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Futsal referees put through their paces

FIFA.com: All FIFA futsal refs will now be put through the new, rigorous tests. courtesy of Futsalplanet.com

The FIFA Futsal Committee has agreed upon a set of physical performance tests for the game’s officials following their latest meeting on 18 October 2002.

The decision was enthusiastically approved following recommendations from both the FIFA Sports Medical Committee and the recently formed FIFA Referees’ Committee. The steps represent further indication of futsal’s acceptance as a legitimate sporting force in its own right.

For years, FIFA football referees have been put through their paces with a rigid and demanding set of physical tests. Now futsal’s men in black are fast falling in line with the harsh demands of modern athletics. In addition to improving the refereeing landscape as a whole, the new futsal fitness tests focus on the specific demands of the lightning-quick indoor game.

A series of tests to set the standard

The comprehensive test consists of four distinct sections with one clear goal: to prepare the officials for the rigours of the five-a-side game, growing more and more popular on Planet Football with each passing day.

The tests, as well as the methods by which they are applied, will become the universal standard for the official physical evaluation of futsal referees in each of FIFA’s national associations. They will also become the standard to be applied prior to all official competitions like the FIFA Futsal World Championship Chinese Taipei 2004.

The battery of tests begins with a 1km endurance run. The first section must be completed within four minutes and ten seconds. Next, after a 15-minute rest, comes a shuttle-run, back and forth, between two set points ten metres apart. The referee must complete the exercise within 11 seconds.

Following a short five-minute rest, the official is required to complete a zig-zag course, running forwards, backwards and sideways in under 42 seconds between a carefully placed maze of cones, followed by another five-minute break. Then the ten-metre shuttle run and the zig-zag runs are repeated with a short five-minute break in between.

This Physical Fitness Test will act to form the basis for all future physical fitness tests for futsal referees carried out by national associations. It will also be a mandatory exercise for all referees included on the FIFA List of Referees in 2004.

“We are going to work to improve the standard of refereeing. That is the challenge we face, and that is what I intend to do,” said FIFA’s recently appointed head of refereeing José María Garcia-Aranda.

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