UEFA assistant referees raise the bar

Assistant referees are having to change with the times as football maintains its constant evolution - and Europe's elite have proved that they are relishing the challenge at UEFA's winter course in Majorca. More than 70 top assistant referees from across the continent have spent a week in Majorca at their latest UEFA winter course. They’ve received a glowing reference from UEFA Referees Committee chairman Roberto Rosetti for the quality of their work, their flexibility in adapting to football’s development, and their determination to get better with each game. Rosetti gave us an insight into the vital role played by assistant referees, and the challenges that those who 'run the line' face in their quest for excellence.
UEFA.com: Why did UEFA convene the assistant referees in Majorca?
Roberto Rosetti: We’ve a very busy few months ahead of us - we’re not far away from the UEFA Champions League and UEFA Europa League knockout phases, and the UEFA EURO 2020 tournament follows in the summer. Some of the assistants will be part of refereeing teams at that tournament. So, we brought them all together to fine-tune preparations for the important assignments that are coming up.
UEFA.com: This certainly emphasises the importance that UEFA gives to assistant referees…
Rosetti: It’s true that their job is becoming increasingly important in modern-day elite football, so it’s vital that we work together on the various facets of the Laws of the Game, and look to achieve a common goal of maximum consistency in the referee team’s on-field decision-making.
UEFA.com: What were the specific topics covered during the week in Majorca?
Rosetti: First of all, we tested the assistants’ fitness, in particular their sprinting and sideways movement – happily, everyone came through the tests successfully. In practical sessions, we looked at a broad range of topics – offside and its interpretation, handball, and so forth…the assistants worked in groups to analyse video clips of incidents from UEFA matches over the past few months – we encouraged them to give us feedback not only on the incidents and decisions taken, but also to reflect on the broader aspects of their role. 
UEFA.com: Was the video assistant referee (VAR) system on the agenda?
Rosetti: Of course, because it’s now an integral part of the game, and assistant referees are making a crucial contribution to the success and further development of the system. In Majorca, the assistants took part in simulator exercises for various situations, and were asked to react and give decisions.
UEFA.com: Are you happy with the way that the assistant referees have adapted to the VAR system?
Rosetti: We’re very satisfied, because the assistants have had to adjust their role – for example, they’ve been instructed to delay raising their flag in certain situations, whereas previously, they would have raised their flag immediately. Football is changing, refereeing is changing, and we’ve seen that the assistants have fully understood the need to adapt as well. They’ve shown an open-mindedness at the course in reacting positively to such developments.
UEFA.com: The assistant referees seem determined to match UEFA’s drive to raise standards
Rosetti: We’re consistently looking to improve the quality of the assistants, and they are keeping pace with our demands. We’re extremely impressed with their work ethic and preparation – and their desire to achieve peak performance. They’re being given the best possible training by UEFA, we continually monitor their progress…and, to their credit, they’re responding to the challenge. 
UEFA.com: How important is teamwork between a referee and the assistants on the field of play?
Rosetti: It’s absolutely crucial. They must work together as a solid, focussed and professional team, in terms of both on-field communication and decision-making. We’re encouraging referee teams to become like ‘families’ – it’s not just about how they perform on the field; they form bonds, spending time together off the field, travelling to matches, talking about refereeing. There’s no doubt that creating a close relationship and a genuine team spirit is a key ingredient for success.
UEFA.com: Finally, what do you think are the major improvements that assistant referees have made in recent years?
Rosetti: Firstly, they’ve been able to keep up with the development of football at the highest level. Secondly, along with the referees, they’ve become 100% athletes – they’re total professionals, they look after themselves, and have understood that they can only do their job with the right preparation, attitude and approach. Thirdly, they’ve taken on board our advice that they should improve their reading of the game and understand specific situations in a match. This all means that our assistant referees are in an increasingly ideal position to successfully fulfil their role – to give the highest quality support to referees on and away from the pitch.

