Sars: "They stole my 2006 World Cup"

Alain Sars broke all the records of his time when he started refereeing at only 14 and then reached Ligue 1 at 30. Considered one of the best French referees between 1991 and 2006, Alain Sars works now as a regional technical advisor for refereeing at the Lorraine Football League. In 1975, when he was only 14, he became the youngest referee in France "At that time, you could not be a referee before the age of 18. I had the opportunity to start refereeing at the age of 14 with a special dispensation of the Referees Committee”. Sars climbed the ranks and he was repeatedly referred to as the best referee in Ligue 1 in the early 90s by the National Union of Professional Footballers. He remembers the final of the Coupe de Lorraine in 1987, his first match at the top, and the semi-final of the UEFA Champions League between AC Milan and FC Barcelona in 2006, as the last international match of his career. Alain Sars refereed 252 matches in Ligue 1 and 89 international matches, including 35 in the UEFA Champions League.
Starting as assistant referee for Gerard Biguet in the 1988-1989 season, Alain Sars discovered Ligue 2 in January 1991, before moving to Ligue 1, ten months later, when he was only 30 years, which was unique at that time. "It is true that I had the chance to discover everything early in my career. This has always gone well with the players and the media, regardless of my age and experience. Today, I am proud that the fans still have good memories of me six years after the end of my career”. Voted the best referee for three consecutive years by the UNFP (1992, 1993, 1994), Alain Sars has not yet been received the last trophy. "The National Directorate of Referees (DNA) asked the UNFP elect itself the Referee of the Year and not through Ligue 1 players. UNFP refused. I was elected for the third consecutive year, but the DNA asked me not to get the trophy to avoid any problems within refereeing". Jealousy and competition already contaminated the world of referees in the 90s and Alain Sars will pay a high price. Although he was the best French referee in 2006, with a quarter-final and a semi-final of the UEFA Champions League, Sars was left home and Eric Poulat was selected instead for the 2006 World Cup in Germany. "I have never been a friend of Michel Vautrot and Marc Batta, who directed and still direct the DNA, because I always thought that appointments should be based on merit, not on friendships. I am bitter for the 2006 World Cup because I had a very good rating from the international bodies. I am not afraid to say that they stole my World Cup!" Alain Sars refereed matches for global events such as the 2006 FIFA Club World Cup and the 2000 Africa Cup of Nations, but no World Cup or Euro. "I am the Poulidor of the French refereeing... voted the best referee by players, but the eternal second for DNA". In spite of that bitter taste regarding the World Cup, Alain Sars has great refereeing memories: the first official match of Bosnia after the Yugoslavian war, Bosnia – Greece, in 1997, Brazil – Argentina, at Maracana in 1998, attended by 100,000 people plus 11 electrical derbies Paris St. Gemain – Olympique Marseille. In 2006, the year of his mandatory retirement, Sars was as close as a blade of grass to referee the UEFA Europa League final, the highlight of an outstanding career. "I was number 2 behind the German Herbert Fandel. As Schalke was playing for their place in the final, I was likely to be named in case of qualification of the German club. But Sevilla qualified in extra time. "Was that the fate that persists after the World Cup failure? No, I see it rather as a sign of destiny. By not officiating at the World Cup, I had the opportunity to become a TV consultant". Currently, as a regional technical advisor with the Lorraine Football League, Alain Sars is also enjoying his role as consultant for Canal Plus and RTL. 

Source: Moselle Sport