FIFA Club World Cup Final 2017: Ramos (MEX)

16 December 2017

Real Madrid – Gremio Porto Alegre
Referee: Cesar Ramos (MEX, photo)
Assistant Referee 1: Marvin Torrentera (MEX)
Assistant Referee 2: Miguel Hernandez (MEX)
Fourth official: Ravshan Irmatov (UZB)
Reserve AR: Abdukhamidullo Rasulov (UZB)
VAR 1: Mark Geiger (USA)
VAR 2: Jakhongir Saidov (UZB)
AVAR: Felix Zwayer (GER)

Match for Third Place
Al Jazira – CF Pachuca
Referee: Malang Diedhiou (SEN)
Assistant Referee 1: Djibril Camara (SEN)
Assistant Referee 2: El Hadji Samba (SEN)
Fourth Official: Matthew Conger (NZL)
Reserve AR: Tevita Makasini (TGA)
VAR 1: Clement Turpin (FRA)
VAR 2: Simon Lount (NZL)
AVAR: Artur Soares Dias (POR)

Lazio fans bombard referee's cafe with bad online reviews

It's not easy being a football referee, and it's not easy running a cafe in an age of online reviews. Especially in Italy, famous for its passion for the beautiful game and its love of good cuisine. So when referee Piero Giacomelli made two controversial decisions during Lazio's 3-1 home defeat to Torino in Serie A on 11 December, Lazio fans decided to retaliate - against his restaurant. Fans were outraged by Giacomelli not penalising Torino's Iago Falque for handball and for issuing a red card to Ciro Immobile for headbutting Nicolas Burdisso.
On hearing Giacomelli ran a food-serving cafe in Trieste in northern Italy, angry Lazio fans took to the review site Trip Advisor and Google reviews to vent their frustration. Since Lazio's defeat there has been a flurry of bad reviews for Cafe Rossetti, believed to be run by Giacomelli. Many posts appear to be directed at the referee personally, rather than genuine complaints by dissatisfied diners. One Google review read: "Do you cook like you referee?" Another reviewer posted: "This place is as bad as Giacomelli." Others used the opportunity to mock the food and service even though there is no evidence to suggest those posting one-star reviews in the past few days had eaten there. According to Italian news publications, including Rome-based newspaper Il Messaggero, there were also some negative reviews published on travel website TripAdvisor. The restaurant is rated on the site as 'excellent' by 56% of reviews, at time of writing, and all 'poor' or 'terrible' reviews currently available on the site were posted prior to the match. But Lazio fan website La Lazio Siamo Noi has screenshots of what it claims are reviews posted on TripAdvisor since the match and before their removal from the site, which are also being shared on Facebook. It is not clear whether Giacomelli is still the owner of the cafe and website Football Italia says he is no longer running the business. The Facebook page for Cafe Rossetti also appears to have been taken down.

Source: BBC

Player recalled from dressing room after VAR reversal

Trials of video assistant referees in the German Bundesliga threw up yet another controversial case at the weekend when a player had actually left the field after being sent off before being called back on. Eintracht Frankfurt midfielder Marius Wolf was called back from the dressing rooms after having been initially dismissed by the referee in the 1-0 defeat to Bayern Munich.
Wolf was shown a red card for a challenge on James Rodriguez with just under 20 minutes remaining and kicked a microphone in frustration as he walked off. But referee Harm Osmers changed his mind after consulting video replays and Wolf returned to receive a yellow card instead of red. The decision might have vindicated the whole point of VARs but not when a player had already left the pitch. “I was in the changing room already,” said Wolf. “Then the team manager came and called me back, said the referee was looking at video evidence. I also said he should do that. For me, it was not a red card.”
The International Football Association Board, custodians of the Laws of the Game, is set to rule in March whether to rubber stamp the use of VAR for the World Cup finals in Russia, with some members not as convinced as FIFA president Gianni Infantino that the system is foolproof.

FIFA Club World Cup 2017 – Semi-finals

12 December 2017
Gremio Porto Alegre – CF Pachuca
Referee: Felix Brych (GER, photo)
Assistant Referee 1: Mark Borsch (GER)
Assistant Referee 2: Stefan Lupp (GER)
Fourth Official: Malang Diedhiou (SEN)

Reserve AR: El Hadji Samba (SEN)
VAR 1: Felix Zwayer (GER)
VAR 2: Djibril Camara (SEN)
AVAR: Clement Turpin (FRA)

13 December 2017
Al Jazira – Real Madrid
Referee: Sandro Ricci (BRA)
Assistant Referee 1: Emerson De Carvalho (BRA)
Assistant Referee 2: Marcelo Van Gasse (BRA)
Fourth Official: Andres Cunha (URU)

Reserve AR: Miguel Hernandez (MEX)
VAR 1: Artur Soares Dias (POR)
VAR 2: Marvin Torrentera (MEX)
AVAR: Wilton Sampaio (BRA)

FIFA Club World Cup 2017 – Match for Fifth Place

12 December 2017

Wydad AC – Urawa Red Diamonds
Referee: Matthew Conger (NZL, photo)
Assistant Referee 1: Simon Lount (NZL) 

Assistant Referee 2: Tevita Makasini (TGA)
Fourth Official: Ravshan Irmatov (UZB)
Reserve AR: Abdukhamidullo Rasulov (UZB)
VAR 1: Artur Soares Dias (POR)
VAR 2: Jakhongir Saidov (UZB)
AVAR: Abdulrahman Al-Jassim (QAT)

FIFA Club World Cup 2017 – Second Round

9 December 2017

CF Pachuca – Wydad AC
Referee: Ravshan Irmatov (UZB, photo)
Assistant Referee 1: Abdukhamidullo Rasulov (UZB)
Assistant Referee 2: Jakhongir Saidov (UZB)
Fourth Official: Matthew Conger (NZL)

Reserve AR: Tevita Makasini (TGA)
VAR 1: Mark Geiger (USA)
VAR 2: Simon Lount (NZL)
AVAR: Felix Zwayer (GER)

Al Jazira – Urawa Red Diamonds
Referee: Cesar Ramos (MEX)
Assistant Referee 1: Marvin Torrentera (MEX)
Assistant Referee 2: Miguel Hernandez (MEX)
Fourth Official: Felix Brych (GER)

Reserve AR: Stefan Lupp (GER)
VAR 1: Mauro Vigliano (ARG)
VAR 2: Mark Borsch (GER)
AVAR: Andres Cunha (URU)

Clattenburg: “Collina changed my refereeing career”

It was the research ahead of the games that made Pierluigi Collina the most respected referee in football. The Italian would spend hours in the build-up to games watching footage of matches, looking for tactics employed by teams which he could swiftly stamp out when he was on the pitch.
Speaking on NBC's Men in Blazers podcast, former FIFA and Premier League referee Mark Clattenburg explained how Collina changed his refereeing career: “It was simple: he was my observer in Bayern Munich vs Barcelona [2015 Champions League semi-final second leg] reviewing my performance. Nervous? It was a nightmare because you never drink in his company and I always liked a beer but you respected the man. When he came to this game, he said, 'Mark, have you prepared for this match?' I said, 'I've watched the first leg six times.' He said, 'Really?' and he opened his laptop and asked, 'Have you seen this tactic by Bayern Munich?' I said, 'What are you on about?' The small player, Thiago, from Bayern Munich was deliberately standing in an offside position but not being involved in play. He would block the path of Pique from heading the ball in attacking phases. This was to create the space for the big players of Bayern Munich to attack the small players from Barcelona because only had one tall player. It was a clear tactic. In the second leg, after 13 minutes, I gave a small free kick and the players thought I was unbelievable. They couldn't understand how I knew this tactic.” Clattenburg went on to employ Collina's methods in the English Premier League. “When I started to become the best referee or one of the best referees in the world, I knew the tactics before clubs even thought about them. In the Premier League, for example, blocking in the penalty area, I was already telling the players that I'm watching the block. Before it even happened the players are like, 'Woah, the referee knows what we're going to do here'.” (Source: Balls)
The 42-year-old attracted controversy earlier this week for his comments regarding a match between Chelsea and Tottenham in May 2016, and has now blamed Mourinho for his decision to leave the Premier League. “I was refereeing the game when Wayne Rooney broke Bobby Charlton’s record and Mourinho came into my dressing room and he was unhappy about a handball penalty that I didn’t give,” Clattenburg told the Men in Blazers podcast. “I had walked off that pitch at Stoke, which was always the coldest stadium, it was always wet and miserable, and refereeing Man United was never an easy match. To come off that match it felt immense that I’d actually had a good performance, and for him to come into my dressing room and criticise my performance for a handball that I’d seen, that had clearly come off his chest, I knew that I was right but he’d put a seed of doubt into my mind. I drove home 250 miles thinking I had made a big error, my wife knew my attitude had changed, and I thought to myself, ‘Do I really want to be a part of this anymore? Do I really want to referee?’And I went soul-searching, I wasn’t enjoying it as much as I used to and I had to get out.” (Source: Football365)