Source: UEFA

FIFA Elite Referee Seminars

UEFA – Lisbon, 3-7 February 2020

Referees (Men)
1. Georgi Kabakov (BUL, 1986, photo)
2. Michael Oliver (ENG, 1985)
3. Anthony Taylor (ENG, 1978)
4. Carlos Del Cerro Grande (ESP, 1976)
5. Jesus Gil Manzano (ESP, 1984)
6. Clement Turpin (FRA, 1982)
7. Felix Zwayer (GER, 1981)
8. Daniele Orsato (ITA, 1975)
9. Andris Treimanis (LVA, 1985)
10. Danny Makkelie (NED, 1983)
11. Szymon Marciniak (POL, 1981)
12. Artur Soares Dias (POR, 1979)
13. Ovidiu Hațegan (ROU, 1980)
14. Srdjan Jovanović (SRB, 1986)
15. Ivan Kružliak (SVK, 1984)
16. Slavko Vinčič (SVN, 1979)
17. Andreas Ekberg (SWE, 1985)

Referees (Women)
1. Ivana Martinčić (CRO, 1985)
2. Olga Zadinova (CZE, 1985)
3. Rebecca Welch (ENG, 1983)
4. Marta Huerta de Aza (ESP, 1990)
5. Lina Lehtovaara (FIN, 1981)
6. Eleni Antoniou (GRE, 1985)
7. Ewa Augustyn (POL, 1989)
8. Tess Olofsson (SWE, 1988)
9. Cheryl Foster (WAL, 1980)

AFC, CAF, OFC – Doha, 9-13 March 2020

Referees (Men)
1. Christopher Beath (AUS, 1984)
2. Nawaf Shukralla (BHR, 1976)
3. Ma Ning (CHN, 1979)
4. Alireza Faghani (IRN 1978)
5. Ryuji Sato (JPN, 1977)
6. Adham Makhadmeh (JOR, 1986)
7. Ko Hyung-Jin (KOR, 1982)
8. Ahmad Al-Kaf (OMA, 1983)
9. Abdulrahman Al-Jassim (QAT, 1987)
10. Muhammad Bin Jahari (SIN, 1986)
11. Mohammed Abdulla (UAE, 1978)

Referees (Women)
1. Ranjita Tekcham (IND)
2. Mahsa Ghorbani (IRN)
3. Kim Yu Jeong (KOR)
4. Oh Hyeong Jeong (KOR, 1988)
5. Pak Un Jong (PRK)
6. Abirami Naidu (SIN, 1983)
7. Edita Mirabidova (UZB)
8. Thi Thu Bui (VIE)

Referees (Men)
1. Mustapha Ghorbal (ALG, 1985)
2. Ndala Ngambo (COD, 1987)
3. Amin Mohamed (EGY, 1985)
4. Bamlak Tessema (ETH, 1980)
5. Bakary Gassama (GAM, 1979)
6. Redouane Jiyed (MAR, 1979)
7. Victor Gomes (RSA, 1982)
8. Maguette Ndiaye (SEN, 1986)

Referees (Women)
1. Maria Rivet (MRI)
2. Bouchra Karboubi (MAR)
3. Ndidi Madu (NGA)
4. Fatou Thioune (SEN, 1985)
5. Jonesia Kabakama (TAN, 1989)
6. Vincentia Amedone (TGO)
7. Dorsaf Ganouati (TUN)
8. Letticia Viana (SWZ)

Referees (Men)
1. Matthew Conger (NZL, 1978)
2. Nicholas Waldron (NZL, 1982)
3. Abdelkader Zitouni (TAH, 1981)

Longest serving match officials on the FIFA List 2020

Referees (M): Nawaf Shukralla (BHR, 1997, photo), Enea Jorgi (ALB, 2002), Ivan Bebek (CRO, 2002), Vasilios Dimitriou (CYP, 2002), Joel Aguilar (SLV, 2002), Ali Al-Qaysi (IRQ, 2002), Veaceslav Banari (MDA, 2002), Damir Skomina (SVN, 2002), Charymurat Kurbanov (TKM, 2002), Valentin Kovalenko (UZB, 2002).

Referees (F): Salome Di Iorio (ARG, 2004), Katalin Kulcsar (HUN, 2004), Sandra Braz (POR, 2004), Kateryna Monzul (UKR, 2004), Sirley Cornejo (BOL, 2005), Lidya Abebe (ETH, 2005), Bibiana Steinhaus (GER, 2005), Vivian Peeters (NED, 2005), Tanja Subotic (SVN, 2005), Esther Staubli (SUI, 2005), Cong Thi Dung (VIE, 2005). 

