Collina is the new Chairman of the FIFA Referees Committee

Following last year’s elections, FIFA made significant changes within the organization, including a completely revamped composition of its Referees Committee. Former World Cup Final referee Pierluigi Collina (Italy) was recently appointed as the new chairman of the FIFA Referees Committee. At this point, it is uncertain whether he will also continue with UEFA as Chief Refereeing Officer.

Pierluigi Collina (Italy)

1. Amelio Andino (Paraguay) 
2. Dagmar Damkova (Czech Republic)
3. Brian Hall (USA)
4. Shamsul Maidin (Singapore) 
5. Eddy Maillet (Seychelles)
6. Neil Poloso (Solomon Islands) 
7. Wilson Seneme (Brazil)
8. Kevin Stoltenkamp (New Zealand) 
9. Hani Taleb Balan (Qatar)

CAF Africa Cup of Nations 2017 – Group Stage (Matches 9-14)

18 January 2017
Gabon – Burkina Faso
Referee: Bakary Gassama (GAM, photo)
Assistant Referee 1: Jean-Claude Birumushahu (BDI)
Assistant Referee 2: Abo El Sadat (EGY)

Cameroon – Guinea Bissau
Referee: Youssef Essrayri (TUN)
Assistant Referee 1: Anouar Hmila (TUN)
Assistant Referee 2: Yahaya Mahamadou (NIG)

19 January 2017
Algeria – Tunisia

Referee: Bernard Camille (SEY)
Assistant Referee 1: Abel Baba (NIG)
Assistant Referee 2: Mohammed Ibrahim (SDN)

Senegal – Zimbabwe
Referee: Redouane Jiyed (MAR)
Assistant Referee 1: Redouane Achik (MAR)
Assistant Referee 2: Waleed Ahmed (SDN)

20 January 2017
Cote d’Ivoire – DR Congo
Referee: Janny Sikazwe (ZAM)
Assistant Referee 1: Jerson Dos Santos (ANG)
Assistant Referee 2: Marwa Range (KEN)

Morocco – Togo
Referee: Mahamadou Keita (MLI)
Assistant Referee 1: Evarist Menkouande (CMR)
Assistant Referee 2: Aboubacar Doumbouya (GUI)

Ramos and Chenard awarded CONCACAF Referees of the Year 2016

The Confederation of North, Central America and Caribbean Association Football (CONCACAF) announced the winners for the annual CONCACAF Awards. In an equally-weighted vote among Member Association women’s and men’s national team coaches/captains, media and fans, Cesar Ramos (Mexico) and Carol Anne Chenard (Canada) won the CONCACAF Referee of the Year honours. For the first time, both referees and assistant referees were nominated for these awards.

CONCACAF Male Referee of the Year
1. Cesar Ramos (Mexico)
2. Joe Fletcher (Canada, Assistant Referee)
3. Joel Aguilar (El Salvador)

CONCACAF Female Referee of the Year
1. Carol Anne Chenard (Canada)
2. Quetzalli Alvarado (Mexico)
3. Kimberly Moreira (Costa Rica, Assistant Referee)

The CONCACAF Awards are designed to honor the year’s outstanding performers and achievements in confederation-sanctioned competitions involving national teams at all levels and age categories, including FIFA World Cup matches and qualifying for both genders. Performances also eligible for recognition included those achieved in professional club football leagues within the Member Associations, as well as the Champions League.


Copa Centroamericana 2017

Panama, 13-22 January 2017

1. Ricardo Montero (CRC, photo)
2. Jair Marrufo (USA)
3. Joel Aguilar (SLV)
4. Walter Lopez (GUA)
5. Oscar Moncada (HON)
6. Fernando Guerrero (MEX)
7. John Pitti (PAN)
8. Kimbell Ward (SKN)

Assistant Referees
1. Juan Mora (CRC)
2. Leonardo Sanchez (CUB)
3. Juan Zumba (SLV)
4. Gerson Lopez (GUA)
5. Christian Ramírez (HON)
6. Keytzel Corrales (NCA)
7. Gabriel Victoria (PAN)
8. Ainsley Rochard (TRI)

