The Confederation of African Football (CAF) has taken the first step in professionalising refereeing in the continent with selection of a pilot group of 20 referees who will be contracted for a period of one year.
This is curated in a semiprofessional project that will see the referees put on a contract and given train- ing facilitation. Eighteen male referees and two female referees have been selected for this maiden project.
“Footballers and coaches are now professionals and it is only referees who are still amateur. There was a need to upgrade our referees and put them in the professional category as well.”
In selecting the maiden group for this project, the CAF refereeing committee has one eye cast on the 2022 FIFA World Cup, and African representatives for the tournament will be picked from this group of 20.
Maillet explains that in picking the initial group of 20, the Refereeing Committee sought to strike a balance between the six CAF Zones while age, competency and performance in the past top level games, Vide Assistant Ref-eree (VAR) compatibility, physical condition and technical abilities were also considered.