Teacher-refs set off for World Cup

5th June 1998 at 01:00
So now we know who's the bastard in the black. The referee's a... teacher, and that's official.

Sixty-seven have been appointed for France 98, and 10 of them will come straight from the classroom - a better representation than any other profession.

Even the assorted businessmen and lawyers require a bit of classroom technique when they don the ref's uniform, says FIFA, the world football body.

"It's above all a mentality to tell you the truth," explains spokesman Keith Cooper. "I mean this in the best possible way - a good ref has a certain schoolmasterly touch. That's not to say that he's domineering or bullying.

"Refereeing does take a certain self-discipline and a certain intelligence. It's man management: being able to handle 22 people of different personalities, mentalities and standards of ability."

Teaching is as popular among British refs as it is abroad. George Courtney, a referee in the Italia 90 competition, is head of Oxclose County primary in Spennymore, County Durham.

Meanwhile David Elleray, house master and head of geography at Harrow school, nobly gave up his own chance to ref at this year's finals for the sake of his pupils (see Friday, page 4).

France 98 will, however, see teacherly performances from: Abdul Rahman Al Zeid from Saudi Arabia, Ian McLeod from South Africa, Jose-Manuel Garcia Aranda from Spain, Sri Lanka's Muhamad Wickeramatunge Samarathna, Young Hyun Jeon from South Korea, Merere Louis Gonzales from Trinidad and Tobago, Louis Ferndandez Torres Zuniga from Costa Rica, Jorge Luis Arango Cardona, Brazil's Arnaodo de Menezes Pinto Filho and Fernando Tresaco Gracia from Spain.

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