CAF Africa Cup of Nations 2017 – Group Stage (Matches 1-8)

14 January 2017
Gabon – Guinea Bissau
Referee: Ghead Grisha (EGY, photo)
Assistant Referee 1: Redouane Achik (MAR)
Assistant Referee 2: Waleed Ahmed (SDN)

Burkina Faso – Cameroon
Referee: Janny Sikazwe (ZAM)
Assistant Referee 1: Jerson Dos Santos (ANG)
Assistant Referee 2: Marwa Range (KEN)

15 January 2017
Algeria – Zimbabwe
Referee: Bamlak Tessema (ETH)
Assistant Referee 1: Jean-Claude Birumushahu (BDI)
Assistant Referee 2: Aboubacar Doumbouya (GUI)

Tunisia – Senegal
Referee: Alioum Alioum (CMR)
Assistant Referee 1: Evarist Menkouande (CMR)
Assistant Referee 2: Elvis Noupue (CMR)

16 January 2017
Cote D'Ivoire – Togo
Referee: Eric Otogo Castane (GAB)
Assistant Referee 1: Theophile Vinga (GAB)
Assistant Referee 2: Abo El Sadat (EGY)

RD Congo – Morocco
Referee: Hamada Nampiandraza (MAD)
Assistant Referee 1: Arsenio Marengula (MOZ)
Assistant Referee 2: Yahaya Mahamadou (NIG)

17 January 2017
Ghana – Uganda
Referee: Joshua Bondo (BOT)
Assistant Referee 1: Abdelhak Etchiali (ALG)
Assistant Referee 2: Olivier Safari (COD)

Mali – Egypt
Referee: Daniel Bennett (RSA)
Assistant Referee 1: Zakhele Siwela (RSA)
Assistant Referee 2: Marius Tan (CIV)

Three siblings on the FIFA List: Mariscal (USA)

