UEFA Champions League 2019/2020 – Quarter-finals (II)

14 August 2020
FC Barcelona – Bayern München
Referee: Damir Skomina (SVN, photo)
Assistant Referee 1: Jure Praprotnik (SVN)
Assistant Referee 2: Robert Vukan (SVN)
Fourth Official: Artur Soares Dias (POR)
VAR: Massimiliano Irrati (ITA)
AVAR: Marco Guida (ITA)
Referee Observer: Roberto Rosetti (ITA)

15 August 2020
Manchester City – Olympique Lyonnais
Referee: Danny Makkelie (NED)
Assistant Referee 1: Mario Diks (NED)
Assistant Referee 2: Hessel Steegstra (NED)
Fourth Official: Anastasios Sidiropoulos (GRE)
VAR: Jochem Kamphuis (NED)
AVAR: Kevin Blom (NED)
Referee Observer: Vladimir Šajn (SVN)

No longer referee in China, Mazic became Head of Referees in Cyprus

FIFA referee from 2009 to 2019, Milorad Mazic attended two World Cups (Brazil 2014 and Russia 2018) and Euro 2016 in France. In the last 3 years of his international career, Mazic reached his pinnacle by refereeing 3 finals: UEFA Super Cup 2017, FIFA Confederations Cup 2017 and UEFA Champions League 2018. At the beginning of 2019, Mazic was hired as a professional referee in China, where he became the first foreigner voted the best referee of the Chinese Super League. Mazic was not able to return to China this year, so he hung up his whistle and signed a 2-year contract as the new Head of Referees in Cyprus.
Early premonition. "My first game was in Titel, where I refereed a youth game in the inter-municipal league, and my debut at the senior level was the match between Sloga Lok and Napredak Nadalj in 1996. It ended 2-2, with Lok scoring an equalizing goal in the 86th minute. Don't laugh, I really remember every detail! No. 10 of Sloga approached me after the game saying 'Remember, one day you will referee in Champions League'. I replied 'You probably tell that to every referee.' I don't remember his last name, but I would like to find him now and thank him for the premonition”, said Mazic.
Vrbas. "Many top referees were born there. Glodjević, Beli Vujacic, Raka Djurovic, Radoman... I don't know what the secret is. Maybe it is the climate, fresh air, specific mentality... A little of everything. It is my city, I grew up there and I have no intention of moving. They often tell me, 'You're crazy, move to a bigger city,' but it doesn't apply to me. When this place was founded, the first families were named Mažić. I am proud of my roots, I feel great in my hometown and all my family plans are related exclusively to Vrbas. I have my own corner at the Cafe in Vrbas where I spend most of my free time. I sit with friends, order a coffee and discuss various topics. We can talk about anything and everything, but we don't watch matches together. I don't like that in society, because everyone knows everything and it's easier for me when I'm alone in front of the TV."
The Eternal Derby. "Red Star - Partizan has always been something special for me. No statements from the Eternal Rivals camp can spoil my pleasure. I always turned myself off and did not follow the news. I listened to the advice of the famous German referee Fandel, who also received a recommendation from the even more famous Helmut Krug. He told me to delete all applications from the phone and not to read any newspapers. If a colleague starts telling me what was written, I just turn my head and plug my ears. The derby has left a special mark on my career. Through these duels I have matured and gathered valuable experience. After one match in which the tribune was burning at the Red Star stadium, I refereed Barcelona in the Champions League. Busquets approached me in the tunnel and asked me if the war had started in Serbia. I told him that was normal with us. What else should I tell him? The pressure motivates me and that is why I don't care if the clubs issue any statements about me."
Bizzare red card. Niko Gaitan is the first player I showed a red card in a Champions League match. Benfica played against Galatasaray, they put some pressure on me to give the player of the Turkish club a yellow card, I showed it to him, and the other he got it for a clear foul because he prevented Galatasaray's counter-attack. I remember every detail. He then went to Atletico Madrid. An extremely good player, with a real southern temperament. Before Gaitan, I sent off Jovanovic, in a qualification match for the Champions League, AEL - Anderlecht. He got the first yellow card for unsporting conduct and the second for a bizarre reason. I do not have the right to enter into the decisions of the coach, but I think that he was unfairly replaced at that moment. He got into a verbal conflict with John van den Brom and there was almost a physical confrontation. He grabbed a bottle of water and threw it on the field out of rage. My hands were tied and I had to sanction such behavior with another yellow card. We had a conversation after the game and he accepted my explanation. I have no dilemma when I should show a card to a player of my nationality. The only player for whom you have to prepare yourself really good ahead of the game is Zlatan. It is not a problem if you anger the audience with your decision, the problem is if you turn Ibrahimovic against you. Well, that's not good."
Being unique. "It's not easy to be unique. I'm trying to figure out how to get that. If I have everything the same as my colleagues have, it's not enough. I'm striving for something that would set me apart from others, to offer something new. It could be movement or positioning; it's up to the UEFA and FIFA Referees Committees to assess. They probably saw something in me when they put so much trust in me." 
Love and jealousy. "We are empty without love. It cannot be measured and it is never enough. And yet it is a pre-requisite for everything. Jealousy is an integral part of life. I do not waste my energy on unnecessary conversations. I have Milovan and Dalibor, who are part of my success, friends for life. I started building an international career with Igor Radojčić and I can't forget his contribution. I also hang out with Djordje Žutić. I don't have much contact with others and I don't know if they are jealous. If they are, that's their problem, not mine."
Euro 2016. "The experience from the World Cup in Brazil helped us at Euro in France. We tried not to lose focus. We refereed Ireland - Sweden and Spain - Turkey in the group, then Hungary - Belgium in the Round of 16. We stayed in the competition until the end, for the finals. Our chances would have been much higher if Wales would had beaten Portugal in the semi-finals. Thus, the choice fell on Mark Clattenberg and it was a great decision. His career deserves a deep bow."
Confederations Cup 2017. “When FIFA announced the name of the final referee, there was a protest note from Chile and the South American Federation, who did not like the fact that both the referees and the VAR were from Europe, which gave us additional motivation to be up to the task, 'leading' the match. Chile was great until the final of a game full of charge and emotion. Neither I nor my assistants were the same after that game. It was the flywheel in our career. I want to say something else: a person who has done something, all his life tries to be nobody, and the one who has done nothing, all his life tries to be someone. This is the sentence that I use when I begin every lecture to younger colleagues at UEFA and FIFA seminars."
Cakir. “He is my great friend. A humble person, a man who has an extremely great career. Cakir referees in a country where it is terribly difficult to be a referee. We have two big clubs here, but they have ten there. In Turkey, football is perceived in a completely different way. It cannot be compared to any other environment. When you go there to referee, it doesn't matter if the host is Galatasaray, Fenerbahce or Besiktas, the fans make so much noise that any communication with colleagues is impossible. Cakir enjoys immense authority in such a league." 
Being the best. "Self-criticism is my virtue. For many years I have been analyzing my day, correcting mistakes, planning what I will do tomorrow. I can be strict with myself, even more than I should. People say that it is best to learn from your mistakes. I agree, but successful people learn even more from other people's mistakes. Bad decisions are welcome because they call for detailed analysis. But bad decisions from others are also very useful. I spend less energy when I learn from other people's mistakes. I don't accept the saying “it's important to participate”. The meaning of sports is to be the best. Even children don't play on the field just to play. They fight to win. That's the only way to become a champion. And champions are allowed everything and only they remain written in the history of football." 

