Wales hoping stars like Gareth Bale are allowed to flourish at Euro 2016
Wales want referees at Euro 2016 to protect “players who entertain” and allow them to flourish during the tournament.
Manager Chris Coleman and assistant Osian Roberts have taken advice from former referees David Elleray and Pierluigi Collina in an effort to understand how games in France this summer will be officiated.
Wales’ most potent attacking weapon, Gareth Bale, scored seven goals during their successful qualifying campaign, and there are fears opponents, well aware of the talents of the Real Madrid forward, will resort to fouling to stop him in France.
Coleman told Sky Sports News HQ: “I think the referees we will need to get used to – maybe because we play in the Premier League and the Championship where they are a bit more relaxed than here.
“They’ll be more strict. We have already spoken with the players about that along with David Elleray, who kindly came into speak with us, and he’s explained to us what to expect.”
Roberts feels similarly about protecting the forward threats Wales will utilise in France – not just Bale, but also Arsenal midfielder Aaron Ramsey and Liverpool’s Joe Allen.
Ramsey told Sky Sports News at Wales’ training camp in Portugal two weeks ago that he was itching to play at Euro 2016 in order “to show the whole world my talents”.
And Roberts says it is crucial such players are given the freedom to express themselves. “Any time we go to a major tournament, it’s important flair players get the opportunity to perform on that stage,” he said.
“We have some exciting talents in our team and it’s important that the rest of Europe and the rest of the world gets to see that.
“We went to a workshop in Paris with [Pierluigi] Collina some months ago and he’s made it quite clear that his team of refs will be stern, they will discipline any bad tackling that warrant any cards.
Wales travel to Bordeaux on Friday ahead of their opening Euro 2016 fixture against Slovakia in the city on Saturday.
“It is important that flair players can perform. But at the same time it’s important that defenders who defend well are complimented on that and they are treated fairly as well, it’s an equal part of the game, it needs to be applauded.”