Match analysts to assist Euro referees

For the first time, UEFA is to deploy match analysts to provide the referee teams at UEFA Euro 2016 with information on the 24 teams and their players ahead of assignments at the final tournament in France. The analysts' team, comprising four coaches with UEFA A licences, is already hard at work gathering information from the participating teams' friendly matches. Two of the coaches will be on site during the tournament at the Euro referee teams' headquarters in Enghien-les-Bains, north of Paris. A total of 18 referee teams have been selected to take charge of the 51 matches at the eagerly-anticipated Euro tournament between 10 June and 10 July, and they have been in Enghien-les-Bains this week, together with the UEFA Referees Committee, for a Euro referees' preparatory workshop.
"The referees will receive information from the analysts, so that they know how a team plays, the tactics they use, and what their players do on the field," said UEFA chief refereeing officer Pierluigi Collina. "The objective is for the match officials to be one step ahead, and to know as much as possible before their match." UEFA constantly encourages referees to study teams' tactics to help them prepare thoroughly for their match duties, as well as to be aware of changing situations in matches, such as tactical switches or substitutions which may be of crucial importance. "Every time that a referee receives an appointment [at Euro]," Collina added, "he and his team will meet the match analysts. The referee, assistant referees and additional assistant referees will be given a comprehensive briefing on the two teams and players in that specific match." As part of the preparation process, UEFA referee teams are also being given access to a web data platform where they can find out information themselves and, for example, create their own collection of clips, about the teams who they will be officiating.
Correct interpretation of the offside rule has also been a key topic at the Euro workshop, and the assistant referees selected for the tournament have been given access to specially-created web offside exercises that they can practice at home. "We have implemented a system with a platform for our assistant referees," Collina explained, "where they can view offside situations in HD. They have to decide if there is offside, and select which is the correct frame from among five different frames. They then receive feedback on their exercise decisions. Every seven to ten days, they receive a set of new offside situations. We think that this will be an important tool for their preparations".
Today's top match officials are athletes in their own right, and fitness tests have been on the workshop agenda this week, with the Euro referees, assistants and additional assistants being put through their paces by UEFA's referee fitness team. "The tests went very positively, which is not a surprise to us," Collina reflected. "We know that [the referees] are very fit." The referees underwent weighing controls and body fat measurements. "It is unbelievable that people who are no longer so young have worked so hard to improve their physical shape over recent years," said Collina. "We are happy and proud that our top referees are so committed to keeping fit." The officials are all receiving specific tailored programmes to follow in the six weeks between now and the Euro kick-off.
The chairman of the UEFA Referees Committee and UEFA first vice-president, Ángel Villar Llona, underlined that the success of UEFA Euro 2016 depended not only on the players and coaches, but also on the referees. "Do the best that you can to be up to the standards expected of you," he told the officials. "Elite athletes have to work hard, nothing is given to them – and you have invested effort and made sacrifices to be chosen for this great event. You deserve it because of your commitment."

Source: UEFA