Assistant Referees (M): Yaser Tulefat (BHR, 1997), Konrad Sapela (POL, 1998), Matthew Cream (AUS, 2000), Anatolie Bodean (MDA, 2000), Anton Averianov (RUS, 2000), David Bitton (ISR, 2001), Ricardo Ake (BLZ, 2002), Berke Tesfagiorghis (ERI, 2002), Alan Camilleri (MLT, 2002), Bahattin Duran (TUR, 2002), Emre Eyisoy (TUR, 2002), Pham Manh Long (VIE, 2002).

Assistant Referees (F): Kossiwa Kpadenou (TOG, 2002), Sarah Ho (AUS, 2004), Judit Kulcsar (HUN, 2004), Kim Kyoung Min (KOR, 2004), Lidwine Rakotozafinoro (MAD, 2004), Mayte Chavez (MEX, 2004), Sonia Louis (BEN, 2005), Mona Mahmoud (EGY, 2005), Lee Seul Gi (KOR, 2005), Bernadettar Kwimbira (MWI, 2006). 

Futsal Referees (M): Francisco Rivera (MEX, 2005), Borislav Kolev (BUL, 2006), Jan Kresta (CZE, 2006), Nurdin Bukuev (KGZ, 2006), Josip Barton (MKD, 2006), Ray Ritaga (PHI, 2006), Gean Telles (BRA, 2007), Timo Onatsu (FIN, 2007), Balazs Farkas (HUN, 2007), Gabor Kovacs (HUN, 2007). 

Futsal Referees (F): Katiucia Meneguzzi (BRA, 2007), Giselle Torri (BRA, 2007), Liga Didrike (LVA, 2009), Irina Velikanova (RUS, 2012), Raquel Gonzalez (ESP, 2012), Bettina Cingari (ARG, 2014), Maria Pinto (ARG, 2014), Gelareh Nazemi (IRN, 2014). 

Beach Soccer: Ivo Moraes (BRA, 2005), Carlos Renato (BRA, 2005), Libor Kastanek (CZE, 2008), Eduards Borisevics (LVA, 2008), Abdulaziz Abdullah (KUW, 2009), Ebrahim El-Mansory (UAE, 2009), Mikhail Prokharav (UKR, 2009), Bakhtiyor Namazov (UZB, 2009), Hugo Pado (SOL, 2010), Sofien Benchabane (FRA, 2011). 

Member associations with most FIFA referees in 2020:
Brazil – 42 (15 referees, 15 assistant referees, 8 futsal, 4 beach soccer),
Spain – 41 (15 referees, 17 assistant referees, 5 futsal, 4 beach soccer),
Argentina – 39 (14 referees, 14 assistant referees, 7 futsal, 4 beach soccer),
Italy – 39 (14 referees, 15 assistant referees, 5 futsal, 5 beach soccer),
Russia – 39 (13 referees, 16 assistant referees, 6 futsal, 4 beach soccer),
France – 37 (14 referees, 16 assistant referees, 4 futsal, 3 beach soccer),
Germany – 37 (14 referees, 16 assistant referees, 4 futsal, 3 beach soccer). 

Member associations without any FIFA referees or assistant referees in 2020: American Samoa, Anguilla, British Virgin Islands, Curacao, Guam, Liechtenstein, Montserrat, St. Lucia, Turks and Caicos Islands, US Virgin Islands.

CONMEBOL Libertadores 2020 – Round 1 (Second Leg)

28-29 January 2020

Universitario – Carabobo
Referee: Braulio Machado (BRA, photo)
Assistant Referee 1: Bruno Boschilia (BRA)
Assistant Referee 2: Guilherme Dias (BRA)
Fourth Official: Bruno Arleu (BRA)
Referee Assessor: Omar Ponce (ECU)

Guarani – San Jose
Referee: Fernando Echenique (ARG)
Assistant Referee 1: Ezequiel Brailovsky (ARG)
Assistant Referee 2: Maximiliano Del Yesso (ARG)
Fourth Official: Fernando Espinoza (ARG)
Referee Assessor: Juan Cardellino (URU)

Barcelona – Progreso
Referee: Arnaldo Samaniego (PAR)
Assistant Referee 1: Milciades Saldivar (PAR)
Assistant Referee 2: Jose Cuevas (PAR)
Fourth Official: Juan Lopez (PAR)
Referee Assessor: Juan Lugones (BOL)

