‘The cancer that kills football’ – FIFA refereeing chief Pierluigi Collina condemns referee abuse at crunch IFAB meeting with extension of VAR powers on the agenda

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FIFA refereeing chief, Pierluigi Collina, condemned referee abuse at crunch IFAB meeting which had extension of VAR powers on the agenda.

Discussions also covered the potential extension of sin-bins from the grassroots to professional football. The introduction of sin bins for dissent in professional competitions is seen as a measure to tackle rising concerns about referee abuse and assaults. The body is also contemplating adopting a captain-only approach to referees, limiting player interaction with the on-field official. FIFA refereeing chief, Pierluigi Collina, is concerned with the rise in referee abuse and believes that “this might be the cancer that kills football.”

Updating existing handball laws was also on the agenda of the meeting. It is being considered to punish unintentional handball, which has denied a goal-scoring opportunity, with a yellow card instead of a red.

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Additionally, 12 EFL players have expressed interest in becoming VARs to PGMOL, reflecting a broader initiative to involve ex-players as match officials. This is in line with PGMOL Chief Howard Webb’s efforts to involve ex-players in officiating. The report mentions that Webb is also taking a close look at the Elite Development Referee Plan in an effort to expedite the process of becoming a top-level referee. Success stories like Rebecca Welch breaking barriers in Championship refereeing highlight positive strides made by the development group.

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