VAR use expanded by UEFA

The UEFA Executive Committee agreed to use VAR in the upcoming European Qualifiers play-offs in March 2020, and in the European Qualifiers for the 2022 World Cup, subject to approval from FIFA for the latter.

European Qualifiers for 2022 World Cup
The qualification system to determine the 13 European teams that qualify for the 2022 FIFA World Cup was approved as follows, pending validation from FIFA:
• the ten group winners from the European Qualifiers will qualify directly for the final tournament;
• plus, the three winners from a play-off round involving
•the ten group runners-up from the European Qualifiers;
•and the two best group winners of the 2020/21 UEFA Nations League overall ranking that have neither qualified directly for the final tournament as European Qualifiers group winners, nor entered the play-offs already as European Qualifiers group runners-up. Three play-off paths will be formed with two semi-final pairings each. The semi-finals will be played in single-leg knockout matches. The winner of each semi-final will advance to their respective play-off final, whereby a draw will be conducted in advance to determine the team playing at home. The winners of the three play-off finals qualify for the 2022 FIFA World Cup.

UEFA Women's Champions League
UEFA will transform the format of its Women's Champions League in 2021/22 – a move designed to boost competitiveness and increase exposure of women's club football through its elite competition. The changes, announced by the UEFA Executive Committee, represent a fundamental shift from the current format. As of the 2021/22 season clubs in rounds 1 and 2 will be split into champions (for domestic league winners) and league paths as they try to reach the new 16-team group stage. This new round will see four groups of four teams playing each other home and away, with the top two in each group progressing to quarter-final matches. "Today's decision is a game-changer for women's football," said UEFA President Aleksander Čeferin. "The world's best women's club competition will get both the platform and visibility it deserves."

UEFA Futsal Champions League Finals 2020
Minsk was appointed to host the 2020 UEFA Futsal Champions League finals. It will be the first time ever that the finals are staged at a neutral venue. The teams of Barça (ESP), KPRF (RUS), Murcia FS (ESP) and Tyumen (RUS) will compete for the title from 23 to 26 April 2020.

UEFA Women's EURO 2021 match schedule
The UEFA Executive Committee also confirmed the match schedule for UEFA Women's EURO 2021. The tournament will take place from 7 July to 1 August 2021, with the final being played at Wembley Stadium in London. The venue for the opening match will be confirmed in due course.

UEFA Women's Futsal EURO 2020/21
The regulations of the 2020/21 UEFA European Women's Futsal Championship – which will be the second edition of the tournament – were approved.

Source: UEFA

CONMEBOL Qlympic Qualifiers 2020

The CONMEBOL Referees Committee selected 12 referees and 20 assistant referees for the 2020 Qlympic Qualifying tournament. The referees will arrive in Colombia on 12 January for training and then will referee matches in Armenia, Pereira and Bucaramanga, from 18 January to 9 February 2020.

Referee 1: Facundo Tello (photo)
Referee 2: Dario Herrera
Assistant Referee 1: Julio Fernandez
Assistant Referee 2: Cristian Navarro

Referee: Ivo Mendez
Assistant Referee 1: Juan Montano
Assistant Referee 2: Ariel Guizada

Referee: Rodolpho Toski
Assistant Referee 1: Kleber Gil
Assistant Referee 2: Patricio Vilarinho

Referee: Piero Maza
Assistant Referee 1: Alejandro Molina
Assistant Referee 2: Claudio Urrutia

Referee: Nicolas Gallo
Assistant Referee 1: Dionisio Ruiz
Assistant Referee 2: Sebastian Vela

Referee: Franklin Congo
Assistant Referee 1: Juan Macias
Assistant Referee 2: Ricardo Baren

Referee: Eber Aquino
Assistant Referee 1: Juan Zorrilla
Assistant Referee 2: Dario Gaona

Referee: Kevin Ortega
Assistant Referee 1: Jonny Bossio
Assistant Referee 2: Jesus Sanchez

Referee 1: Esteban Ostojich
Referee 2: Andres Matonte
Assistant Referee 1: Carlos Barreiro
Assistant Referee 2: Horacio Ferreiro

Referee: Angel Arteaga
Assistant Referee 1: Lubin Torrealba
Assistant Referee 2: Tulio Moreno