Referee fees in Central America

The best paid referees in Central America are those from Costa Rica. The amounts shown below are the fees paid to the referee team, so they are divided among the referee, assistant referees and fourth official assigned to each match:

Costa Rica $1250
Guatemala $1200
El Salvador $725
Honduras $685
Panama $350
Nicaragua $300

Source: Diez

Bo Karlsson resigns after #metoo accusation: "He said he wanted me"

Karin Thorbjörn was one of Sweden's most promising referees. Nevertheless, she chose to end her career very early. Now she told Football Channel about the harassment of Bo Karlsson that led her to resign: "He was 30 years older than me, but he said that he was in love with me and he wanted me".
Along with Anders Frisk and Jonas Eriksson, Bo Karlsson was one of Sweden's most prestigious football referees over the years. He was appointed to the 1994 World Cup in the USA and the 1991 final of the UEFA Cup Winners’ Cup between Manchester United and FC Barcelona. After his refereeing career, Karlsson has continued to work in the football field and has served as the chairman of the Swedish Football Association's Referees Committee and also as a member of the UEFA Referees Committee. Now 68, he resigned as the boss of the Referees Committee in Sweden. The reason is that he has been accused of having sexually assaulted a young referee. “The information revealed make it impossible for me to continue as the chairman of the Swedish Referees Committee. I have therefore informed the Swedish Football Association chairman Karl-Erik Nilsson that I will leave my position with immediate effect. My position is based on trust, but these accusations - even after 21 years - are so bad that the best solution for the Swedish football is that I resign. I have no memory of the event and cannot comment on it", said Bo Karlsson to the Football Channel. "Information on inappropriate behavior has prompted Bo Karlsson to resign as chairman of the Referees Committee. It's sad, but the right decision", said Karl-Erik Nilsson, chairman of the Swedish Football Association. "I share Bo Karlsson's view. There is serious information that have emerged and it affects trust in a way that will prevent him from continuing his work".
Karin Thorbjörn, today 41-year-old, is a former football player and referee. She played in Öxabäck/Mark in Allsvenskan and in different youth teams before she suffered a serious injury. Then she started as a referee and her career was promising. But it came to an end after a national event in 1996. Thorbjörn posted on Facebook some examples of "shameful suggestions, far too many hugs and patches on my back. I participated in a football-related cruise on an Åland ferry. I think we were only two girls on that cruise and there were a hundred men”, she says. “Bosse Karlsson was with us too. There was a lot of alcohol going on. That night it was really fun. He said that he was in love with me and he wanted me and that kind of comments. It was shocking. Suddenly, I did not know what he meant, whether he actually thought I was a good referee or just smacking. As a 20-year-old, I thought it was very difficult. I did not know how to reject a person in that position without insulting him in any way. I was very afraid that I would be bad. I thought if I had said something I was afraid it would be turned against me. I felt small, while he was the referee responsible for SvFF. There were people around who heard what it was whispered to me. Every now and then I tried to just laugh at it; it was the way I tried to handle it, but I thought it was really fun. That was the only occasion... but for me it had major consequences. I made sure I was never alone with him. In the summer I would go to the referee education sessions. I was talking to my mother the other day and asked if she remembered and she said she remembered that I was terrified that he would be on that education session. I did not know how to handle the situation. I wanted to avoid all possible situations where I could be put back in this situation again. And that's not correct. It was somewhere there that I understood... my dream and my goal were to referee a World Cup", says Thorbjörn, who, despite her talent as referee, suddenly became unsure how she could know whether she is indeed a good referee and not because Bosse Karlsson was interested in her. In the end, she used an illness as an excuse to completely leave the refereeing. “I had meningitis and then I chose to use it as the reason I ended. In one way, I think this is far from unique if you look at all the stories that have been published in recent weeks, but I'm sad about what I was exposed to and it's so common among men with power to try... that's 30 years of age difference and in a deprivation it's so incredibly judgmental. I do not think the football movement 20 years ago had been prepared to handle such things. I do not even think I thought about saying to someone or reacting to it. My purpose now is to share what happened, to continue to highlight the issue and to give others the opportunity to dare. It's about trying to get some change around structures.”

Source: Fotbollskanalen

UEFA Europa League – Group Stage (Matchday 6)

7 December 2017

Slavia Praha – FK Astana
Referee: Davide Massa (ITA, photo)
Assistant Referee 1: Filippo Meli (ITA)
Assistant Referee 2: Alberto Tegoni (ITA)
Additional AR 1: Paolo Mazzoleni (ITA)
Additional AR 2: Antonio Damato (ITA)
Fourth Official: Andrea Crispo (ITA)
Referee Observer: Gylfi Thór Orrason (ISL)

Villarreal – Maccabi Tel Aviv
Referee: Mads-Kristoffer Kristoffersen (DEN)
Assistant Referee 1: Henrik Sønderby (DEN)
Assistant Referee 2: Dennis Wollenberg (DEN)
Additional AR 1: Anders Poulsen (DEN)
Additional AR 2: Jørgen Daugbjerg (DEN)
Fourth Official: Lars Hummelgaard (DEN)
Referee Observer: Elmir Pilav (BIH)

Young Boys – Skënderbeu
Referee: Simon Lee Evans (WAL)
Assistant Referee 1: Philip Thomas (WAL)
Assistant Referee 2: Ian Bird (WAL)
Additional AR 1: Bryn Markham-Jones (WAL)
Additional AR 2: Nicholas Pratt (WAL)
Fourth Official: Daniel Beckett (WAL)
Referee Observer: Kóstas Kapitanís (CYP)

Dynamo Kyiv – Partizan
Referee: Paweł Gil (POL)
Assistant Referee 1: Konrad Sapela (POL)
Assistant Referee 2: Marcin Borkowski (POL)
Additional AR 1: Jarosław Przybył (POL)
Additional AR 2: Piotr Lasyk (POL)
Fourth Official: Adam Kupsik (POL)
Referee Observer: Manuel López Fernández (ESP)

İstanbul Başakşehir – SC Braga
Referee: John Beaton (SCO)
Assistant Referee 1: Douglas Potter (SCO)
Assistant Referee 2: Sean Carr (SCO)
Additional AR 1: Steven McLean (SCO)
Additional AR 2: Alan Muir (SCO)
Fourth Official: Jordan Stokoe (SCO)
Referee Observer: Joeri Van De Velde (BEL)

Hoffenheim – Ludogorets
Referee: Orel Grinfeld (ISR)
Assistant Referee 1: Danny Krasikow (ISR)
Assistant Referee 2: Roy Hassan (ISR)
Additional AR 1: Eli Hacmon (ISR)
Additional AR 2: Ziv Adler (ISR)
Fourth Official: Amihay Mozes (ISR)
Referee Observer: Jørn West Larsen (DEN)

Austria Wien – AEK Athens
Referee: Craig Pawson (ENG)
Assistant Referee 1: Stephen Child (ENG)
Assistant Referee 2: Adam Nunn (ENG)
Additional AR 1: Robert Madley (ENG)
Additional AR 2: Jonathan Moss (ENG)
Fourth Official: Lee Betts (ENG)
Referee Observer: Lutz Fröhlich (GER)

HNK Rijeka – AC Milan

Referee: István Vad (HUN)
Assistant Referee 1: István Albert (HUN)
Assistant Referee 2: Péter Berettyán (HUN)
Additional AR 1: Ferenc Karakó (HUN)
Additional AR 2: József Erdős (HUN)
Fourth Official: Theodoros Georgiou (HUN)
Referee Observer: Sokol Jareci (ALB)

Apóllon Limassol – Everton
Referee: Sébastien Delférière (BEL)
Assistant Referee 1: Yves De Neve (BEL)
Assistant Referee 2: Kevin Monteny (BEL)
Additional AR 1: Lawrence Visser (BEL)
Additional AR 2: Alexandre Boucaut (BEL)
Fourth Official: Jo De Weirdt (BEL)
Referee Observer: Michael Ross (NIR)

Atalanta Bergamasca – Olympique Lyonnais
Referee: Aleksey Eskov (RUS)
Assistant Referee 1: Dmitri Mosyakin (RUS)
Assistant Referee 2: Igor Demeshko (RUS)
Additional AR 1: Mikhail Vilkov (RUS)
Additional AR 2: Vladimir Moskalov (RUS)
Fourth Official: Valeri Danchenko (RUS)
Referee Observer: Michális Argyroú (CYP)

Fastav Zlín – Lokomotiv Moskva
Referee: Mete Kalkavan (TUR)
Assistant Referee 1: Ceyhun Sesigüzel (TUR)
Assistant Referee 2: Esat Sancaktar (TUR)
Additional AR 1: Halil Meler (TUR)
Additional AR 2: Arda Kardeşler (TUR)
Fourth Official: Kemal Yılmaz (TUR)
Referee Observer: Michael Riley (ENG)

FC København – Sheriff
Referee: Serdar Gözübüyük (NED)
Assistant Referee 1: Davy Goossens (NED)
Assistant Referee 2: Bas van Dongen (NED)
Additional AR 1: Dennis Higler (NED)
Additional AR 2: Jeroen Manschot (NED)
Fourth Official: Joost van Zuilen (NED)
Referee Observer: Laurent Duhamel (FRA)

