UEFA has announced the 12 referees who will take part in EURO 2012 in Poland and Ukraine from 8th June until 1st July 2012.

This is a different approach from the one FIFA takes in selecting the referees for the FIFA World Cup.

UEFA has gone for 12 referees from 12 countries and 8 of these countries have qualified for the Finals.

This is a very sensible approach.

Firstly they have selected 12 referees who have vast experience refereeing matches in the Champions League, the highest level of club football in the world – and possibly a quality even higher than the FIFA World Cup.

Secondly they have selected referees many of whom are involved in the top European leagues – England, Spain, Germany and Italy.

Thirdly they selected them early, giving them plenty of time to prepare.

FIFA normally makes the final selection much nearer to the World Cup.

It is a more complex and political selection process since it is not always the best 24 or so referees who are selected – taking into account the demands for representation from all six confederations.

It produced the anomaly in South Africa 2010 that New Zealand was one of only two countries to have two referees selected although there is no question that there were many more countries with high quality professional leagues which could reasonably justify inclusion of more than one referee in the final list.

But this would have adjusted the numbers balance between the confederations.

Although the EURO 2012 Finals will have only 12 referees they will have two assistant referees, a fourth official and two additional assistants so 72 officials will actually be appointed to the tournament because the IFAB Additional Assistants Experiment, strongly supported by UEFA, will continue in Poland and Ukraine.

This was the total number of officials who took part in the 2002 FIFA World Cup in Korea/Japan when there were 64 matches instead of the 32 in EURO 2012.

Make no mistake, they will all be under major pressure but for the moment they can enjoy the satisfaction of being selected.

It is the end of the first lap but the second lap will be a much bigger challenge.

  • Share/Bookmark