Ceferin explains UEFA's new offside proposal as he hits out at VAR

It is the top-level backing that fans against VAR will appreciate. UEFA President Aleksander Ceferin, coming down on the side of the football fans, players and pundits against Video Assistant Referees. As the controversies continue to pile up, the animosity building towards the system is continuing to build.
Ceferin summed up the frustrations of supporters who would rather see the back of it. “If you have a long nose, you are in an offside position these days,” he said. “Also the lines are drawn by the VARS. So it’s a bit subjective drawing of objective criteria. So our proposal will be - we will discuss this with our referees division - that it is a tolerance of 10-20 centimetres. Second thing, we had at UEFA the top coaches two weeks ago, in Nyon. There was Jurgen Klopp, Pep Guardiola, Max Allegri, Carlo Ancelotti, Zinedine Zidane. All the top coaches of European teams, and our referee officer, Roberto Rossetti shows a handball. He says: ‘Handball or not?’ Half the room said yes. Half said no. So tell me how clear the rule is. We don’t know anything! For example, let me think about the Liverpool game against Manchester City. Was that handball or not?” Referee Michael Oliver controversially denied Manchester City a penalty in their title clash against Liverpool last month when Bernardo Silva’s cross struck Liverpool right-back Trent Alexander-Arnold. Jurgen Klopp’s side benefited and went on to win. “Some referees in England, they don’t even check,” said Ceferin, “In Italy they check for half an hour. You know, it’s a mess. I was never a big fan of this. Now these days you see that linesmen don’t even bother to lift the flag anymore. They wait, wait, wait. The players? They don’t celebrate. Now they wait first for the VAR. And as I said, handball - no one can explain what is handball and what is not. What is intentional? The referee is not a psychiatrist to know if you did it on purpose or not!” Ceferin went on: “Referees make mistakes. I’ve followed football since I was a kid. The first game I remember is 1978 when I watched the World Cup in Argentina. Kempes - 3-1 in the final against Holland. Referees mistakes are like players’ mistakes. We were discussing about referees mistakes for a week. It was interesting. Round tables this, that. Now it’s some kind of technology. Nobody knows who is deciding. It’s okay if you don’t rule someone offside if it’s one centimetre. Because the meaning of offside is that I have to have some kind of advantage. I’m not a big fan, but unfortunately, if we say we don’t use it anymore, we are killed.”
While VAR will be used at next summer’s European Championship it was not in operation during the qualifiers as Ceferin’s home nation, Slovenia, had their hopes ended by Poland. “Look, we simply have to [have it at the Euros] because the teams will all complain when there’s a mistake against them. They will say: ‘We want VAR.’ For example, my national team Slovenia was put out. There’s a clear handball and I was at the stadium. I was so mad! It was a clear handball! I was so mad!! But the referee didn’t see it. We would have qualified for the Euros.” Ceferin joked: “People were looking at me like: ‘Who the hell are you if you don’t have any influence?’ Somebody started to shout: ‘Shame on UEFA!’ It’s okay. I’m used to that. But it’s not so simple. At the end of the day, I said, every bad thing has something good - and the good thing is that now everybody knows I don’t interfere.”

Source: Mirror

VAR tweaks being considered by IFAB

Football lawmakers are considering whether to make changes to Video Assistant Referee (VAR) technology in the game. The International Football Association Board (IFAB) will hold a key meeting in Belfast and receive feedback from its advisory panel. Football's most powerful administrators will discuss updates on the use of VARs around the world, including the Premier League. "It's still relatively new technology for the game of football," Patrick Nelson, Irish Football Association chief executive and IFAB's chairman on Tuesday, told Sky Sports News. "Cricket and rugby have had it for a long time. We need to look at the data that we've got, from the many experiments around the world, and see if there are any tweaks to the protocol that we need to make, to make it better for everyone in the game." Premier League referees' chief Mike Riley is expected to hold talks on VAR standards with former Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger. Wenger, FIFA's new Chief of Global Football Development, is also a member of IFAB's football and technical advisory panels and he is expected to attend the discussion in Northern Ireland. But Nelson stressed that IFAB will only focus on VAR's impact on the global game, where technology is currently used in 25 countries. "IFAB is about the parks game, as well as the World Cup final," he explains. "A lot of the media interest, and supporter interest, tends to be around the top-end games in the professional part of football. The laws of the game, they're there for everyone. We have to take that into account all the time."
Lawmakers will also continue to debate concussion assessment and management of players during matches, after initial talks in October. Headway, the brain injury association, expressed its disappointment over the "unnecessary delay" in introducing concussion substitutes. "Concussion will be one of the main issues," says Nelson. "It's a brand-new issue for IFAB. We will take this very seriously. We will look at how we can work within the laws of the game to try to minimise the effects of concussion. It's very, very, early stages so don't expect anything too dramatic just yet. It will be one of the key items that we discuss." Sky Sports News has been told that temporary substitutions for footballers suspected of concussion are 'likely' to become compulsory for next summer's Euro 2020, but Nelson gave a cautious response over whether any law changes will be made at IFAB's AGM next February. "I think it's very early stages for that," adds Nelson "The European Championships are coming up very close to us now. It could be too early for that. I think, from an IFAB perspective, we need to study all the data and try and make the best decisions we can for the future of the game." IFAB is comprised of the four British associations and world football's governing body, FIFA. 

