UEFA has urged its top referees to reach even higher levels of excellence this spring and summer – and is showing young newcomers to the international list the qualities they need to progress along a successful career path. The European body's latest winter advanced and introductory courses for men and women referees in Limassol, Cyprus provide the key platform for briefing the match officials ahead of their coming assignments in, among others, the UEFA Champions League, UEFA Europa League and UEFA Women's Champions League. In addition, 18 elite men referees are stepping up their preparations for duty at UEFA Euro 2016 in France in June and July.
"The UEFA Referees Committee decided some years ago to offer courses which bring together elite men and women referees, and newcomers starting out on the international scene," Referees Committee chairman and UEFA first vice-president Ángel Villar Llona told the referees in Limassol. "This has brought excellent results. In particular, I would like to direct my words at the young referees who are new to the international game. It would be a shame to be among experienced international referees here, and not learn from them. Use every chance and every minute to learn from those with a lot of experience to offer." Villar Llona also congratulated the 18 match officials who have been selected to officiate at UEFA Euro 2016. "They face an important test this summer in taking charge of matches in the first EURO with 24 teams," he reflected. "This means that they can show the world how good they are, but it also carries a great responsibility in terms of preparation and training. And in February, already, the major European club competitions resume, and the success of these extraordinary events will also depend on the referees, men and women, who join the players as important actors in the matches. I urge everyone to prepare to face this challenge". The referees were also briefed about the UEFA Executive Committee's decision last month to introduce goal-line technology for UEFA Euro 2016, as well as for the 2016/17 UEFA Champions League from the play-offs onwards. The system will work alongside additional assistant referees, who will continue to monitor all activity in and around the penalty area.
UEFA chief refereeing officer Pierluigi Collina gave a presentation to the young international newcomers about what it takes to become a top referee. "You need talent, but talent is not enough," he explained. "Talent must be aligned to hard work, and courage, which is needed to take difficult decisions quickly under pressure in important matches with high stakes. You have to learn to cope with this pressure. Preparation is key", he added. "As an athlete, you must be in top physical condition. Tiredness means less lucidity and more chances to make a mistake, particularly at the end of a game. You should study the tactics of the teams you referee and the players who play for them. You must know the Laws of the Game and their correct interpretation. Learn from mistakes. Protect players from serious injury caused by reckless challenges, protect yourselves on the field, and protect the image of the game".