Friday, June 13, 2014

FIFA Referees boss Massimo Busacca answers my questions

Busacca answered a few questions I asked him as an Associated Press sports writer. They're quite timely considering what happened in tonight's Brazil vs Croatia game. The Japanese referee tonight simply didn't have the experience of spotting simulation that European referees have gained through grim experience. And he should really have shown Neymar a red card for Violent Conduct after straight arming a Croatian player to the neck/

1. It seems almost impossible for referees to identify cheating and simulation because players have become so skilful at pretending to be fouled. How can referees effectively identify cheating players when their behaviour is almost impossible to identify with the naked eye.
Fairplay must be a clear message for the players and for all those that are involved in a football match. For the referees it can be difficult to distinguish a foul from a simulation as it is mostly a question of centimetres. Nevertheless, match officials are trained to be in the best position on the pitch where they can take the right decision. We developed several exercises and we are training them every day to make sure the referees are as well prepared as possible. Moreover, it is important that the referees show their personality in order to prevent bad behavior.

2. How do we avoid a repetition of the 2010 final when two teams appeared determined to play negative football and abused the Laws of the Game every one or two minutes. Is There anything a referee can do to prevent this?
The referee is there to control the match, but he is not playing. It is our job to make the right interpretation and to ensure that the Laws of the Game are respected. Our goal is for the referee to remain in the background during a match and for the players to be at the centre.

3. Which aspects of the Laws does FIFA wish to emphasise in Brazil? Respect? Preventing simulation? Serious Foul Play?
For us, the most important point is Fairplay. We are in the “PaĆ­s de futebol” and this means that football has to be the winner. “Futebol” itself, and without bad behaviour, dangerous fouls or heavy criticism against the opponent or the referee. We know that no other event is as entertaining and captivating as a FIFA World Cup and we want to bring people to celebrate the beautiful game. The referees want to deliver this message.

4. Some senior referees have been linked to match fixing in the past four years. How confident are you that none of the officials in Brazil will be involved in efforts to fix games?
All referees have received information about match manipulation including several briefings. They’ve each signed a document whereby they guarantee to inform the authorities if they are approached by potential manipulators. I have 100% confidence in the team and fully trust that they each take on this responsibility personally.

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