Published Work

Pierluigi Collina

Playing the man in charge of a football game can be quite a nerve-racking task – for most of us, that is. This man however, is no newcomer to the job. 

Billed and officially awarded as ‘The World’s Best Referee’, this calm bald-headed Italian is also infamous at being quite strict.

Pierluigi Collina was born on 13th February 1960 in Bologna, the only son in a family. After the High School, he attended the University of Bologna where he graduated a degree in Economics in 1984 with the highest score. Since 1991 he has lived in Viareggio where he works as a financial advisor. He is married and is a father of two girls.

Collina has been refereeing since 1977 and received his Serie A qualification in 1991. A FIFA qualification followed quickly in 1995. He is able to converse in four languages – English, French, Spanish and of course, Italian. An advantage, he says since he is able to govern international caliber matches and communicate with the players at game time. His profile has allowed him at the Atlanta Olympics in 1996, the 1998 France World Cup, the European Championship in 2000, and the 2002 World Cup Final in Yokohama. You must have also seen him at the ongoing European 2004 Championship in Portugal.

Even at 43, Collina, has been quite famous at his ability to command respect. He is known to be very understanding and at the same time very fair. While other referees in the arena would be pushed around at match time, Collina can hardly ever be argued with. His decisions are often criticized as being harsh and unnecessary, but for Collina he just calls what he sees. You can expect a more than a few yellow cards during a match of his governing.

His fairness is even applicable off the pitch. Collina does not subscribe to the apologist theory that paying fans have a right to express their opinions any way they choose. He proved the point once, famously, by halting an Italian league match until club officials had removed a racist fan's banner, which insulted a black player.

The International Football Federation of History and Statistics (IFFHS) voted him as ‘The World’s Best Referee’ six consecutive times during the years between 1998 and 2003. Truly a record that is unlikely to be surpassed! Other than that, Collina, will be presented with an Honorary Doctor of Science degree, from the University of Hull next month for his outstanding contribution to sport and fair play.

All in all, Pierluigi Collina is perhaps the most widely known referee in the world today. With his distinctive look and refereeing style he has taken charge of the biggest matches on the planet. Strangely though, his favourite team does not even play soccer. He is a big fan of basketball and a big supporter of Fortitudo Bologna.

So what does a good referee require to become the best?

With the pace of the game so quick in recent years, the referee has to be well prepared physically, mentally and technically. The technical preparation is the most difficult since it changes with every match. The referee needs to know the game play of every team and every player. This allows him to place himself well around the field. It also means that his knowledge and interpretation of the rules is put to the test. Nowadays with more than 18 cameras covering every possible area of the pitch and at various angles, a mistake made while judging the match, will call for a lot of televised attention.