You’re going to hear an interview with an ex-Champions League referee from Spain. Listen and choose a, b, or c.

1   What was the most exciting match he ever refereed?

      a   His first professional match.

      b   He can’t choose just one.

      c   Real Madrid against Barcelona.

2   Why does he mention Mauro Silva?

      a   Because he was the best player he ever saw.

      b   Because he was a great person.

      c   Because he was a very good footballer and a good person.

3   The worst experience he ever had as a referee was …

      a   when a player hit him during a match.

      b   when a woman with a child tried to attack him.

      c   when a 16-year-old boy attacked him.

4   Why does he think there is more cheating in football today?

      a   Because football is big business.

      b   Because the referees are worse.

      c   Because footballers are better at cheating.

5   How does he say footballers cheat?

      a   They fall over when nobody has touched them.

      b   They accept money to lose matches.

      c   They touch the ball with their hands.

6   What’s the most difficult thing for him about being a referee?

      a   Players who cheat.

      b   Making decisions.

      c   The rules are too complicated.

7   Does he think fair play still exists?

      a   Yes.

      b   No.

      c   He doesn’t say.


1 b   2 c   3 b   4 a   5 a   6 b   7 a


I = Interviewer, JA = Juan Antonio

I      What was the most exciting match you refereed?

JA   It’s difficult to choose one match as the most exciting. I remember some of the Real Madrid-Barcelona matches, for example the first one I ever refereed. The atmosphere was incredible in the stadium. But really it’s impossible to pick just one – there have been so many.

I      Who was the best player you ever saw?

JA   During my career there have been many great players, like Johan Cruyff and Diego Maradona. It’s very difficult to say who was the best but there’s one player who stands out for me, not just for being a great footballer but also for being a great human being and that was the Brazilian international Mauro Silva, who used to play in here in Spain, for Deportivo La Coruna.

I      What was the worst experience you ever had as a referee?

JA   The worst? Well, that was something that happened very early in my career. I was only 16 and I was refereeing a match in a town in Spain and the home team lost. After the match, I was attacked and injured by the players of the home team and by the spectators. After all these years I can still remember a mother, who had a little baby in her arms, who was trying to hit me. She was so angry with me that she nearly dropped her baby. That was my worst moment, and it nearly made me stop being a referee.

I      Do you think that there’s more cheating in football than in the past?

JA   Yes, I think so.

I      Why?

JA   I think it’s because there’s so much money in football today that it has become much more important to win. Also football is much faster than it used to be so it’s more difficult for referees to detect cheating.

I      How do footballers cheat?

JA   Oh, there are many ways, but for me the worst thing in football today is what we call ‘simulation’. Simulation is when players pretend to have been fouled when they haven’t been. For example, sometimes a player falls over in the penalty area when, in fact, nobody has touched him and this can result in the referee giving a penalty when it wasn’t a penalty. In my opinion, when a player does this he’s cheating not only the referee, not only the players of the other team, but also the spectators, because spectators pay money to see a fair contest.

I      What’s the most difficult thing about being a referee?

JA   Ah, the most difficult thing is to make the right decisions during a match. It’s difficult because you have to make decisions when everything’s happening so quickly – football today is very fast. Also important decisions often depend on the referee’s interpretation of the rules. Things aren’t black and white. And of course making decisions would be much easier if players didn’t cheat.

I      So, in your opinion fair play doesn’t exist any more.

JA   Not at all. I think fair play does exist – the players who cheat are still the exceptions.

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