A. You’re going to listen to an interview with an ex-Champions League football referee from Spain. Listen to Part 1 and choose a, b, or c.

1   Why did he want to become a referee?

      a   His father was a referee.

      b   He liked sports, but wasn’t good at it.

      c   He always liked the idea.

2   What was the most exciting game he ever refereed?

      a   His first professional game.

      b   He can’t choose just one.

      c   Real Madrid against Barcelona.

3   The worst experience he ever had as a referee was when _________ attacked him.

      a   a player

      b   a woman

      c   a child

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 often cheat?

      a   They fall over when no one has touched them.

      b   They accept money to lose matches.

      c   They touch the ball with their hands.


1 c   2 b   3 b   4 a   5 a


I = interviewer, JA = Juan Antonio

Part 1

I   What made you want to become a referee?

JA   My father was a referee, but that didn’t influence me – in fact, the opposite, because I saw all the problems that he had as a referee. But as a child, I was always attracted by the idea and at school I used to referee all kinds of sports – basketball, handball, volleyball, and of course football. I was invited to join the Referees’ Federation when I was only fourteen years old.

I   Were you good at sport yourself?

JA   Yes. I was a very good handball player. People often think that referees become referees because they’re frustrated sportsmen, but this is just not true in most cases, in my experience.

I   What was the most exciting match you ever 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   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 sixteen, 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’s become much more important to win. Also, football is much faster than it used to be, so it’s much 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 a player pretends to have been fouled when in fact he hasn’t. 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.

B. Listen to Part 2. Complete sentences 1-6.

1   The most difficult thing for him about being a referee is to make the _________ _________ during a match.

2   One of the reasons it’s difficult is because football today is very _________.

3   Making correct decisions often depends on the referee’s interpretation of the _________.

4   He thinks that players who cheat are the _________.

5   A study that was done on Leo Messi shows that he could run exceptionally fast _________ _________ _________.

6   He thinks Messi isn’t a _________ _________ footballer.


1 right decisions   2 fast   3 rules   4 exceptions

5 with the ball   6 typical superstar


Part 2

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

JA   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. You must remember that everything is happening at one hundred kilometres an hour. 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   Do you think that the idea of fair play doesn’t exist any more?

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

I   Finally, who was the best player you ever saw in your career as a referee?

JA   I have to say Leo Messi.

I   Why is he special for you?

JA   Well, a study was done on him which showed that Messi could run faster with the ball than many footballers can do without the ball. But apart from his great ability, what I’ve always admired about him is that he isn’t a typical superstar footballer. In public and in his personal life, his behaviour has always been very normal. That’s unusual for such a famous player.

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