Thursday, 13 February 2020

Collina turns 60: happy birthday and a nice interview

Today 13 February 2020 Pierluigi Collina turns 60. When you say "referee", very often he is the first person coming to your mind.  With a special wish for his birthday, Law 5 Blog has translated a very interesting and long interview released by La Gazzetta dello Sport. 

After a glorious career on the pitch with many honors, now Collina is working behind the scenes as head of refereeing.

Collina, how did you live your 60 years?
Too fast, like when you are happy about what you do.

How did you feel as number one in refereeing?
I felt very good, but expectations were always high. You couldn't take any single day of rest. I mean, you couldn't say "If today I will engange myself less than yesterday, it will be the same". On Wednesday Real Madrid - Manchester United in Champions League and then a serie B game on Sunday. It happened, and for me both were very important games, like finals. But yes, there is something I'm a bit regretted about...    

If  you consider all your games on a same level of importance, you live all of them in a too normal way. Therefore, the memories about a World Cup final, for example, are less distinct.  

When did you say to yourself "I will become a referee"?
Maybe the day in which somebody said to me "You are good". Before that, it was sometihng made without a real belief, when I was 17 years old. Then after that I perceived that I had some skills. It became a challenge. 

Who said "you are good"?
Many people. The first of them, the president of AIA department in Bologna, Piani. 

You also played football. 
Yes, if I had been a good player I would have continued without doubts that career. However, I enjoyed those years. 

A day, a small-big drama happened. You lost all your hair. Did the world fall on you?
No, because at that time one of my best friends made the chemotherapy as well. We were similar. Unluckily, he didn't manage to win that battle. This has helped me in understanding the real value of the life. 

Do you think your look helped in becoming more popular?
If there hadn't been qualities, people would have underlined negative aspects. Instead, it rather worked on the contrary... 

What about the "perfect referee". Once, you said: "A referee can't be too wise, but a bit mad".
A referee can't be too much wise on the field in the meaning that he can't take a too long time to make a decision, sometimes he must be very quick. What we call "being impulsive" in normal life, for referee it is surely a skill. However, looking back at my career, I think a bit of madness was surely needed.  

Can VAR help in deciding more quickly?
Referee must decide without thinking about VAR. He should join the field as it was before the introduction of technology. The main target about VAR is to avoid its use. For this reason, we work very hard and we prepare referees. Then of course, once a mistake has happened, referees know that VAR is there. However, if fans and journalists can forget about the mistake made, this is not for us. We remember it and we asssess referees as it was before. 

You officiated without VAR. Are you regretted?
When I was referee, there weren't HQ - HD - 4K and 5k cameras, to be honest. 

Would you describe yourself as perfectionist?
Somebody said that I'm even maniacal. Before a game, for example, I needed the maximum of positive tension. 

And of course also much study. 
I always thought that a referee must know everything about a game. Videos for analyzing teams and players, their way of playing, tactics and so on. When I was referee this was already made, but not so deeply like today. I think nowadays this is the key for success. 

What about your relation with God?
A very private affair. And surely, a game can't justify certain things. 

Did the criticisms bother you?
Yes. It was really bothering. 

Also the fair ones?
Positive criticisms can become motivations for doing better, surely, but I must be honest and I admit that also positive criticisms were annoying for me.

How much importance had your family in your careeer as referee?
It is not trivial to say: "Very important, vital". For being at the top during the whole 90 minutes of a game, under spotlights, you must live a good life. All people you have around are crucial for that. I will be always grateful to my wife, because my children grew up thank to her. When my second child was born, I was officiating a game... 

Now you are a grandfather. 
Yes and my daughter is now waiting for a second child. We are really eager to know the gender.

Basket or football?
For me football is work and basket is entertainment. I was born and lived in Bologna, a city where having a passion for basket  is common. On last Sunday, while my daughter was watching Milan's derby, at the same time I was watching basket on my phone. When Fortitudo Bologna plays, it becomes a bit stressful.

What would you do in case of two very important finals played at the same time? Basket or football?
I would watch football live, and I would record basket. First the work, then the pleasure.

Some referees who inspired you?
Agnolin has been one of the best models for my generation. His way of being on the field, his "scenic" presence. But of course there were also other ones, for example the Swedish Erik Fredriksson, I was impressed by him during 1990 World Cup in Italy. Before that time, it was told to us to avoid to show with finger the direction of a free kick, then I watched him doing that and I started to do it as well. Nowadays, it is normal. 

