FIFA Considers Professional Referees
Football world governing body Fifa has announced plans to introduce a number of top level referees by the end of the year. This elite group of officials would be required to supervise major tournaments such the 2002 World Cup. At a Fifa referees meeting Sepp Blatter, Fifa President, has stated that professional referees are essential and has once again highlighted the irony of such a highly professional sport being refereed by amateurs. With the backing of President Blatter all that now remains is to establish the working parameters in order for such a change to be implemented. The responsibility for this falls to Fifa General Secretary, Michel Zen-Ruffinen, who will be trying to balance employment legalities with satisfactory arrangements for the referees and their national associations. Also under discussion has been the provision of specially trained coaches, which would help prepare officials for matches and the physical and psychological rigours of high-pressure games. Such coaches are highly sought after by Fifa it is their hope to establish such a system as soon as possible.