“The referees, today, have a professional longevity that extends for more years, as is the case with any athlete. It therefore makes perfect sense to adapt the career of referees and allow those who have the physical and technical conditions to continue to make their contribution”, said José Fontelas Gomes, speaking to Lusa.

The current age limit for football referees is set at 45 years old, and may be extended to 48, if the FPF CA agrees. From now on, with the regulation presented, the career of referees can be extended for another two years.

“The measure remains exceptional and will have to be authorised by the CA, provided that the referee is under 50 years old on July 1st of the calendar year of the beginning of the season in question”, explained to Lusa an official source of the FPF, emphasising that, “in addition to this requirement, the referee must be in full physical condition and have a positive performance evaluation, adequate to the competitive requirements”.

The president of the Board of the FPF praised the advantages of this measure, given “the enormous experience accumulated and the knowledge of the game that comes from it”.

Fontelas Gomes also stressed that this extension “obviously depends on the will of the referee and on the assessment that the Council will make of the performance and physical levels of the referee”.

This possibility, which has already come into force in Italy, covers referees of all categories.

Rui Costa, who turns 47 in June, and Manuel Mota, who turned 47 last March, are the oldest referees in the first national category.