CHICAGO (Nov. 29, 2017) – U.S. Soccer referees Mark Geiger and Jair Marrufo were recently invited to Abu Dhabi, UAE by the FIFA Referees Committee for a FIFA seminar as part of preparations for the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia.
Running from Nov. 25-29, the seminar marked the start of FIFA’s referee selection process for the 2018 FIFA World Cup, where 85 FIFA Referees, Assistant Referees and Video Assistant Referees from around the world will be selected to officiate the 64 games that will determine the best soccer team in the world.
During the seminar, Geiger, Marrufo and the 34 additional selected invitees from all six FIFA Confederations participated in a series of activities that included practical, theoretical and physical elements, including training sessions with local soccer players.
Marrufo most recently served as a match official for the 2017 FIFA U-17 World Cup, officiated matches at July’s CONCACAF Gold Cup and acted as a VAR (video assistant referee) at June’s FIFA Confederations Cup. A top U.S. referee, Marrufo has been on the FIFA International Panel of Officials since 2007, working his first international match that October between Fiji and New Zealand. His international experience also includes the Olympic Games, Copa America and every Gold Cup since 2009.
Geiger, who has been on the FIFA International Referees List since 2008, refereed at the 2012 Olympics, 2013 and 2015 CONCACAF Gold Cups as well as the 2014 FIFA World Cup. At the 2014 FIFA tournament, Geiger became the first U.S. referee to officiate a knockout match at a World Cup tournament.