Meier calls for harsh sanctions to protect referees
18 March 2005, HAMBURG - Former top referee Urs Meier, in an interview published on Friday, called for harsh sanctions against those who attack match officials, in order to protect lives.
18 March 2005
HAMBURG - Former top referee Urs Meier, in an interview published on Friday, called for harsh sanctions against those who attack match officials, in order to protect lives.
"Up to now there have only been death threats. One day someone will be dead. Then the same people will ask: how could this happen?" the Swiss referee told Germany's Die Welt daily.
The statement comes a week after Swedish referee Anders Frisk resigned following a series of death threats against himself and his family.
Frisk said the threats came mainly from England after he officiated the Barcelona vs. Chelsea Champions league match, which was followed by claims from Chelsea coach Jose Mourinho that Frisk was biased.
"He (Frisk) sent the right signal. Chelsea coach Jose Mourinho stirred up the English fans against Frisk. The campaign was not initiated by the media but by a coach," said Meier.
Meier said he could understand Frisk's reaction because he was the target of a media campaign in England after officiating over the Euro 2004 quarter-final between England and Portugal in which he awarded the game winners Portugal a penalty.
"The English media is very aggressive. They published my e-mail address and by the next day I had 19,000 e-mails. They threatened to burn cuckoo-clocks and no longer to eat Swiss chocolate," said Maier.
Meier said he was badly shaken by the campaign, hid for a week and was under police protection. But he also said the campaign prompted him to delay his planned resignation by a few months until late last year "because I didn't want to do them (the media) that favour".
Meier said that harsh sanctions like in Italy were needed to protect the referees from attacks such as the one from Mourinho, against whom the ruling body UEFA is now investigating.
"Just look at interviews in Italy. There coaches and players rather keep quiet than attack the referee in public because that can cost them fines of up to EUR 60,000."
"Harsh sanctions are the only thing that work. The federations should also ban players or coaches for a few matches if they make such attacks. All parties involved should be aware of their responsibilities," Meier said.
Subject: German news