On This Day: February 13, 1960 – Referee Pierluigi Collina Was Born

On February 13, 1960, one of the best (and surely the most iconic…) Italian referees was born. Pierluigi Collina’s bald appearance and spirited eyes are unmistakable and a dear memory to all those who used to follow the beautiful game between the 1990s and the 2000s.

Named the World’s Best Referee for six consecutive times between 1998 and 2003, Collina has four international finals to his name, having officiated the 1996 Olympic Tournament Final, the UEFA Cup 2003/04 Final, the 1998/99 Champions League Final and, moreover, the World Cup 2002 last act!

But aside from his distinctive appearance and refereeing prowess, Collina is also remembered for some peculiar and controversial rulings.

Some of these are overly famous and have pretty much changed the course of a Serie A season, like his decision to suspend a title-decider Perugia vs. Juventus matchup due to a heavy rainstorm, only to restart it 71 minutes later (!) despite the pitch being reduced to a quagmire. Juve lost the game and were passed by Lazio at the last lap.

Others are lesser known and even more “creative”, like his decision to once have the teams attack in the same direction for the full 90 minutes. It happened during a hotly-contested Serie B regional derby between Foggia and Bari. Collina ordered the teams to re-switch sides five minutes into the second half after the Bari goalkeeper was hit by a bottle thrown by the Foggia supporters from the stands behind him.

By having the teams re-take their original position, he put the Bari custodian off target and managed to have the game completed. Despite being only 37 and relatively inexperienced, the young Collina was not afraid of taking bold decisions.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *