FIFA’s tough selection process for the 2014 world cup in brazil begins for germany’s top referees wolfgang stark and felix brych.
At the training course for the 19 european referees selected for the time being in zurich, the first performance and rule tests begin. Worldwide, 52 impartial referees and their assistants are competing for the right to referee matches at the confederations cup in june and the world cup finals in 2014. "It’s an open list," stressed a spokesman for the fifa world governing body, referring to the motto of FIFA head of department massimo busacca from switzerland: "the best of the best" should be whistling in 2014.
Banker stark from ergolding was the only german referee at the 2010 world cup in south africa and the 2012 european championship in ukraine and poland. Brych, a lawyer from munich, was on duty at the olympic games in london the previous year. "The nomination of these two for the group of world cup candidates shows that german refereeing is held in high esteem internationally," said herbert fandel, chairman of the referee commission at the german football association (DFB).
For the 43-year-old strong, who had come under criticism several times since south africa, brazil would be his last tournament. He will reach the international age limit of 45 years in 2014. 37-year-old brych, who works part-time for the bavarian fubball association, is considered the next man up at the DFB. It is unlikely that either of them will be nominated for the world cup, although in south africa 2010 there were two referees each from mexico, new zealand and uruguay out of a total of 29. Before the 2006 summer marathon in germany, fandel and markus merk were among the FIFA candidates, but in the end only merk was there.
Stark and brych refused to comment on their chances – FIFA muzzles its top referees as usual. Both rely on their preserved assistants: the older on mike pickel (mendig) and jan-hendrik salver (stuttgart), the younger on thorsten schiffner (konstanz) and mark borsch (monchengladbach).
The chances of a german impartial being present at the confed cup are good. At the world cup dress rehearsal of the continental champions, the DFB selection will be missing. There, the referees also have to deal with the new goal technology from the company goalcontrol from wurselen, which is being used there for the first time in compulsory matches.
According to FIFA, the decision on who will be the referee for the confederations cup will be made shortly before the tournament – at the meeting of all the candidates on 25 april 2013. Until 29. May 2013 in rio de janeiro. Between twelve and sixteen referees are then to be nominated. There is no date yet for the allocation of the 30 or so world cup tickets. Potential world cup referees have been under close scrutiny for a long time anyway. "Personality, performance and development," says a FIFA spokesman, are the decisive criteria in the selection process.