Members of the UEFA Referees Committee are meeting the coaches and players of the 16 participating teams ahead of the UEFA Euro 2012 kick-off to discuss the guidelines which have been given to the 12 refereeing teams for the tournament. The committee members – all vastly-experienced former international match officials – will emphasise the message that cooperation between the coaches, players and referees will contribute to the success and image of the tournament.
The refereeing teams have been issued with clear guidelines as far as decision-making and interpretation of the Laws of the Game are concerned. Protection of players and the game's image, and punishment for mobbing the referee, as well as for incidents of mass confrontation, are among the instructions delivered by the UEFA Referees Committee to the 12 refereeing teams. The 31 games in Poland and Ukraine will each be handled by a referee, two assistant referees and fourth official, supplemented by two additional assistant referees as well as a reserve assistant referee. The additional assistant referees will be positioned behind the goalline as part of a continuing experiment, authorised by the International Football Association Board (IFAB), and they will focus in particular on incidents in and around the penalty area. "The instructions given to the match officials will be exactly the same as those delivered to the players and coaches," said UEFA's chief refereeing officer Pierluigi Collina in announcing the guidelines at the Euro referees' preparatory workshop last month. "I and members of the Referees Committee will visit each national-team camp to speak to coaches and players – we would like referees, coaches and players to be speaking the same language in terms of football, interpretation and the Laws of the Game."
UEFA referee officer Hugh Dallas added: "Meeting the teams is something that we introduced for Euro 2008, and it was well received by both the coaches and players. We think it's important that the referees and players both know exactly what they're trying to achieve. "We got very positive feedback four years ago, and the reaction was very good. We're trying to make sure that the players and the referees are working together to make this a highly-successful tournament. We are trying to guide the players, and hopefully we will get the same reaction as we did four years ago. "It's important to have dialogue," Dallas continued. "There is no point in us giving instructions to referees and not informing the coaches and players. We want to make sure that we are transparent and open by telling the players what they should not get involved in, and I am sure this will help the overall tournament."