Referee at the World Cup

  The 2010 FIFA World Cup is about to be held in South Africa. Not long ago, a reporter from Russia’s “Summary” weekly interviewed Italian Pieruzzi Collina, a member of the UEFA Referee Committee and one of the best referees selected by FIFA, on how to choose referees in the World Cup.
  Reporter: How are referees selected for the World Cup? You know, the fate of all football teams depends to a large extent on the professionalism of the referees.
  Collina: FIFA usually uses two years to select referees, which is a long process. At the end of 2008, a referee group of about 40 people was formed. These candidates have participated in a series of seminars, passed exams, tested cultural knowledge, rules of the game, as well as technical, physical, and mental preparation activities. Then, each candidate has to show his true refereeing ability in different important games. For example, in the World Youth Cup football match held in Egypt in October 2009, the referees on the field were actually referees selected by FIFA for the World Cup in South Africa. This is one of the practical tests that can influence who is ultimately chosen to be the referee.
  Reporter: Being a referee in the world’s top competitions is an invaluable experience. Which teams are easier to work with and which are harder? Collina: All the rules and their implementation are the same for every team, no matter what continent or country. The referee should make a decision that everyone can understand and accept. But in addition to these hard and fast rules, the style and character of each team should also be taken into account. If the referee’s decision is beyond the logic of their understanding of football, the players will not understand the referee’s decision. For example, teams in Latin America are fast, very active on the field and play mainly by feel. If the referee keeps calling stop as they pass the ball to form the attacking line, then the whole game is ruined. The British team is a whole other style: every ball they play is high quality, thoughtful and down to earth. If you are a referee in Spain or Greece, you can’t treat the game with British standards, otherwise the players will not understand you, because they are “artists” of football and often play according to their own mood, so they can’t be too rigid to judge their games. , cannot always stop their attack. Take my home country, Italy, for example. Our team is very organized. They will develop a set of tactics before the game, and they will practice it repeatedly during training. . So, only a few African players who play by feel play in Italy. African players feel better in England or France, and their improvisations often add to the team’s performance: in Italy, their performances are not considered tactically. Referees must understand the nuances and be flexible in refereeing teams with different styles in the game based on their own experience.
  Reporter: It is said that a special “Castrol Index” (using the latest technology to objectively analyze and rank players’ performance) will be used in this World Cup to help referees control the game. This program can track players on the field. exercise. What does this do?
  Collina: It saves time, and it also serves as a reminder. In the past, if I wanted to understand the style of a certain team, I would watch the video of the team’s games. Referees need to study multiple games and analyze them carefully. Now, everything is simplified, I can just go to the Castrol website and see, for example, what kind of ball Kaka (a famous Brazilian player) passes the most, and where he mainly moves on the field throughout the game. Correspondingly, I was able to figure out which areas were the “hot spots” when the Brazilian team was playing, so that I could further control the situation of the game. The computer system can record the player’s movement, running speed, the characteristics of mutual cooperation and so on.
  Reporter: How reliable is the list of the best offensive players drawn up by a computer program? Some people think that in principle, there is no such objective ranking in the game.
  Collina: The top European regional leader before the 2010 World Cup was British player Wayne Rooney. He plays with a distinctive character, he is the best striker, takes the most shots and participates in the most effective attacks. The results obtained by computer analysis are the most objective. It is not based on expert opinions, but mathematical calculations made by the system.
  Reporter: Unfortunately, the computer cannot track the referee’s behavior and record the mistakes made by the referee. Do referees have the right to make mistakes?
  Collina: The psychological pressure that referees go through can be felt by anyone who enjoys modern football. Everyone is eager to know the result of the game, and there is no time for the referee to think twice. Decisions need to be made quickly: when a situation arises, react – sometimes in less than a second. In addition, the referee is influenced by television; numerous cameras are directed at him, and the eyes of the public are fixed on him like a magnifying glass. Whether he likes it or not, the referee must learn to hide his emotions, and if his mood swings are obvious, the players can also feel them, which can lead to unforeseen adverse consequences for the game. The job of a referee is much tougher these days than it was in the days without television. Not only that, football is now not just a pure sports game, it is also a commercial activity. Judges’ decisions on the field often have serious financial consequences — affecting sponsors and even entire countries. For example, qualifying for the World Cup by winning the qualifiers means a lot to each participating country, so the responsibilities of the referees in these games are considerable.
  Reporter: This is a huge pressure for the referee.
  Collina: Although experienced, every referee has to prepare well for each specific game. But every referee still cannot avoid the possibility of making mistakes. There are referees who can’t sleep the night before a game, their nervous system doesn’t allow them to slack off. Some referees also do relaxation therapy before the game, in order to take a nap for even 10 minutes. When I first started my refereeing career, I also tried napping physiotherapy, and ended up going to games drowsy, completely out of shape. So, this is not my way of relaxing.
  Reporter: Do you have enough confidence to have a good relationship with the millionaires running on the court?
  Collina: I didn’t make a lot of effort to have a good relationship with them. Now that I am in this position, I must be a competent referee. It doesn’t matter who earns how much. In the game, even if there is a player with a strong personality, it is only because he is that kind of person. “Who is more important on the field, the player or the referee?” This question is also not worth mentioning. All we care about is showing the audience a great game, and only then can our partnership be cemented.
  Reporter: Does it happen that you like some players and you don’t appreciate some players?
  Collina: It’s not a matter of special offers. I am grateful that fate has allowed me to play with different players, such as former Manchester United captain Roy Keane. I found some pictures of contests I’ve been in online that show how we deal with each other. I saw our expressive faces – what a rich expression! Funny things happen when two people with great personalities meet on the field. However, I always enforced the game with a cooperative attitude, which may have helped me resolve conflicts peacefully.
  Reporter: Refereeing is a very dangerous profession, because with a game there are many ambitions, hopes and expectations.
  Collina: In some countries with a lower level of economic development, referees do face some dangerous situations. Regrettably, this is true. In highly developed countries, similar situations rarely occur, but there will still be a lot of psychological pressure, as we have mentioned above.
  Reporter: The referee’s career is short. Do you agree?
  Collina: Let me tell you about my experience. I have been refereeing in Italian football for 15 years and international competitions for 10 years. It certainly wasn’t a surprise to me that when I turned 45 I should retire according to FIFA and UEFA regulations. I’m mentally prepared to continue working, although physically. In 20 years of refereeing, I haven’t enjoyed a weekend, all of it dedicated to football. However, when I resigned as an international referee, I had a lot of free time. I remember going to Tuscany for the first time in years with my family and friends: we chartered a yacht and went to sea for two days without doing anything, which made me so used to the hustle and bustle of football. endlessly. Today, only the UK has professional referees. Others can only recall their career before being a referee. Someone is a dentist again, someone will remember having a diploma in finance or a diploma in lawyers. But the arena still fascinates us…