Pedro Proenca has been chosen as the Referee of the Century by the Portuguese Football Federation, which celebrated its centenary in 2014. He received the award at the Casino Estoril from Pierluigi Collina, the UEFA Head of Refereeing. "It's obviously an honor to receive the award, but I cannot forget Antonio Garrido and Vitor Pereira. It is a generation that had to deal with many things and this award is dedicated to all referees. This award is also dedicated to Collina, in appreciation of his very important contributions to refereeing", said Proenca (photo). He represented Portugal at the FIFA World Cup 2014 and FIFA Confederations Cup 2013, both in Brazil, and refereed the Euro 2012 final, as well as the UEFA Champions League 2012 final. The other candidates for the “Portuguese Referee of the Century” were Antonio Garrido (World Cups 1978 and 1982, Euro 1980, European Cup final 1980, European Super Cup 1977) and Vitor Melo Pereira (World Cups 1998 and 2002, Euro 2000, UEFA Cup final 2002).
Pierluigi Collina, who is responsible for UEFA refereeing, ranked Pedro Proenca "as one of the best European referees" and expressed the wish that the Portuguese will continue his refereeing career. The former top referee, who was speaking at the "Football Talks" event at the Estoril Congress Centre, addressed the recent claims regarding Proenca’s retirement plans if he would have refereed the FIFA Club World Cup final, which turned out to be otherwise. "It's a personal decision. Pedro Proenca is one of the best referees of UEFA. In 2012, he directed the final of the Champions League and UEFA European Championship. I would love to have him continue with us, because I believe he is very important to refereeing. However, we will all have to respect the decision he might take", said Collina. He revealed that he has already spoken to Proenca about this situation: "Last summer I tried to convince him to continue his career". On the other hand, the responsible for European refereeing believes that after Proenca’s possible end of the career, the Portuguese will continue to be an important asset for UEFA, helping to train young referees. "UEFA is always receptive to use former top referees to help form new generations of referees. We have already created a group of referee coaches, composed of recently retired referees. Our intention is to keep these referees, with great teaching potential, to pass the knowledge to the younger referees", concluded Collina.
Source: Mais Futebol / DNoticias