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http://www.skysports.com/story/0,19528,11096_3431669,00.html

Skysports.com met Pierluigi Collina at last weekend's MotoGP Grand Prix in Estoril, Portugal and asked the man widely regarded as football's best official until his retirement in 2005 a selection of questions sent in by readers.

The Italian was in Portugal as an ambassador for Castrol who, in conjunction with Uefa, have developed a new tool ahead of Euro 2008 - the Castrol Performance Index - which will give football fans access to graphics and detailed statistics and analysis (usually only available to coaches and managers) that will enable them to judge player and team performance at the tournament.

Collina explained how the detailed data resource would help benefit officials, players, coaches and fans alike, but also took time out to answer your questions.

Due to an overwhelming response, we were unable to ask all the questions sent in, but whittled them down to a top ten that the unmistakeable Italian official answered.

Collina, who took charge of the 2002 World Cup final and Manchester United's famous UEFA Champions League triumph over Bayern Munich in 1999, gave us his views on a range of topics from his start in refereeing, to his confessed support of Lazio, to the much-talked about issue of respect for officials in modern-day football.

1. When and how did you start out on your refereeing career?

A long, long time ago and time flies. I was 17 years old, 31 years ago. I did it without any particular reason, only because my best mate at high school went to a course and he asked me; 'Why don't you come with me?' and I told myself, 'Why not?' So I certainly wasn't convinced I would go on to do what I have and speaking about referees after more than 30 years.

2. Which, for you, is the most memorable match that you have taken charge of?

I would say I have been very, very lucky lucky as there have been many great matches I have refereed in. I can't avoid mentioning the World Cup final (2002) because for everybody, a player, a coach, even a commentator, it is fantastic to be involved as so few World Cup finals have been played in the history of football. So to be one of the referees to be in the history of football, certainly the World Cup final is very special. But I also refereed the Champions League final in Barcelona which I particularly remember, the Manchester United-Bayern Munich game with the two goals scored during stoppage time, so that was certainly one of the most thrilling ends to a football match. I also refereed England-Scotland at Wembley which was something very particular. If you like football there are some matches that are very different from others and England versus Scotland is certainly something very exciting like Real Madrid-Barcelona in the semi-finals of the Champions League. I would say many, I have been very lucky.

3. Did you support a team as a boy and was it hard for you to referee games involving that team?

I think it's normal if you were a kid, and everybody has been, that you supported a team. But a referee has to be considered as professional as the players. It's normal for a player to support a team and sometimes they play against the team they supported, but because they are professional they try to do their best as well. It is the same for referees, if you don't want to have referees who supported teams as kids then we would have to bring referees from Mars or some other planet. So I would say I certainly had sympathy for a team as a kid, then I came to a profession and it's normal to do your best forgetting that the team you supported as a kid might be the one you are refereeing.

4. How did you manage to always maintain your authority with the players when refereeing?

It is not a matter of authority, it is a matter of respect. You have to be accepted on the field of play not because you are the referee, but because people trust in you, the players trust in you. This means you can reach the best result a referee can reach which is to be accepted even when he is wrong. That is the best, because it means the players trust in you even when they realise you are wrong - and it does happen that you are wrong. So it is a matter of credibility and trust much more than authority.

5. Did you prefer refereeing club or international matches?

I am lucky to be Italian and to have in Italy one of the most important leagues in Europe, so certainly it was amazing to referee in a league like the Italian one as well as international competition. Unfortunately for other referees they are not in such challenging competitions at domestic level and for them the international level is more exciting. But certainly for me the two were quite similar.

6. Are you in favour of introducing technology to the game to help officials?


It doesn't matter if I am in favour of technology or not because the decision to bring it in is not mine. A few years ago in 1999, I was in Faro in Portugal attending a referees' course and I was the spokesman for the referees. We were asked about using technology for the goal-line and at that time we said, 'Why not?'. But now the IFAB (International Football Association Board) has decided not to go through with any more experiments with technology and the referees' job remains to apply the rules decided by someone else, not to decide the rules themselves so it doesn't matter what I think.

7. Any there any rules currently in the game that you would like to see changed?

I don't think it is easy to comment as referees are there to apply the rules set by other people. But I see something as not fair in double punishment. If a player denies a player a goalscoring chance then it's a penalty and a sending-off. To me maybe that is not right as it's a double punishment. A match could be really affected by a player being sent off at the start of the match as the penalty can also be scored and then the team plays with only ten men for a long time and is already losing. This is one ruling that I see as not right. For me, if the penalty is scored then that can be enough punishment for the offence.

8. What are your views on the 'Respect' campaign in England that is encouraging players to show more respect to officials?

I read something in the newspapers of course and I think the word respect is one of the key words for the forthcoming Euro 2008 tournament as UEFA president (Michel) Platini said. I think respect is really something that should be protected as respect means a lot of things; respect for your opponent, respect for yourself, for your health and your opponent's health, respect for the spectators because they are also enjoying a show, respect for everybody - even the referee. I consider respect as a key word for the future of football.

9. Do you think the game changed much during your career as a referee?

When you look at football 20 years ago people always have the same reaction, my television must be broken because the game is so slow. Certainly for referees the game has changed because it's so much quicker and that makes it difficult for referees as players are always closer to each other throughout and it is always so quick right up until the final minute of the match so referees must be ready all the time. Of course it would be much easier for referees to go back 20 years as you had time to do everything then.

