UEFA Exco Meeting: Positive feedback on additional assistant referees' experiment

The feedback with regards to the experiment involving two additional assistant referees currently taking place in the UEFA Europa League has been positive so far according to UEFA president Michel Platini. The UEFA president highlighted the need to change refereeing as he was speaking at a press conference at the end of a meeting of the UEFA Executive Committee which was held in Malta.

In addition to the match referee and two assistant referees on the touchline, two extra assistants are placed behind the goal line, with the aim of focusing on incidents that happen in the penalty area, such as fouls or misconduct.

“Things have changed since the time I was a player. Today, when a referee takes a decision, there are 20 cameras which show the decision. Television shows errors – but we all know that the referee can’t see everything. I think that it is time to change refereeing and to reflect on what refereeing is.”

“We need to put enough referees on the pitch to cover all of it. Football is the only sport where there is one referee covering the entire pitch. It is easy to show all the things that a referee can’t see. One referee is not enough. Our role is to create a system that covers the whole pitch,” said Platini.

Referring to suggestions regarding the use of video-technology, the UEFA president said that this was also a possibility which should be studied but he emphasised on the fact that when something like this was introduced in football, it has to apply for all games at all levels and not just the big competitions.

Corruption in football

Michel Platini stressed on UEFA’s zero tolerance policy towards corruption in football.

“Corruption kills football. If it were up to me, any player who is caught will never play football again. Those who corrupt football at refereeing level will never referee again. Anyone who corrupts as a president or coach will never manage or coach again. This is the will of the president and Executive Committee. We cannot treat this lightly.”

UEFA general secretary Gianni Infantino explained that two years ago, the European body launched the Betting Fraud Detection System which monitors all UEFA matches, as well as all domestic first and second-division matches and domestic cup games. He said that last summer, UEFA assisted German police in a European match-fixing investigation thanks to which seventeen persons were arrested. After suspending FYR Macedonia club FK Pobeda for eight years, their president and a player for life, UEFA is investigating several other fixtures from European competitions, mainly from the preliminary rounds.

EURO 2016

The Executive Committee approved the time-line for the EURO 2016 – the first EURO final round with 24 teams instead of the current 16.

The three bidders – Turkey, Italy and France – will be handing their bid on February 15 in Nyon. Their dossiers will be analysed by the National Team Competitions Committee and then submitted to the Executive Committee who will take a final decision in Geneva on May 28, also after viewing the presentations on the day before in Nyon.

Platini said the increase in the number of teams in the EURO was a unanimous decision. He said there were both technical and organisational aspects to consider.

“UEFA believes there are 24 quality teams in Europe. A EURO with 24 teams can provide plenty of good teams without the level of technical quality falling. With the increase in number of teams, there will be a knock-out round with 16 teams which we didn’t have before. This means that host cities will have the opportunity to host more games,” said the UEFA president.

“The role of UEFA is to protect the game. We have to protect football in all aspects. Football is the beautiful game and we need to protect it by creating the necessary rules. As the Maltese Prime Minister told me in yesterday’s meeting, football gives real values. As UEFA president, I have the responsability to do my best for the good of the game,” concluded Platini.

Both Michel Platini and Gianni Infantino congratulated the Malta Football Association for the anniveraries it is celebrating, namely the 100th anniversary of the National League and the 50th anniversary of MFA Full FIFA and UEFA Membership.

Referee convention

Meanwhile during the UEFA Executive Committee meeting, five more associations – Cyprus, Italy, Lithuania, Moldova and Wales – have joined the UEFA Convention on Referee Education and Organisation, which aims to improve refereeing structures and development within the European associations.

The Executive Committee was given an update on the preparations for a celebration of grassroots football on Wednesday 19 May – UEFA Grassroots Day – three days before the UEFA Champions League final at the Santiago Bernabéu in Madrid.

A positive update report was also given on the preparation for the UEFA EURO 2012 ahead of the qualifying round draw which will be held in Warsaw on February 7.

UEFA has appointed UEFA’s national associations director Theodore Theodoridis as UEFA’s deputy general secretary.

SL Benfica will be hosting the 2009/10 UEFA Futsal Cup finals.