FCSB – Lugano
Referee: Nikola Dabanović (MNE)
Assistant Referee 1: Milutin Đukić (MNE)
Assistant Referee 2: Jovica Tatar (MNE)
Additional AR 1: Miloš Bošković (MNE)
Additional AR 2: Miloš Savović (MNE)
Fourth Official: Vladan Todorović (MNE)

Hapoel Beer Sheva – Viktoria Plzeň
Referee: Aleksandar Stavrev (MKD)
Assistant Referee 1: Marjan Kirovski (MKD)
Assistant Referee 2: Dejan Kostadinov (MKD)
Additional AR 1: Dimitar Mečkarovski (MKD)
Additional AR 2: Dejan Jakimovski (MKD)
Fourth Official: Goce Petreski (MKD)
Referee Observer: Marián Ružbarský (SVK)

Arsenal – Bate Borisov
Referee: Robert Schörgenhofer (AUT)
Assistant Referee 1: Markus Gutschi (AUT)
Assistant Referee 2: Roland Riedel (AUT)
Additional AR 1: Markus Hameter (AUT)
Additional AR 2: René Eisner (AUT)
Fourth Official: Andreas Witschnigg (AUT)
Referee Observer: Tomasz Mikulski (POL)

Crvena Zvezda – FC Köln
Referee: Robert Madden (SCO)
Assistant Referee 1: David McGeachie (SCO)
Assistant Referee 2: Alastair Mather (SCO)
Additional AR 1: Donald Robertson (SCO)
Additional AR 2: Euan Anderson (SCO)
Fourth Official: Francis Connor (SCO)
Referee Observer: Thomas Einwaller (AUT)

Olympique de Marseille – Red Bull Salzburg
Referee: Aleksei Kulbakou (BLR)
Assistant Referee 1: Dmitrj Žuk (BLR)
Assistant Referee 2: Alieh Maslianka (BLR)
Additional AR 1: Dzianis Ščarbakoŭ (BLR)
Additional AR 2: Dzmitrj Dzmitrjeŭ (BLR)
Fourth Official: Jurj Chomčanka (BLR)
Referee Observer: Manuel Díaz Vega (ESP)

Vitória SC – Konyaspor
Referee: Daniel Siebert (GER)
Assistant Referee 1: Holger Henschel (GER)
Assistant Referee 2: Rafael Foltyn (GER)
Additional AR 1: Sascha Stegemann (GER)
Additional AR 2: Benjamin Brand (GER)
Fourth Official: Guido Kleve (GER)
Referee Observer: Haim Jakov (ISR)

Zorya Luhansk – Athletic Club
Referee: Ruddy Buquet (FRA)
Assistant Referee 1: Guillaume Debart (FRA)
Assistant Referee 2: Frédéric Cano (FRA)
Additional AR 1: Amaury Delerue (FRA)
Additional AR 2: François Letexier (FRA)
Fourth Official: Cyril Gringore (FRA)
Referee Observer: Jan Wegereef (NED)

Hertha BSC – Östersunds FK
Referee: Tiago Lopes (POR)
Assistant Referee 1: Ricardo Ferreira (POR)
Assistant Referee 2: Luís Pinto (POR)
Additional AR 1: Hugo Miguel (POR)
Additional AR 2: João Capela (POR)
Fourth Official: Rui Teixeira (POR)
Referee Observer: Luciano Luci (ITA)

SBV Vitesse – OGC Nice
Referee: Sandro Schärer (SUI)
Assistant Referee 1: Slađan Josipovic (SUI)
Assistant Referee 2: Bekim Zogaj (SUI)
Additional AR 1: Alain Bieri (SUI)
Additional AR 2: Lukas Fähndrich (SUI)
Fourth Official: Stéphane De Almeida (SUI)
Referee Observer: Kristinn Jakobsson (ISL)

Zulte Waregem – Lazio
Referee: Charálampos Kalogerópoulos (GRE)
Assistant Referee 1: Damianós Efthymiádis (GRE)
Assistant Referee 2: Trỳfon Petrópoulos (GRE)
Additional AR 1: Geórgios Komínis (GRE)
Additional AR 2: Stávros Mántalos (GRE)
Fourth Official: Ioánnis Toumpakáris (GRE)
Referee Observer: Darko Čeferin (SVN)

Vardar – Rosenborg

Referee: Serhiy Boyko (UKR)
Assistant Referee 1: Volodymyr Volodin (UKR)
Assistant Referee 2: Oleksandr Korniyko (UKR)
Additional AR 1: Yevhen Aranovskyy (UKR)
Additional AR 2: Anatoliy Abdula (UKR)
Fourth Official: Semen Shlonchak (UKR)
Referee Observer: Gerard Perry (IRL)

Real Sociedad – FC Zenit

Referee: Liran Liani (ISR)
Assistant Referee 1: David Biton (ISR)
Assistant Referee 2: Dvir Shimon (ISR)
Additional AR 1: Alon Yefet (ISR)
Additional AR 2: Menashe Masiah (ISR)
Fourth Official: Idan Yarkoni (ISR)
Referee Observer: Luc Wilmes (LUX)

Copa Sudamericana Final 2017

First Leg, 6 December 2017

Independiente – Flamengo
Referee: Mario Diaz de Vivar (PAR, photo)
Assistant Referee 1: Milciades Saldivar (PAR)
Assistant Referee 2: Darío Gaona (PAR)
Fourth Official: Eber Aquino (PAR)
VAR 1: Enrique Caceres (PAR)
VAR 2: Eduardo Cardozo (PAR)
AVAR: Roddy Zambrano (ECU)
Referee Assessor: Alberto Tejada (PER)
Referees Committee: Wilson Seneme (BRA)

Second Leg, 13 December 2017

Flamengo – Independiente
Referee: Wilmar Roldan (COL)
Assistant Referee 1: Alexander Guzman (COL)
Assistant Referee 2: Cristian De la Cruz (COL)
Fourth Official: Gustavo Murillo (COL)
VAR 1: Daniel Fedorczuk (URU)
VAR 2: Nicolas Taran (URU)
AVAR: Roberto Tobar (CHI)
Referee Assessor: Dario Ubriaco (URU)
Referees Committee: Wilson Seneme (BRA)

UEFA Youth League – Group Stage (Matchday 6)

5 December 2017
Bayern München – Paris St. Germain
Referee: Manuel Schüttengruber (AUT, photo)
Assistant Referee 1: Andreas Rothmann (AUT)
Assistant Referee 2: Stefan Stangl (AUT)
Fourth Official: Robert Kempter (GER)
Referee Observer: Helmut Fleischer (GER)

SL Benfica – FC Basel

Referee: Marco Guida (ITA)
Assistant Referee 1: Alessandro Lo Cicero (ITA)
Assistant Referee 2: Stefano Alassio (ITA)
Fourth Official: Rui Piteira Rodrigues (POR)
Referee Observer: António Almeida Costa (POR)

Manchester United – CSKA Moskva
Referee: Robert Hennessy (IRL)
Assistant Referee 1: Wayne McDonnell (IRL)
Assistant Referee 2: Allen Lynch (IRL)
Fourth Official: Anthony Backhouse (ENG)
Referee Observer: William Young (SCO)

Celtic – Anderlecht
Referee: Keith Kennedy (NIR)
Assistant Referee 1: Andrew Nethery (NIR)
Assistant Referee 2: Ryan Kelsey (NIR)
Fourth Official: David Munro (SCO)
Referee Observer: Stephen Lodge (ENG)

AS Roma – Qarabağ FK
Referee: Tihomir Pejin (CRO)
Assistant Referee 1: Goran Pataki (CRO)
Assistant Referee 2: Marjan Tomas (CRO)
Fourth Official: Daniele Martinelli (ITA)
Referee Observer: Domenico Messina (ITA)

Chelsea – Atlético de Madrid
Referee: Jens Maae (DEN)
Assistant Referee 1: Elvis Boric (DEN)
Assistant Referee 2: Victor Skytte (DEN)
Fourth Official: John Busby (ENG)
Referee Observer: Peter Jones (ENG)

FC Barcelona – Sporting
Referee: Marius Avram (ROU)
Assistant Referee 1: Valentin Avram (ROU)
Assistant Referee 2: Mihai Marica (ROU)
Fourth Official: David Medié Jiménez (ESP)
Referee Observer: Juan Fernández Marín (ESP)

Olympiakos – Juventus
Referee: Ádám Farkas (HUN)
Assistant Referee 1: Péter Kóbor (HUN)
Assistant Referee 2: Balázs Szert (HUN)
Fourth Official: Evángelos Manoúchos (GRE)
Referee Observer: Geórgios Bíkas (GRE)

6 December 2017
NK Maribor – Sevilla FC
Referee: Peter Královič (SVK)
Assistant Referee 1: Miroslav Benko (SVK)
Assistant Referee 2: Tomáš Mókoš (SVK)
Fourth Official: Marko Lackovič (SVN)
Referee Observer: Drago Kos (SVN)

