Velasco Carballo: "I am a hardworking referee"

Spanish referee Carlos Velasco Carballo, who attends the UEFA Euro 2012 referees workshop in Warsaw, believes that his appointment is a "reward after 24 years of refereeing” and he defines himself as "a hard worker and an honest person”. In an interview with EFE, Velasco Carballo, also shortlisted for the 2014 FIFA World Cup, acknowledges his satisfaction for having been chosen for Euro 2012, which he hopes to be “an example of sportsmanship and fair play".
- What does being selected for the Euro 2012 mean to you?
- I received the news on 20 December and it was a joy hard to explain. It was the reward for so many years of hard work, training, cold, rain and many games. It is a reward after 24 years of refereeing.
- Did you expect to be in the chosen group?
- Well, honestly, I knew I had potential, but there are only 12 referees attending the finals and many good candidates. I dreamt for sure, but I also knew how difficult it is to be on the final list.
- Do you think it will be harder than anything that you refereed before?
- It is the most significant event in which I will be involved, but the UEFA Champions League semi-final and the UEFA Europa League final, both in 2011, were not easy. Euro 2012 will be followed across Europe and around the world and I am proud to represent my country. The Spanish refereeing is among the best in Europe and the world.
- Do you prefer to referee the final or to see Spain in the final?
- Well, any answer could be politically incorrect or misinterpreted and, with your permission, I would rather not answer this question.
- What will be your preparation for Euro?
- I want to get in the best shape possible in June, taking care not to injure myself too. Now I am adjusting my workouts to fit the end of a long season, with almost a month without competition from the end of the league until the Euro, to reach the beginning of June with batteries recharged at maximum. I also want to watch videos of previous European Championships, speak to Spanish referees who have gone to such great tournaments: Undiano Mallenco, Medina Cantalejo, Mejuto Gonzalez, Diaz Vega or Sanchez Arminio.
- How would you define yourself as a referee?
- I think I have a pretty good physical preparation, a very elaborate knowledge of the rules and above all a big love of football. I follow a lot of football, including teams, players, tactics and strategies. I try to be friendly, but also very strict and inflexible in applying the rules. I try to find a balance between having empathy with players and coaches without losing the principle of authority, which is essential. I like the dialogue, talking to the players and give them a brief explanation at peak times, if that helps reduce stress. I consider myself a "hard worker" of refereeing, to which I currently dedicate my life, body and soul. But above all, I am an honest person.
- Is it more challenging to devote himself only to refereeing?
- This brings many positive things, but also a negative side. Before, the day after each game I would go to work and my mind was free from football. Error and success was diluted with other concerns. Now, my mind is all day thinking about football and refereeing and sometimes it is not good. Especially when things do not go as you wish. To avoid this, last year I signed up for classes. I teach tennis and Rules of the Game at the University two days a week.
- Do you think the referees are the weakest part of football?
- I do not like the word weak. I think we are tremendously strong; otherwise, we could not survive in this 'jungle'. I think the referees are the easy excuse for many defeats. We are the most criticized, but it is something we have well understood.
- Are you in favor of applying the technology?
- Only the technology on the goal line. We need to find a reliable system to determine whether or not the ball crosses the line. The rest I do not see it necessary or useful for anything. Sure, some actions are resolved by the video, but I firmly believe that professional football would be a large minority. Most controversial situations are "gray" and depend entirely on the referee’s eyes. They lose the essence of the sport and would not help, but would generate more and more controversies.
- How do you feel not being able to referee a Real Madrid – Barcelona yet?
- Too much sorrow and resignation. It is something I have been stuck with in my heart, really. I would love to experience and feel the emotions of that match. However, since I started refereeing, I knew that, by living in Madrid, I will not be able to referee Real – Barcelona, but this is a topic passed long time ago.