FIFA World Cup Referees must say it "in English"

English is now the official language of world football refereeing, at least for those officiating at FIFA's 2006 World Cup in Germany, beginning on 9 June. FIFA regards English, German, Spanish and French as its official languages, providing translation services in all four at its media events. However, for the referees only English will do when they get together, except when they are actually doing their jobs.

FIFA has decided to use trios of referees and two assistants from the same country, or at least the same confederation and with a common language. "The trios have to speak the same language," FIFA general secretary Urs Linsi said as quoted by Kevin Fylan of Reuters. "It's important because when they are in the fray they need to be able to talk to each other without problems."

However FIFA also wants to make sure there is no confusion at referee headquarters. "It's important for an international team that when the referees get together they can communicate in one language," Linsi said. "They are a team and one language must be predominant. We've opted for English. The referees are going to have to speak and write in English. This is going to promote team spirit."