Liverpool – Spartak Moskva
Referee: Mohammed Al-Hakim (SWE)
Assistant Referee 1: Daniel Gustavsson (SWE)
Assistant Referee 2: Fredrik Klyver (SWE)
Fourth Official: Scott Oldham (ENG)
Referee Observer: John Ferry (NIR)

Shakhtar Donetsk – Manchester City
Referee: Daniyar Sakhi (KAZ)
Assistant Referee 1: Aleksandr Pavlov (KAZ)
Assistant Referee 2: Aydyn Tasybayev (KAZ)
Fourth Official: Vitaliy Romanov (UKR)
Referee Observer: Volodymyr Petrov (UKR)

Feyenoord – Napoli
Referee: Bartosz Frankowski (POL)
Assistant Referee 1: Jakub Winkler (POL)
Assistant Referee 2: Bartosz Heinig (POL)
Fourth Official: Siemen Mulder (NED)
Referee Observer: Johan Verbist (BEL)

FC Porto – AS Monaco
Referee: José Sánchez Martínez (ESP)
Assistant Referee 1: Javier Aguilar Rodríguez (ESP)
Assistant Referee 2: José Gallego García (ESP)
Fourth Official: João Borlido de Matos (POR)
Referee Observer: Salustià Chato Ciprés (AND)

RB Leipzig – Beşiktaş
Referee: Manfredas Lukjančukas (LTU)
Assistant Referee 1: Mantas Lešinskas (LTU)
Assistant Referee 2: Mangirdas Mirauskas (LTU)
Fourth Official: Christof Günsch (GER)
Referee Observer: Edgar Steinborn (GER)

Tottenham Hotspur – Apoel
Referee: Erik Lambrechts (BEL)
Assistant Referee 1: Karel De Rocker (BEL)
Assistant Referee 2: Thibaud Nijssen (BEL)
Fourth Official: John Brooks (ENG)
Referee Observer: Edward Foley (IRL)

Real Madrid – Borussia Dortmund
Referee: Georgi Kabakov (BUL)
Assistant Referee 1: Martin Margaritov (BUL)
Assistant Referee 2: Martin Venev (BUL)
Fourth Official: Valentín Pizarro Gómez (ESP)
Referee Observer: Manuel Mejuto González (ESP)

Clattenburg: “I allowed Tottenham to self-destruct against Chelsea in 2016”

Former Premier League and FIFA referee Mark Clattenburg says he "allowed Tottenham to self-destruct" when he refereed the 2-2 draw with Chelsea in May 2016 as Spurs conceded the title to Leicester. Spurs needed to beat Chelsea to retain any hope of winning the league. Clattenburg says he "went in with a game plan" so he could not be blamed by Tottenham for losing the title. He booked nine Spurs players in the bad-tempered match, but now says he could have sent off three players. Chelsea and Tottenham received record fines from the Football Association following the game, while Tottenham midfielder Mousa Dembele was banned for six games for violent conduct against Chelsea's Diego Costa.
Speaking to NBC's Men in Blazers podcast, he said: "I allowed them [Spurs] to self-destruct so all the media, all the people in the world went: 'Tottenham lost the title.' "If I sent three players off from Tottenham, what are the headlines? 'Clattenburg cost Tottenham the title.' It was pure theatre that Tottenham self-destructed against Chelsea and Leicester won the title." Asked if he helped to "script" the game, he replied: "I helped the game. I certainly benefited the game by my style of refereeing. Some referees would have played by the book; Tottenham would have been down to seven or eight players and probably lost and they would've been looking for an excuse. But I didn't give them an excuse, because my game plan was: Let them lose the title."
Clattenburg took charge of the Euro 2016 final, as well as that year's UEFA Champions League and FA Cup finals. In February, he left his job as a Premier League official to become Saudi Arabia's new head of referees. Clattenburg says he had to change his style of refereeing when he took charge of European matches. "The English style of refereeing is different," he added. "I had to referee differently when I went into Europe because none of the top players in Europe would accept some of the physical contact that went on in the Premier League - but that was the theatre, that's what people loved. They love a tackle, they don't want it punished."

Source: BBC

IFFHS World’s Best Woman Referee 2017: Steinhaus (GER)

Outstanding referee Bibiana Steinhaus made it a double for German football when she won the 2017 IFFHS vote as The World’s Best Woman Referee in same time that Felix Brych by the men. Steinhaus became the happiest woman in the football world and stepped into a new area in May 2017 when the DFB Referees Commission announced she would be the first woman to take charge of matches in the men’s major Bundesliga in Germany. In September she took to the field to become the first woman to referee matches in the top five leagues of the world. 91 Experts and journalists from all continents crowned Bibiana Steinhaus for the third time after 2013 and 2014 to the IFFHS World’s Best Woman referee 2017 with a convincing advance. She began her referee career in 2005, leaded matches of men Second Bundesliga and woman international matches since 10 years, for example the World Cup final 2011 in Germany, the Olympic Games final 2012 in England and the Champions League final 2017 in Wales. The Swiss referee Esther Stäubli took a brilliant second place in the ranking, she became this year the first woman referee to lead a men’s World Cup U-17 match in India. Behind her, the two last winners Katalin Kulcsar (2016) and Katerina Monzul (2015) were preceded at the third place by the French Stephanie Frappart, revelation of the season.

IFFHS World’s Best Women Referees 2017
1. Bibiana Steinhaus (GER, photo) 232 p
2. Esther Staubli (SUI) 137 p
3. Stephanie Frappart (FRA) 50 p
4. Katerina Monzul (UKR) 38 p
5. Katalin Kulcsar (HUN) 35 p
6. Riem Hussein (GER) 26 p
7. Pernilla Larsson (SWE) 18 p
8. Anastasia Pustovoitova (RUS) 17 p
9. Carina Vitulano (ITA) 15 p
10. Olga Miranda (PAR) 14 p
11. Teodora Albon (ROU) 12 p
12. Claudia Umpierrez (URU) 12 p
13. Sara Persson (SWE) 11 p
14. Jana Adamkova (CZE) 8 p
15. Kate Jacewicz (AUS) 7 p
16. Carol Anne Chenard (CAN) 6 p
17. Gladys Lengwe (ZAM) 2 p
18. Ri Hyang Ok (PRK) 1 p

IFFHS World’s Best Referee 2017: Brych (GER)

German referee Felix Brych has capped a stellar season with his election as The World’s Best Referee 2017 in the annual IFFHS Awards. He succeeds the English Mark Clattenburg, winner 2016 and the Italian Nicola Rizzoli, winner of the Awards 2014 and 2015. Brych, 42 years old, was already in the Top 5 in the last three years and was the referee in June 2017 of the Champions League final between Real Madrid and Juventus. He won with a large margin before the English referee Martin Atkinson and the Italian Niccola Rizzoli. Selected journalists and experts from 91 countries around the World took part in the 2017 annual election of the Top referee, the 31th time it has been carried out by the IFFHS. Felix Brych, born in München, has been a leading referee in the German Bundesliga since 2004. He has been in charge of more than 500 official matches in his career including 115 international confrontations. He succeeds in Germany Dr Markus Merk, who won the IFFHS Award in 2004, 2005 and 2007. His calm authority and his regularity made it possible to win this recognized World Award. Martin Atkinson has been a leading contender in England for the past few years while Nicola Rizzoli had won the Award two times before ending his referee career.

IFFHS World’s Best Referees 2017
1. Felix Brych (GER, photo) 178 p
2. Martin Atkinson (ENG) 73 p
3. Nicola Rizzoli (ITA) 59 p
4. Mark Clattenburg (ENG) 50 p
5. Nestor Pitana (ARG) 46 p
6. Bjorn Kuipers (NED) 44 p
7. Damir Skomina (SVN) 40 p
8. Cuneyt Cakir (TUR) 39 p
9. Milorad Mazic (SRB) 38 p
10. Antonio Mateu Lahoz (ESP) 32 p
11. Gianluca Rocchi (ITA) 20 p
12. Wilmar Roldan (COL) 18 p
13. Bakary Gassama (GAM) 17 p
14. Jonas Eriksson (SWE) 16 p
15. Viktor Kassai (HUN) 14 p
16. Fahad Al-Mirdasi (KSA) 6 p
17. Simon Marciniak (POL) 6 p
18. Malang Diedhiou (SEN) 3 p
19. Alireza Faghani (IRN) 3 p
20. Cesar Ramos (MEX) 1 p

FIFA Club World Cup 2017 – First Round

6 December 2017

Al Jazira  Auckland City
Referee: Malang Diedhiou (SEN, photo)
Assistant Referee 1: Djibril Camara (SEN)
Assistant Referee 2: El Hadji Samba (SEN)
Fourth Official: Sandro Ricci (BRA)

Reserve AR: Marcelo Van Gasse (BRA)
VAR 1: Clement Turpin (FRA)

VAR 2: Emerson De Carvalho (BRA)
AVAR: Mark Geiger (USA)

UEFA Champions League – Group Stage (Matchday 6)

