Monday February 13 2012
Collina envisages refereeing changes

Former Serie A referee and current UEFA chief Pierluigi Collina believes the time has come for changes to be made to officiating in the game.

Collina, a top-flight match official in Italy for 14 years of his career, is now UEFA’s chief refereeing officer and a member of the UEFA Referees Committee.

The 51-year-old, whose capacity in his role sees him overseeing the committee’s responsibility to define the governing body’s refereeing technical strategies and appoint officials for UEFA competitions, has reflected on the changing face of the game and officiating it.

One area he is interested in trying to change is the rule in the game about dismissing players at the same time as awarding a penalty to the opposition teams.

“Is it not enough to give a penalty kick to return the clear chance of scoring to a team, without also altering, with the case of a red card, the rest of the game?” asked Collina on Radio anch'io lo sport today.

“There is movement against this type of sanction. This year could be the right time [to change it].

“On the occasion of a clear goal-scoring opportunity, the player would no longer be expelled, but given a yellow card if they have acted to get the ball, for a foul that outside the box is a yellow but inside is currently a red.

“Is it not an antiquated rule? We say that this has been a subject of discussion for years. Let me be clear, no-one is saying to not send off players who are disrespectful to opponents of the game [deliberately denying a clear goal-scoring opportunity].”

Collina will have an opportunity to raise such a rule change in a few weeks time when he attends the International Football Association Board’s latest meeting next month. The IFAB are the game’s lawmakers.

“On March 3 there will be a meeting to consider a range of proposals. Discussion will include using goal-line officials, which we will see at the European Championships this summer in Poland and Ukraine, on a widespread basis.

“Probably a decision will be made by July 2 - applying it to League championships may create staffing problems as the goal-line officials must be of quality and their preparation must be of the highest level.

“In the Champions League and Europa League we are very satisfied with the decisions over ‘ghost goals’ and several decisions were made without any problem.

“There has also been a deduction in the amount of pushing in the area during dead-ball situations. The presence of an extra pair of eyes in the area from a different angle has persuaded the players to avoid pushing now.”

Collina also took time to focus a bit on his home country and the refereeing standards in Serie A.

“The Italian refereeing movement is important and the work done in recent years has progressed and has given and is giving significant results.

“Italy has three officials in the elite category - [Nicola] Rizzoli, [Gianluca] Rocchi and [Paolo] Tagliavento, so the level of appreciation of Italian referees in Europe is very high.

“The goal, however, that we are trying to achieve [at UEFA] is not about the make-up of a few major football countries. The objective is to find good referees, appropriate to Champions League and Europa League level, in less-significant footballing countries.”

Collina is responsible for Rizzoli being handed a position as referee for Euro 2012.

“Rizzoli at the Euros? The choices are never forced, always wanted. We have selected 12 referees, we believe they are the best suited to refereeing the final phase of the European Championships.

“Unfortunately, we have a constraint that forces us to maximise the number of officials from each nation, maybe this will change for Euro 2016 when the number of nations will be increased.”

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