SANTIAGO, Jan 26 (Reuters) - Christian Rojas will be making
his second top flight debut when the Chilean season opens this
weekend, having made the rare transition from player to referee.
A former defender who quit at 25 with a knee injury in 2001,
Rojas will referee in the first division for the first time.
Rojas, whose only club in his playing days was first
division Cobresal, won promotion to the top flight as a referee
this year after several seasons officiating in the second
"This always appealed to me but I had two right knee
operations (for torn ligaments) that made it difficult for me to
continue playing," Rojas told Reuters in an interview.
"This option of refereeing appeared spontaneously and so far
it's been a good choice, I think," he said.
Rojas said his footballing past gave him some advantages,
even if judgment of his refereeing can be harsher as a former
player as happened to him in the second division.
"Relations with the players are very good... also, because of
having been in many changing rooms and situations that happen on
the pitch, you can see them differently," he said.
Few players have gone on to referee, the last in Chile being
Domingo Massaro who played for his country at the 1952 Olympic
Uruguayan Dario Ubriaco, a former under-20 international,
became a top flight referee in 2004 and four years later reached
The 34-year-old Rojas does not yet know which match in the
Apertura championship, first of two in the season, he will be
handed this weekend.
He said he would have no problems refereeing match involving
Cobresal but he hoped his impartiality would not be more
severely called into question if he made mistakes.
"I'm a professional in football and I'd like to referee them
but the authorities make the decision," Rojas said.
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