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17 Jan 2011
João Almeida: ?I will keep working to help raising Beach Soccer to the highest place?
Listening to one of the most authorized and experienced voices in Beach Soccer is always a great idea. A 18-year career at the top of Beach Soccer, with two World Cup finals in his record is more than a meaningful knowledge to back any of João Almeida’s opinions up. The Portuguese international referee, although recently retired after the Euro Beach Soccer League Superfinal in Lisboa, has many things to contribute to Beach Soccer with, a sport he almost knows from its very first steps. Read his feelings and opinions in the following interview, extracted from the National Portuguese Referee website Refereetip.
?João Almeida is the biggest Beach Soccer referee in Portugal. How was your way to the top of the refereeing scale?
?I made my way with a lot of effort, without any guarantor to make things easier, and learning from the very best in the sport, Jorge Coroado and Pinto Correia. You have to believe a lot in the discipline, like it much, and proudly wear the referee uniform.
?Regarding technical issues, which are the main differences between refereeing a football game and a beach soccer one?
?Everything involved is quite different, indeed: the crowd, the environment, the Fair Play, the difficulties that the sand adds to the game, etc.
?Your refereeing career is over due to age limitation. Do you agree with those 45 years as the limit for referees to take part in official competitions?
?I agree there must be a limit for everything, also regarding the age. But I also think that 45 years feel different in every referee, so I should say that I relatively agree with that limit…
?Did you still feel mentally and physically fit enough to keep directing games at the highest level?
?Mentally, I felt as good as ever. Physically, the sand and the heat demanded an effort that was hard to cope with, although I reached my very last day at a great level. It cost me a lot of effort, though, since I had to take painkillers due to a knee injury. But I thought it absolutely worthy, since I needed to be at my best level for the farewell to Beach Soccer that I wanted to have.
?Which are your best memories after all these years? Which moments left a stronger mark on you?
?My farewell day as a beach soccer referee was the most marking day of my whole career. Feeling those more than 2000 people clapping their hands, with my sons and my wife close to me when João Morais, National Beach Soccer Coordinator, presented me the National Football Association plaque was unforgettable. There were other great moments, such as taking part in seven World Championships, refereeing two World Cup Finals, being given trophies by hands of Dr. João Havelange, Prince Albert of Monaco, the Prince of UAE, having a Beach Soccer tournament held in my honor in the beach of Foz de Arelho, etc.
?How do you see the Beach Soccer referee status today? And which are your expectations for it in the future?
?In this moment, I can’t skip seeing it as unstable, possibly because all the setbacks happening in our country, especially at a financial level. At the other hand, I feel really proud of having taken part in the organization of the 1st National Beach Soccer Championship, with the institutional support of the FPF. And this is precisely where the future must go through, as I see it. We have to keep working to make the 2nd National Championship happen and raising Beach Soccer to where it has never been before, to its highest step.
?Are you going to stay linked to the refereeing world? If so, which are your main challenges or objectives?
?Of course I am. As soon as my help may be regarded as positive, I will be 101% available to do my bit. Always, though, within my own capacities and without any will to make third parties like me, but the refereeing world, with a clear goal: fighting for the best for referees and refereeing.
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