FIFA announced it's referee roster for this year's World Cup today as the FIFA Referees Committee met in Zurich. 30 referees representing 28 countries were chosen to officiate the action in South Africa, sans officials from the United States. While the officials from the USA did not make the cut, the CONCACAF will be represented by officials from Canada, Mexico, Costa Rica, Guadeloupe and El Salvador.
The selection process began for an initial group of 54 trios of referees back in2007 when FIFA created the Referee Assistance Program (RAP) to prepare the prospects for the 2010 World Cup. The RAP is consists of team of international experts in the areas of refereeing technique, fitness and psychology. The group monitored analyzed all of the information on the candidates. The FIFA Medical Assessment and Research Center (F-MARC) were also an integral part of the process.
In a press release today, FIFA stated that "the latest technology has been implemented in the preparation of the referees" using practical training, interactive sessions and analysis of FIFA competitions. Tests were also administered to ensure adequate knowledge of the Laws of the Game. Additionally, FIFA stated that they have "implemented a comprehensive programme to ensure that referees for it's flagship competition are in peak condition come 11 June."
The rigorous training and selection process was implemented in response to a rash of controversial calls in the 2006 World Cup in Germany. Despite these efforts, the list of referees selected includes names such as Massimo Busacco, who was suspended last year after giving a hand gesture to fans chanting verbal abuse and Howard Webb, the Englishman who changed his mind on a penalty decision during last years Confederations Cup.