Norfolk’s Darren Cann stand the heat in Brazil

Darren Cann, left, lines up for the presentation with fellow assistant referee Mike Mullarkey and referee Howard Webb following the 2010 Fifa World Cup final in Johannesburg. Picture: Laurence Griffiths / Getty Images Darren Cann, left, lines up for the presentation with fellow assistant referee Mike Mullarkey and referee Howard Webb following the 2010 Fifa World Cup final in Johannesburg. Picture: Laurence Griffiths / Getty Images

Wednesday, June 4, 2014
1:19 PM

Coping with the humidity in Brazil has been one of England boss’ Roy Hodgson’s main concerns this summer.

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Whilst the players adopt specific fitness programmes to cope with the immense heat in certain regions like Manaus, the officials have also had to adapt their training regimes.

“We have to train harder than perhaps we normally would during the course of the season,” revealed Darren Cann. “We’ve had a programme to follow since January by FIFA and it’s a daily training programme where we have to send our data every week to FIFA for them to analyse and then they will increase or decrease the training depending on the results.

“Howard Webb is also going to Sheffield Hallam for some humidity training. He has been training in a chamber – he always reminds me that I only have to cover half a pitch!

“It shows the level of professionalism on his part – it’s not a FIFA requirement. He is obviously a very fit guy any way but that’s the level of detail that he goes to make sure he is perfectly attuned for the heat.”

The English trio had a taste of the heat during the Confederations Cup last summer and it demonstrated to them how much fitter they would need to be to cope with the physical demands.

“We did two matches, including one of the semi-finals between Italy and Spain, and Howard burnt nearly 4,000 calories in that game. Normally in a Premier League game it would be between 2,000 to 2,200 so it just shows how much extra energy is used in that humidity.

“We’ve had to tailor our programmes a bit but we will be ready when called upon. As an assistant I have to do a lot of stop-start training with a five-second rest and that replicates what we do on the line. There’s some longer distance stuff as well - it’s important we have got the stamina to get through games at the World Cup.

“When you factor in the preparation time looking at teams and formations etc I think it really demonstrates what a full time job it is.”

Whilst we are told endlessly about how players have to cope with boredom during tournament football, Cann and Co. are well versed in whiling away a few spare hours when away from home.

“Like footballers we can get bored but do a number of things to stop that. For example we take videos – one of our favourites is Peter Kay’s Phoenix Knights, we take lots of DVDs and pack of cards. We’ll also play Top Trumps for hours.

“But there isn’t really a great deal of time – we leave on May 31 and for the next 10 days we will be having seminars as well as physical training. Once the tournament gets started we will watch every single game. There is a TV room set up where all the other referees watch the games.”

Cann is due to arrive in Brazil on Saturday for the start of FIFA’s seminars when the body will set the refereeing agenda for the World Cup and beyond.

When asked what he is expecting Cann said: “You can be sure that pushing and holding at corners and free-kicks will be important and we will I’m sure be asked to focus on protecting the image of the game.

“Players waving an imaginary yellow card – no-one likes to see that. I think we will told to be vigilant in dealing with cynical or foul play.

“We have to remember that the World Cup is an event watched around the world and young children can be influenced by the behaviour of everyone involved.”

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