“Violence against referees is rare in Caracas”

Michelangelo Minervini is a referee in the Venuzuelan capital Caracas, with a few million inhabitants and surrounded by poor neighbourhoods. “But violence against referees is very rare in Caracas.”

An interview from the Dutch Referee Blog with an ambitious 19-year-old referee from Venezuela.

Michelangelo Minivervini (left) in the past as assistant referee.

Michelangelo Minivervini (left) in the past as assistant referee.

Why did you become a referee?

“Well, I became a referee because it is like a passion for me. Since I was a kid (maybe 12 years old) I have loved to be a referee. In fact, my dad bought me my first whistle and cards when I was 12 and I loved to be the referee when my friends played soccer in the neighborghood! And I’m still loving to be a referee. I always remember Pierluigi Colina and the way he was a great referee. He speaks 5 languages! And I think that learning several languages is very important for being a terrific referee.”

“When I saw soccer with my dad in my house, I allways saw the referees, the kits, the accesories, the way they run, all the things the referees do are my motivation. But I admit that being referee is not easy at all.”

What are your goals in refereeing?

“I want to be an International FIFA Referee! I want to represent Venezuela in a soccer World Cup. I know is not easy but nothing is impossible!” He also got thinner – the picture is an old one. “Getting thinner was a goal for being an elite referee – or trying to be – and having a better health.”

How is it to officiate in Venezuela?

“It’s difficult because the grass is not on condition. In Caracas there are so many stadiums without grass, just earth, the lines on the field are not visible sometimes, the public is always screaming things against the referee, sometimes the coaches don’t respect the game.”

“Becoming a referee in Caracas is not difficult, if you wanna be a referee you need to take a course, when you finish the course the Association gives to you matches and you start the referee career. If you wanna be a Federation Referee, you must be in the Association by a year and then you must pass the physical and theorical exam.”

“Here in Venezuela, when you start as a referee you can be a referee in the league of the city or state, that is called “Association Referee”, when you have grown up (have enough experience) you can be a “Federation Referee”, when you are a Federation Referee you can be referee all over the country: 1st division (like Eredivisie, Premier League or Bundesliga), 2nd division, 3th division, Women division and regional division.”

Do you experience a lot of violence in the big city Caracas?

“As Referee sometimes we experience violence, but is very rare.”

Who do you think will be the South-American refereeing candidates for the World Cup in 2014?

“There are many prospects! For example my friend Juan Soto. He was a referee at the Olympic Games and he is growing up. I mean: every match is different, each match brings new experiences, new skills, you learn a lot when you are the referee, when you are concentrated! All the referees learn more and more when we are on the field taking the right decisions.”

“I know he will be a World Cup referee in 2014. Another great referee is Wilmar Roldan from Colombia. He was the referee for the 3rd place in the Olympic Games (in London) and he wasn’t the referee of the final because Brazil played the final versus Mexico.”

“Enrique Osses from Chile, Mayker Gomez from Venezuela, Antonio Arias from Paraguay, Carlos Vera from Ecuador, Raul Orosco from Bolivia. Remember that South America has five places for Referees in the World Cup and the battle is very close.”

How do you judge South American match officials if you compare them to refs from other continents?

“I think that the South American referees have the same potential in comparison with Europe! I’m hundred percent sure that the South American referees are the best, but I think that the European referees have the better economical support and organisation. But talking about quality: the South American referees are the best.”

Extra assistant referee keeps ball in play

An extra assistant referee in the Italian match between Juventus and Genua was standing on the backline and keeps the ball in play.

Claudio Marchisio shoots the ball, but it missed the target completely. But it touches the extra assistant referee who’s standing on the edge of the goal area just on the goal line. The assistant referee still flags for a goal kick.

Italian extra assistant referee keeps the ball in play.

Italian extra assistant referee keeps the ball in play. Photo: screenshot Sport 1 (go to video: – maybe only for Dutch viewers because of country restrictions)

Did referee Marco Guida and his team make a mistake?

The Laws of the Game state that:

The ball is out of play when:
• it has wholly crossed the goal line or touch line whether on the ground or in the air

That’s not a fact. The rules also say the following.

Ball in play
The ball is in play at all other times, including when:
• it rebounds off a goalpost, crossbar or corner fl agpost and remains in the field of play
• it rebounds off either the referee or an assistant referee when they are on the field of play

The assistand on the sideline made the wrong call, by flagging for a goal kick, because the extra assistant referee was on the field of play.

The match ended in 1-1 and Italian media are discussing the referee. Not because of this incident, but because he didn’t give a penalty against Genua say the journalists, who state that referee Guida is a Naples supporter – the rivals of Genua.

Italian referee kicked on his head

Italian news website MNews reports that a referee has been kicked on his head. It’s not a pitch invasion like I posted last week, but this seems a serious violent offence against the referee.

Check out the video below. Sad to see this referee hobbling slowly of the pitch after “being kicked on the head”, according to Italian news website Mnews. The teams Melito di Porto Salvo and Santo Stefano d’Aspromonte you were playing the game. The score was 5-3 at the moment of the incident.