Mariscal siblings Eduardo, Felisha, Alejandro and Apolinar have found success at the highest levels of soccer officiating. Three of them are current FIFA Assistant Referees, with Felisha Mariscal (35) being on the international list since 2014, followed by her twin brothers Apolinar Mariscal (33) and Eduardo Mariscal (33) in 2017, while Alejandro Mariscal is a PRO referee in the MLS. “It’s common to have two (siblings),” said Arturo Angeles, a national instructor and assessor for U.S. Soccer. “But to have four and to have them at the professional level is very rare. Four is highly, highly unusual.” Sandra Serafini, PRO women’s referee manager and former official, agrees that the Mariscals are special. “They take the concept of sibling rivalry and completely turn it on its head,” Serafini said. “I’ve never seen a family that propels each other to be the absolute highest version of what they can be, whether that be with their fitness, their professionalism, their officiating, their careers, their lives.”
Refereeing had been swirling the air for the Mariscal kids, all of whom excelled in the sport at Chula Vista, since 2000. That’s when Bob Flores, soccer coach at Southwestern Community College in Chula Vista, informed his players that officials in the area were needed. Alejandro, a 20-year-old member of the team, was one of those who listened with both ears. “He would always encourage us to be immersed in the game,” Alejandro said of Flores. “He would encourage us to jump to the next level as players or become referees. There were three on the team who became interested and, of those three, I was the only one who kept refereeing.” Alejandro, who was also making deliveries for Kentucky Fried Chicken at this time, didn’t like working in the food business and steered his younger siblings to concentrate on officiating. He was picking up speed on that same course, attending a clinic and qualifying as a Level 8 referee. On the recommendation of Popejoy, Alejandro was invited to a youth camp in the summer of 2001 and was seen by Heroes Baghoumian, former FIFA referee and Cal South State Youth Administrator. The following year, Felisha, Eduardo and Apolinar joined him and, by 2004, all four were invited to attend a youth regional in Hawaii. The family bond was as tight as ever as they elevated their respective skills to a new level. “It was the first time all four of us got to travel together,” Eduardo said. “It was a wonderful experience, refereeing the best teams in Region 4. It definitely helped having my siblings along since it made us all stronger. We had the trust to talk about our doubts, weaknesses and uncertainties and we were able to bring ourselves up. Refereeing really helped us bond together even more because, in this job, you need a lot of support from loved ones. The fact that we were all referees made it more special since we were able to understand what we were going through.” With that mutual understanding came an epiphany. “The camp as a whole,” Felisha said, “inspired us to look beyond what initially got us started in refereeing and to set bigger goals for ourselves — the hope as professional referees that someday, we might be at the FIFA level to represent the United States at international tournaments.” The four Mariscals consistently impressed their superiors with their professionalism, competency and command. Like any official, each of the Mariscals experienced their growing pains. Ironically, it was Felisha, who has earned the highest qualification in her family to date, who endured the most as she ascended through the ranks. And this had nothing to do with her ability. “After I graduated from youth games, I got more assignments to officiate men’s adult amateur leagues,” she said. “This was perhaps the most challenging aspect of refereeing yet. Every game was a constant struggle to keep the authority as the official in control. Many of the players and coaches doubted my ability to handle the pace and apply the Laws of the Game. On many occasions, they would remind me of my gender and try to perpetuate their own expectations of who should be officiating their games. After a few of these games, I would drive home frustrated, sometimes questioning and second-guessing if I should keep refereeing. During this point in my career, I wish I would have known that by going through this turmoil, I was molded into being a better referee physically, mentally and emotionally. I would have not been ready to do women’s or men’s professional games had I not been forced to meet with passionate players of this sort ahead of time.”
All four have arrived, bringing integrity and extreme competence to their assignments. The Marsicals have occasionally pooled their talents in various incarnations and their communication skills are something to behold. One example was June 11, 2011, when Alejandro, Eduardo and Apolinar worked a match together between Mexico U22 and Venezuela in Las Vegas. Alejandro served as the center referee while Apolinar and Eduardo were the assistant referees. “This was not an easy game to referee especially because both teams are really difficult to referee,” Eduardo said. “This game was a test for us as a family working together. We know each other so well that I knew my brothers knew what to expect from me and vice versa. There was complete trust and, even though the communication devices did not work as planned, it did not matter since my brother knew us so well and he was able to read our body language. This was the first time my mother came to see us referee and she had the biggest surprise because, no matter which referee the fans were yelling at, it was one of her children.” Seventeen days later, on June 28, the Mariscals upped the ante to four of a kind when the three brothers and one sister officiated an US Open Cup match between the Los Angeles Galaxy and the Orange County County Blues at Cal State-Fullerton. It was the only time to date that all four have shared a field in the realm of professional officiating and the communication that went on between them was almost worth the price of admission by itself. “I had worked with them at times for exhibition matches or in adult and youth league games,” Felisha said. “Calling a match with my brothers seems to come easier as we can communicate easier using gestures, eye contact, head nods and other forms of body language since we know each other so well. In all our games, we are each other’s biggest support, source of critique and training ally. We make a point to watch each other’s games and scrutinize the breakdown afterward. Not a family function goes by when, inevitably, a careful analysis of refereeing soccer begins to surface.”
It was all about achievement to the highest degree for these young adults. And as they ascended the ranks of officiating, they each fulfilled Luz’s desire to make something genuinely meaningful of their lives. Felisha teaches advanced placement Spanish at Chula Vista High School. Eduardo teaches mathematics at Mira Costa Community College and Polomar College. Apolinar also is a mathematics instructor at those two colleges as well as Cal State University. Even Alejandro, who centers his professional life on soccer officiating more than any of his siblings, doubles as a Spanish translator. “These young people have had such an outstanding support system since they were small,” said Sandra Hunt, national assessor and instructor for U.S. Soccer. “And it shows. When you meet them, they look you right in the eye. I assign them for college soccer and have worked with them for years as they worked their way up the professional ranks and they look you in the eye and shake your hand very firmly when you meet them. They have what we call, ‘It’.”

