The referees, their assistants and the fourth officials at UEFA EURO 2008™ are reaping the benefits of two years' preparation as the tournament enters its second half.
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The team of UEFA EURO 2008™ referees, assistant referees and fourth officials are fully settled into the tournament now that the halfway stage has passed. The 12 referees, 24 assistant referees and eight specialist fourth officials are reaching the culmination of two years' hard work, sacrifice and assessment that has taken them to the peak of European refereeing.
"It is a procedure that starts right after the end of the previous UEFA European Championship," UEFA's head of refereeing Yvan Cornu told euro2008.com. "The Referees Committee follows the referees in the first two UEFA categories, and then in the last year, only the élite-category referees are monitored."
The EURO referees were appointed towards the end of December and their preparation has been stepped up a notch since, while they still officiated games at national and international level. "In the middle of April, the referees gathered here in Regensdorf for a major preparation stage," Cornu said. "I'd say it was the 'dress rehearsal', where they were physically tested – and we had confirmation that they were physically ready for the UEFA European Championship. From then on, we had six weeks before the beginning of UEFA EURO 2008™, and the referees were followed by a trainer from a distance. They followed a weekly training schedule."
How are referees' performances evaluated during a EURO tournament? "During the tournament, the evaluation is carried out by the referee observer who sits in the stadium," Cornu explains. "He leaves the [referee] centre with the referees, and he stays with them throughout the whole tournament. When we have assigned a referee team, there is always an observer who accompanies them. He will do an evaluation on what he sees and on what he feels during the game. Then – and this is a particular aspect of this type of tournament – we also make an evaluation based on TV images.
"So, it is a combination of an on-site and TV-based evaluation. Another observer watches the game and takes notes of the situations and incidents that he thinks are interesting for the evaluation of the performance. On the following day, when the referees are back at the hotel, they undergo a combined evaluation by both observers, which lasts about 30 to 45 minutes. Every six to eight games, all the referees are gathered together for a summary of the performances and are given instructions and reminders which reinforce the referees' directives. We have the best European referees here, and they have a lot of responsibilities in officiating games at this level."
As a top European referee, the match officials are also being remunerated for their tournament assignments. "They are paid under a system that is based on daily salaries of €200 per day, and then there is a payment per match," Cornu said. "They are paid €10,000 per game for the referee, €5,000 for the assistants, and €4,000 for the fourth official. The reserve assistant referee – which is a new element for us at UEFA and was added after the 2006 [FIFA] World Cup – gets €3,000 per match."