DUBAI: UEFA referees chief Pierluigi Collina has said that knowing the laws of association football is not sufficient in itself for an official to reach the top of the game.

The Italian, addressing the 10th annual Dubai Sports Council conference, said a a modern referee also needed to know every single player on the pitch along with his ability and likely style of play.

Collina, a former World Cup Final and Champions League Final referee, said: “There was a time when a very good referee had to know the laws of the game by heart. This is over. Today, only the referee who can estimate as well as possible what might happen during the match has the potential to reach world class.

“You have to ask yourself: ‘Do I know all payers? Who are the best players, the teams’ tactics, their characteristics and their records in previous matches.”

The conference was also attended by Argentina superstar Lionel Messi from Barcelona and the ruler of Dubai, Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al-Maktoum.