5 December 2017
Manchester United – CSKA Moskva
Referee: Gianluca Rocchi (ITA, photo)
Assistant Referee 1: Elenito Di Liberatore (ITA)
Assistant Referee 2: Mauro Tonolini (ITA)
Additional AR 1: Luca Banti (ITA)
Additional AR 2: Massimiliano Irrati (ITA)
Fourth Official: Fabiano Preti (ITA)
Referee Observer: Rune Pedersen (NOR)

SL Benfica – FC Basel
Referee: Jesús Gil Manzano (ESP)
Assistant Referee 1: Ángel Nevado Rodríguez (ESP)
Assistant Referee 2: Teodoro Sobrino Magán (ESP)
Additional AR 1: Alejandro Hernández Hernández (ESP)
Additional AR 2: Ricardo de Burgos Bengoechea (ESP)
Fourth Official: Juan Yuste Jiménez (ESP)
Referee Observer: Matteo Trefoloni (ITA)

Celtic – Anderlecht
Referee: Matej Jug (SVN)
Assistant Referee 1: Matej Žunič (SVN)
Assistant Referee 2: Manuel Vidali (SVN)
Additional AR 1: Damir Skomina (SVN)
Additional AR 2: Dejan Balažič (SVN)
Fourth Official: Tomislav Pospeh (SVN)
Referee Observer: Uno Tutk (EST)

Bayern München – Paris St. Germain
Referee: Cüneyt Çakır (TUR)
Assistant Referee 1: Bahattin Duran (TUR)
Assistant Referee 2: Tarik Ongun (TUR)
Additional AR 1: Hüseyin Göçek (TUR)
Additional AR 2: Barış Şimşek (TUR)
Fourth Official: Mustafa Eyisoy (TUR)
Referee Observer: Guy Goethals (BEL)

AS Roma – FK Qarabağ
Referee: Tobias Stieler (GER)
Assistant Referee 1: Mike Pickel (GER)
Assistant Referee 2: Jan Seidel (GER)
Additional AR 1: Bastian Dankert (GER)
Additional AR 2: Harm Osmers (GER)
Fourth Official: Christian Gittelmann (GER)
Referee Observer: Markus Nobs (SUI)

Chelsea – Atlético de Madrid
Referee: Danny Makkelie (NED)
Assistant Referee 1: Mario Diks (NED)
Assistant Referee 2: Hessel Steegstra (NED)
Additional AR 1: Kevin Blom (NED)
Additional AR 2: Jochem Kamphuis (NED)
Fourth Official: Jan de Vries (NED)
Referee Observer: László Vagner (HUN)

Olympiacos – Juventus
Referee: David Fernández Borbalán (ESP)
Assistant Referee 1: Raúl Cabañero Martínez (ESP)
Assistant Referee 2: Diego Barbero Sevilla (ESP)
Additional AR 1: Javier Estrada Fernández (ESP)
Additional AR 2: Juan Martínez Munuera (ESP)
Fourth Official: Miguel Martínez Munuera (ESP)
Referee Observer: Sándor Piller (HUN)

FC Barcelona – Sporting

Referee: Craig Thomson (SCO)
Assistant Referee 1: Alan Mulvanny (SCO)
Assistant Referee 2: Graeme Stewart (SCO)
Additional AR 1: Kevin Clancy (SCO)
Additional AR 2: Andrew Dallas (SCO)
Fourth Official: Stuart Stevenson (SCO)
Referee Observer: Emil Bozinovski (MKD)

6 December 2017
Liverpool – Spartak Moskva
Referee: Szymon Marciniak (POL)
Assistant Referee 1: Pawel Sokolnicki (POL)
Assistant Referee 2: Tomasz Listkiewicz (POL)
Additional AR 1: Pawel Raczkowski (POL)
Additional AR 2: Tomasz Musial (POL)
Fourth Official: Radoslaw Siejka (POL)
Referee Observer: Vítor Melo Pereira (POR)

NK Maribor – Sevilla FC
Referee: Ovidiu Haţegan (ROU)
Assistant Referee 1: Octavian Șovre (ROU)
Assistant Referee 2: Sebastian Gheorghe (ROU)
Additional AR 1: István Kovács (ROU)
Additional AR 2: Sebastian Colţescu (ROU)
Fourth Official: Radu Ghinguleac (ROU)
Referee Observer: Ichko Lozev (BUL)

Shakhtar Donetsk – Manchester City

Referee: Benoît Bastien (FRA)
Assistant Referee 1: Hicham Zakrani (FRA)
Assistant Referee 2: Frédéric Haquette (FRA)
Additional AR 1: Benoît Millot (FRA)
Additional AR 2: Jérôme Miguelgorry (FRA)
Fourth Official: Julien Pacelli (FRA)
Referee Observer: Patrick Kelly (IRL)

Feyenoord – SSC Napoli

Referee: Michael Oliver (ENG)
Assistant Referee 1: Stuart Burt (ENG)
Assistant Referee 2: Simon Bennett (ENG)
Additional AR 1: Andre Marriner (ENG)
Additional AR 2: Paul Tierney (ENG)
Fourth Official: Harry Lenard (ENG)
Referee Observer: Terje Hauge (NOR)

FC Porto – AS Monaco
Referee: Jonas Eriksson (SWE)
Assistant Referee 1: Mathias Klasenius (SWE)
Assistant Referee 2: Daniel Wärnmark (SWE)
Additional AR 1: Stefan Johannesson (SWE)
Additional AR 2: Andreas Ekberg (SWE)
Fourth Official: Mehmet Culum (SWE)
Referee Observer: Murat Ilgaz (TUR)

RB Leipzig – Beşiktaş
Referee: Viktor Kassai (HUN)
Assistant Referee 1: György Ring (HUN)
Assistant Referee 2: Vencel Tóth (HUN)
Additional AR 1: Tamás Bognár (HUN)
Additional AR 2: Sándor Szábó (HUN)
Fourth Official: Balázs Buzás (HUN)
Referee Observer: Leslie Irvine (NIR)

Tottenham Hotspur – Apoel
Referee: Slavko Vinčić (SVN)
Assistant Referee 1: Tomaž Klančnik (SVN)
Assistant Referee 2: Andraž Kovacić (SVN)
Additional AR 1: Rade Obrenović (SVN)
Additional AR 2: Roberto Ponis (SVN)
Fourth Official: Grega Kordež (SVN)
Referee Observer: Francesco Bianchi (SUI)

Real Madrid – Borussia Dortmund
Referee: Pavel Královec (CZE)
Assistant Referee 1: Roman Slyško (SVK)
Assistant Referee 2: Ivo Nadvornik (CZE)
Additional AR 1: Petr Ardeleanu (CZE)
Additional AR 2: Karel Hrubes (CZE)
Fourth Official: Martin Wilczek (CZE)
Referee Observer: Christer Fällström (SWE)