Source: Mondo

UEFA Europa League 2020/2021 – Preliminary Round

18-20 August 2020

Glentoran – HB
Referee: Lukas Fähndrich (SUI, photo)
Assistant Referee 1: Bekim Zogaj (SUI)
Assistant Referee 2: Jonas Erni (SUI)
Fourth Official: Sandro Schärer (SUI)
Referee Observer: Michaíl Argyroú (CYP)

Lincoln Red Imps – FC Prishtina
Referee: David Munro (SCO)
Assistant Referee 1: Daniel McFarlane (SCO)
Assistant Referee 2: Kylie Cockburn (SCO)
Fourth Official: Greg Aitken (SCO)
Referee Observer: Mark Whitby (WAL)

UE Engordany – FK Zeta
Referee: Juxhin Xhaja (ALB)
Assistant Referee 1: Denis Rexha (ALB)
Assistant Referee 2: Fatmir Lama (ALB)
Fourth Official: Klajdi Kola (ALB)
Referee Observer: Marián Ružbarský (SVK)

St Joseph’s FC – B36 Tórshavn
Referee: Jasmin Sabotic (LUX)
Assistant Referee 1: Gilles Becker (LUX)
Assistant Referee 2: Tom Hansen (LUX)
Fourth Official: Laurent Wilmes (LUX)
Referee Observer: João Ferreira (POR)

NSÍ Runavík – Barry Town United
Referee: Pavel Rejžek (CZE)
Assistant Referee 1: Petr Caletka (CZE)
Assistant Referee 2: Adam Horák (CZE)
Fourth Official: Karel Hrubeš (CZE)
Referee Observer: Stefano Podeschi (SMR)