Source: SkySports

FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup Final 2019: Moraes (BRA)

1 December 2019

Italy – Portugal
Referee 1: Ivo Moraes (BRA, photo)
Referee 2: Said Hachim (MAD)
Referee 3: Ingilab Mammadov (AZE)
Timekeeper: Sofien Benchabane (FRA)
Reserve AR: Suhaimi Mat Hassan (MAS)

Match for Third Place
Russia – Japan
Referee 1: Juan Angeles (DOM)
Referee 2: Gustavo Dominguez (PAR)
Referee 3: Gionni Matticoli (ITA)
Timekeeper: Raul Gonzalez (ESP)
Reserve AR: Gonzalo Carballo (SLV)

From fighting crime to flagging offside

Who would be a referee? It’s a question that has been posed innumerable times. Observers, admirers and even critics tend to acknowledge that match officials’ jobs seem, at best, unenviable and, at worst, near-impossible. Abuse, of course, is all but guaranteed from amateur level upwards, while elite referees cope with the added stresses of media scrutiny and partisan, unforgiving crowds. A thick skin is essential, and Kylie Cockburn’s – for one good reason – is thicker than most.
The 30-year-old, who officiated at the FIFA Women’s World Cup, spends her Saturdays refereeing in Scotland’s top flight. But as the rest of her week is spent serving as a police officer, pleading players and complaining coaches hold no fear whatsoever. “Abuse? As you probably can imagine, I get far worse at work!” she told “The stuff you hear when you’re refereeing is nothing in comparison.” Besides enabling her to “build up a resilience” to remarks that would stop others in their tracks, Cockburn’s day job has equipped her with other transferable skills invaluable to refereeing.
“Being in the police, you learn how to speak to people and also how to de-escalate situations when things are getting tense or tempers are flaring,” she explained. “In my job, I’m dealing with problems and people who aren’t happy day in, day out. That helps a lot when you encounter issues around the football pitch.” Policing, though, wasn’t Cockburn’s first love. And nor was refereeing. In her teens, she had dreams of making it to a Women’s World Cup as a player, and pursued that objective with a passion. But competing work commitments, and a growing realisation that she lacked the ability needed to star for her country, prompted a change of course. “I was 21 when I started refereeing and at the time I had been playing in the women’s first division here in Scotland. But with the shifts I was working with the police, it was getting really difficult to make the games and three or four nights of training. I’d been in the Scotland elite squad at U-17 level but I dropped out after that and I could see at that point that I wasn’t going to make it at the highest level. But I’m the kind of person who doesn’t take these things lying down, and I just thought, ‘Right, in that case, what can I do to get to the top?’ That was when I tried to give refereeing a try and I’m glad I did.”
Trying her hand at officiating has since led to all manner of fantastic experiences, from running out at her country’s biggest stadiums to overseeing international matches in Jordan, Uruguay and across Europe. But the unrivalled highlight of Cockburn’s refereeing career came with an unexpected call-up to the recent FIFA Women’s World Cup France 2019. “France was always a target but it was still a surprise when the call came because, in the grand scheme of things, I’m still quite new to this level of refereeing,” said Cockburn, who arranged unpaid leave from the police in order to attend. “To then stay on to the knockout stages – and be there right until the end - was amazing. I fully expected just to get one match and be on my way, so to get the call for three games and two as a VAR was amazing and way beyond what I could have dreamed of. “I really enjoyed the VAR side of things too. It took some getting used to. But the training we’d done in Qatar had prepared us really well for that and got us in the right mindset for that. “There was scrutiny of course – that goes with the territory – but as a group we were proud of what we did over there. Women’s football has grown and improved a lot in recent years, and for me there’s no doubt that women’s refereeing has followed suit. It helped that the refs were very close – like a family really – off the field. I definitely feel I’ve come away from it with friends for life. I’m going on holiday to Australia in November, and the first thing I did after booking up was arrange to meet the two Australian referees who were there in France.” That break Down Under, given the draining nature of both Cockburn’s profession and her passion, will be well earned. But this determined Scot will return ready to refocus on her next targets: top-level men’s matches and, of course, the Women’s World Cup of 2023.

