Referees' role in World Cup discussed

The world's leading football referees have outlined their intentions for the World Cup in Japan and Korea

updated: February 25, 2007 09:27 IST
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The 72 referees and assistant referees who are to officiate in this summer's World Cup gathered in Seoul recently to participate in a seminar. They also had to take part in fitness tests to prove that they can run 2,700 metres in 12 minutes. With the popularity of the game increasing, even its referees are stars in their own right, with Pierluigi Collina perhaps the most famous of them. Collina has been voted the best referee in football four times. The Italian will be at South Korea and Japan and it will be his third major tournament after France 1998 and Euro 2000. He's well known for his no-nonsense approach. And Collina and 71 others of the tribe called ‘men in black’ have been working on their own fitness and strategy for the World Cup. There is nothing a football referee can do about acts of violence against him personally. But FIFA is quite clear that diving should stay only in the swimming pool. "One of the main goals of FIFA for the 2002 World Cup is to avoid diving. It's launching a campaign against diving, like it did in 1998 in France against the tackle from behind," informed Collina. India too will be represented in the World Cup - at least on the referee panel - with Chennai's K Shanker chosen as one of the assistant referees. The 38-year-old bank employee had also officiated in the Sydney Olympics.