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By ESPN Staff
Apr 17, 2008

Euro 2008 refs to tackle dissent and violent play

REGENSDORF, Switzerland, April 17 (Reuters) - Referees at Euro 2008 will come down hard on players who use excessive force or show dissent if they follow instructions they were given on Thursday.

The 12 referees who will officiate at the June tournament in Austria and Switzerland were handed a six-point list of instructions at the end of a four-day workshop at their Euro 2008 base near Zurich.

The instructions, compiled by European soccer's governing body UEFA, order referees to 'act firmly (red card) against challenges involving excessive force...including the illegal use of arms and elbows.'

UEFA said that players would also be expected to respect officials' decisions.

'Referees can accept a spontaneous expression of frustration from players,' the instructions state, 'but will firmly sanction players who show dissent to the referees by word or action.'

The referees have also been instructed to control holding or pushing in the penalty area prior to corners and free kicks and to punish 'simulation intended to deceive the referee' with yellow cards.

As is already the case in the Champions League, UEFA's disciplinary body will be able to use video evidence to punish players who fool the referee by diving or pretending to have been fouled.

The referees have also been told to deal firmly with mass confrontations with the instructions stating that 'any players involved... have to realise that the main protester(s), including any who run over to join in, will get a yellow card.'

At a news conference accompanying the workshop, UEFA referees' committee member Hugh Dallas warned that 'we can guarantee a minimum of one player from each team will be cautioned following such an incident.'

The list ends with a note to team coaches, advising them that they will be 'left to do their jobs' in the technical area immediately in front of the team bench provided they act responsibly.

'If a coach openly criticises the referee, action will be taken to curb his behaviour,' the instructions add.

The directives do not include any radical changes to existing practice in European competition but instead highlight the areas in which referees will be asked to place particular emphasis during Euro 2008.

UEFA president Michel Platini said last month that the organisation would use the tournament to call for more respect within the game with individual campaigns addressing the need to respect opponents, national anthems and referees.

UEFA said they would demonstrate their own respect for the referees with an accompanying support team and increased pay levels.

In addition to the team of referee-specific doctors, fitness trainers and masseurs provided at Euro 2004, match officials will also be offered the services of a sports psychologist.

Referees will be paid 10,000 euros for every match at which they officiate with their assistants receiving 5,000 euros.

That corresponds to an increase of almost 60 percent compared with Euro 2004 where the officials received the same amount but in Swiss francs.

'UEFA decided the amount of pay based upon the pressure and responsibility, the professional preparations required and, of course, the quality of the referees,' UEFA's head of refereeing Ivan Cornu told the news conference.

UEFA said the 12 referees, who will be matched with assistants from each of their own countries, had been selected based on their good performances in European matches.

List of 12 Euro 2008 referees:

Konrad Plautz (Austria)
Frank de Bleeckere (Belgium)
Howard Webb (England)
Herbert Fandel (Germany)
Kyros Vassaras (Greece)
Roberto Rosetti (Italy)
Pieter Vink (Netherlands)
Tom Henning Ovrebo (Norway)
Lubos Michel (Slovakia)
Manuel Enrique Mejuto Gonzalez (Spain)
Peter Frojdfeldt (Sweden)
Massimo Busacca (Switzerland)