Posted on February 13, 2018

The Referee Candidate Seminar for the FIFA Women's World Cup France 2019 Opening Ceremony was launched today Monday 12 February and will be hosted in Doha until 16 February.

The Referee Candidate Seminar for the FIFA Women's World Cup France 2019 brings together 33 referees representing all six confederations and 56 countries – for the biggest tournament in women’s football. The opening ceremony of the seminar was held at the InterContinental Hotel Doha and was attended by Hani Ballan, Vice Chairman of FIFA and AFC Referees’ Committees and Chairman of QFA Referees Committee, Massimo Busaccas, Director of the FIFA Refereeing Department, Kari Seitz, FIFA’s Senior Manager of Refereeing, and Neji Jouni, Executive Director of the Referees Committee at QFA.

While addressing the referees at the ceremony, Hani Ballan, Vice Chairman of FIFA and AFC Referees’ Committees and Chairman of QFA Referees Committee said: “On behalf of the QFA, QFA Referees Committee, FIFA Referees Committee, Chairman of the Referees’ Committee, Pierluigi Collina, my friends Massimo Busacca and Kari Seitz, I would like to welcome you to the opening ceremony of the Referee Candidate Seminar for the FIFA Women's World Cup France 2019 which is held in Doha from 11 February until 16 February which brings together 33 referees representing all six confederations and 56 countries who will run the biggest women's football competition.”

“We are happy to host you for your medical and fitness tests here in Doha, as well as theoretical and practical analysis in preparation for the Women's World Cup in France. During this week, you (the referees) will be able to benefit from the sessions organised to prepare you for the competition and you will have the opportunity to discuss the latest trends and programs in the refereeing world.” “The list of candidate referees takes into account several qualities, including game performances, football understanding and fitness and this workshop will give you all that you need to prepare for the competition.”

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“During this seminar, you will have the chance to convince the FIFA referees committee of your abilities before the final nominations for the FIFA Women's World Cup France 2019, which will be announced during the period of June 7 to July 7 in which only a limited number of referees will be selected to participate in the Women’s World Cup.”

“You are wise enough to understand why you are in Doha. This indicates dedication, commitment and responsibility and requires sacrifice. And these qualities lead to success. You are all capable to imagine yourselves at the Women’s World Cup matches and have the ability and qualities to be here, and we are proud to oversee the development of your skills. The seminar in Qatar is important and all your efforts will not go to waste. During the 90 minutes on the field, you will have to give it your best which is why we do not hesitate to provide you with the best preparation.”

“You need to develop your knowledge of every new and innovative approach in the field of football and think in an innovative way. Einstein says insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. You are here because your approach is different and your way of thinking is different, so be proud of yourselves.” “Between June and July it will be a great event, you were chosen because you are the best and we will be watching and assessing your performance. The field of development is not always perfect, we must improve, continue to learn from our mistakes, advice and training. You all must be ready and most importantly enjoy your time in Doha.”

Hani Balan talked about the Qatar national sports day taking place on 13 February where the whole nation gets a day dedicated to sports. He said that it reflects the extent of love the country and the residents have for sports because everyone believes in the positive impact sport has on society. At the beginning of the ceremony Kari Seitz, FIFA’s Senior Manager of Refereeing welcomed the audience in Doha and expressed her happiness at the arrival of all the referees who will participate in the seminar. She also praised Qatar and QFA’s efforts to organise the seminar to prepare the referees for the FIFA Women's World Cup France 2019.

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She stressed that the selected referees are considered the elite referees in the refereeing world, and have all worked hard during the past period to reach this advanced stage. She reminded the referees that they have a long way to go in the coming period to prove that they are fit to be in the world's largest women's tournament. Following Hani Balan’s welcome speech, an exchange of pennants took place between the QFA and FIFA.

Massimo Busacca, Director of the FIFA Refereeing Department commented: “Three years ago, you were in Canada for the 2015 FIFA Women's World Cup, we had a good time and saw the referees work hard, now the you are participating in a seminar and after a few months you will have to make important decisions on the pitch.” “On the pitch you are demanded to be the best, and in the World Cup in Canada you proved your levels. You are now under the supervision of the seminar in Qatar to prepare for the championship. We need more than five days to prepare, five days will not be enough, because our goal is to seek greatness, however, we do not forget that you are elite referees and you had aspirations to reach this stage and represent your countries.”

“You will soon be able to analyze the situation on the pitch, and that is why seminars, workshops and trainings are held and sometimes all the pressure is put on the referees and everyone turns to you to decide the course of the game. We are all required to work professionally and have a deep understanding of football. We must also show our capabilities and hard work on the field when it comes to making decisions. I want you all to feel proud to be here, you are elite ambitious referees, and this is a great start for you. I wish you all the best of luck.”

The five-day seminar will allow the referees to prepare as a team throughout the build-up to the tournament, and thus helps to improve overall performances. Candidate referees will take the opportunity during this preparation period to convince the members of the FIFA Referees Committee of their skills before the final assignments are made for France 2019, which will take place from 7 June to 7 July.