Collina, who was in charge of the 2002 World Cup final
between Brazil and Germany, said it is a "real threat" when
match officials face verbal and physical abuse in amateur
"It's a worldwide problem that we need to consider and we need
to take (action) as soon as possible," Collina told Sky Sports.
"We have a huge number of referees working every weekend in
grassroots and amateur football. At this level there is
something as a threat; it's a physical threat of violence.
"Unfortunately, at this level, instead of paying huge respect
for these unknown heroes... they are abused verbally, physically
sometimes, this is a real threat."
Collina welcomed initiatives to improve behavior towards the
"Many national associations have launched a campaign, the FA did
something like this, also UEFA and FIFA are promoting respect,
not only towards referees but football," the 57-year-old Italian
"I know that it won't be easy but something has to be done.
Certainly top football has to give grassroots football the
(Reporting by Hardik Vyas in Bengaluru; editing by Sudipto
[© 2017 Thomson Reuters. All rights
Copyright 2017 Reuters. All rights reserved. This material may not be published,
broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.