June 28, 2008 / 7:25 PM / in 11 years

Collina says players have shown greater respect

VIENNA (Reuters) - Players have shown greater respect to referees at Euro 2008 following a UEFA initiative, former top official Pierluigi Collina said on Saturday.

European soccer’s ruling body included a ‘respect’ badge on jerseys in an effort to crack down on various problems in the game, including players surrounding the referee and swearing.

“The main thing achieved in this tournament was what was written on the shirt — that’s respect. Respect was shown during the tournament,” Collina, who retired as an official in 2005, told a news conference.

The Italian refrained from commenting on the refereeing at Euro 2008 so as not to jinx compatriot Roberto Rosetti, who takes charge of Sunday’s final between Germany and Spain.

“It is better to wait until the final to make an assessment,” Collina said, adding that Rosetti will have to watch how Germany deal with Spain’s short passing game.

A few controversial incidents have been shown on the stadium big screens during the tournament but Collina, now head of Italy’s top-flight referees, was untroubled.

“It’s a way to give supporters added value,” he said.

However, the 48-year-old is against the idea of having two referees on the field, having taken part in an experiment.

“The experiment was evaluated and the results were not so positive. Referees are very well prepared, they are very fit,” he said at a Mastercard event.

Editing by Trevor Huggins

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