Fifa has released its final list of referees for this summer’s World Cup.

The final list has been drawn from an initial shortlist of 44 for the tournament which begins on 9 June in Germany.

“The 33rd team at the World Cup – the 23 referees in Germany – are currently the best match officials in the world,” said Fifa president Sepp Blatter.

“That is the way it has to be as they will have a crucial role to play in this tournament, and great demands will be placed upon them.”

Fifa plans to create teams of three officials, with the referee being joined by two assistant referees from the same country or confederation as him.

There will also be a back-up group of seven referees and 14 assistant referees who will come in if injury rules out someone on the original list.

The 23 referees for the 2006 Fifa World Cup:
Essam Abd El Fatah (Egypt)
Carlos Amarilla (Paraguay)
Benito Archundia (Mexico)
Carlos Batres* (Guatemala)
Massimo Busacca (Switzerland)
Coffi Codjia (Benin)
Frank De Bleeckere* (Belgium)
Massimo De Santis (Italy)
Horacio Elizondo (Argentina)
Valentin Ivanov (Russia)
Toru Kamikawa (Japan)
Jorge Larrionda (Uruguay)
Shamsul Maidin (Singapore)
Manuel Mejuto Gonzalez (Spain)
Markus Merk (Germany)
Lubos Michel (Slovakia)
Graham Poll (England)
Eric Poulat (France)
Peter Prendergast (Jamaica)
Oscar Ruiz (Colombia)
Mark Shield (Australia)
Carlos Simon (Brazil)
Kyros Vassaras ((Greece)

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