Saturday,24 March, 2018
Current issue | Issue 1384, (8 - 14 March 2018)
Saturday,24 March, 2018
Issue 1384, (8 - 14 March 2018)

Ahram Weekly

Tour to make sure

The Egyptian Football Association is satisfied with its team’s facilities at the upcoming 2018 World Cup Russia, reports Inas Mazhar

Egypt plays Russia at the Krestovsky Stadium of Saint Petersburg then faces Saudi Arabia at the Volgograd arena

Following the conclusion of the FIFA team workshop held in Sochi, Russia last week, Egypt’s team manager Ihab Leheta and administrator Mohamed Salah visited the three cities where Egypt will be playing its three matches in the group stage: Yekaterinburg, St Petersburg and Moscow.

Egypt plays Russia at the Krestovsky Stadium of Saint Petersburg then faces Saudi Arabia at the Volgograd arena

The delegates visited Yekaterinburg which will host Egypt’s debut match in the World Cup on 15 June against Uruguay, then St Petersburg where the Pharaohs will take on the host nation Russia on 19 June and Moscow where Egypt will play its final match of the first round against Saudi Arabia on 25 June.

The visits included inspection site visits to the stadiums of the three cities as well as the hotels where the teams will be staying.

“All is good so far. There are minor remarks which we have informed the Local Organising Committee and FIFA about and we are sure everything will be ready by the time we arrive for the World Cup,” Leheta said.

With the World Cup just around the corner, representatives of all 32 participating countries met recently in the host nation to learn more about Russia’s organisation of the tournament. Delegates had gathered in the southern city of Sochi to receive detailed information on the upcoming competition.

“The workshop was one of the most important stages of the tournament’s preparations. It was essential for delegates to obtain information necessary for their stay in the country during the World Cup and to resolve any issues they might have about the organisation of the event,” said Egypt’s head of delegation Karam Kordi.

A series of informative sessions were held covering different aspects of the tournament, from security to technical issues as well as transport, communications, accreditation, logistics, media and marketing.

Russia’s head coach Stanislav Cherchesov underlined the importance of the event and highlighted some of the key elements. “It was a useful workshop. We started off by discussing technical aspects that could help us during the games and then we were informed about the potential refereeing innovations. We were also told about various topics related to the organisation of the competition.”

The seminar was also an opportunity for the teams to learn more about Russia and to better understand the efforts of the LOC in ensuring the tournament meets the highest standards.

Over 250 delegates from the 32 teams took part in the workshop.

They departed satisfied with the information they had received, including Sweden head coach Janne Andersson.

“It was very well organised. It’s my first time at a World Cup so I was able to hear lots of interesting things about the tournament. There was lots of very useful information. The more you know about your job, the better your chances of being successful. On top of that, being in Russia and being involved in this was very pleasant,” Andersson said.

Meanwhile, days following the workshop, the International Football Association Board (IFAB) unanimously approved the use of video assistant referees (VARs) at its 132nd annual general meeting that took place at FIFA’s headquarters in Zurich.

VARs was discussed in the plenary session of the workshop and later in detail at the technical break-up session. Participants learned about this new approach and waited for its approval which came later.

This landmark meeting, chaired by FIFA President Gianni Infantino, represented a new era for football with video assistance for referees helping to increase integrity and fairness in the game. Prior to taking its decision, IFAB members (the football associations of England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, as well as FIFA which represents all other national football associations) were presented with the results of the independent analysis of the use of VARs conducted by Belgian University KU Leuven since the beginning of the VAR experiment in March 2016.

The philosophy of VARs is Minimum Interference – Maximum Benefit which aims to reduce unfairness caused by “clear and obvious errors” or “serious missed incidents” in relation to goals, penalties, direct red cards (not second yellow cards or cautions), and mistaken identity (when the referee cautions or sends off the wrong player of the offending team).

The principles of the VAR Implementation Assistance and Approval Programme (IAAP), to be overseen by IFAB in conjunction with FIFA, was also approved to ensure consistency and quality in competitions that want to use VARs. IFAB members approved a draft VAR handbook containing compulsory protocol, principles and requirements, as well as advice on the implementation of VARs to enable competitions to complete the rigorous mandatory approval process.

Additional decisions taken at the workshop included allowing the option of an additional substitute to be used in extra time, following a two-year experiment conducted in over a dozen competitions around the world, as well as approving the use of electronic and communication equipment in the technical area (small handheld mobile devices), strictly for tactical/coaching purposes and player safety.

Members were also updated on the FIFA Quality Programme for electronic performance and tracking systems (EPTS), and confirmed the revised wordings on “denying an obvious goal-scoring opportunity” (DOGSO) and “stopping a promising attack” (SPA) which have addressed the so-called “triple punishment” of sending off, penalty and suspension.

The workshop also agreed to extend the testing of some of the Play Fair! initiatives following consultation with stakeholders and the football advisory and technical advisory panels of IFAB.

add comment

  • follow us on