MOSCOW – Match officials may be unlikely to get to kick the ball around much at the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia, but they will nevertheless be responsible for making high-pressure and potentially game-changing calls during one of the world’s foremost sporting competitions.
They need to train and be prepared for this, in the knowledge that millions of soccer fans will be judging their every decision over the coming weeks.
And so, much like the international players who have been preparing for days in the lead up to the World Cup kick-off, referees and assistant referees got some practice in at the RZD Arena Stadium in Moscow.
The warm-up session featured cardio exercises to test fitness and the refereeing teams were also put through simulations to test their ability to spot foul play.
There are 36 referees and 63 referees’ assistants assigned to manage the 64 World Cup games being played across Russia between June 14-July 15.
The competition will also be the first of its type to feature video assistant referees, an innovation that hopefully will save some embarrassment for those officials on the fields of play.