At its meeting on 24 October 2006, the FIFA Referees Committee expressed great satisfaction with the referees performances at the 2006 FIFA World Cup Germany.
The referees and assistant referees fulfilled the high expectations placed on them and complied with the instructions to protect players and thus the game better, commented Villar Llona. The preparation period of almost four years for the World Cup in Germany paid off.
The referees and assistant referees will already start training next year for the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa. Once again, groups of three from the same country, or at least from the same confederation, will be chosen to officiate there. Trios who had rehearsed together for a long time were one of the reasons for the referees success at the 2006 FIFA World Cup.
FIFA President Joseph S. Blatter, who also attended the meeting, was full of praise for the referees. I am very satisfied with the referees performances at the 2006 World Cup.
They achieved more than their counterparts in Korea/Japan in 2002. Blatter, nevertheless, pointed out that the referees would have to improve even further and step up their performances. There was no reason, he added, for them to rest on their laurels.
FIFA chief medical officer Professor Jiri Dvorak also drew satisfactory conclusions from the 2006 World Cup in terms of the referees performances. There were 145 injuries in the 64 matches of the final competition in Germany, that is, 2.3 per match, whereas in the 2002 World Cup the figure was 2.7 injuries per game.
The FIFA Sports Medical Committee noted that the numbers of head injuries sustained in the tournament in Germany amounted to half of those recorded in the finals in Korea/Japan four years ago. Dvorak explained that the lower incidence of injuries was to some extent due to the refereesí performances, by providing better protection to the players and vigorously punishing elbowing offences.
Dvorak also pointed out that too many players still feigned injury during play, primarily for tactical reasons. Fifty-eight per cent of the players who were treated on the pitch during the 2006 World Cup eventually turned out not to be injured.
In the meeting held the day before, the FIFA Referees Committee discussed the referees lists for 2007. These lists include referees and assistant referees for futsal and beach soccer as well as traditional football.