Football: World Cup - Referees' displays improve says Fifa

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The Independent Online
FIFA YESTERDAY awarded a green card to World Cup referees, describing the standard of officiating in France as "very high" and a distinct improvement on the last finals in 1994.

David Will, the chairman of the referees' committee of world football's governing body, said that Fifa has been delighted with the referees and linesmen in France. "The overall standard is very high, higher than it was in the USA in 1994, there is no doubt about that," he said.

"Of course there have been some mistakes," Will added. "But I would say there were only three refereeing performances with which we were not satisfied." He would not reveal which ones they were.

Will reiterated Fifa's policy that video technology would not be used in the foreseeable future to help referees make decisions. "I do not want to create a situation where the referee is no more than a secretary on the field of play for a supervisor sitting in the stand in front of a batch of TV monitors," he said.

Two international careers came to an end on Wednesday night. The veteran Spanish goalkeeper Andoni Zubizarreta and the Bulgarian coach, Hristo Bonev, both announced their respective resignations following Spain's 6-1 victory over Bulgaria in Lens, after which both countries were eliminated.

Bonev, whose team went home with a single point and a single goal, said: "I can't go on in charge after the way the team has played in this World Cup. I have principles." Zubizarreta, who has retired from playing, is expected to become an assistant coach to the Spanish national team.