While football players around the world are preparing for the 2006 World Cup in Germany, so are the referees who will oversee the games.

FIFA, the sport's world governing body, says referees designated for the World Cup finals will start their build-up to the tournament 16 months before the opening kick-off.  A total of 46 international referees will attend the first workshop in Frankfurt between February 12 and 16.  They will be subjected to a medical check-up and theoretical and practical training sessions while working on their physical fitness.
The final list of World Cup referees will be announced early next year.  FIFA president Sepp Blatter says the unique program will help identify, train and prepare the best match officials.

Some information for this report provided by AFP.