Kassai placed 6th on the Hungarian FIFA List 2018

It is now public knowledge that Viktor Kassai has not been selected for the World Cup in Russia 2018. It should be noted right from the outset that, of the 55 nations making up the UEFA confederation, only 13 nations will be representing themselves at the World Cup along with just 10 referees. The referees that will be going are all on the FIFA elite list of referees. In UEFA alone there are 27 referees from various nations on the elite list, including Viktor Kassai. Only 37% of those actually make the final list. Twenty of those 27 were on the pre-selection list, which gradually gets whittled down until just the final 10 remain. Therefore, there is no guarantee for any referee that he will make the final call, even if he is currently ranked number 3 in the world. Cüneyt Çakir from Turkey and Björn Kuipers are the only referees inside the IFFHS top 5 rankings who will be going to the World Cup – they are jointly ranked 5th. Mark Clattenburg (1st) and Nicola Rizzoli (2nd) have both retired, whereas Jonas Eriksson (4th) has not made the final cut either.
Outside of refereeing circles most will believe that Kassai’s omission from the World Cup will be purely down to his performances and the fact that he has had a few high-profile errors over the past 18 months or so. This no doubt played a part in the UEFA referees committee’s decision; however, they will have also considered representations made by the MLSz JB on Kassai’s behalf. The MLSz JB did not back Kassai at all, in fact, they did quite the opposite. At the 2017 Annual General Meeting, Sándor Csányi, President of the MLSz evaluated referee performances overall and stated that referees could make mistakes but that any arrogance would not be tolerated. He further stated that in such cases it may even be conceivable that a referee would not be nominated for the FIFA list. This led many to believe that Kassai would not be nominated to remain on the FIFA list. This was a surprise to many others as Kassai has a reputation amongst his peers for being pleasant, affable and as having a great sense of humour. Whilst he is very proud of his achievements, it is said that he also maintains a high degree of modesty and is always quick to point out good decisions made by his team members, such as a tight offside call and quite clearly states that he would not have been able to achieve any of what he has without a strong, decent team supporting and backing him all the way. He is very well known to promote a team ethos, if one of his team makes an error, it is the error of them as a team, with no blaming of an individual, if they have a decent game, it is a team success. I have watched him explain the advantage law to a 12-year-old trainee referee 10 times on the trot, whilst coaching them, and all that with a huge smile on his face and in a calm, relaxed manner, not even a hint of irritation that they just couldn’t get it because it isn’t logical to them. This is a man who by all accounts will freely give up his time and more often than not travel at his own expense, to coach and mentor young and inexperienced referees. One of his fellow professionals at UEFA stated “Viktor is a really nice guy, not an ounce of arrogance in him. He is well-liked and respected by all of us. He’s an excellent referee and is always trying to improve himself. I enjoy working with him on the rare occasions I get to do so. I find it absolutely scandalous the way he is treated by the MLSz”. Around the end of September, rumours became very strong that Sándor Puhl, Vice-President of the MLSz JB was going to nominate Kassai in 6th place on the FIFA list. Our source at UEFA was horrified and described it as scandalous at best. At that time, the nominations had not been submitted and UEFA sent a strong message to the MLSz by naming Kassai for a couple of high profile UEFA CL matches, despite him not featuring in the domestic league. They were showing that he had their support and their backing. He is very well liked and respected at UEFA – unlike, it appears, at the MLSz. FIFA nominations are submitted at the end of October. On 12th November, we received confirmation from our source at UEFA that Sándor Puhl had indeed nominated Kassai as number 6 on the FIFA list and in effect has nominated him for demotion from the elite list. Vad was nominated as number 1, with Bognár as number 2 and UEFA feel that Puhl is trying to force them into accepting these rankings despite UEFA believing otherwise. Whilst Bognár is popular at UEFA, Vad is not. The latter is seen as arrogant by UEFA and is not trusted, viewing him as too inconsistent and error-prone. We have been unable to ascertain Vad Sr.’s (the father of Vad) exact role within the MLSz; however, he is a senior member of staff and is known to be friends with and a supporter of Puhl. There are claims that he has used his position and friendship to try and influence his son, replacing Kassai as the number 1 referee. The UEFA referees committee have sought independent assessments of Kassai’s domestic matches as there is a suspicion that he is deliberately being unjustly marked down. They have copies of the videos of his games, but as of yet there has been no confirmation as to whether he received different marks from their assessors or not. It is common knowledge that every Football Association runs on an element of, “it’s not what you know but who you know“, and there is always a degree of favouritism and that is unlikely to ever really change. That might be ok, to a degree at least, in terms of matches being allocated on a favouritism basis as opposed to merit-based, like they should be, but when it reaches the stage where a man’s career is adversely affected because he is not ‘the favourite’ then it has gone too far and questions must be asked about the decision making. When one hears comments from other FA’s (Romania, Poland, Germany, England, France, Greece, Slovakia, Russia, as well as within UEFA) that they feel that Kassai is being treated “appallingly”, “dreadfully”, “disgracefully” and “scandalously” by the MLSz JB, it might be prudent to ask very serious questions of the management and whether they are still competent to do the job they have been entrusted to uphold with integrity.
There has been a very noticeable decline in the standard of Hungarian refereeing particularly over the past 18 months – 2 years, not just at NB1 level but right down to grassroots level. There is growing discontent amongst the referees themselves about the lack of management under Sándor Puhl and Sándor Berzi. They state within their small trusted community that they dare not question Puhl’s authority, however, as it would probably mean the end of their career. When Sándor Csányi was elected President of the MLSz in 2010 he promised to run a transparent, verifiable alliance. The MLSz JB are not in any way transparent. Sándor Puhl’s accounts are allowed to be secret. He doesn’t have to account for what money is being spent on. You cannot know exactly how much he’ll get to review reports, transcripts, or travel expenses or even his basic wage. He seemingly lives in the same hotel used for meetings and where the commission organises events; there is a question mark over whether the hotel is paid for by the MLSz. This certainly looks suspicious to everyone else, particularly after problems with the MLSz JT, with car hire, cost accounts, and several astronomical phone bills. The professional referees training, we are told, now takes place at the hotel where there are no proper facilities for fitness training or practical demonstrations/training. It is unclear what, if any, training they receive during their fortnightly meetings but it could go part way into explaining the general decline in fitness levels, with the non-FIFA referees if they are receiving no fitness training and simply being left to their own devices with no guidance. The FIFA referees will receive fitness training at the various UEFA courses that they attend across the year. They typically attend at least 4 courses that last for an entire week, during which they are required to also take a fitness test. They are also provided with dedicated training regimes, unlike the non-FIFA referees. There doesn’t appear to be any coaches/mentors/assessors/sports psychologists attending these meetings either. Contrast this with England where referees meet for 2 days every 2 weeks at St Georges, during those 2 days they will train together as a team, they receive Laws of the Game (LOTG) training and guidance, mistakes are analysed and guidance given as to how these mistakes can be avoided in the future and referees have access to coaches, assessors, mentors and sports psychologists. In Hungary, a computer-based system has been put into place known as the Integrated Football Application (IFA) similar to the Match Officials Administration System (MOAS) used in the UK. All referees and match day assessors have access to the system. Currently, it is very underutilised for lack of a better term. Referees receive an email on Thursday to tell them which game they will be involved with on the following Saturday, on occasion leaving them with having to make travel arrangements of distances up to 400km the following day to attend the game. No consideration is given to their family life, no allowance given for them to be able to plan any family activities. The appointments always used to come out at 10 am on a Tuesday morning. This has worked well in the past, why is this no longer the case? In terms of match day assessors, they receive an email on a Friday giving them a game to assess. There is no record kept of this on IFA, no official transmission, no invoice for expenses etc. Referees are not informed who their matchday assessor will be and they may or may not see them before or after a game! A referee should always have the opportunity to speak with an assessor both pre and post-match – their honest assessment is vital for a referee’s development. We are advised that, post-match, the assessors have to contact Vencel Tóth Sr. and report in a few words about any dubious decisions. He then passes on a summary to Sándor Puhl. This in itself is not unusual. When Keren Barrett was still working for the PGMOL in England he would always phone each of the Premier League referees post-match to ascertain if there had been any problems or contentious decisions that the referee management needed to know about so that they were prepared for when the press and managers started calling to complain or ask for explanations. By noon the following day, the assessor sends a detailed list of match day incidents to Sándor Puhl via email. Puhl is then said to ‘clarify’ what can and cannot go in the report. If this claim is true, it makes a complete mockery of the assessing system. Referees are not perfect and match day assessments are a great resource for them to be able to identify where they have gone wrong in any given match and analyse how to prevent similar mistakes in future. They cannot do this if an incompetent and seemingly dishonest system is in place. It has recently come to light that, during a disciplinary hearing, Zoltan Liptak stated that Kassai made a racist comment towards his then-teammate Patrick Mevoungou during DVTK vs. Vasas at the end of the 2016/17 season. Kassai has denied this accusation and is currently taking legal action against Liptak for defamation. 

Response from the Hungarian FA
“Out of its many tasks, the Hungarian Football Association (MLSZ) considers the most important to be the development of the quality of football. The association makes all of its decisions in the spirit that their actions lead to the improvement of the quality of football. In all instances a sort of impartiality is required; personal interests can never influence professional decisions. In recent days, many articles have dealt with referee Viktor Kassai’s absence from the World Cup. In regards to his person and professional activities, the MLSZ have the following to say. Every professional decision may result in positive or negative personal outcomes, as is the case in all procedures where the goal is guaranteeing quality and continuous improvement. The members of the Hungarian refereeing team have been doing their work at an internationally accepted professional level for years; part of this is the evaluation and ranking of performance. Referees must accept when personnel decisions based on performance affect them in a negative way. Domestic referees are assessed based on their aggregate performance in domestic league games in the NB1, since the interest of the MLSZ is first and foremost the improvement of the quality of domestic refereeing. In recent years, several assessments, praise, criticism, and analysis have seen the light of day relating to Viktor Kassai, who was voted the world’s best referee in 2011. In the last six months, both the domestic and international media have dealt with his performances relating to the Champions League quarter-final Bayern Munich - Real Madrid and the World Cup qualifier Turkey - Croatia. As with these games, the MLSZ always stands with our referees that do their work to the best of their ability, when they receive criticism from home or abroad. As Sándor Csányi, president of the MLSZ, said at this year’s convention, every sportsman, including referees, can make mistakes; however, in no case is there an excuse for behaviour that is unacceptable towards the sport and its participants i.e. players, sporting directors or fans. Regarding Viktor Kassai’s domestic ranking, a Hungarian referee’s assessment is entirely independent of performance in any international match; the latter is the jurisdiction of UEFA and FIFA. The MLSZ Referees Committee assesses referees solely based on their performances in league matches in the OTP Bank Liga. In all 198 domestic league matches, referee assessors rate the performance of referees; this includes all assistants as well as the main referee. These professional ratings are averaged across all performances and form the basis for the ranking of each individual referee. Only the impartial analysis of domestic performance is used to determine the final rankings. As a consequence, the MLSZ Referees Committee cannot protect, help, or hinder any individual referee, as this “special treatment” would add undesirable personal emotion into a purely professional rating process. Referees can only improve their professional ranking by being rewarded with high marks for high quality performances in matches. In summary, the World Cup appearance of the highest-ranked Hungarian referees is not down to their MLSZ ranking, but instead the decision of the FIFA referees committee, who presumably base this on referees’ international performance. The MLSZ is sorry that there will be no Hungarian referee present at the 2018 World Cup, but it considers a more important, in fact the most important, task to improve the quality of domestic football and youth development.”

