The list includes 750 referees and assistant referees. All are required to pass several tests before FIFA selects the final 56 referees and 100 assistants.
Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, many global football tournaments were either postponed or canceled last year, meaning many refs on the list have not seen the pitch during the past nine months.
However, in Vietnam, women’s football tournaments still took place as normal, from the U14 contest to the national championship, thanks to the country’s superb efforts in containing Covid-19. That means Trang and Trinh were refereeing regularly in 2020, giving them an advantage in the competition for a spot at Women’s World Cup 2023.
Referee Bui Thu Trang and assistant referee Truong Thu Le Trinh. Photo by VnExpress/Duc Dong.
Trang is one of only three referees in Vietnam certified as elite FIFA refs. This is the highest level of refereeing and can only be awarded to those who reach FIFA standards, are fluent in English and passed physical tests at all levels.
“I was really excited when I heard the news because World Cup is a dream for anyone who works in the football field, including a referee like me. No Vietnamese referee has ever been selected into the candidate list before, not to mention the final list. But I will try my best. If I get selected, it would be a dream come true for me,” Trang said.
According to FIFA requirements, candidates like Trang and Trinh are expected to referee football matches at the highest level in their countries. FIFA also requires candidates to participate in the men’s training program for referees and assistant referees so they could improve their skills under the instruction of elite experts in the region as well as the world. Throughout these courses, FIFA will assess, evaluate and select the best for World Cup.