UEFA asks that captains be the only ones to discuss a decision with referees at the EURO


UEFA has requested that only the captains of the teams participating in the European Championship in Germany this coming summer be the ones to approach the referees to “discuss” any of their decisions and that their teammates ensure that they “respect the referee, maintain distances and do not go around it” because they will be reprimanded.

“We ask that all teams ensure that their captain is the only player who speaks to the referee. We ask that captains ensure that their teammates do not encroach on or surround the referee, allowing direct conversations to occur so that the decision is transmitted in a timely and respectful manner,” said the Italian Roberto Rosetti, UEFA’s General Director of Refereeing, in a letter published this Tuesday on the organization’s website.

Furthermore, the former referee asks the captain to ensure that “his teammates respect the referee, keep their distance and do not surround him.” “Any teammate who ignores the role of his captain or approaches the referee showing any sign of disrespect or dissent will be reprimanded with a yellow card,” he warns. In the event that the armband wearer is the goalkeeper, “it will be necessary to designate a field player who can perform this role in the event of an incident occurring at the opposite end of the field.”

“Explaining a decision with up to 22 players harassing you is impossible for a referee. It can cause a breakdown in communication and the beautiful game can quickly become very ugly, which, everyone agrees, is bad for the image of football,” warns the Italian.

Rosetti recalled that “being a referee in modern football is very difficult.” “He makes between 200 and 250 decisions per game, one every 22 seconds, in difficult and sometimes controversial situations, under great pressure, and each one of them is analyzed and observed from different angles by fans and experts,” he explained.

The head of refereeing at UEFA insists that they want “referees with a strong personality who make and assume decisions – which can sometimes be unpopular – on the pitch, but, at the same time, who are more open and explain what led them to make certain decisions.” Therefore, “at least one tournament referee will meet with each of the 24 teams to discuss this in more detail and share this information with the players.”

Rosetti emphasizes that the “behavior of players and coaches is always important in football” and that the latter “agreed to work for fair play in the EURO finalists’ workshop and that this was one of the main topics at the recent meeting of the UEFA Football Committee in Nyon”.

“Of course, some decisions will always be discussed. However, in an attempt to improve the status quo, at UEFA we want referees to explain their decisions more to all teams competing in the next EURO,” he remarked.

Finally, the former international referee encourages referees to “be open in their conversations with captains to foster a healthy environment between all parties.” “This will allow them to build significant trust with the players and show the type of leadership that is required of modern referees in action,” he said.

“Taking this approach and training referees will lead to an increase in the quality of refereeing in our competitions and better matches for players and fans to enjoy during the tournament. If we can facilitate a constructive dialogue between referees and team captains teams, we will all benefit and we will leave a positive legacy for the future of the beautiful game, the game we all love,” Rosetti concluded.