FIFA Women's World Cup 2019 Candidate Referee Seminar

FIFA Referee Ekaterina Koroleva (USA) will attend the Seminar from February 12 to 16 as one of 35 female candidate referees for the 2019 Women’s World Cup in France. Seminar attendees will take part in practical on-field sessions, theoretical sessions which include topical discussions and video tests, as well as medical evaluations and fitness testing.
Koroleva is one of six CONCACAF referees selected for the pre-Women’s World Cup seminar alongside representatives from Costa Rica, Canada, Honduras and Mexico. A few weeks later, Koroleva will head to Portugal to lead a U.S. group of referees at the prestigious Algarve Cup from February 28 to March 7. Assistant referees Felisha Mariscal and Deleana Quan will serve on her crew at the tournament. 

Source: USSF

Changes on FIFA Lists 2018

FIFA Referees Committee recently approved the composition of the FIFA Lists for next year, with changes becoming effective on 1 January 2018. National federations have been informed and some of them published their new lists.

Referees – Men
Out: Tony Chapron, Antony Gautier
In: Jerome Brisard (photo), Karim Abed

Assistant Referees – Men
Out: Frederic Cano, Laurent Stien
In: Benjamin Pages, Mehdi Rahmouni

Referees – Women
Out: Severine Zinck
In: Victoria Beyer

Referees – Beach Soccer
Out: Davut Fidan
In: Moussa Bounaanaa

Referees – Men
Out: Nicola Rizzoli, Paolo Tagliavento
In: Marco Di Bello, Daniele Doveri

Assistant Referees  Women
In: Veronica Martinelli

Referees  Futsal
Out: Daniele Di Resta
In: Dario Pezzuto

Referees  Beach Soccer
Out: Giuseppe Sicurella
In: Luca Romani

Referees – Men
Out: Carlos Clos Gomez
In: Ricardo De Burgos Bengoechea

Referees – Women
Out: Beatriz Gil Gozalo
In: Ainara Acevedo Dudley

Assistant Referees – Women
In: Andrada Aloman

Referees – Beach Soccer
Out: Jorge Moya Garcia
In: Francisco De Oses Bumedien

Referees – Men

Out: Mark Clattenburg, Andre Marriner
In: Stuart Attwell, Paul Tierney

Referees – Men
Out: Craig Thomson
In: Nick Walsh

Referees – Women
Out: Morag Pirie

Referees – Futsal
In: Gordon McCabe

Referees – Men
Out: Svein Erik Edvartsen, Martin Lundby
In: Kristoffer Hagenes, Rohit Saggi

Assistant Referees – Men
Out: Frank Andas
In: Isaak Bashevkin

Referees – Women
Out: Cathrine Eide
In: Emilie Rodahl Dokset

Assistant Referees – Women
Out: Ann-Marie Sjovika 

In: Line Cathrine Nymoen

Referees – Men
In: Eldorjan Hamiti, Juxhin Xhaja

Referees – Men
In: Christofer Jäger, Julian Weinberger

Bosnia and Herzegovina
Referees – Men
In: Dragan Petrović, Admir Šehović

Referees – Men
In: Volen Chinkov


Referees – Men
In: Igor Pajač

Referees – Men
In: Timótheos Christofí

Faroe Islands
Referees – Men
In: Kári Jóannessarson Høvdanum

Referees – Men
In: Petri Viljanen


Referees – Men
In: Irakli Kvirikashvili


Referees – Men
In: Ioánnis Papadópoulos

Referees – Men
In: Ívar Orri Kristjánsson

Referees – Men
In: Yigal Frid

Referees – Men
In: Besfort Kasumi

Referees – Men
In: Christophe Pires Martins

Referees – Men
In: Milovan Milačić

Referees  Women
Out: Teodora Albon, Cristina Dorcioman
In: Cristina Paraluta, Alina Pesu

Referees – Men
In: Danilo Grujić

Referees – Men
In: Nejc Kajtazovič

Referees – Men
In: Kristoffer Karlsson

Referees – Men
In: Urs Schnyder, Lionel Tschudi

Referees – Men
In: Yaroslav Kozyk, Mykola Kryvonosov, Vitaliy Romanov, Denys Shurman

Assistant Referees – Men
In: Michael Barwegen, Chris Wattam

Referees – Women
Out: Michelle Pye

Assistant Referees – Women
In: Erina Cho, Melissa Snedden

Referees – Futsal
In: Chris Grabas

South Africa
Referees – Men
Out: Kulasande Qongqo

Assistant Referees – Men
Out: Peter Chauke, Stevens Khumalo
In: Athenkosi Ndongeni, Mervyn van Wyk

Assistant Referees – Women
In: Nobuhle Tsokela

Referees – Men
Out: Denis Batte
In: William Oloya

Assistant Referees – Men
In: Masembe Issa

Referees – Women
Out: Anna Akoyi
In: Nabadda Shamira

FIFA World Cup 2018: 85 referees, ARs and VARs

According to an article posted on the official USSF website, FIFA will select 85 referees, assistant referees and video assistant referees for the 64 matches of the World Cup 2018 in Russia.
36 referees attended a FIFA preparatory seminar in Abu Dhabi (UAE), from 25-29 November 2017. They participated in a series of activities that included practical, theoretical and physical elements, including training sessions with local players.

Source: USSF

Kuipers: Confidence the key to success in refereeing

Twelve kilometres might not sound like a long distance, but it is far enough to lose yourself in your thoughts when you are cycling to your first match as a referee, as Bjorn Kuipers once did. The miles slipped past all too quickly that day as he steered around one corner after another. “I was incredibly nervous,” the Dutchman recalled. The year was 1989, and Kuipers was just 16 years old. A few months earlier, his father encouraged him to attend a refereeing course after watching him on the pitch as a player. “I made life so difficult for the official,” Kuipers explained. “To be honest, I was such a disaster that my Dad thought I might like to give the role a go myself.” Fast forward 28 years, and the impertinent footballer has become an experienced and level-headed FIFA referee who relies on both his own judgement and that of his team-mates. “If you don’t believe in yourself and build confidence in your abilities, you’ll never succeed”, he said.
Kuipers was chosen to oversee the Champions League Final in 2014 and the Confederations Cup Final in 2013. The sight and sound of 82,000 home fans celebrating A Seleção’s victory in Rio de Janeiro was a very special moment. “That win gave the country a boost a year before the World Cup,” the Dutchman said. “I could feel the power of it on the pitch, everywhere. It gave me goosebumps.” Kuipers’ emotions were stirred again a year later when the list of the 25 FIFA World Cup referees was announced and he knew he would be returning to Brazil. “I can still remember the exact moment that I found out about my nomination,” he recalled. “It was a morning in January 2014, and the time on the clock was exactly 8.22am” The supermarket owner had already been sitting in front of his laptop in his office in Oldenzaal excitedly checking his emails for an hour at this point before the happy news reached his inbox. It was a dream come true – and recognition for a job well done. Anyone wanting to become a good referee needs to master the Laws of the Game. They must be willing to learn, able to make decisions and capable of communicating them. For Kuipers, however, mental strength and the ability to learn from mistakes are also vital. “If you’ve given a penalty incorrectly, you have to be able to work through that,” he explained. “If it’s still in the back of your mind during the next match, you’ll make more mistakes – because the fear of making the wrong decision will hold you back.” He also believes it is important to show character on the pitch without getting involved, “otherwise you have already lost”. While Bjorn Kuipers no longer feels the same flurry of nerves before a match that he did as a 16-year-old, he still likes spending time out on his bike. It was clear at the FIFA refereeing course in Abu Dhabi that he has also lost none of his teenage ambition and thirst for knowledge. “I always look forward to taking part in the preparatory seminars,” he said. “We referees are one big family, and that means we get the opportunity to learn and develop a shared identity.” As every session is different, Kuipers prefers not to compare or rank the many courses he has already completed. “I prefer to keep looking ahead,” he said enthusiastically, before heading off for another intensive training day with his colleagues.

