Monday, September 3, 2007

Arrival of the Referees

The WWC referees have all arrived in Shanghai. It is a diverse group of women with 29 countries represented from around the world. We are headquartered at a beautiful hotel in Shanghai with first class facilities.

We are fortunate to have the support of a fantastic staff including FIFA referee department members, FIFA referee committee members, FIFA instructors, match inspectors, fitness trainers, psychologist, IT specialists and masseurs.

We have started our regular training sessions. Every morning at 9am we head over to a local university for 45 minutes of physical training followed by 90 minutes of technical training. After we return from our training sessions, we have lunch followed by an afternoon meeting at the hotel.

Technology is part of our everyday life here in China. We use heart rate monitors at all of our training sessions. Also we have been introduced to the electronic communication system. Outside the men's world cup in 2006, this is the next tournament FIFA has hosted were the system is to be used. CONCACAF referees were outfitted first at Monday's training session. We got 30 minutes to practice with the technology. The equipment consists of 4 transmitters one for each official on the team. The transmitters are strapped to our waists via a "girdle/belt" with a cord that connects to a headset. The communication systems can be "open" for all 4 officials to be able to speak at anytime, or you can be outfitted with a "push to talk" button that allows speaking only when a button it pushed. In any case all 4 officials can hear one another at all times. The intent of these systems is to assist in situations where a good signal and eye contact are not adequate.

FIFA has really worked to create a team environment; they have set-up a lounge for us complete with 4 Internet ready computers, a big screen tv and the ever popular Ping-Pong Table - a MUST in China.

No change in the weather here in Shanghai. Still overcast, with light rain. And clearly high, high humidity.

Tomorrow (Wed. in China) we are set to take the fitness test. Wish us luck!