ZURICH: England’s Howard Webb, the 2010 World Cup Final referee, leads the list of match officials in the 10 trios selected by world federation FIFA for duty at the Confederations Cup next month in Brazil.
Webb was the subject of controversy in South Africa for refusing to send off Holland’s Nigel De Jong for a reckless kick at the Spain’s Xabi Alonso in the first half of the Final.
Opinion was divided over whether he should have stuck to the letter or allowed the game to run on without the Dutch being reduce numerically so early.
All the officials heading for the Confederations Cup will be in poll position for consideration to return to Brazil for the World Cup finals next year.
In both the Confederations and World Cups they will have the additional assistance – should they need it – of goal-line technology in a FIFA national team competition for the first time.
FIFA will not use the UEFA-preferred system of goal-line assistants because very few non-European countries – and hence their officials – have any experience with it.
For almost two years, the candidates have been under the guidance and supervision of former international referee Massimo Busacca, now FIFA’s head of refereeing.
Busacca said: “These officials are all potential candidates for next year and such high-profile tournaments are key to their preparation. Like their other colleagues on the open list of 52 overall candidates for 2014, they can officiate matches at any level. We are convinced that they will deliver the quality for which we strive.”
Preparations have included seminars with practical and theoretical sessions plus continual monitoring by instructors.
Busacca added: “We prepare like a football team, like players, paying special attention to uniformity and consistency, fair play, protecting players and the tactical approach.
“Everything must come together now . . . We will work mainly on the tactical and technical aspects so we can anticipate and prevent any possible issue, with one of our main goals being to ensure that we are in the right place at the right time.”
The Confederations Cup will be held from June 15 to 30 in six venues across Brazil. The tournament features four teams who between them have won 12 of the 19 World Cups so far: reigning world and European champions Spain, Euro 2012 runners-up Italy, South American champions Uruguay and hosts Brazil, who are being joined by North and Central America and Caribbean champions Mexico, Asian champions Japan, African champions Nigeria and Oceania champions and newcomers Tahiti.