The re-elected president of the Portuguese Football Referees Association (APAF) said today that this sport is sometimes “very unfair” and has “too many artificial stones placed by the human hand to keep it going”.
Luciano Gonçalves spoke about the inauguration of the APAF governing bodies, which took place at the Porto Football Association, which has professional referees Artur Soares Dias and Luís Godinho as presidents of the General Assembly and the Deontological Council.
The ceremony was held in Porto because it was the electoral board that worked there that had the highest number of votes among the 25 distributed across the continent and islands, in the elections held on May 23. Luciano Gonçalves headed a single list and was re-elected for a second consecutive term with the motto “commitments, rigor and unity”.
“Stones are everything that takes us out of our focus,” explained the associative leader, giving as an example “the destructive criticisms” that, in his opinion, serve to “waste time” on the way to “better train the referees”. These “stones in the way” are placed by “human hand”, he said, without elaborating.
Luciano Gonçalves said that “the good of football” requires all agents in the sector to work together: “If we were all united, we would have a much fairer football”, he considered.
The top priority of the direction he chairs for the next four years (2020-2024) is training. “This pandemic[of[decovid-19]came to light a deficit that exists in refereeing “and which, in his opinion, belongs to the referees who focus only on football and who then, when they finish their career, face problems for not having a profession.
“We have to work on financial management and dual careers. Professional football referees make up a small percentage” in a universe made up of about 4,800 referees (close to 300 are women), noted Luciano Gonçalves. “There is a base of 4,500 referees down there who need to be supported in other areas.”
The leader considered that “another very interesting project is the recognition of the activity of referee as a profession, be it professional or amateur”. This presupposes “that the arbitrators can also declare their income” obtained in that activity, in order to be able to have casualties or a future retirement.
“We deserve this and we promise to fight as long as the referees are available,” he said.
Luciano Gonçalves said that a referee can have a long career, up to 45 years old, without having had any other parallel activity, and “he leaves with nothing” and at an age when “getting back to work is very difficult”.
The APAF president believes that the future of arbitration may be better than the present, but recalled that four years ago, when he was elected to the post, he also “hoped to have other results”, especially regarding the “image that, wrongly, continues to exist from the referee “.
“We, the referees, are also to blame,” he said, considering that the sector has to realize what it can do to make society look like “not like that individual who spoils the day after a game”.
Luciano Gonçalves also said that the referees are “aware of the state of the sector in Portugal, of the difficulties that persist and of the social image that characterizes them,” wrongly “, as he said:” No easy times are foreseen “, he anticipated.