Johannesburg - The resignation of the former head of the Union of European Football Associations (Uefa) referee committee came as a shock.
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The 58-year-old Pierluigi Collina (him of the “evil” stare) stepped down this week after eight years in the job.
During that time, he advanced refereeing to a new level, and was responsible for setting up and managing the Centre of Refereeing Excellence.
He created 360° monitoring and development programmes for officials to improve their technical skills, fitness and nutrition, and ensure that tactical elements and knowledge of teams became part of the referees’ preparation for every match.
I’m not sure I understand “tactical elements and knowledge of teams”.
Does it mean we have to be aware of a team’s tactics as part of our understanding of why they do what they do, and make allowances for them?
Does it mean we now have to understand all their emotions, and make allowances for their childish tantrums?
I’m not sure I agree with that.
There is no doubt Collina is a world icon in refereeing and very well respected wherever he goes. He is well known for his style of officiating and management of teams, and he could strike fear into most players with just one look.
The cynical side of me wonders if Collina decided to go for reasons other than the ones being mentioned.
My own opinion is that he is not the same man I liked and respected while he was blowing the whistle.
I felt he was becoming too “political” in his statements, and in some ways I had started to wonder if there were outside or inside pressures being bought to bear on him.
Almost as if he was being told what to say rather than doing his own thing. That is just my opinion and perception.
When he was first appointed, I felt it was a good move and that someone of his stature would surely be good for referees and assistant referees.
Now you see the reasons for my cynicism and doubt.
He’s being replaced by Roberto Rosetti, who was on the Fifa list of elite referees from 2002 up to his retirement in 2010.
I wonder why the job wasn’t advertised. Hmm.
Rosetti was responsible for implementing the video assistant referee system at the recent World Cup, having previously spent two years as Russia’s head of refereeing.
In accepting the post of chief refereeing officer, Rosetti will also assume the position of chairperson of the referee committee at Uefa.
Making his acceptance speech, Rossetti said it was a great honour to accept the job.
He said Uefa had led the way in referee development in recent years, and “I am looking forward to the challenge of continuing and enhancing the progress, alongside the president, my fellow refereeing officers, the committee and the rest of the organisation”.
Sorry for being cynical again, but that last statement – mentioning the president and so on – contains a certain amount of political jargon.
It would be wrong to judge a man before he’s had a chance to do the job, so I will wait to see what happens before passing judgement.
Refereeing was, and in my opinion continues to be, the “poor relation” of football.
We are the last to be thought of when it comes to budgets being raised for training and development, yet we are expected to give world-class performances every time.
We are not allowed to make a mistake and are expected to officiate each game with the wisdom and knowledge of the gods.
I’m sure I’ll be talking about this subject again as the various leagues get underway in the coming weeks.
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