Two Spanish referees for the first time in a World Cup

The Futsal World Cup in Lithuania kicks off this Sunday, September 12 and the Spanish team led by Fede Vidal will not be the only representative of our country. For the first time in the history of the World Cups, two Spanish referees will participate in it. Juan José Cordero Gallardo and Alejandro Martínez Flores are part of the select group of 39 referees appointed by FIFA to deliver justice in Lithuania.

“It is a privilege, a satisfaction and a pride to be able to represent the Spanish Committee in a World Cup”, says Cordero Gallardo, who in 2019 was chosen as the best referee in the world. “One always dreams that one day this could happen. For a referee going to a World Cup is the best. We are very proud, satisfied and excited”, says Martínez Flores, referee of the Murcian Committee. Both have been concentrated in Lithuania since last September 1, and since then They participate in different physical training sessions, review theoretical aspects and carry out video work to unify criteria with other classmates.

That two Spanish referees have been selected for this occasion is no coincidence. “We referee in the best league in the world, with the best players and teams in the world, and this makes the refereeing level go up a lot. The Spanish league is a very difficult and demanding competition, it lasts 9 months and that does not exist practically in any other country of Europe “, says Cordero Gallardo.

“Spain has a spectacular arbitration organization chart, from lower categories to the elite. It is impressive. To be able to move up in the category from the base to get a gap in Second or Second B, is very complicated. In Spain we went up to the First Division with an average of between 27 and 32 years old, but when Juanjo and I went out to whistle international matches we got together with colleagues who are 25 years old “, says Martínez Flores. And it is that in arbitration, experience is a degree, and both confirm that over the years their arbitration level has improved substantially. “As in any other profession, flight hours are essential. We have had many more experiences on the floor, we know how to take better care of ourselves, feed ourselves better, train better, have greater stability … and all that makes your refereeing better. case, age is a point in favor more than against “, they point out.

Also, for the first time on a global date, FIFA will implement Video Support (VS) in Lithuania, a tool similar to the VAR system used in football, which will support the referees during the game. In Spain, it was used for the first time in the 2020 Spanish Cup, held in Malaga. “All kinds of tools, both physical and technical, that help us to improve and eliminate all those arbitration errors that have historically occurred, will be welcome”says Cordero Gallardo. “In Spain we have been pioneers, and it has always worked, because its protocol is easy and simple to use in different actions of the game that can make a difference in a match: Goal or no goal, penalty or no penalty, direct red, identity confusion … In our league it has been very well accepted and we hope it will be a success in this World Cup “, adds the Murcian.

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Not only for this reason, this World Cup in Lithuania will go down in history. For the first time, five women will referee at a World Cup. “It is something that our sport has been asking for for a long time and that highlights the globalization of futsal not only at the sporting level, but also at the referee level. The bet that FIFA makes with five teammates in a World Cup does not seem risky at all. It seems deserved to me and I think that all of them are of sufficient level to set the bar very high in the competition. We are in luck “, celebrates Martínez Flores.

Despite the fact that the competition starts in just one day, the referees still do not know which games they will referee. “We come completely blind. We do not know how far in advance we will know the appointments, not even if we are going to referee together.”says Cordero Gallardo. “That two referees who know each other whistle together has many advantages. In Spain the pairs are fixed and this serves so that the level of refereeing is much higher, since the rapport is total, with a simple gesture or a single glance we already know how the partner will react “, adds Martínez Flores.

“For us, the greatest reward is the recognition of the public and the player’s hand, if it is from the team that has lost, the better”, they assure. “Refereeing is a long-distance race, in which you have to go step by step, acquiring certain experience that only gives you the passing of the years, but the day you do not enjoy what you are doing, the best thing to do is lie down. aside”they add.

The World Cup is just about to start, but it is inevitable to talk about calling a hypothetical final. “The fact of having reached this point is in itself the end of a goal, and it is clear that we all want to endure until the last day. Whatever happens it will be an unforgettable experience, it will be a month that we will remember for a lifetime .Take us away ‘I dance it’, but if they put a little more music on us … well, we’ll keep dancing “, they end with laughter.

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