UEFA has pledged its support to Europe's referees at the start of a new season, and underlined its firm commitment to giving the best possible help to match officials in fulfilling their role for the well-being of football.
"We care about football and want to work for the progress of football", said UEFA general secretary Gianni Infantino at a media briefing in Monaco. As part of continuing efforts to raise standards, UEFA has appointed Italian Pierluigi Collina as Chief Refereeing Officer. Collina, who amassed a wealth of experience in a distinguished refereeing career, will be assisted in his duties by two UEFA Refereeing Officers in other former international referees Hugh Dallas (Scotland) and Marc Batta (France).
"Preparation is the key to improve as a referee", explained Collina. UEFA organises two gatherings for international match officials each year - one in early September prior to the start of the club competition group stages, and one in February to prepare for the final phase of the season. The objective of these courses is to also improve the individual physical preparation of the referees.
Meanwhile, the trial with two additional assistant referees is continuing in UEFA's club competitions over the next two years. The experiment goes on, following the recent decision of the International Football Association Board (IFAB). Under the system, the referee, two assistant referees and the fourth official are accompanied by two additional assistants who take up positions alongside each goal. Their particular remit is to focus on incidents that take place in the penalty area.
Additional assistant referees will be deployed at matches in the UEFA Champions League and UEFA Europa League in the 2010/11 and 2011/12 seasons, and in the UEFA Super Cup – at tonight's match between FC Internazionale Milano and Club Atlético de Madrid in Monaco, and again in 2011.
"The simple presence of additional assistants behind the goal line will act as a deterrent to players trying to push or hold back opponents", explained Collina. "The additional assistants will communicate with the referee via the audio system. However, no matter what incident they spot, the final decision will always be with the referee."
"I am very positive towards the test," said UEFA President Michel Platini. "The referee can simply not see everything, and these additional assistants will offer him a great help."
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