After the high profile refereeing mistakes made in the 2010 World Cup, FIFA President Sepp Blatter has said that only full-time professional referees should be chosen to officiate at the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil.

He said that improving the standards of elite referees will be a top priority if he is re-elected next June to lead FIFA for another fourth four year term.

“You can’t have non-professional referees in professional football,” he said and will reveal a detailed review of training for top level referees in October.

This move was expected after South Africa.

In South Africa only Howard Webb of England, who refereed the final, and Yuichi Nishimura of Japan, who was fourth official at the final, are full time referees

In the 64 matches of the World Cup tournament you are always going to have some mistakes. Imagine, in a 16 team national league, having no controversy for eight weeks. It never happens. Controversy is always present in football.

FIFA is estimated to have spent $40 million in referee training in the build up to World Cup 2010. The introduction of professional referees for the 2014 World Cup will be a new focus for the budget.

There are many problems to be overcome.

How many referees will be given a FIFA contract?

Will the referees also be funded by their national associations?

Will the full time team also include assistant referees?

Will the referees continue to referee in their own national leagues or will they become ‘international’ referees, refereeing in different leagues throughout the world?

All should be revealed in October.

An unfortunate point in South Africa was that the most of the major refereeing controversies were in high profile matches involving high profile teams.

Would there have been the same publicity had the goal line incident in the Germany v England match happened instead in the matches between Switzerland and Honduras or DPR Korea and Ivory Coast?

Certainly not.

Many problems in South Africa were assistant referee problems and not referee decisions.

There will be no benefit in spending large amounts of money on full time referee contracts if the assistant referees on the touchline, whose signals are always under tremendous scrutiny from the television cameras, are not included.

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