FIFA President describes referees as Team One
Says referees have the most difficult job at the FIFA World Cup
Pierluigi Collina says referees will protect players
FIFA President Gianni Infantino has expressed his full support to the match officials at the FIFA World Cup, praising their dedication, professionalism and ability to cope with pressure. “These 129 match officials are doing the most difficult job of all of us, either here in Qatar or at home” he said. “They are top professionals; they are motivated in an incredible way.”
“The referees are for us are not only one team, but they are Team One. They are the most important team at the World Cup because without the referees’ team, there is no World Cup.” The FIFA President suggested that fans who get angry at decisions should try to put themselves in the referee´s position. “I am as much a fan as everyone else and I get upset as much you when there is a mistake or when I simply don't agree with the decision of the referee because I support a particular team,” he said. “I am asking everyone to try to put yourselves in the shoes of the referees just for a moment – (imagine) you were on the ground in front of 80,000 people in a stadium, a few hundred million on television and you have to take instant decisions which can affect entire countries.”
I am asking everyone to try to put yourselves in the shoes of the referees just for a moment. Imagine you were on the ground in front of 80,000 people in a stadium, a few hundred million on television and you have to take instant decisions.
He said that the pressure could not be underestimated. “We will have 3 million people watching the in stadiums, 5 billion watching on TV and they will scrutinise -- rightfully -- every decision taken or not taken by the referees,” he said. The 129 match officials come from 47 countries in all six continents and, for the first time at a FIFA World Cup, include six women. “The preparation they have been done is top level and, for this reason, I have the biggest confidence in Team One,” said the FIFA President, who also called for respect. “We have to respect the referees, we have to respect their work, their professionalism that got them to this level, the preparation they have undertaken.”
Pierluigi Collina, Chairman of FIFA’s Referee’s Committee, said that the referees had been told to protect the players and football’s values. He said that simulation was a lack of respect towards opponents and said referees would also be on the lookout for players who provoked contact to try and win a penalty. He added that there would be no room for dissent and that any kind of stoppage during play – whether it be for injuries, time-wasting or goal celebrations – would be compensated in stoppage time.