Posted on February 18, 2019

Official referees at the FIFA Women's World Cup France 2019™ have successfully completed a comprehensive four-hour medical screening session at Aspetar, the orthopaedic and sports medicine hospital.The referees travelled to Doha to take part in a series of FIFA seminars held in preparation for the upcoming Women’s World Cup which is scheduled to take place at stadiums across France from 7 June – 7 July.

Seventy-fivepeople took part, including 27 referees and 48 assistant referees. The medical assessments were specifically tailored to meet the needs of each referee, who came from USA, Canada, Mexico, France, Germany, Ukraine, China, Japan, Korea, Australia, New Zealand, Ethiopia, Kenya, and Rwanda. The selection process of the referees, who will officiate in the FIFA Women’s World Cup France 2019™,was based on the referee’s fitness level, technical ability, and football understanding, therefore the medical screenings at Aspetar were essential.

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Internationally renowned former referee, Pierluigi Collina, Chairman of the Referees’ Committee at FIFA, accompanied the referees during their stay at Aspetar.

While testing was tailored to each person, a number of components are standard across the board, such as: Cardiac screening (including an ECG, and often further investigations such as an ECHO or a cardiac MRI), Detailed medical and injury questionnaire, Laboratory tests, Dental assessment, Biodex muscle assessment, Physiotherapy functional assessment, Spirometry, Visual acuity assessment, and General medical and musculoskeletal examinations, undertaken by an experienced sports medicine physician. A summary report was provided at the end of the assessment with recommendations for any ongoing actions.

Speaking about the medical screenings at Aspetar, a FIFA referee from Australia, Kate Jacewicz, said: “I’m proud to say I’ve been selected to go to the FIFA Women's World Cup France 2019™. FIFA is hosting the pre-World Cup seminar in Qatar and organised for us this screening before competing in the upcoming tournament. The facilities here are extremely comprehensive­­­­. The medical staff here are incredibly professional and knowledgeable – I’ve never had this type of screening before. Referees are considered athletes as we run and play just as the footballers, so it is extremely importantthat we understand our injuries and our bodies. What I have seen so far in Qatar is a beautiful country with heart-welcoming peopleand I’m looking forward to discovering more.”

Sian Massey, an assistant referee from England, said: “We are having our medical here to make sure that everything is okay with us ahead of the world cup. Aspetar has a professional ambiance with state-of-the-art facilities, and the medical staff were highly attentive as they thoroughly explained the upcoming tests. I think it’s important to know that we are in the best condition we can be to perform our best in the upcoming tournament. The facilities here are fantastic and we have everything we need to be in the best possible shape.”

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Assistant referee from Mauritius, Victoire Queency, said: “Doha’s been great in helping us prepare for the Women’s World Cup. We are here to check our health, fitness levels and everything that goes along with sport: muscles, heart and respiratory system. The staff at Aspetar are very helpful and understanding. This medical screening is crucial for us as we have to undergo a fitness test, which is very hard, and is good to know where we stand especially in aspects related to our health.” 

Assistant referee, Julia Magnusson from Sweden, said: “Everyone here at Aspetar is so professional. I work at a hospital back home and in comparison, Aspetar is very state-of-the-art, we can see that the hospital here really puts the athlete first. The screenings are essential as it helps to prevent injuries and improve performance. I’m thrilled to witness good service and good quality here in Qatar.” Last February 2018, Aspetar screened candidate referees who took part in the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia™. Hosting medical screenings stems from Aspetar’s mission to assist athletes achieve their maximum performance and potential.