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Last Updated: Wednesday, 2 March, 2005, 14:51 GMT
Collina set to hang up his boots
Italian referee Pierluigi Collina
Collina must retire from Serie A at the end of the season
Italian referee Pierluigi Collina is reportedly set to end his career in the summer and take a desk job.

Collina, 45, has reached the retirement age for referees in Italy and he must quit at the end of the season.

Newspaper reports suggest he has been offered the job of assigning referees for Italy's top two divisions

However, the Italian referee's union is lobbying to raise the retirement age to 48, and there have been moves to grant Collina an exemption to continue.

"If the Italian federation wants to give Collina a special exemption to continue refereeing, FIFA will not oppose it," FIFA president Sepp Blatter said Tuesday.

"But this exception will be valid only for Italian competitions. At the international level rules exist and they will be respected.

"Therefore, even though we don't like it, Collina will not be able to referee during the next World Cup," Blatter added.

The Gazzetta dello Sport claims the move will be formally announced in June when the Serie B season is over.

Under current Uefa rules Collina could continue to officiate elsewhere in Europe until the end of the calendar year.

The world renowned official, who has previously been linked with a move to the Premiership, has handled many memorable games including the 2002 World Cup final and the 1999 Champions League final between Manchester United and Bayern Munich.



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