World Cup referees outrun players

interns Contributor
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(CNN) — For two years leading up to the World Cup, Brian Hall exercised four hours almost every day.

He lifted weights, jogged, did interval training and monitored his heart rate while holding a day job. And years before that, he squeezed in workouts while working 8-to-7 office job as a vice president for procurement at Visa and a software director.

Hall had one goal: to make it to the World Cup as a referee.

Referees, who can be twice the age of the players, sprint across the field keeping up with the players and closely tracking the action. They tend to run 12 miles during the game — five more than the players, according to data from the U.S. Soccer Federation.

The 2010 FIFA World Cup begins June 11 in South Africa. Every four years, 32 countries compete for a month to be named the best soccer team in the world.

The journey to becoming a referee in the world’s biggest sports event is physically demanding. FIFA, the governing body that oversees the tournament, sets rigorous fitness requirements for its World Cup referees in a weed-out process that began three years ago.

Unlike the elite soccer players who have a cadre of trainers and specialists, most of the referees have day jobs, like teaching or office work, and must find their own time to train.

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