FIFA looks back at organizational, refereeing matters on day without games


MOSCOW, June 30, 2018 (BSS/TASS)- FIFA World Cup in Russia has become the tournament’s first day without matches, giving fans and players a chance to have some rest while FIFA officials gathered to review organizational and refereeing matters.

The media center of the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow hosted two news conferences to sum up the results of the group stage. During the first conference, Local Organizing Committee (LOC) CEO Alexei Sorokin and FIFA Chief Competitions and Events Officer Colin Smith answered questions about organizational aspects of the event.

“I have been coming to this country for over three years now in the preparation of this (World Cup),” the FIFA official said.

“I have seen first-hand the hospitality, the accommodation, the passion, the enthusiasm for hosting the World Cup here.” “We saw it last year with the FIFA Confederations Cup as well,” he noted.

“Therefore I am not at all surprised.” “It is just fantastic seeing all these nationalities grouping together and enjoying themselves,” Smith said.

“I am glad it has happened and I am glad that so many others are seeing now what I so often saw in all those cities and not just Moscow.”

Sorokin, in his turn, said positive atmosphere and unforgettable memories have become the main result of the World Cup.

“We were preparing for a great number of guests, for friendly atmosphere, cities were getting ready to offer authentic experience. We have plenty of stories demonstrating that Russians are truly glad to receive guests. For example, when a Peru fan came to a wrong apartment in Yekaterinburg, [its residents] invited him to stay at their place,” Sorokin said.

“This is most precious, and this cannot be organized,” he said. “This goes beyond setting up a security perimeter and printing booklets for fans. This is what the main result of the World Cup is.”

Referees trying to get used to VAR During the second conference, Chairman of the FIFA Referees Committee Pierluigi Collina, FIFA’s Director of Refereeing Massimo Busacca and VAR Refereeing Project Leader Roberto Rosetti analyzed different group matches and answered questions from journalists.

During the conference, Collina made a detailed presentation of disputable refereeing episodes of the group stage, accompanied by records of referees’ conversations with the VAR team.

“95% of the decisions taken by the referees without the VAR were correct, and this percentage increased to 99.3% thanks to the intervention of the VAR. Something that’s always been said – VAR does not mean perfection.

But as you can see 99.3% is something that is very, very close,” Collina said, FIFA VAR Refereeing Project Leader Roberto Rosetti said the referee will remain at the centre of the decision-making process.

“The VAR doesn’t decide. The VAR just recommends an on-field review. Only the referee has to take the final decision.” he said.

“This is the difference between interpretation, subjective decisions and factual decisions. For all interpretations, we want the referee at the centre of the decision-making. Director of FIFA Refereeing Massimo Busacca said, in his turn, that “today, I think VAR has helped a lot.”

He added that at this stage, FIFA is yet to decide on the list of referees for the knockout stage. Saturday schedule Meanwhile, teams are getting ready for the upcoming knockout stage.

On Saturday, Argentina will clash with France in Kazan at 17:00 Moscow time. At 21:00 Moscow times, Uruguay will take on Portugal in Sochi.