My Italian is not good (status: can understand texts only with Google Translate), so maybe my Italian followers could tell what the Italian FA does after such incidents when a referee is kicked on his head.

Fifa: ‘Penalty via bar, ground & in goal = goal’

Fifa has announced that a goal should be allowed when a penalty kick – as last action of a half or in a shoutout – is shot on the bar, then touches the ground and crosses the goal line. That’s why the Dutch Football Association KNVB has announced a new interpretation of the Laws of the game for next season.

Last weeks many referees discussed the match Dro and Termeno in Italian football. The referee allowed a goal. It now turns out he was correct, according to Fifa.

In 2009 the Dutch referee commission announced that a goal should not been allowed in the situation above. The PK situation was over when the ball touches the ground after been shot at the bar, was their interpretation. But they had some doubts about it and asked Fifa. That’s why they announced new interpretations for 2011/2012 (pdf). The Dutch FA stresses: “The rules have not changed, it’s just our interpretation.”

The Dutch Referee Blog will soon move over to DutchReferee.com. I’ll keep you posted.

Discipline and sacrifice brought Carlos Simon 3 WC’s

Carlos Eugenio Simon in action. Photo from Simon's Twitter

Referee Carlos Eugenio Simon is preparing to hang up his whistle at the end of the season. He’s mentioned as a candidate for Minister of Sport in his counrtry Brazil and perhaps will engage in political life in the near future.

Written by Valdir Bicudo, a befriended Brazilian journalist and referee commentator at Parana Online.
Simon was the Brazilian representative in the last three World Cups. He’s, as a well-known referee, adored by many and opposed by many other fans. In an interview with Parana Online, Simon speaks about all the years in his career, the experience gained over time, analyzes the current arbitration in Brazil and abroad, and comments on the need for professionalization of refereeing and the changes that may revolutionize the role of the officials on the field and football as a whole.

Carlos Eugenio Simon graduated in journalism and wrote the book Na Diagonal do Campo (On the diagonal of the field) about the rules of the game and the routine of an referee. In addition to three World Cups, Simon also officiated four finals of the Brazilian Championship, five cup finals in Brazil and another one of the Copa Libertadores and the World Cup for Clubs, which will be held again December of this year.

You are the most important Brazilian referee these days. What is the feeling of having participated in three World Cups, a milestone in Brazilian arbitration?
Carlos Eugenio Simon: “The feeling of participating in a World Cup is wonderful – think of three. All of this is the result of much discipline, sacrifice and determination. It is worth noting the importance of family support, referees, assistants and friends.”

Why did the referees and linesmen during the recent World Cup in South Africa make mistakes to such an extent, even though the selection process was considered unprecedented by Fifa when it comes to arbitration?
“Most of the decisions were correct. There were a few mistakes, but fallibilityis part of being human. I think referees and assistants did proper training and preparation. A process which is progressing.”

Why were you and your assistants Altermir Hausmann and Roberto Braatz, although you’ve all done an excellent job, not scheduled in most games?
“We did our part, which was coming to South Africa on and work competently. We worked on two sets which had great magnitude and were praised by everyone – the committee, instructors, colleagues and the press. We are referees and are not responsible for scales.

What is the influence of the media on the work of the referee in Brazil, South America and the world?
“Some in the media world knows or has worked in the arbitration, but the majority knows very little of this activity.”

Are you in favor of the professionalization of arbitration in its entirety or only for the major competitions? In Brazil, there are conditions for the professionalisation of football referee?
“It’s the only way I see it. Football has long ago turned into a big business and the referee remains ‘amateur’. I’ve always defended and will continue to support the professionalization of refereeing.”

What o you think of the implementation of two more assistants behind the goal?
“From what I’ve read and heard so far, I am in favor. I think these introduction of these AR’s will help a lot, yes.”

How do see the use of technology in football?
“The chip in the ball would be one solution, for example in WC situations in games of England and Germany, where the ball crossed the goal line completely for 33 inches and cannot be seen with the naked eye by arbitration. I support a chip in the ball. What do not favor is to stop play and look at the replay. ”

What about the suffering of the referees and assistants when their performance is shown with 32 television camera’s?
“As I wrote earlier, the emotions and pressures are strong in football and we need support from psychologists, coaches, instructors, body language. All this to ease the tension.”

Isn’t the use of high technology versus a referee who has only two eyes unfair?
“It may be unfair, but we live in an age of technology. But the mathematics of arbitrage is also unfair. If you whistle ten games and make a mistake in one, is it that one they remember. The official takes on average about 150 decisions in a game and hits most, but there’s a debate that he is wrong. ”

You leave the FIFA because of the age limit of 45 years. Which Brazilian referee will succeed you?“The Brazilian Arbitration is competent and have referees who may well succeed me.”

What are your projects after you’ll stop?
“For now I do not think much about it. I want to finish my career in full physical, technical and psychological strength.”

This guest blog is translated from Portugese. Mistranslations are my bad, but you can find the original text on Bicudo’s blog. I’m very happy we could exchange copy for our blogs. If you have a good idea for a guest blog, you are more than welcome.

Read also other articles from Valdir Bicudo on the Dutch Referee Blog.