Source: Referee Magazine

Drug traffic influence on refereeing in Copa Libertadores

Atletico National, a club that now is respected throughout the world for its demonstration of humanity and unconditional support to the victims of the Chapecoense tragedy, has already had an episode stained by the influence of organized crime. In 1990, the Cartel of Medellin (Colombia) led by Pablo Escobar found a way for money laundering and to gain charisma among the local population by sponsoring football teams across the country, such as Independiente Medellín and Atletico National itself.
During the 1990 Copa Libertadores, a great suspicion hovered over the Atletico National's match against Vasco da Gama, won by the Colombians 3-2. Uruguayan referee Daniel Cardellino confessed that he received death threats, as well as an offer of $20,000 to help Atletico Nacional win the quarter-final. It was the famous "dead or money" tactic practiced by the drug barons to coerce people on the basis of fear, violence and bribery. In an interview with the newspaper "O Estado de S. Paulo" in 2014, Eurico Miranda, president of Vasco, stated that "there were guys from the Cartel of Medellin with machine guns in the locker room". After that revelation, CONMEBOL decided that the match should be played again, but on neutral ground, to avoid influence on the result. The game was played in Chile and the Colombians returned to beat the Cariocas by 1-0.
Argentine referee Juan Bava recalled a similar story in one of the matches played in 1989. He received a one million dollar offer to favor Atletico Nacional while he had a gun pointed at his head.
In November 1989, assistant referee Alvaro Ortega was shot dead in Medellin. Weeks before his death, Ortega had overturned a goal from Independiente Medellin in a deciding match against America of Cali. The Colombian federation was pressured by FIFA and CONMEBOL to suspend the Colombian Championship that year, which ended without a champion.

Source: Refnews

Clattenburg: "If I make a mistake, it beats me up"

