FIFA has released the names of the referees and assistant referees who will take charge of games at World Cup 2018. The list currently contains 36 referees and 63 assistant referees. The VAR (Video Assistant Referees) will also be chosen from these 99.
FIFA chooses referees based on “skills and personality, as well as his level of understanding of football and ability to read both the game and the various tactics employed by teams” and the final list is chosen after three years of seminars that concentrate on fair game, consistency and protecting players.
There are more workshops and seminars to come after which the decisions will be made as to who will be the first ever VARs at a World Cup.
The list of referees does not include any from the United Kingdom, that is a first in 80 years. Mark Clattenburg who would be the leading UK candidate is now working in Saudi Arabia and was not picked.
The referee list includes five from Asia, five from Africa, five from north and central America, five from south America, two from Oceania and 10 from Europe. The assistant referee list includes three from Oceania, 10 each from Asia and Africa, eight from north and central America, 12 from south America and 20 from Europe.
It is hoped that the use VAR will improve the game and cut down on mistakes while not overly delaying games or disrupting the flow of play too long. Recent uses in some leagues have led to confusion and in a few cases offenses not being caught even after review!