UEFA Super Cup referee Stefano Farina insists that he will have no nerves when he takes charge of Friday's encounter between FC Barcelona and Sevilla FC.
UEFA Super Cup referee Stefano Farina says he hopes no one will talk about him after Friday's encounter between FC Barcelona and Sevilla FC in Monaco.
"It means I will have done a good job," said the 43-year-old, who will be supported by compatriots Marco Ivaldi and Alessandro Griselli as assistant referees, with Matteo Trefoloni the fourth official. Farina will be the fourth Italian to referee the official European season curtain-raiser - and the first since Piero Ceccarini oversaw the second leg of the 1997 final between BV Borussia Dortmund and Barcelona.
"I'm honoured to have been chosen for this match, I'm very moved, because I've been refereeing for some 27 years and have made many sacrifices. It's one of the big moments in my career, together with my first match in Serie A in 1995, and the important UEFA Champions League matches that I've done."
Farina made his debut in Italy's Serie B aged 31 and, barely four months later, took his Serie A bow by handling a game between US Foggia and AC Reggiana on 22 January 1995. International status followed in 2001 and he has steadily gained experience in UEFA's top competitions. Last term, he officiated at three UEFA Champions League group-stage matches and then, in the first knockout round, the first leg between Real Madrid CF and eventual finalists Arsenal FC at the Santiago Bernabéu.
Like many whistle-blowers, Farina was a footballer as a teenager, but differences with a coach took him down the refereeing path. "I played from 12 until 17, but I had a problem with my coach about the position I was playing," he told uefa.com. "He told me to go and play with another team, so I decided to become a referee - and gave myself the target of refereeing in a higher league than the one in which he was coaching!
"When I began refereeing, my role model was [Italian arbiter] Luigi Agnolin, because he was firm in his decisions, he was extremely determined, and he helped nurture me when he became a referee official," Farina explained. Other compatriots such as Pierluigi Collina have also left their impression on Farina. "I learned how to be a professional from Collina, and also how attention to detail helps produce consistent performances."
According to Farina, a referee's most important weapon on the field must be what he calls technical courage. "You must have the courage to take important decisions at any minute of the game - from the first minute to the last. This helps gives a referee credibility. I also believe that a referee has to understand the game to be able to anticipate what is going to happen - and off the field, you have to handle the pressures from television, the press and the public. You must learn to live with these things and be able to distance yourself."
So there will be no nerves for Farina on Friday. "I am very calm about the match, I will respect the players and I hope they will respect me. I hope nobody talks about me, because it means I will have done a good job. I will be an international referee until 2007, and I hope to have good appointments with UEFA and end my career with people speaking positively of me."