And after your retirement? 
Many referees were good after my retirement. It was not important that they had to be similar to me. You can find quality in the diversity.

The most and the least polite player?
I don't want to mention names. At the age of 60, it is a pleasure for me to meet them again and to perceive that respect is not a formal thing, but something really felt.

Is there anything you wouldn't do again? 
I would do again all what I did in my career. Yes, I made mistakes, for sure, but none of such mistakes happened because I didn't give my best. As long as you don't have regrets, you can be satisfied about everything you did.

Are you a SS Lazio fan? 
I grew up in Bologna, when I was child it was common to be Bologna's fan. When I was 14, I liked to play football and I was inspired by Pino Wilson (SS Lazio player), then Lazio won the title. I liked that team. However, at that time I hadn't any interest in refereeing. It is impossible to think that a referee, a journalist, a player can't be fan of a certain team. But then after that you must realize that you become professional, so you become fan only of yourself. I officiated the play-out  for demotion Bologna - Parma, in my city. Bologna lost and they were demoted. And SS Lazio never won in the early nine games I officiated with them. However, there is a question I still don't understand.

When people ask: "Do you prefer to see your national team in final or you to officiate such game?" Of course my answer, I'm honest, would be "Me to officiate that game". You work all your life to get this success, and so I think this must come before other considerations. But let me clarify: I'm proud to be Italian, no doubts. 

Referee or head of refereeing, which job is more difficult than the other one?
As referee, you are directly "owner" of your future, as head of refereeing, your success must pass through other people.

You received also some threats. 
Yes, let me say, who thinks that living under police escort is a status-symbol, should reflect on that. I spent in this condition the worst 7 years of my life.

What about your political ideas?  
I'm oriented in "La Destra", Giorgia Meloni could be a very good leader. 

1999 UEFA Champions League final. Manchester United with a  fantastic comeback in last minutes against Bayern. Your thoughts?
When 1-1 was scored, I said to myself: "Well, now we will have another 30 minutes...". And I was afraid because it could have turned difficult for me, after a good performance during the 90 minutes. But then, immediately 2-1 was scored and game ended without extra times.

What would you expect in the next 10 years? 
I would really like to go on with what I like: continuing to work for referees on the road to WC 2022 for men and 2023 for women. I would like to do even better than 2018 and 2019. And of course, to live these years with people I love.

La Gazzetta dello Sport


  1. New to the blog. I want you guys to tell me the best match by a referee in uefa from 2017 and onwards so I can watch that game, thank you.

    1. Sponteaneously, I would think about these, but I think I have to start earlier in 2016:

      2016: Real - Atlético, CL Final (Mark Clattenburg)
      2016: Germany - Italy, Euro QF (Viktor Kassai)
      2017: ManCity - Monaco, CL R16 (Antonio Mateu Lahoz)
      2017: Lyon - Besiktas, EL QF (Antonio Mateu Lahoz)
      2017: Besiktas - Lyon, EL QF (Milorad Mažić)
      2017: Atlético - Real, CL SF (Cüneyt Çakir)
      2017: Ireland - Denmark, World Cup play-off (Szymon Marciniak)
      2018: Paris - Real, CL R16 (Felix Brych)
      2018: Arsenal - Atlético, EL SF (Clément Turpin)
      2018: Ajax - Bayern, CL group stage (Clément Turpin)
      2019: Ajax - PAOK, CL qualifier (Craig Pawson)
      2019: Switzerland - Ireland, Euro qualifier (Szymon Marciniak)

      Matches refereed by UEFA referees, but outside UEFA competitions to be watched:

      2016: Barcelona - Sevilla, Copa Del Rey Final (Carlos Del Cerro Grande)
      2018: Belgium - Brazil, WC QF (Milorad Mažić)

    2. Thanks for a very exhaustive list Stake. I would add: Sevilla - Athletic Club, Damir Skomina; Slovenia - Ukraine, Cüneyt Çakır.

      Irrespective of performance, the hardest match of the mentioned period: Italy - Sweden, Antonio Mateu Lahoz.

