World Cup officials to speak English but none of them will be British

There will be no British officials at this summer’s World Cup, but the main language of communication is set to be English.

FIFA announced its list of 13 specialised Video Assistant Referees for this summer’s World Cup on Monday, with no Britons selected.

The world governing body on March 29 selected 36 referees and 63 assistant referees for Russia 2018, but none of the 10 referees and 20 assistants from European governing body UEFA are Britons.

Yet the main language used by the officials from 48 countries will be English, FIFA has told Press Association Sport.

There may be occasions when the officials all speak the same language, so they would communicate in that language.

England is the only one of the home nations to have qualified for the tournament. But there will be no match officials from England, Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland, nor the Republic of Ireland, who also failed to qualify, at Russia 2018.

Englishman Howard Webb was the World Cup final referee at South Africa 2010 and was England’s referee representative at the Brazil 2014 tournament.

Italy is represented by six officials and Holland four. Both nations failed to qualify for Russia 2018.

FIFA said “the selection criteria for the VARs was primarily based on their experience as Video Match Officials in their respective National Associations and Confederation competitions, in addition to their successful participation in several preparatory seminars and FIFA competitions, where they enhanced their VAR knowledge and skills by using the system”.

The VAR system has been scrutinised for adding, rather than removing, controversy from officials’ decisions.

Some of the selected 36 referees and 63 assistant referees will also be given VAR appointments prior to matches, the world governing body said.

The VAR team will be located in a centralised video operation room in Moscow and has access to all relevant broadcast cameras and two dedicated offside cameras, FIFA states on its website.

There will be one VAR and three assistant VARs for each match at the tournament, which begins when hosts Russia play Saudi Arabia in Moscow on June 14.

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