AFC U-23 Championship Final 2020: Beath (AUS)

26 January 2020

Korea Republic – Saudi Arabia
Referee: Christopher Beath (AUS, photo)
Assistant Referee 1: Anton Shchetinin (AUS)
Assistant Referee 2: Ashley Beecham (AUS)
Fourth Official: Ma Ning (CHN)
VAR: Shaun Evans (AUS)
AVAR 1: Fu Ming (CHN)
AVAR 2: Adham Makhadmeh (JOR)

AFC U-23 Championship 2020 – Match for Third Place

25 January 2020

Australia – Uzbekistan
Referee: Mohammed Abdulla (UAE)
Assistant Referee 1: Mohamed Al-Hammadi (UAE)
Assistant Referee 2: Hasan Al-Mahri (UAE)
Fourth Official: Sivakorn Pu-Udom (THA)
VAR: Abdulrahman Al-Jassim (QAT)
AVAR 1: Omar Al-Ali (UAE)
AVAR 2: Khamis Al-Marri (QAT)

CONMEBOL Libertadores 2020 – Round 1 (First Leg)

21-22 January 2020

Carabobo – Universitario
Referee: John Ospina (COL, photo)
Assistant Referee 1: Wilmar Navarro (COL)
Assistant Referee 2: Miguel Roldan (COL)
Fourth Official: Carlos Betancur (COL)
Referee Assessor: Ubaldo Aquino (PAR)

San Jose – Guarani
Referee: Augusto Aragon (ECU)
Assistant Referee 1: Christian Lescano (ECU)
Assistant Referee 2: Denny Guerrero (ECU)
Fourth Official: Roberto Sanchez (ECU)
Referee Assessor: Wilson Lamouroux (COL)

Progreso – Barcelona
Referee: Eduardo Gamboa (CHI)
Assistant Referee 1: Edson Cisternas (CHI)
Assistant Referee 2: Raul Orellana (CHI)
Fourth Official: Angelo Hermosilla (CHI)
Referee Assessor: Sergio Viola (ARG)

Dean – EPL Match 500: “Players accept my style and personality”

Mike Dean has opened up on his maverick personality on the pitch, insisting players appreciate that he is not a 'robotic' referee ahead of his record 500th game. Dean – described as 'one of a kind' by Sportsmail's refereeing expert Mark Clattenburg – is the first to hit the milestone. Clattenburg insists the Premier League would be a worse place without the 51-year-old from the Wirral, who is often described as the 'gift that keeps on giving' by fans. There are even compilations of his funny moments on YouTube, from the times he has let the ball run through his legs to his no-look cautions and puzzled looks at players. Most recently he was caught on camera asking an assistant 'who the f*** is that?' after an unknown man shook his hand ahead of Southampton against Tottenham on New Year's Day.
Telling Sportsmail about his style on the pitch, Dean said: “For me, the players respond to the way I am and over the years have accepted my style and personality. I've never been a 'robotic' referee. I try to be approachable and explain decisions briefly to players if they ask. The communication we have with them is really important. “I don't have an issue with the odd bad publicity I get as it's all part of the game we love. I speak to a few referees after games on the way home, but I try not to worry about decisions – good or bad, I make every decision to the best of my ability.” Dean, having refereed in the Premier League since the year 2000, counts former Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson as the best but toughest manager he dealt with. The most memorable match he officiated was Manchester City's 2012 last-gasp, title-clinching victory over Queen's Park Rangers at the Etihad Stadium, courtesy of Sergio Aguero's winner. Yet Dean was almost given a decision to make, when QPR defender Taye Taiwo lunged in on the Argentinian seconds before he made it 3-2 in stoppage time. On that game, Dean said: 'With what was at stake and to be trusted to referee such an important game on the final day of the season and with the ending, it will live long in the memory. As a refereeing team, we didn't know what was happening in other games but you could sense that City needed a winner to win the title and when Aguero went through on goal, there was only going to be one outcome”. On match No. 500 – Martin Atkinson is the next nearest on 397 – Dean added: “When I first got onto the Premier League in 2000 there wasn't a specific goal on amount of games I wanted to do. The retirement age of a referee was 48 back in 2000, but today, luckily, we don't have an age limit. The game this weekend will be a special one of course, but there is still a match to officiate so my focus will be on that. My wife Karam, eldest daughter Zara and my grandson Harvey will all be there to watch, as will a very good friend of mine, Dave Somers, a former SFA referee who will travel down from Scotland. My other daughter Brittany won't be coming as her priority will be watching Tranmere, as always!”
Mike Dean is like Marmite. But love or hate him, it takes a special referee to reach 500 Premier League games, as Mike will at Arsenal against Sheffield United. I know Mike well and he is one of a kind. He came from a normal background, worked in a chicken factory, then got into refereeing and reached the very top. The social media trolls may mock him but the younger officials look up to him because of his vast experience. Mike is one of the old school PGMOL members, and a bit of a joker. That's what we see on the pitch, too. When he does silly little things, that's just Mike being Mike. He doesn't hide his personality and the players appreciate that. He's no robot. Those at the top of the PGMOL want to manufacture the perfect referee but it's important to show personality and have a bit of banter. Don't just walk up to a player and stick a card up in the air. A personal touch can help defuse heated situations, and that's what Mike brings to the table. His type is a dying breed, and it isn't easy to get to 500 games. You have to stay fit but the older you get, the wiser you become. You read the game better and know where to position yourself. You run less but end up no further away from the ball. Mike has that down to a tee, too. What will he do after football? I know in between his refereeing duties, Mike loves to play golf and he caddies on the women's tour. That will be his next move, in my opinion. For now, though, let's enjoy his performances in the Premier League - that includes you trolls out there. There really is only one Mike Dean. By Mark Clattenburg.

