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Italian legend meet Wickford Referee

Referee David Harrison was one of eleven lucky match officials to meet “the best referee in the game” in Pierluigi Collina at a London ceremony recently.

Harrison, who operates in the Sceptre Sunday League each weekend since qualifying himself in 2008, was introduced to Collina prior to the event. During his session he expressed how important preparation is to refereeing and how men and women in black must be both mentally and physically ready for the challenges that lay ahead in every match.

He added that refereeing, on the whole, had changed from the “1930s suited judge-like figures” to referees being “athletes among athletes” who offer their interpretations rather than just laying down the Laws of the Game.

When asked about the highlights of his career, he said that he had many and these he called his ‘special games’ such as the Champions League and World Cup finals. He claimed that his influences as a referee throughout his career were limited as referees must try to officiate with their own style.

“We were given a selection of gifts which included a signed book from Mr Collina where he talks about the Laws of the Game,” 18-year-old Harrison explained. “We’d listen and ask questions and you could see how much enthusiasm he has for refereeing, talking to young referees such as myself and sharing his experiences with us. If anyone is lucky enough to be invited to such an event like this, I highly recommend it, as well as becoming a referee full stop!”

Essex County FA Referee Development Officer, James Lisher, was excited to hear the news of Harrison’s talk with Collina and went on to say: “This was a dream meeting for any referee, especially for someone of David’s young age who is still making his way in the game. Refereeing is a fantastic pastime which brings a great deal of fulfilment and I’m glad to learn that he’s enjoyed his early experiences so much that he’s advocating it to others.”

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