10. What are your views on the forthcoming Euro 2008 tournament? Which teams do you think will do well?

It is very difficult, it will be very interesting, sometimes at the European Championship the underdog wins. Some years ago there was Denmark who were not in the competition originally but went on to win it, then there was Greece in Portugal four years ago - no-one predicted that. It is a short competition, many players could be tired after a long season so there a lot of factors to consider. But of course, I hope Italy do well just as they did at the World Cup.
 
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Thanks for posting that, a brilliant article.

Pierluigi Collina is about the only referee
that commands, and gets, respect off players
and fans alike.

If you ask football fans to name a referee
i bet his name comes up first off many lips.

If there is such a thing as a referee legend
then Pierluigi Collina is certainly up there in
the running.


Although how players dont get a yellow for
dissent for laughing when they look at his face
and his eyes when he's warning them i'll never
know.

Thanks for that insight into one of the best referees
in football.
.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
SALFORD RED said:
Thanks for posting that, a brilliant article.

Pierluigi Collina is about the only referee
that commands, and gets, respect off players
and fans alike.........


Although how players dont get a yellow for
dissent for laughing when they look at his face
and his eyes when he's warning them i'll never
know.

Thanks for that insight into one of the best referees
in football.
.

LOL!

He does look like a Star Wars character doesn't? Maybe that's why he gets respect, because the players afraid the eyes might pop out.

The man is a legend and has a career choc-full of good decision. He almost always got the big decisions right and never sought to put himself in the lime-light, that's why the players trusted him.

If Keith Hackett is serious about improving the standards of referees in the premier league he should do two things:

1. Have bi-weekly meetings with his top refs to discuss the best and worst decisions of the past two weekends. This can also help calibrate decision-making. With online meeting software, logistics should not be a problem to facilitate such a meeting.

2. Have a refereeing legend like Collina or.........Collina conduct courses for the premier league refs.

You would want the best coaches for the top people in any industry, why not in football?
 
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Red Devil said:
even my wife, who is not a footy fan, knows Collina
Mrs Sal ( not into football )spots him straight away,
no matter what programme he's on.
She thinks he's brilliant.

RFR...Have a refereeing legend like Collina teaching
other referees or up and coming referees would be
one of the best things to happen in the game for a
long time.

His popping eyes ?? I can't even think about them
without laughing, but he's a great man and a credit to his
proffesion.
.
 

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What a ref to of his game if you ask me and he reffed the final in 99 so just for giving us the few extra minutes thanks ref.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
SALFORD RED said:
Mrs Sal ( not into football )spots him straight away,
no matter what programme he's on.
She thinks he's brilliant.

RFR...Have a refereeing legend like Collina teaching
other referees or up and coming referees would be
one of the best things to happen in the game for a
long time.


His popping eyes ?? I can't even think about them
without laughing, but he's a great man and a credit to his
proffesion.
.

Roy Keane announced in midweek that he received a call from Keith Hackett apologizing for Mike Riley's mistake in the game against Man Shitty.

In a league where 3 points dropped can have repercussions worth millions of pounds, is it unreasonable to ask the officials to get the big decisions right?

It should actually be STANDARD that the big decisions are correct or at the very least consistent across the board.

Keane receives Hackett apology
Referees' chief says sorry for penalty decision

http://www.skysports.com/story/0,19528,11695_3439365,00.html

Sunderland manager Roy Keane has revealed he has received an apology from referees' chief Keith Hackett.

The Black Cats have been knocked back by a number of controversial refereeing decisions over recent weeks as they bid to maintain their Premier League status.

And Keane was left furious last weekend as referee Mike Riley adjudged Sunderland defender Nyron Nosworthy to have brought down Manchester City forward Daniel Sturridge as the Blues recorded a 2-1 win at the Stadium of Light.

Replays showed Nosworthy did not touch Sturridge and Keane has admitted that Hackett has since phoned him to apologise for the decision, but the Sunderland boss says the peace offering is of little comfort as his side continue to look nervously over their shoulders ahead of Sunday's Tyne-Wear derby with Newcastle.

Consolation

"I do not know where Keith got my mobile number from but he rang up to apologise," said Keane.

"It is of little consolation to us and will not make much difference to our supporters, but we had a good chat.

"His exact words to me were that neither he, nor the assessor, could get their heads around why the referee would give the penalty."
 

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a great interview..cant believe that a referee legend got into it by chance.....but one fo the greatest referees of all time and a legend...
 

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RedForce, I have always been in favour of technology to get the right decision and even more so now. I have also always said that teams do not win titles, cups etc, its officials decisions. Collina was the best ....................

When he retired in Series A; there was talk of him being brought over as a professional referee, shame it never came to anything.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Red Devil said:
RedForce, I have always been in favour of technology to get the right decision and even more so now. I have also always said that teams do not win titles, cups etc, its officials decisions. Collina was the best ....................

When he retired in Series A; there was talk of him being brought over as a professional referee, shame it never came to anything.

I absolutely agree!

I think people who argue against technology are not looking at football philosophically. If you want to be the best you have to win by fair means and beat the best teams. Technology will help to eradicate dodgy decisions.

Than there are those that say it would slow the game down, but in this day of wireless technology, how many seconds would it take to ask a fifth official sitting with the TV crew if it really was offside?

There are those that say that eliminating bad judgements will give people less to talk about, but I think there's plenty to talk about and it's usually better than the ref's stupidity/blindeness/bribe received for calling it the wrong way.

It could start with goal-line technology and contentious offside decisions.
 
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