The German Wolfgang Stark, one of the 12 main referees acting at the pending UEFA EURO 2012, answered questions on the official media day for referees in Warsaw.
|The German no.1: Wolfgang Stark (c) Berliner Zeitung|
UEFA has imposed a strict ban on interviews for the match officials of EURO 2012. Are you glad about this measure or do you consider that as exaggerated?
Stark: "It is always a two-edged sword. On the one hand, I am glad, as our main occupation is to referee matches. The pressure will be immensely high. That is for this reason a good measure for the active referees who will be able to focus on what matters."
Has the pressure become bigger, also due to the internet? There are e.g. groups on facebook, which are solely aimed at dissing or rejecting you. Do you have a bearing on that?
Stark: "Of course, the public pressure is rising. However, concerning facebook, I have to say that this does not burden me at all. I do not have facebook myself and hence do not busy myself with that. Therefore, I do certainly know that is said there. The pressure has increased during the last year, but the referees, who are here, have enough experience to cope with that, I have managed that in the last years and I am confident that I will manage that again in Poland/Ukraine."
For the first time, the Additional Assistant Referees will be deployed at a big tournament. Is that the future or more likely the technology favourized by FIFA?
Stark: "We have to wait and analyze the things after the competition. Everybody is very, very good prepared and aligned to this tournament. Naturally, mistakes occur, but as soon as there is a good decision made by an Additional Assistant Referee, their inset was justified. I am not responsible for deciding whether it will be continued or not."
The Ukraine as state is heavily critized. There were voices which claimed a boycott. What is your opinion about the recent discussions?
Stark: "Of course one follows that in the media. But my task is a different one. Let me concentrate on my matches. My main task is to referee decent matches, to show good performances. I want to divide that in a very clear way, politics and sports. I am subserving the sportive part at this tournament."
Do you fear for a lack of safety in Ukraine?
Stark: "No. I think, everything is done to ensure that we will be safely lodged and that we will come safely to our matches. At home, something could happen, too, one is never invulnerable. But I do not think about a possible lack of safety."
Due to the age limit, it will be your last European Championship for sure. For whom are you rooting? The German national team or the referee Wolfgang Stark? Only one can get into the final...
Stark: "I firstly concentrate on my matches. We have to await the course of events in the tournament. Of course I keep my fingers crossed for the German team, as referee, you are too deeply a football fan yourself. But it does not automatically mean, if the German team fails, that then the German referee team will get the final."