Massimo Busacca, FIFA Head of Referees who visited Kochi last week maintains that it’s time to continue the good work if Indian Refereeing is to attain the next level. In an exclusive interview with AIFF Media, Busacca who was declared ‘Best Referee in the World’ in 2009 spoke at length about Indian Referees “earning” a slot in FIFA U-17 World Cup India 2017, FIFA’s support for India, preparation for a match and much more. EXCERPTS.
How has your experience been in India?
It has been a big honour for me to be in this beautiful and huge Country. I am always positive when I do something and it was nice to see many young talented Referees focusing on the job. It’s refreshing to see that here is a group who desires to excel in the profession. I also had a Meeting with the Referee’s Committee.
It’s now up to the All India Football Federation to develop further. The feeling was good but it’s not enough – it is time to continue the work.
Over the recent years FIFA has been a huge supporter for Referees Development in India.
There is a lot of potential in this Country. But that isn’t enough. Development of Referees is never possible without developing the Football of the Country. If you want to develop Refereeing, you ought to make steps in Football development as well. It goes hand in hand. Otherwise, the Referee won’t ever have the experience and the mentality to be on the same page which prevails around the World.
The FIFA development Office is working a lot on Football development in this Country and it will also have an effect on the development of the Referees.
Will we see Indian Referees officiating in the FIFA U-17 World Cup India 2017?
This depends not on FIFA but on the Asian Football Confederation. Normally the appointment of Referees is always made in association with the Confederation. If they propose us a top Referee to officiate in Competition, we will use him.
But in no way can it be a gift. The Referee has to earn the slot.
Apart from officiating, what are the experiences which an Indian Referee can gain from the FIFA U-17 World Cup India 2017?
It will be my pleasure to invite the Indian delegation which would comprise of Referees, Assistant Referees, Instructors and Assessors for the same. Of course we cannot invite an indefinite number of participants. But the selected group would be participating and receiving the knowledge of the preparation for and during a World Cup. It will be a huge learning process for them.
Is a Referee born? Or can he be made?
Like as it is in any other job, I feel a Referee is 70 percent born. It’s simple – either you have the quality or you don’t have the quality. But there is always the remaining 30 percent where in your career you can improve yourself.
You were the Best Referee in the World. How should a Referee prepare for a match?
Even for all my knowledge and experience, every match was difficult. I used to pray to the Almighty for help me out. But that isn’t enough.
You have to prepare yourself for the entire week. It’s important to stay calm and away from stress. One needs to conserve as much energy as possible for the big day and stay focused on the job. However, as human beings we have limitations. Even if you prepare everything, there is always that something which may crop up. It’s like a puzzle.