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Příhoda delighted with final chance

Radek Příhoda said he was looking forward to "the most important game in my career" after being chosen to referee the 2009 UEFA Regions' Cup final between Oltenia AMA and Castilla y León AMA in Zapresic on Monday.

Radek Prihoda will referee the UEFA Regions' Cup final between Castilla y León and Oltenia
Radek Prihoda will referee the UEFA Regions' Cup final between Castilla y León and Oltenia ©Sportsfile

Radek Příhoda said he was looking forward to "the most important game in my career" after being chosen to referee the 2009 UEFA Regions' Cup final between Oltenia AMA and Castilla y León AMA in Zapresic on Monday.

'Very happy'
The Czech Republic official was given the responsibility for handling the showpiece of Europe's flagship amateur tournament having impressed in his two group games in Croatia. "I am very happy of course because it is the big match," Příhoda said, "and I hope we will see a very good last game and that my colleagues and I will contribute to it."

'Same mentality'
Promoted to the international list in 2008, Příhoda officiated in two mini-tournaments last year in Belarus and Israel before his selection for the UEFA Regions' Cup, his first finals. "I have enjoyed it here – it is well organised and it's great to meet other referees," added Příhoda, who is also the deputy director of a police station in Louny. "I think all UEFA referees have the same mentality so it's easy to mix with the others."

Big-match experience
Příhoda started refereeing when he was 21 and has been a regular in the Czech Republic's 1. Liga for the past six years, overseeing some high-profile matches. "Last season, I had some big games: I did the derby between Slavia Praha and Sparta Praha where there were 21,000 fans and also the Czech Cup final. However, this final in Croatia will be the most important game in my career so far."

Body language
Working with referees and, more specifically, players from different countries has added a new element to Příhoda's work. "Sometimes it's hard, but as referees we need to employ the right body language with the players," the 35-year-old added. "It's important as not everyone speaks the same language and I think I've handled this aspect quite well – there haven't been any problems."

Advice
The referee observers have also helped Příhoda and his colleagues settle into their careers as international officials. "The referee observers have given us a lot of advice after the matches and it has been very good for us." Thinking beyond Monday's final, Příhoda hopes his experience in Croatia will be the start of a long and successful career. "I hope to progress step-by-step and maybe one day I can referee at the élite level, but that is a long way off."