FIFA has taken a leaf out of UEFA’s book and scrapped the system of random refereeing teams used at the 2002 World Cup finals in South Korea and Japan.
The first decision today made by the new FIFA referees’ committee, headed by Spain’s Angel Maria Villar, was to end the controversial mixture of officials from different countries for matches at the finals.
Starting with the 2006 finals in Germany, FIFA will use a four-man team of referees and linesmen all drawn from the same country for matches. This should help in both interpretation and trust out on the pitch.
Villar is the only surviving member of the referees’ committee on duty for the World Cup this past summer – and even he threatened to quit after Spain were beaten in the quarter-finals by co-hosts South Korea after a string of controversial decisions.