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UEFA introduce new security measures for refs

Uefa have introduced a range of special security measures for the referees at Euro 2008 in an attempt to guard against any attempts at outside intimidation, reports the Daily telegraph.

The outside of their hotel just outside Zurich is patrolled with security guards, while two more officers are based on each floor to ensure that no outsiders can get near the team of 12 referees, 24 assistants and eight fourth officials. Hotel receptionists are also under strict instructions to carefully screen incoming calls.

Uefa say the procedures are simply designed to ensure the officials have a "serene" environment, though football's governing bodies are inevitably sensitive to the dangers posed by match-fixing.

Uefa, though, stress that the Euro 2008 measures are primarily designed to protect referees from random verbal abuse. Indeed, it is lower- profile sporting events that are considered to be the main targets for corruption.

Uefa do, however, have an information-sharing agreement with bookmakers around the world, providing them with notification of any irregular betting patterns.

Howard Webb is the only English referee at Euro 2008, but Darren Cann and Mike Mullarkey are among the assistants. "The first thing I noticed was how tight the security is at our hotel," said Cann. "We feel very safe, with security men patrolling inside and outside of the hotel 24 hours a day. There are even two additional guards on each floor of the hotel."

William Gaillard, the special advisor to Uefa president Michel Platini, said that security was inevitably tighter than for Champions League matches. "It is the only competition where everyone knows where the referees are staying - you have some crazy individuals," he said.

"In the Champions League, the referees are there for two or three days. Here, they must live there for the best part of a month."

However, Gaillard said that it would be impossible to completely block contact with outsiders. "Everyone has a cell phone and, in the days of electronic communications, it would be futile," he said. "The main reason is just to give the referee some privacy."

The Euro 2008 referees, as well as the security, also have dedicated physios, fitness coaches, sports scientists and massage therapists.

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