A key element of preparing referees for CONCACAF’s premier competition got underway as the Gold Cup Referee Candidate Course opened in Dallas (USA). From an elite group of 19 referees and 29 assistant referees, the finest will be selected to manage the region’s biennial championship for national teams, which will be contested in the United States from July 7-26, 2017. In addition to the 48 referees in contention for Gold Cup appointments, CONCACAF invited 12 referees from the “Targeted Advanced Referee Program” (TARP). With an eye on the future, these talented referees will participate in all training and preparation afforded their elite-level colleagues, readying them for their future at the top. The six assessors appointed to the tournament are also in attendance, so that they receive the same information provided to the referees.
“This new and unique approach to training and selecting referees for the Gold Cup is focused on optimizing the preparation, from a technical and physical perspective, of the referees”, said CONCACAF Director of Refereeing, Brian Hall, outlining the objective of the four-day gathering. “We are committed to be the most prepared team in the competition and, as such, our referees continue to exhibit their commitment to a world-class approach to meeting the demands of the Gold Cup.” As part of the course, participants will undergo thorough classroom instruction, technical sessions on the field of play utilizing players, and they will all be required to pass the FIFA World Cup Candidate referee fitness test. FIFA Technical and Fitness Instructors will lead training, with the objective of ensuring that all match officials are in the best physical and mental condition possible. Rodolfo Sibrian, CONCACAF and FIFA Instructor, believes that the course “Is a key component in the providing referees with new tools to manage world-class players and teams in world-class games. We are using technical sessions on the field and video tests in the classroom to coach the referee team to a common goal – maximizing performance”.
As FIFA states on its website, the global nature of football requires that the Laws of Game be applied consistently wherever it is played. An essential factor of uniform application is a referee or assistant referee’s overall degree of physical conditioning. In order to determine that level, officials are obligated to pass a fitness test. At the University of Dallas, elite match officials taking part in the Gold Cup Referee Candidate Course - including those in the Targeted Advanced Referee Program - were required to pass the FIFA World Cup Candidate Fitness test, so that they could potentially be considered for an appointment to CONCACAF’s most important competition. “As part of the evaluation of a referee’s readiness to officiate in CONCACAF’s premier competition, the Gold Cup, we administered the FIFA World Cup Candidate fitness test,” said Alan Brown, a FIFA fitness instructor. “As part of the CONCACAF focus on excellence, we used the test to ensure our referees have world-class endurance and explosiveness.” This assessment tool is significantly more difficult than the standard fitness test required by FIFA and CONCACAF for previous Gold Cup editions. All referees selected for the World Cup are required to pass the test, which consists of interval runs and sprints. Brian Hall, CONCACAF’s Director of Refereeing, was delighted with the test’s results and what it said about the dedication of match officials throughout the region. “All of CONCACAF can be proud of the results displayed by our Gold Cup candidates,” he expressed. “The fitness test results from our elite corps of referees showed that they are committed to being the best they can be and that they understand the demands of the modern game as well as the importance fitness plays in making educated decisions on the field of play.” The participants in the Gold Cup Referee Candidate Course will discover in the near future if they are to work at the competition that starts on July 7 at Red Bull Arena in Harrison, New Jersey.