Source: FIFA

Collina: “Referees can count on me”

During his career, Pierluigi Collina officiated so diligently and competently that he was voted the world's best referee for six consecutive years between 1998 and 2003. The Italian redefined the role and became the first star referee. Collina set great store by working hard and meticulously preparing himself for games. He left nothing to chance, preferring instead to be equipped for every eventuality he might face during a match. He still exudes that same professionalism, albeit now from the sidelines rather than on the pitch. At the FIFA Referee Seminar in Abu Dhabi, the football fans that congregate around the pitches at the training complex may be focused on Collina, but his attention is fixed on observing 36 of the world's best referees, who have travelled to the United Arab Emirates in order to train for forthcoming events.
Collina has been Chairman of the FIFA Referees Committee since the beginning of this year and is appreciative of his new role: "It's a great privilege to be able to work in this position." While he patrols the touchline in Abu Dhabi, observing how the referees perform in diverse match situations, his commitment and dedication is palpable. Just as Collina was determined to do his absolute best while he was a referee, he is now driven to bring out the best in the next generation of officials. "Our aim is to prepare the referees for the FIFA Club World Cup and the FIFA World Cup," he said. "Together with Massimo Busacca and the other instructors we strive to get them in top shape so that they can perform to the best of their abilities there." Collina communicates with his charges in a calm and considerate manner, offering them words of advice. Their body language is analysed and their positioning on the pitch is discussed. "FIFA competitions attract a lot of attention and that creates a lot of pressure," Collina explained. It is therefore all the more important to accompany the referees in the best way possible. The first referees' seminars with a view to the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia were held two years ago. The number of participants has continuously declined since then, and the final list of officials to participate at Russia 2018 is scheduled to be announced early next year. While being at a World Cup is the objective of every FIFA referee, officiating the Final is the ultimate dream. Collina achieved that at Korea/Japan 2002 when he took charge of the title-decider between Germany and Brazil. "But you can't compare refereeing today with what it used to be like," he said. At that tournament, Collina and his team studied videos of the teams and their characteristics in their hotel room in Yokohama, whereas nowadays referees are offered support during their match preparation. "We've had licenced coaches as part of our team since the FIFA Confederations Cup in Russia, working with us and giving the referees information on the teams, their tactics and their players. The feedback from the referees has been extremely positive." Given such developments in refereeing, the only question that remains is whether or not Collina would like to reprise his former role out on the pitch. "I still dream about refereeing matches," he said. "But I have to accept that that time and that chapter of my life are over. Having said that, I love being involved in the game in this way now. I'm always there if help is needed. The referees can count on me." And having stressed that final point, Collina returned his full attention to matters at hand out on the pitch.

Source: FIFA

A milestone en route to Russia

"We are always looking to improve and we will work hard to be as prepared as we possibly can for the World Cup", said Pierluigi Collina, Chairman of the FIFA Referees Committee, in an address to 36 of the world's best referees and potential World Cup officials in Abu Dhabi. 
The capital of the United Arab Emirates is the venue for a five-day seminar, set to end on 30 November, which represents an important milestone on the road to the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia for the participants. Massimo Busacca, Head of FIFA's Refereeing Department, emphasised the significance of the conference: "Just as it is for football teams, it's important for referees to meet up regularly to prepare for a major tournament in order to develop a collective philosophy." Key topics on the course include consistency and uniformity; the ability to read the game from technical and tactical points of view, as well as understanding different mentalities of players and teams.
Argentinian referee Nestor Pitana, one of the most experienced officials participating, explained further: "There are always three teams on the pitch: team A, team B and the refereeing team. The sessions will be intensive in the coming weeks, and everyone will give their all and exploit their potential in order to increase their chances of actually being at the World Cup next year".
The referees, including representatives from every confederation, are divided into small groups and have theory classes in seminar rooms in which they discuss videos with diverse match situations, as well as practical sessions on football pitches. In these latter exercises, players and referees gather together to simulate in-game events. The officials receive immediate feedback regarding their reading of the game, positioning, viewing angle and decisions. The work of and with Video Assistant Referees is also addressed. Nevertheless, Collina underlined that, "The referee is always in charge of what happens on the pitch." The FIFA Referees Committee will decide on the final list of officials to participate at Russia 2018 after this seminar and following the conclusion of the FIFA Club World Cup, which will be held from 6-16 December 2017 in the United Arab Emirates. The list is scheduled to be announced in January 2018.

Source: FIFA

Clattenburg: English referees to return to World Cup in 2022

With English referees absent from the World Cup for the first time since 1938, Mark Clattenburg predicts that void will be filled in 2022. Clattenburg quit the Premier League last season to work on referee education for Saudi Arabia’s Football Association. After officiating the finals of the European Championship, Champions League and Football Association Cup in 2016, had he remained in England he almost certainly would have been on the list for next year’s World Cup in Russia, when he will be 43. Following Clattenburg’s retirement from the EPL, FIFA decided not to take Martin Atkinson, who turns 47 before the tournament starts in June. Anthony Taylor (39) and Michael Oliver (32) are viewed as the top English candidates of the next generation.
“It’s sad because we had Howard Webb, then myself. And it’s sad that we had no progression,” Clattenburg said Saturday during his first weekend as a commentator for NBC Sports. “Martin’s too old. You have an age restriction, and they were never going to take him because he had too many extensions. Michael Oliver will be the next. We’ll have Anthony Taylor. They’re the next level of referees, but they’re not at the top level in UEFA. I was on the elite referee panel in UEFA maybe three, four years before I was given the chance of big matches. So they need the experience. I’m sure they’ll be given the experience over the next one or two years.” FIFA decided in December 2014 to abolish a rule that dropped referees from the sport’s international list at the end of the year of their 45th birthday. That was replaced by a mandate for careful evaluation once they reach that age.
Clattenburg lives in Riyadh now and his family remains in England, where he also broadcasts for BT Sports. He celebrated his big 2016 by getting tattoos on his arms of the logos of the Euro and Champions League finals. He is looking forward to an expansion of Video Assistant Referees, which may be used in next year’s World Cup. Major League Soccer and Germany’s Bundesliga are among the leagues experimenting with VAR. “I see many problems in all the leagues — United States, Germany, Holland, Australia — because many people are trying to use it too much,” he said. “We don’t want to stop the flow of the game, but we want to stop the scandal, the bad decision where everybody in football goes: That’s a dive. That’s a penalty.” He cited the decision by Romanian referee Ovidiu Hategan to call a handball of Northern Ireland’s Corry Evans, which led to a Switzerland goal in a World Cup playoff this month. Hategan was not among the 36 referees announced Nov. 18 for a pre-World Cup seminar, a list that included 10 from Europe and two from the United States: Mark Geiger and Jair Murrufo. “We want video where, for example the Northern Ireland - Switzerland game, where it was clearly not a handball,” Clattenburg said. “This is the one we want to change. And I think all referees in the world want to have it. Why? Because they don’t want to be criticized for making a bad error.” Clattenburg maintains officials’ errors have not increased. They just get noticed more. “The game has got quicker,” he said. “People say referees are getting worse. It’s not. All that happens is we have more cameras, and it highlights the mistakes.” He attended NBC’s first Premier League Fan Fest at the South Street Seaport, where the network broadcast its studio show Saturday. He plans to return to NBC every few months. “I want to give people an insight into what referees think, how they act,” he said. “Now I’m free to do media work. When you’re in the Premier League, you’re not allowed to speak, and now it’s nice that I can pass on my experiences, pass on my knowledge.”

Source: National Post

FIFA Women’s World Cup 2019 Qualifiers – UEFA (Matchday 3)

23-24 November 2017

Austria – Israel
Referee: Amy Rayner (ENG, photo)
Assistant Referee 1: Sian Massey (ENG)
Assistant Referee 2: Natalie Aspinall (ENG)
Fourth Official: Sara Telek (AUT)

Slovenia – Faroe Islands
Referee: Irina Lyussina (BEL)
Assistant Referee 1: Viki De Cremer (BEL)
Assistant Referee 2: Maria Etienne (BEL)
Fourth Official: Petra Bombek (SVN)

Hungary – Ukraine
Referee: Paula Brady (IRL)
Assistant Referee 1: Michelle O'Neill (IRL)
Assistant Referee 2: Olivia Sneyd (IRL)
Fourth Official: Anita Vad (HUN)

Serbia – Spain
Referee: Marte Sørø (NOR)
Assistant Referee 1: Elisabeth Thoresen (NOR)
Assistant Referee 2: Monica Lokkeberg (NOR)
Fourth Official: Aleksandra Kojović (SRB)

Albania – Poland

Referee: Iuliana Demetrescu (ROU)
Assistant Referee 1: Petruta Iugulescu (ROU)
Assistant Referee 2: Mihaela Tepusa (ROU)
Fourth Official: Emanuela Rusta (ALB)

Portugal – Moldova
Referee: Tanja Subotič (SVN)
Assistant Referee 1: Helena Buh (SVN)
Assistant Referee 2: Staša Špur (SVN)
Fourth Official: Sophia Rosa (POR)

Switzerland – Belarus
Referee: Cheryl Foster (WAL)
Fourth Official: Rahel Hasler (SUI)

Slovakia – Netherlands
Referee: Volha Tsiareshka (BLR)
Assistant Referee 1: Alena Karas (BLR)
Assistant Referee 2: Anna Ilyankova (BLR)
Fourth Official: Katarina Smolikova (SVK)

Wales – Kazakhstan
Referee: Simona Ghisletta (SUI)
Assistant Referee 1: Emilie Aubry (SUI)
Assistant Referee 2: Laetitia Nuara (SUI)
Fourth Official: Ceri Williams (WAL)

England – Bosnia and Herzegovina
Referee: Ewa Augustyn (POL)
Assistant Referee 1: Kinga Seniuk-Mikulska (POL)
Assistant Referee 2: Anna Dabrowska (POL)
Fourth Official: Kirsty Dowle (ENG)