Source: FIFA

FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup 2019 – Semi-finals

30 November 2019

Italy – Russia
Referee 1: Ebrahim Al-Mansory (UAE)
Referee 2: Sofien Benchabane (FRA, photo)
Referee 3: Alex Valdiviezo (PER)
Timekeeper: Gustavo Dominguez (PAR)
Reserve AR: Raul Gonzalez (ESP)

Japan – Portugal
Referee 1: Lukasz Ostrowski (POL)
Referee 2: Bakhtiyor Namazov (UZB)
Referee 3: Ingilab Mammadov (AZE)
Timekeeper: Vitali Gomolko (LTU)
Reserve AR: Mariano Romo (ARG)

Arabian Gulf Cup 2019


1. Ali Shaaban (KUW)
2. Ahmed Al-Kaf (OMA, photo)
3. Ali Sabbah (IRQ)
4. Khamis Al-Marri (QAT)
5. Ameen Radman (YEM)
6. Mohammed Abdulla (UAE)
7. Ali Al-Samaheeji (BHR)
8. Alexandre Boucaut (BEL)
9. Lionel Tschudi (SUI)
10. Ryuji Sato (JPN)

FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup 2019 – Quarter-finals

28 November 2019

Italy – Switzerland
Referee 1: Mariano Romo (ARG, photo)
Referee 2: Raul Gonzalez (ESP)
Referee 3: Vitali Gomolko (LTU)
Timekeeper: Lukasz Ostrowski (POL)
Reserve AR: Bakhtiyor Namazov (UZB)

Brazil – Russia
Referee 1: Said Hachim (MAD)
Referee 2: Juan Angeles (DOM)
Referee 3: Ebrahim Al-Mansory (UAE)
Timekeeper: Bakhtiyor Namazov (UZB)
Reserve AR: Lukasz Ostrowski (POL)

Senegal – Portugal
Referee 1: Gonzalo Carballo (SLV)
Referee 2: Ivo Moraes (BRA)
Referee 3: Gustavo Dominguez (PAR)
Timekeeper: Ingilab Mammadov (AZE)
Reserve AR: Suhaimi Mat Hassan (MAS)

Japan – Uruguay
Referee 1: Sofien Benchabane (FRA)
Referee 2: Gionni Matticoli (ITA)
Referee 3: Alex Valdiviezo (PER)
Timekeeper: Suhaimi Mat Hassan (MAS)
Reserve AR: Ingilab Mammadov (AZE)

Still calling the shots at 75

At 46 years and 261 days old, Dutchman Roel Liefden is the oldest player to have featured at a FIFA tournament after reaching this remarkable milestone at the FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup in Tahiti, in 2013. Not a bad achievement, you might think. Englishman John Lewis went a step further by refereeing the final of the Men’s Olympic Football Tournament 1920 between Belgium and Czechoslovakia at the age of 65 years and 156 days. While these are undoubtedly impressive figures, Heidi Wegner has outdone them both. The 75 year old is the oldest referee still active in Germany and is still keeping players in line today, having overseen several thousand matches from juniors to veterans during her long career.
"I refereed the district championships at the Peene shipyard back in 1968", Wegner recalled a few months ago in an interview on, the home of German amateur football. "I was in good hands there, and initially spent two years officiating without a refereeing badge. I had already overseen more than 100 matches by the time I took my exam." For the sprightly pensioner who keeps fit by cycling and hiking, the idea of hanging up her whistle is out of the question. "I have better stats than some younger referees," she explained. "I run around the pitch more than others do. Some referees only move around in the centre circle. We also officiate 90 per cent of our matches alone, so you have to be fit, get moving and keep up with the play." There is no doubting the veracity of this statement – Wegner covers several kilometres out on the pitch in a single game. The ‘Football Granny from the Peene’, as she is affectionately known, discovered her passion for football at a relatively early age. "I started going down to the playing fields with my father when I was very young," she said. "I also played football out in the street and played handball at school. My parents virtually had to drag me off the street every evening." That passion has remained undimmed ever since. Wegner has been refereeing matches in the German state of Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania for more than 50 years and knows the Laws of the Game inside out. Referees must sit an exam three times a year, and Wegner has never failed it. In 2014, the German Football Association (DFB) presented the athletic 75-year-old – who shares her birth year with footballers such as Sepp Maier, Jurgen Grabowski and Gunter Netzer – with its badge of merit to acknowledge her voluntary work. Wegner spent more than 30 years as a youth team coach at FC Rot-Weiss Wolgast, organising tournaments and keeping tabs on the club’s financial affairs as its treasurer. "I do it for the joy of it and to keep fit," she explained. "I go and help wherever I’m needed." Heidi Wegner is a remarkable woman who undoubtedly laid the foundation for the current generation of female referees in Germany, including Bibiana Steinhaus, who became the first woman to officiate matches in the men’s Bundesliga, and Riem Hussein, who became the second woman after Steinhaus to referee in the professional men’s game.

Source: FIFA