In the hours and even days after blowing the final whistle, Mark Clattenburg endures hidden anguish as the decisions made during 90 minutes of refereeing whirl through his mind. "If I make a mistake, it beats me up", Clattenburg told The Associated Press during a rare interview.
"It's about being able to cope with you being wrong. I suppose that is something I struggled with in the early part of my career where I couldn't park it and soon I'd make another mistake, another mistake and another mistake." Rarely is there public praise — only intense scrutiny of any mistakes — for soccer's top referees, particularly when you have overseen football's biggest finals in 2016 like Clattenburg and become as well known as the stars of the game. It doesn't take long for Clattenburg to become aware after matches when he has erred in the heat of the moment with millions watching worldwide. The social media backlash and managerial outbursts against referees are inevitable. Even if Clattenburg tried to blank out such public criticism, there are the private messages received on his phone with critiques from assessors flagging up mistakes. "You have some video clips sent to you on your phone (in the Premier League) or in Europe you have comments on your mobile phone after the match," the 41-year-old Englishman said. "You will know if you have done OK or not. Then you start reflecting on what you could have done differently. Nearly every game you want to do something differently."
Clattenburg, who was entrusted with the finals of the Champions League, European Championship and FA Cup this year, consults a psychologist. "The mental strength of refereeing now is probably one of the biggest things," he said. Such candor is rare from English Premier League referees who are usually prevented from speaking publicly. Instead, fans make assumptions. "Some people have this perception that I'm an arrogant person but, when you are on the pitch, you have got to deal with these players differently than in life," Clattenburg said, adding he has matured during 12 years overseeing games in the Premier League after being named referee of the year at a ceremony in Dubai. "I am strong willed now," Clattenburg said. "I do what I believe is correct. I'm a professional but I have to make sure I apply my personality to the pitch because you have to have personality and not robots. Players want a little bit of personality."
Clattenburg reached the pinnacle of his profession the hard way. He was fired by the Premier League referees' body in 2009 over business dealings but won an appeal and was reinstated. In 2014, Chelsea accused Clattenburg of making a racist remark toward midfielder John Obi Mikel and it took a month for the authorities to clear the referee of wrongdoing. "It was a tough moment in life and the pressures were huge. It took me a little while to come back because I didn't know if I wanted to referee or not because I lost the love for refereeing," Clattenburg said. The love was regained and Clattenburg feels stronger coping with pressure. And rather than just reflecting on the highs of 2016, Clattenburg now opens up about where he went wrong — starting with the FA Cup final in May when Manchester United beat Crystal Palace. Former players, including Rio Ferdinand and Alan Shearer, berated Clattenburg for decisions that went against Palace and now the referee acknowledges he "made a couple of errors". "I remember coming off the FA Cup final disappointed," Clattenburg said. "I felt I could have done better. I'd been criticized in all shapes and sizes from different parts of social media on one decision in particular where I could have played an advantage, I should have played an advantage." Clattenburg was trying to let the game flow in the same approach he adopted in Real Madrid's Champions League final victory over Atletico Madrid later in May and the European Championship final in July when Portugal beat host France. "I wanted the games to be a spectacle," Clattenburg said. "People will say that's not the referee's job but referees can help and allow the game to move a little bit quicker than normal. That's my satisfaction: if you get a really good game of football." That requires referees to judge situations. "Referees adapt their style of refereeing which allows flow," Clattenburg said, "which allows a little bit of contact for the excitement without jeopardizing players' careers, which is the most important thing."
The Euro 2016 final was marked by an early foul on Cristiano Ronaldo by Dimitri Payet which eventually forced the Portugal captain off the Paris pitch. "It was a difficult few moments because players were angry that their best player had left the pitch," Clattenburg said. "I had to make sure their emotions didn't overcome anything." More recent criticism followed Manchester United's 1-1 draw against Burnley at Old Trafford when a trio of decisions went against the hosts. A potential penalty was denied, manager Jose Mourinho was sent to the stands and Ander Herrera was sent off. "I was analyzing the game back, what could I have done differently, regretting one or two situations of course," Clattenburg said of his post-match journey. "I just drove past (my home) and I was further up north than I should have been."
Refereeing is evolving, as are tactical trends. "I don't understand (the players') energy levels with the high pressing game," Clattenburg said. "It's making us as referees having to be faster, quicker and fitter." Three-man defenses rather than the traditional back-four are now in vogue in the Premier League. "It does affect us because teams play with wing backs and then what you might have is potential blocks where the fullback of the other team is trying to block the winger," Clattenburg said. One of the thorniest decisions for referees to judge is diving. "Diving is one of the hardest things for referees to detect," Clattenburg said. "We are never going to get 100 percent accuracy. There will be contact and we don't understand how much contact there is. But you try to analyze how they fall and break the fall. Is it natural or not?" Soon Clattenburg will be able to defer to video replay technology, which is undergoing tests throughout the world. "The major errors where we get hugely criticized will become less and less," he said. "What will people have to criticize referees for? It will only be personal abuse, not over decisions." And some of that abuse has come over his tattoos. 
Clattenburg proudly displays inkings marking landmarks in his career, including refereeing the 2012 Olympic gold medal match in London and this year's finals. "People see it as a negative thing", he said. "But I'm proud of what I have done".

Source: AP/Fox Sports

Porto player sent off after accidental collision with referee Godinho

Porto midfielder Danilo may have found himself at the centre of one of the strangest refereeing decisions that has ever been made. Danilo was bizarrely sent off during Porto's recent away trip to Moreirense after being stood on by the referee Godinho.
The unprecedented event occurred on the 79th minute when referee Luis Godinho was jogging backwards on the field with his eyes focused on the play. Danilo, also concentrating on the game in hand, appeared not to notice the referee backtracking in his direction. What resulted was a collision between the pair, Godinho recoiling on impact while the Porto defender struggled to maintain his balance. In the aftermath the perplexed midfielder can be seen smiling at the incident before realising the referee, in a very strange turn of events, is reaching for his pocket.
Danilo had been booked for a challenge earlier in the tie meaning the yellow card bizarrely issued by Godinho for their coming together then resulted in a red. Porto went on to lose the game to Moreirense by a slender 1-0 score line, and as a result lose pace on the league leaders Benfica. After 15 games played, Porto currently find themselves four points adrift of their bitter rivals.

