Moscow: The officiating level at the matches of the Russian Premier League is unsatisfactory and the entire refereeing system in Russia needs a radical overhaul, the head of the Russian football referees' corps said on Friday.
The former Italian referee Roberto Rosetti, who officiated at the 2008 European championships final, added that Russian football experienced lack of classy officials in each one of its divisions.
"There are only 3,000 professional referees in the huge country of Russia," Rosetti said. "It's too few. Russia needs much, much more referees to have a variety of the officials to choose from in every division."
Rosetti was brought in by the Russian football as a foreigner to oversee the Russian refereeing system. However regular league matches are still officiated only by Russians.
Improving referring is a big priority for Russia as it prepares to host the 2018 World Cup and improve the standard of its league to a world class level with an influx of foreign talent.
Rosetti added that Italy's referees' corps counted more than 32,000 officials, while England had a choice of 38,000 referees.
He said that the referees in Russia were under constant pressure with almost every official's mistake in the match of the Premier League becoming the cause of a serious scandal.
"There are too few referees in Russia, it's a fact," Rosetti said.
"Besides, the officials here are humiliated after the slightest mistake. It's absolutely impossible that a child would dream to become a referee here in Russia."
Rosetti also said that he would probably need more time than he previously planned to implement his programme of creation of a strong refereeing system in Russia, adding however that he has firm intention to complete his mission here.
"I already work a year and four months here in Russia," he said. "I was previously planning to fulfill my programme here in three years. But now I understand that it's not enough.
"It's very important to change mentality here.
"To be a referee in Russia means to be in the centre of the various problems. For me the refereeing isn't work. It's my life. I'm a football-crazy man. And I'm going to be successful here."