While players from across the globe try to find an extra yard of pace or refine their touch ahead of Thursday’s World Cup opener, the officials have been making sure they are fighting fit.
Put through their paces inside Lokomotiv Moscow’s RVB Arena, the officials who will take charge at this summer’s tournament undertook a rigorous session on Tuesday morning.
Fitness levels were put to the test and reaction speeds were also monitored ahead of linesman duty over the next month.
Referees had their fitness levels tested during a training session in Moscow on Tuesday
Polish referee Szymon Marciniak (centre) was all smiles as the referees trained in the sun
Argentinian referee Nestor Pitana has been chosen to officiate the tournament’s first match
Wearing red shirts and black shorts, the referees were photographed in good spirits despite the inevitable anger that will be thrown their way over the coming weeks.
While having to be fit enough to keep up with play, referees will also have the aid of the Video Assistant Referee (VAR) for the tournament’s entirety as it continues to be tested ahead of eventually being rolled out universally.
When deciding the list of officials for this summer’s tournament, governing body FIFA opted against including a British referee.
The list of 36 referees and 63 assistant referees published confirmed officials from 46 countries but none from England, Wales, Scotland or Northern Ireland.
The tournament begins on June 14 when hosts Russia take on Saudi Arabia inside the Luzhniki stadium – which will later go on to host the final one month later.
Video Assistant Referee (VAR) will be available to help referees throughout the tournament
LIST OF WORLD CUP OFFICIALS
Asia: Alireza Faghani (Iran), Ravshan Irmatov (Uzbekistan), Mohammed Abdulla Mohammed (United Arab Emirates), Ryuji Sato (Japan), Nawaf Abdulla Shukralla (Bahrain)
Africa: Mehdi Abid Charef (Algeria), Malang Diedhiou (Senegal), Bakary Papa Gassama (Gambia), Ghead Grisha (Egypt), Janny Sikazwe (Zambia), Bamlak Tessema Weyesa (Ethiopia)
North America: Joel Aguilar (El Salvador), Mark W. Geiger and Jair Marrufo (both United States), Ricardo Montero (Costa Rica), John Pitti (Panama), Cesar Arturo Ramos Palazuelos (Mexico)
South America: Julio Bascunan (Chile), Enrique Caceres (Paraguay), Andres Cunha (Uruguay), Nestor Pitana (Argentina), Sandro Ricci (Brazil), Wilmar Roldan (Colombia)
Oceania: Matthew Conger (New Zealand), Norbert Hauata (Tahiti)
Europe: Felix Brych (Germany), Cuneyt Cakir (Turkey), Sergey Karasev (Russia), Bjorn Kuipers (Holland), Szymon Marciniak (Poland), Antonio Miguel Mateu Lahoz (Spain), Milorad Mazic (Serbia), Gianluca Rocchi (Italy), Damir Skomina (Slovenia), Clement Turpin (France)
VIDEO ASSISTANT REFEREES
Asia: Abdulrahman Al Jassim (Qatar)
South America: Wilton Sampaio (Brazil), Gery Vargas (Bolivia), Mauro Vigliano (Argentina)
Europe: Bastian Dankert, Felix Zwayer (both Germany), Artur Dias Soares, Tiago Bruno Lopes Martins (both Portugal), Pawel Gil (Poland), Massimilliano Irrati, Daniele Orsato, Paulo Valeri (all Italy), Danny Makkelie (Holland)