Source: Daily Mail

Webb: It’s about doing things the right way

It is in a referee’s job description to decide what is fair and what is not. Howard Webb was, therefore, an obvious choice to be on the panel to help decide the latest FIFA Fair Play Award. The Englishman, who hung up his whistle after officiating at the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil, took charge of the biggest games in world football during a 20-year refereeing career – most famously as the man in the middle for the 2010 World Cup Final between the Netherlands and Spain. “To be part of the panel that’s choosing the FIFA Fair Play Award feels fantastic,” Webb told in an exclusive interview. “I’m on a panel with some really famous and well-respected individuals who’ve had fantastic careers in football, people who understand the meaning of Fair Play. To be selected to choose which act of Fair Play is the best from this year is a big honour for me. It’s a fantastic thing to be involved in.” Webb is indeed among esteemed company, with the former referee joined on the panel by footballing luminaries Gabriel Batistuta, Marta and Vladimir Petkovic – as well as Adolf Ogi, the former President of Switzerland and Special Adviser on Sport for Development and Peace for the United Nations. All will have their own unique view on what constitutes Fair Play, from a playing, coaching and spectating point of view. How would Webb describe it? “It’s about doing things in the right way,” Webb said. “There’s not a lot of satisfaction in winning in a way that’s not fair, that’s not in the spirit of the game. When I think about Fair Play, I think about situations where players have made a decision to do something that shows respect. It’s not just about winning at all costs.”
As well as his various roles undertaken since retiring from refereeing, including television punditry and as a FIFA Refereeing Instructor, Webb is also a fan – supporting Rotherham United in England’s second tier. The Best FIFA Football Awards have seen supporters around the globe offered a unique opportunity to take part in voting for various awards, including the Puskás Award and (alongside coaches, players and media) The Best Player and Coach awards, something Webb endorses. “I think the fact that FIFA have given an opportunity to fans to vote for who is the best recognises the importance of fans in the eyes of FIFA,” Webb said. “Football is all about the players on the pitch who create the spectacle, but also the fans in the stadium who create the atmosphere and also those at home who watch on TV. I think fans will enjoy having their chance to say who they think is The Best, along with the coaches, players and the media, they will have an opportunity to contribute too. So, whoever is voted The Best will know they are the best in the eyes of everyone in the footballing community.” Despite refereeing for over two decades, Webb does sometimes find it difficult to restrain himself when watching his favourite teams, Rotherham and England. “When I’m watching football, like any fan, I do sometimes shout at the referee or at the TV screen,” Webb admitted, with a grin. “Not in an abusive or offensive way, but in an emotional way. Sometimes, I’ll react when I think the referee has made a mistake. I’ll watch the situation back later and realise that I was wrong and the referee was right – that’s normally the case! I think it’s OK for fans to be emotional and to react, as long as it’s done in a way that’s not abusive.”
The former referee admits himself that he has made errors, including one particularly high profile moment that will live long in his memory – and those of all fans who watched it. In the spirit of Fair Play, Webb admits his mistake. “The one that stands out the most was in the FIFA World Cup Final in South Africa,” Webb said. “The decision not to send Nigel De Jong off in the first half. He made a tackle with a high foot. As a referee, you find the best position available and you make a decision based on what you see and what you know, and you use your team and the information for me wasn't enough to send him off. I didn’t have the best view and I took the decision that seemed right at the time, but looking back, it was a clear red card offence. That is one that will live with me forever.”
No-one will be in any doubt that, with his many years of experience, having seen the broad spectrum of Fair Play throughout his career, Webb – along with his esteemed peers on the panel – will make the right decision when selecting this year’s winner of the FIFA Fair Play Award.

Source: FIFA