UEFA is determined that referees, players and coaches will be on the same page at UEFA Euro 2016, and will visit the 24 team camps ahead of the tournament to explain how the Laws of the Game will be interpreted.
UEFA chief refereeing officer Pierluigi Collina said at a briefing in Enghien-les-Bains, near Paris, on Wednesday that it was essential for everyone to "speak the same language" at the final round in France as far as refereeing decisions and actions are concerned. "We will visit the 24 teams before the EURO kicks off, in the last days of May and at the start of June," said Collina. "We have prepared a collection of clips which will be shown to players and coaches, with the aim being that they and the referees all know the same instructions as to what will be done on the field of play with respect to the laws. This is very important this year, because the International Football Association Board (IFAB) has decided on changes to the Laws of the Game which will be implemented at Euro 2016," he added. One amendment concerns the so-called 'triple punishment' rule, which previously involved dismissal, a penalty and a suspension for the denial of an obvious goal-scoring opportunity within the penalty area. Under the revision, referees will give a yellow card, and not a red card, if a goalkeeper or defender in the penalty area genuinely and honestly tries to challenge for the ball and commits a foul. Red cards and penalties will still be given, for instance, for violent play, or pulling or pushing involving no intention to play the ball. "This change is something that the players and coaches [at Euro] must know properly," said Collina, who also emphasised that the aim of the meetings with the teams would not be to give warnings to individual players. Of course, if we think, for example, that 'mobbing' (players putting pressure on the referee by surrounding him) could be an issue, then we will emphasise that we do not accept this," he stressed. Collina addressed the question of holding and pulling in the penalty area by expressing the view that such incidents had been on the decrease at UEFA matches, thanks in no small part to the introduction of additional assistant referees (AARs) to monitor events in the penalty box, in particular at set-piece situations such as free-kicks and corners. "The players know that they are being controlled," he reflected. "This certainly could not be considered as an issue."
Collina also explained the reasons for the introduction of goal-line technology at UEFA Euro 2016. The system will work alongside additional assistant referees while they control the penalty area. "Goal-line technology will be used to focus on the goal-line, freeing the additional assistants to focus on the rest of the penalty area, and be ready to take a decision and support the referee," he said. "We are convinced that the two systems will work together very well." Among the instructions that referees are receiving for UEFA Euro 2016 is the brief to protect players on the field. "One of the main goals of UEFA is to protect the safety of the players," said Collina. "For some years, UEFA has been quite strict in punishing those fouls that endanger players' safety, and we will continue to do so".