Kenn Hansen (c.) with his teammates in Spain - Belarus © Kenn Hansen
T3T: Kenn, from your experience at final tournaments, how do you think the 18+2 Referee Teams and specially Team Kassai are feeling at the moment?
KH: They are most definitely looking very much forward to get the tournament started. The names were already announced in mid December, but this Friday is the culmination of a long referee life of preparation not only 6 months. For some of them, this experience is new. For others, very well known. But all of them expect an amazing time in France.
How would you prepare in such moments?
First of all, the preparation is physical of course. Each referee at this level surely arrived with a state-of-the-art fitness level. If this was not the case, they would have been sent home immediately, I am sure. We can probably expect to see the best fitness level ever, since UEFA’s fitness programmes are becoming more and more elaborate every year. But the preparation is of course also tactical. They have definitely seen tons of video-clips, full matches, statistics and everything that can help them.
What do you think, how did Pierluigi Collina and his team swear Team No. 25 to the EURO finals?
I am sure that Collina and his team have prepared the referees with the scrutiny they are famous for. For the referee department, this is a final too! If the referees start with 2-3 bad calls, the focus of the whole world will be on Collina and his team who are responsible. So not only the referees will be holding their breaths during the first few matches.
Who will surprise us, who has chances to get the final from your point of view?
Out of the new referees for a major final tournament, I believe the most in Szymon Marciniak. He is in excellent condition, very very professional, and I think that Collina and his team believe in him.
Several referees have the potential to reach the final, however. You need both skill and the luck of having a poor national team to represent your country. Svein Moen does not have to worry about Norway, so he has a chance as an outsider. A classic choice would be Cüneyt Çakır. I am also a great fan of him, but you can say that about most of the referees. For me, this is the highlight of the year. To see my friends and former colleagues doing their very best on behalf of all the referees in Europe. I can’t wait!
Kenn Hansen is a former international referee whose retirement surprised the world of football refereeing at the end of last year. During EURO 2016, he will work as an expert for the Danish television. Every now and then, we are about to integrate his expert views into our assessments of the referee performances of the pending EURO 2016.