Collina: "The rules are there to be enforced" - Sport
- At the World Cup in France, much is being debated about the video umpire and new rules.
- Referee Pierluigi Collina now defends the interventions and interpretation.
- The German referee Bibiana Steinhaus has to end the tournament prematurely because of an injury.
Before Pierluigi Collina was the referee with the most famous bald in world football, he kicked in his youth as a defender in his hometown Bologna. The craft that he learned, now benefits him at the Women's World Cup in France. As supreme head of the referee committee of FIFA, he defended on Wednesday afternoon namely forward.
About Collina's core business - the referees, rules, the Video Assistant Referee (VAR) - is much discussed at this tournament. This can not please someone like Collina, who is considered one of the best referees in the history of football. During his career, the Italian was elected between 1998 and 2003 six times in a row world referee. Collina knows that referees are always best when not talked about.
But because at the World Cup but much is discussed about his guild, Fifa invited to a press conference, at the Collina first had to announce that the German referee Bibiana Steinhaus has injured. The 40-year-old top referee from Hanover suffered a muscle injury when they first played in the group match between France and Norway two weeks ago. "It's a pity for her because she worked hard, which is a pity for us because she's part of our team and it's a shame for football because she's a very good referee," said Collina. Steinhaus would not have become fit before the tournament on July 7th. Also for the second German referee, Riem Hussein, the World Cup ended prematurely - she is not one of the nominated referee teams for the upcoming knockout games.
On the further agenda was the use of the VAR. The technique is used for the first time in a major tournament in women's football. The integration is not nearly as smooth as at the Men's World Cup last summer. Collina spoke in the press room of the Parc des Princes so about the new technology - and defended forward. "The VAR can not be blind, he can not ignore," said Collina, "if you have a tool that allows for verification, you have to check." He was "very satisfied, because the VAR system has worked very well so far," he concluded his consideration.
In addition to the VAR, this tournament also deals with other referee topics. Fifa introduced its modified rules at the World Cup. One of the new things is that goalkeepers have to touch the goal line in the penalty area with only one foot instead of two. However, the referees, together with the VAR, are now paying more attention to compliance with centimeter accuracy. "The rules are there to be enforced!" Collina said. Previously, the two-feet-on-the-line rule had not been applied, "because it was not possible for the goalkeeper to hold a ball unless he was shot down," the Italian explained. With the new rule but that has changed, so this will now enforced. In the development of players and coaches were also involved.
For punishment also caused the punishment in case of a violation of the rule, for the goalkeeper, there was then yellow. In the knockout round, Fifa now expose this rule for penalties. It is an unusual step to change the rules in an ongoing competition. Collina explained this fact with the experience at the U20 World Cup in Poland. During the tournament, it was realized that the goalkeepers were not consciously taking both feet off the line, rather it was an "accidental mistake" due to lack of body control. Since the knockout round at the Women's World Cup had not started yet, they decided to suspend the rule.
Collina, on the other hand, saw no problem in the interpretation of the rules, which led to drama in the round of 16 between Japan and the Netherlands. Referee Melissa Borjas had decided on handball in the penalty area shortly before the final whistle, after Japanese Saki Kumagai had scored a close-range shot at the upper arm. The VAR had no objection. Some football fans but already, the whistle went against her sense of justice. The images that Collina showed during his presentation were backed by a recording of radio traffic between the VAR and referee Borjas. Borjas: "The arm is in an unnatural position, it's a number four handball." The VAR answers within seconds: "Melissa, the penalty is confirmed." The Netherlands prevailed thanks to the penalty kick 2: 1, Japan mourned.
Collina explained on the basis of this scene, at least in part, why the use of video evidence is often associated with long waiting times. The handball was confirmed in a few moments, but the VAR still looked to see if the ball had been out before the scene. In a camera setting, it initially looks as if he has left the field. But as another perspective dissolves, he does not have that. At that moment, the 59-year-old jumped off the podium because he wanted to show his audience via a photo on his smartphone, how to distort perspectives. Such reviews take time. He wanted it to be "more accurate than fast," Collina said. Of the operations in addition to the situation, however, nobody got anything except the referee team. The communication is also such a problem with the VAR.
Some rule changes have been fluently integrated for the kick-off may also be fitted within the penalty area in a free-kick wall may only be the defending team, substitutions on the next possible edge of the field. Here, Collina and his rule-keeper may well be satisfied. They have achieved Collina's goal of making the game "faster and more entertaining".
Despite some successes, it seems as if the Fifa has taken something when it did so many changes to women's football in one fell swoop. Maybe that's what defender Collina has to admit.