Super Cup tops Collum’s career highlights

Referee William Collum spoke to UEFA.com ahead of the UEFA Super Cup between Barcelona and Sevilla, describing his appointment as his "biggest achievement".

The UEFA Super Cup match officials training in Tbilisi on Monday afternoon
The UEFA Super Cup match officials training in Tbilisi on Monday afternoon ©Getty Images

UEFA.com: How much are you looking forward to refereeing the UEFA Super Cup?

William Collum: It's fantastic. I'm delighted, really excited. I received the appointment about five weeks ago and ever since then it's felt like I've been dreaming. To be officiating such an important match and such a special occasion is really, really exciting. I'm really looking forward to it.

What are you expecting from the match between Barcelona and Sevilla?

I'm hoping it's a good match and that there's some good football played. They're certainly two top teams. Like any referee in the world you hope that the match is about the football and that the players contribute to the game well. Hopefully I can fade into the background. It's not always possible but it would be nice if that could happen.

What's the different between officiating a UEFA match such as this one and a Scottish league match?

It's such a big occasion, a one-off. Every match is important to a referee but with this one it's just such a big occasion. It's massive. Sometimes you'll hear referees saying that finals should be treated like any other match but this is special. It's a once-in-a-lifetime chance.

Where does the UEFA Super Cup rank among your other career highlights?

I think probably top. Without a doubt it's my biggest achievement. For a small country like Scotland, to have a referee in the Super Cup is tremendous. It's quite sentimental for me as well because Hugh Dallas has been a coach and a mentor to me and he's the last Scottish referee to officiate a European final, in 2002, so it's quite special for me that I can follow in his footsteps.

What inspired you to become a referee in the first place?

A complete lack of ability at playing! I played in goal in one match for the school team and we lost 18-0, so I think it was realising that maybe my talent lay elsewhere. I started refereeing at 14 and it's taken me to places I never believed I would see, so it's tremendous.

You still work as a school teacher – how much of that feeds into your work as a referee?

I think the two jobs complement each other. It's about managing people in different situations. The children in the classroom are always excited about the different football environments I've been in and the different players I see.

How do you prepare for a game like this?
The preparations started five weeks ago. When the appointment comes in you start to look at the teams and the tactics and you start to get ready by looking at previous matches. Sometimes people think that's a negative thing, and that you're pre-judging people, but it's really just the same kind of preparation the teams would go through before a match.

The preparations are intensive. We had the chance to work as a team a couple of weeks ago in a Champions League qualification match in Vienna between Rapid Wien and Ajax, so that was important to get a run out as a group. In this day and age there's plenty of opportunity to watch footage or read about tactics, so no stone is left unturned.

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