UEFA Referees’ Committee chairman Roberto Rosetti has given a positive mid-tournament assessment of the UEFA EURO 2020 referees and video assistant referees (VAR) – and has called on them to strive for even higher standards in the competition’s crucial knock-out phase.
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“We are extremely pleased with the standard of refereeing that we have seen at the EURO so far,” Rosetti said on Friday to mark the end of the 36-match group phase.
“The referee teams have responded to the challenge we set them to show their undoubted qualities,” he added, “and we would like to thank them at this stage for their professionalism and dedication, as well as for how they have applied UEFA’s refereeing guidelines in such a diligent way.”
The UEFA Referees’ Committee appointed 19 referees and their referee assistant teams to take charge of the 51 matches at UEFA EURO 2020.
The referees and UEFA’s fitness team are based in Istanbul, Turkey until the completion of the quarter-finals. “I urge the referee teams – the 25th team at the EURO – to maintain their high standards throughout the rest of the competition.” Rosetti said.
Christian Eriksen incident: Referee Taylor 'amazing'
Rosetti, a former Italian international referee who took charge of the UEFA EURO 2008 final between Spain and Germany in Vienna, also gave special praise to English referee Anthony Taylor for how he handled the serious incident involving Denmark player Christian Eriksen, who received emergency medical treatment during the group stage match against Finland in Copenhagen on 12 June.
“I think everyone recognised that Anthony managed this difficult moment perfectly,” Rosetti reflected. “We are proud of him for his conduct and his calmness. We recommended that referees should be alert to this kind of situation, and that safety should always come first. Anthony was amazing.”
Referees: Facts and figures
Rosetti went on to present and comment on key refereeing statistics from the EURO group stage:
Number of fouls in comparison to EURO 2016 (36 matches)
2020 : 806 (22.4 fouls per match)
2016 : 911 (25.3 fouls per match)
Rosetti: “We didn’t want the referees to whistle less fouls. This was not our intention - our role is to take the correct decisions. We are very happy to see that there are less fouls at the moment.”
Fewer yellow cards
Yellow cards in comparison to EURO 2016 (36 matches)
2020 : 98 (2.7 per match)
2016 : 129 (3.6 per match)
Rosetti: “We see a reason for this – the players have a better attitude on the field of play – less fouls, less yellow cards, better conduct by players towards the referee. We would like this trend to continue.”
Red cards in comparison to EURO 2016 (36 matches)
2020 : 2 (0.05 per match)
2016 : 2 (0.05 per match)
More effective time played
Effective time played in matches (36 matches)
EURO 2020 : 58 minutes 51 seconds
EURO 2016 : 56 minutes 30 seconds
VAR’s crucial role
Rosetti also gave top marks to the team of video assistant match officials working in tandem with the referee teams at the EURO to ensure that correct decisions are taken on the field.
“They are playing a crucial role in helping referees take correct decisions,” he said, “and figures show the invaluable contribution that they are making.”
UEFA has appointed 22 video match officials for duty at the EUROs, who are based at UEFA’s headquarters in Nyon, Switzerland.
“I’ve been working on the project since its beginning in 2016,” Rosetti said, “and we very much believe in it. This is a project which is still young, and we need top and expert drivers.”
VAR facts and figures
Two rooms on UEFA’s campus in Nyon, Switzerland have been set up for VAR activities. At each of the EURO matches, the main video assistant referee (VAR) is accompanied by an assistant video assistant referee (AVAR), and offside video assistant referee.
The VAR is the leader of the team and the main point of contact with the referee, with the task of focussing on incidents. The AVAR concentrates on following the match, while the offside VAR evaluates all potential offside situations.
179 incidents checked in 36 matches
91.6% of decisions on the pitch correct
12 VAR corrections (6 offside, 3 foul play, 2 handball, 1 use of the elbow)
7 direct corrections
5 on-field reviews
1 correction every three matches
Tight offside incidents : 21 (6 VAR reviews)
No wrong decisions (100% accuracy)
Rosetti: “We may no longer consider that offside is an issue for us.”
More penalties – VAR accuracy
Penalties in comparison to EURO 2016
2020 : 14 (0.38 per match)
2016 : 7 (0.19 per match)
Rosetti: “One of the key points for this increase has been the implementation of VAR, which was only just being considered at the time of the EURO in France. We now have more accuracy in detecting penalty area fouls thanks to VAR.”
VAR helping football – not changing it
Rosetti emphasised that the VAR system was not aiming to change football, but to help the game. “We need to find the correct balance in relation to VAR intervention, because our target is to keep football like it is,” he explained. “The objective is to intervene for clear and obvious mistakes - minimum interference for maximum benefit.”