Source: Sport.net

AFC U-23 Championship 2020 – Semi-finals

22 January 2020

Australia – Korea Republic
Referee: Nawaf Shukralla (BHR, photo)
Assistant Referee 1: Mohamed Salman (BHR)
Assistant Referee 2: Abdulla Al-Rowaimi (BHR)
Fourth Official: Adham Makhadmeh (JOR)
VAR: Mohammed Abdulla (UAE)
AVAR 1: Omar Al-Ali (UAE)
AVAR 2: Sivakorn Pu-Udom (THA)

Saudi Arabia – Uzbekistan
Referee: Ryuji Sato (JPN)
Assistant Referee 1: Hiroshi Yamauchi (JPN)
Assistant Referee 2: Jun Mihara (JPN)
Fourth Official: Minoru Tojo (JPN)
VAR: Hiroyuki Kimura (JPN)
AVAR 1: Jumpei Iida (JPN)
AVAR 2: Ma Ning (CHN)

AFC U-23 Championship 2020 – Quarter-finals

18-19 January 2020

Australia – Syria
Referee: Ryuji Sato (JPN, photo)
Assistant Referee 1: Hiroshi Yamauchi (JPN)
Assistant Referee 2: Jun Mihara (JPN)
Fourth Official: Nawaf Shukralla (BHR)
VAR: Hiroyuki Kimura (JPN)
AVAR 1: Jumpei Iida (JPN)
AVAR 2: Minoru Tojo (JPN)

Saudi Arabia – Thailand
Referee: Ahmed Al Kaf (OMA)
Assistant Referee 1: Abu Al-Amri (OMA)
Assistant Referee 2: Rashid Al Ghaithi (OMA)
Fourth Official: Ali Sabah (IRQ)
VAR: Christopher Beath (AUS)
AVAR 1: Shaun Evans (AUS)
AVAR 2: Ko Hyung Jin (KOR)

Korea Republic – Jordan
Referee: Abdulrahman Al-Jassim (QAT)
Assistant Referee 1: Taleb Al-Marri (QAT)
Assistant Referee 2: Saoud Al-Maqaleh (QAT)
Fourth Official: Khamis Al-Kuwari (QAT)
VAR: Abdulla Al-Marri (QAT)
AVAR 1: Khamis Al-Kuwari (QAT)
AVAR 2: Sivakorn Pu-Udom (THA)

UAE – Uzbekistan
Referee: Fu Ming (CHN)
Assistant Referee 1: Shi Xiang (CHN)
Assistant Referee 2: Cao Yi (CHN)
Fourth Official: Ma Ning (CHN)
VAR: Shaun Evans (AUS)
AVAR 1: Christopher Beath (AUS)
AVAR 2: Adham Makhadmeh (JOR)