your­selves very se­ri­ous­ly for the World Cup,» said Col­li­na.

Ref­er­ees will get nec­es­sary sup­port

Mas­si­mo Busac­ca, FI­FA’s Di­rec­tor of Ref­er­ee­ing, en­sures the match of­fi­cials will re­ceive all the nec­es­sary sup­port by FI­FA, as their prepa­ra­tion is para­mount.

«Thanks to an in­no­v­a­tive track­ing and sup­port pro­gramme, all the match of­fi­cials can be su­per­vised by FI­FA ref­er­ees’ in­struc­tors even more close­ly and in­ten­sive­ly than in pre­vi­ous years. This is a very im­por­tant fac­tor, from which we ex­pect con­sid­er­able im­prove­ments and progress in view of the FI­FA World Cup 2022,» ex­plained Busac­ca. «In ad­di­tion to that, there will be tai­lor-made in­di­vid­ual pro­grammes, in par­tic­u­lar con­cern­ing health and fit­ness. Each match of­fi­cial will be care­ful­ly mon­i­tored in the next months with a fi­nal as­sess­ment on tech­ni­cal, phys­i­cal and med­ical as­pects to be made short­ly be­fore the World Cup, in or­der to have them in the best con­di­tions when the ball starts rolling in Qatar.»

The se­lect­ed match of­fi­cials will par­tic­i­pate in ear­ly sum­mer in sev­er­al sem­i­nars (Asun­ción, Madrid and Do­ha), re­view­ing and analysing video clips of re­al match sit­u­a­tions, and tak­ing part in prac­ti­cal train­ing ses­sions with play­ers, which will be filmed to en­able par­tic­i­pants to re­ceive in­stant feed­back from the in­struc­tors.

«The key fo­cus­es of the prepa­ra­tion re­main pro­tect­ing play­ers and the im­age of the game, con­sis­ten­cy, uni­for­mi­ty, read­ing the game from a tech­ni­cal and tac­ti­cal per­spec­tive and un­der­stand­ing a va­ri­ety of play­er and team men­tal­i­ties,» added Busac­ca. «We can’t elim­i­nate all mis­takes, but we will do every­thing we can to re­duce them.»

The VAR sys­tem was im­ple­ment­ed for the first time ever at the 2018 FI­FA World Cup Rus­sia and four years lat­er, a team of 24 video match of­fi­cials (VMOs) will op­er­ate in Qatar, ready to pro­vide their team-mates on the pitch with tech­no­log­i­cal sup­port, if need­ed. Due to the very lim­it­ed num­ber of FI­FA mem­ber as­so­ci­a­tions hav­ing im­ple­ment­ed the VAR sys­tem at the time, VMOs for Rus­sia 2018 were main­ly se­lect­ed from Eu­rope and South Amer­i­ca. To­day, the VAR sys­tem is used in all ma­jor com­pe­ti­tions world­wide and VMOs from Asia, Africa, as well as Cen­tral and North Amer­i­ca will al­so par­tic­i­pate in the FI­FA World Cup Qatar 2022.

FI­FA picks 6 women’s refs

For the first time in the his­to­ry of the FI­FA World Cup, the FI­FA Ref­er­ees Com­mit­tee has al­so ap­point­ed three women’s ref­er­ees and three women’s as­sis­tant ref­er­ees.

«We are very hap­py that with Stéphanie Frap­part from France, Sal­i­ma Mukansan­ga from Rwan­da and Yoshi­mi Ya­mashita from Japan, as well as as­sis­tant ref­er­ees Neuza Back from Brazil, Karen Díaz Med­i­na from Mex­i­co and Kathryn Nes­bitt from the USA, we have been able to call up fe­male match of­fi­cials for the first time in the his­to­ry of a FI­FA World Cup. This con­cludes a long process that be­gan sev­er­al years ago with the de­ploy­ment of fe­male ref­er­ees at FI­FA men’s ju­nior and se­nior tour­na­ments. In this way, we clear­ly em­pha­sise that it is qual­i­ty that counts for us and not gen­der. I would hope that in the fu­ture, the se­lec­tion of elite women’s match of­fi­cials for im­por­tant men’s com­pe­ti­tions will be per­ceived as some­thing nor­mal and no longer as sen­sa­tion­al. They de­serve to be at the FI­FA World Cup™ be­cause they con­stant­ly per­form at a re­al­ly high lev­el, and that’s the im­por­tant fac­tor for us,» con­clud­ed the chair­man of the FI­FA Ref­er­ees Com­mit­tee Pier­lui­gi Col­li­na. (See page 46)

LINK ORIGINAL: The Trinidad Guardian