Kolkata: If referees thought the FIFA Under-17 World Cup was going to be easy, Pierluigi Collina, arguably the world's best in the trade, reminded them that it could actually be tougher than officiating in senior team matches.
Collina, chairman of the FIFA referees committee, was in the city for conducting a workshop ahead of the World Cup which India is hosting for the first time.
Kolkata is base camp for seven female assistant referees from across the world (one from each continent) along with 70 male referees to officiate the 52 matches in the U-17 World Cup to be played in six cities from October 6-28.
"He was an inspiration for all. In the workshop he stressed on the fact that an U-17 World Cup is not easy. It is actually harder than senior World Cups because the players are faster with younger legs," All India Football Federation (AIFF) director of referees Goutam Kar told IANS from Mumbai.
A total of 26 AIFF match officials, comprising eight referees and eight assistant referees, have been given a lifetime opportunity to train with the 77 enlisted FIFA officials who will be in charge during the U-17 World Cup.
"It is a great opportunity for them to learn something from top referees across the globe. They spent some time with Collina during the workshop and that did them a world of good," Kar said.
"Our referees are still learning but what is heartening to see is the speed at which they are picking up from more experienced FIFA referees," he added.
It was learnt that Collina would be leaving India on Friday after the first set of matches gets underway in Delhi and Mumbai respectively.
Updated Date: Oct 06, 2017 17:02 PM