Pierluigi Collina has one of the most recognizable faces in the world of football and is regarded as the best referee of all time. A highly professional and inspirational speaker who offers audiences a glimpse of what it takes to be the best in your trade and stay the best through anecdotes and humour.
Pierluigi Collina, a former Italian football referee is one of the most recognized celebrities on the planet. On three occasions he was voted Best Referee in the World by the International Football Federation. He is still involved in football as non-paid consultant to the Italian Football Referees Association (AIA), and is a member of the UEFA Referees Committee.
An Economics graduate of Bologna University and a financial advisor by profession, Collina played as a central defender for a local team but was persuaded in 1977 to enroll on a referee’s course, where it was discovered that he had a particular aptitude for the job. He rapidly progressed through divisions and made his debut with Serie A in 1991.
He contracted a severe form of alopecia, resulting in the permanent loss of all his facial hair, giving him his distinctive bald appearance and earning the nickname Kojak. In 1995, after he had officiated at 43 Serie A matches, he was then chosen to join the elite FIFA list and officiated at several memorable and high profile games. He was allocated five matches at the 1996 Olympic Games, including the final between Nigeria and Argentina. He refereed the 1999 UEFA Champions League Final between Bayern Munich and Manchester United; he cited this as his most memorable game because of the cheers at the end, which he described as ‘lions’ roar’.
In 2002, he reached the pinnacle of his career when he was chosen for the World Cup final between Brazil and Germany. He was referee for the 2004 UEFA Cup final between Valencia and Olympique Marseille. Euro 2004 was his last major international tournament, as he reached the mandatory retirement age of 45 for FIFA referees early in 2005.
Although Collina is closely identified with football, his favourite sports club plays basketball. He is a lifelong supporter of Fortitudo Bologna, one of Europe’s leading basketball clubs.
Pierluigi was voted the Best Referee in the World by IFFHS, International Football Federation of History and Statistics in 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002 & 2003. He was also named Commendatore dell’Ordine al Merito della Repubblica Italiana, one of the highest honours in Italy in 2003 and Doctorate “honoris causa” in Science by The University of Hull in 2004. Through his refereeing, he became famous in Japan and appeared on a TV commercial of frozen takoyaki products.
Outside of his football and professional life, Mr. Collina is an energetic champion of good causes. He was International Red Cross ambassador for the campaign “Children in war”, 2004, and FIFA Ambassador for the SOS Italia Children Villages. He is the author of the book “The Rules of the Game”, published in Italy in 2003 and translated in more than 10 different languages and 20 countries.
Collina’s business message is simple and is likened to refereeing; analyse each team’s tactics to ensure you’re in the right place at the right time, and defuse tense situations quickly and fairly. Above all, learn from your mistakes – but resist the temptation to make matters worse by compensating for them.
- Preparation and fairness equals respect
- Insights into what it takes to be the best
- How to manage conflict
- Decision making under pressure