    3. I would add
      2019: del Cerro Grande, Frankfurt - Chelsea (EL)
      2019: Bastien, Leverkusen - Juventus (CL)
      2018: Brych, Liverpool - Roma (CL)
      2018: Hategan, Porto - Schalke (CL)
      2017: Kassai, Leipzig - Besiktas (CL)

  2. Supercoupe d'Afrique

    14 February 2020, 17:00CET in Doha, Qatar

    ES Tunis (Tunisie) - Zamalek (Egypte)

    Arbitre: Victor Miguel de Freitas Gomes
    Assistants: Zakhele Thusi Siwela, Souru Phats'Oane
    Quatrième: Maguette N'Diaye
    Video arbitres: Mustapha Ghorbal, Janny Sikazwe, Gerson Emiliano dos Santos

  3. Panathinaïkós - PAOK Thessaloníki
    Michael Fabbri (Marco Di Bello)

    48’ Foul? In case, SPA or DOGSO, PAN no.44? No foul given
    56’ Reckless or Serious Foul Play, PAN no.8? Yellow Card given
    74’ Penalty (tripping) to Panathinaïkós?
    +92’ Penalty (holding) to PAOK? [No Replay]
    +93’ Defensive freekick. If not, Penalty (handling) to PAOK?

    VAR Interventions:

    Overall: ‘Englishman’ style – slightly delayed foul whistles, overview-based approach, friendly relations that earned player’s respect; typical Italian gestures; lenient in a couple of potential SPA/LoR scenes in the 1H; caught the rhythm of the game c. ≈20’ -> game without bigger problems, expected level.

    1. Thank you for this report.
      My opinions.
      48': Supportable choice to play on, in case of foul for me rather YC for SPA.
      56': I think YC is OK and correct decision by VAR to support this choice. I don't perceive this situation as SFP.
      For both possible penalties I think referee was right. I wouldn't have whistled them as well.
      Last situation if not defensive foul, clear penalty for handball.
      It looks game was not so challenging and an expected level performance was ensured.

    2. Thanks Chefren (and Jonas on PANPAOK report), I am glad that there is interest in these matches :)

  4. Bobby Madley will be back in the PL!!!

    1. No - he enters the National List of referees who handle League One and League Two matches (III, IV) from next season. He would need to be promoted twice, first to 'Select Group Two' and then to 'Select Group One' in order to handle Premier League matches again.

      It seems his (even partly amusing, or at best a bit unscrupulous) PGMOL-apologism on social media and his blog has had the desired effect...

      Maybe he 'missed the boat' (1985-born) about progressing through UEFA or even re-entering the FIFA list at all, but he is a fairly rare talent from England who could actually go far on an international level.

  5. Appointments from Cyprus League

    APOEL - Apollon (Saturday 15/02)

    Rade Obrenovic, Grega Kordez, Tomi Pospeh (SVN), Leontios Trattou

    AEL - Omonoia (16/02)

    Marco Di Bello, Emanuele Prenna, Domenico Rocca, Vasilis Dimitriou

  6. Disallowed goal for the home team in Basaksehir vs Besiktas (ref. Abdulkadir Bitigen)

    Foul or not?

    1. Never ever ever ever a foul imo but common referee sense tends to give this in favour of bad goalkeeping

  7. Dankert too relaxed, too many bookable offences not punished.

  8. A question for La Liga watchers:

    Do you think that David Medié Jiménez could be the next Spaniard to enter the FIFA list?

    I watched most of the 2H of Valencia - Atlético Madrid and I think he showed some sophisticated skills especially as a 'game-reader' (also, amazing whistle technique!). He stayed in the background on the whole, especially regarding presence, but he showed great 'feeling' for when to step in. He could better by developing his relations with the players, in my opinion.

    Would be interested in your thoughts.

    1. Hopefully he and not Cordero Vega!

    2. CTA-RFEF will have 2 spots after Del Cerro Grande and Estrada Fernández will retire in 2021.

      I guess one of them will be for Alberola Rojas and the other one for Medié/Cordero/a referee from 2nd Division promoted this year. There are no other possible choices.

    3. Cordero Vega deserve for demotion, not an international status. He is the worst referee in LaLiga..

    4. Agreed, fest!

  9. Marciniak and Gil bad form again : penalty correct but should be red card

    1. Agree. Correct penalty, wrong disciplinary assesment.

      Shirt-pulling, no intention to play the ball.

  10. any info about CL/ EL referee observers?

  11. Today morning, one young referee and training police agent of 25 years die in a road incident in Torino, Italy. Around the 6 of the morning was reaching the airport of Torino, from where he should have reached Basilicata in south of Italy for referee a match of Eccellenza (5th category) the day after.

    Rest in peace, Loris!

    (Sorry for bad English!)

  12. Interesting Interview. collina is a Legendary referee

    Very good telegramm channel about cards and corner -

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