Santa Coloma – Iskra Danilovgrad
Referee: Keith Kennedy (NIR)
Assistant Referee 1: Stephen Donaldson (NIR)
Assistant Referee 2: Andrew Nethery (NIR)
Fourth Official: Steven Gregg (NIR)
Referee Observer: Nicolae Grigorescu (ROU)

Coleraine FC – La Fiorita
Referee: Christian Ciochirca (AUT)
Assistant Referee 1: Andreas Witschnigg (AUT)
Assistant Referee 2: Martin Höfler (AUT)
Fourth Official: Alexander Harkam (AUT)
Referee Observer: Sergejus Slyva (LTU)

SP Tre Penne – SC Gjilani
Referee: Alex Troleis (FRO)
Assistant Referee 1: Dan Højgaard (FRO)
Assistant Referee 2: Jørleif Djurhuus (FRO)
Fourth Official: Eiler Rasmussen (FRO)
Referee Observer: Charles Agius (MLT)

UEFA Champions League 2020/2021 – First Qualifying Round

18-19 August 2020

Ararat Armenia – AC Omonia
Referee: Sebastian Colțescu (ROU, photo)
Assistant Referee 1: Radu Ghinguleac (ROU)
Assistant Referee 2: Vladimir Urzică (ROU)
Fourth Official: Radu Petrescu (ROU)
Referee Observer: Andrejs Sipailo (LVA)

Legia Warszawa – Linfield FC
Referee: Nicolas Laforge (BEL)
Assistant Referee 1: Laurent Conotte (BEL)
Assistant Referee 2: Florian Lemaire (BEL)
Fourth Official: Jan Boterberg (BEL)
Referee Observer: Haim Jakov (ISR)

Dynama Brest – FC Astana
Referee: Tomasz Musiał (POL)
Assistant Referee 1: Radosław Siejka (POL)
Assistant Referee 2: Marcin Boniek (POL)
Fourth Official: Paweł Raczkowski (POL)
Referee Observer: Igor Pristovnik (CRO)

Qarabağ – Sileks
Referee: Yaroslav Kozyk (UKR)
Assistant Referee 1: Viktor Nyzhnyk (UKR)
Assistant Referee 2: Volodymyr Korotin (UKR)
Fourth Official: Anatoliy Abdula (UKR)
Referee Observer: Attila Ábrahám (HUN)

Celtic – KR
Referee: Sebastian Gishamer (AUT)
Assistant Referee 1: Markus Gutschi (AUT)
Assistant Referee 2: Robert Steinacher (AUT)
Fourth Official: Markus Hameter (AUT)
Referee Observer: Raymond Ellingham (WAL)

Crvena Zvezda – Europa FC
Referee: Timótheos Christofí (CYP)
Assistant Referee 1: Michaíl Sotiríou (CYP)
Assistant Referee 2: Mários Kalogírou (CYP)
Fourth Official: Kyriákos Christodoúlou (CYP)
Referee Observer: Karen Nalbandyan (ARM)

Molde FK – KuPS
Referee: Bryn Markham-Jones (WAL)
Assistant Referee 1: Lewiss Edwards (WAL)
Assistant Referee 2: Johnathon Bryant (WAL)
Fourth Official: Simon Lee Evans (WAL)
Referee Observer: Edgar Steinborn (GER)

Flora Tallinn – FK Sūduva
Referee: Nejc Kajtazovič (SVN)
Assistant Referee 1: Manuel Vidali (SVN)
Assistant Referee 2: Tomislav Pospeh (SVN)
Fourth Official: Asmir Sagrkovič (SVN)
Referee Observer: Lassin Isaksen (FRO)

Maccabi Tel Aviv – Riga FC
Referee: Igor Pajač (CRO)
Assistant Referee 1: Bojan Zobenica (CRO)
Assistant Referee 2: Vedran Djurak (CRO)
Fourth Official: Ivan Vučković (CRO)
Referee Observer: Michalís Koukoulákis (GRE)

Dinamo Tbilisi – KF Tirana
Referee: Roomer Tarajev (EST)
Assistant Referee 1: Neeme Neemlaid (EST)
Assistant Referee 2: Sander Saga (EST)
Fourth Official: Karl Koppel (EST)
Referee Observer: Asim Xudiyev (AZE)

NK Celje – Dundalk FC
Referee: Vítor Ferreira (POR)
Assistant Referee 1: Bruno Rodrigues (POR)
Assistant Referee 2: Paulo Duarte (POR)
Fourth Official: Iancu Vasilica (POR)
Referee Observer: William Young (SCO)

Ferencvárosi TC – Djurgardens IF
Referee: Fedayi San (SUI)
Assistant Referee 1: Sladan Josipovic (SUI)
Assistant Referee 2: Pascal Hirzel (SUI)
Fourth Official: Alain Bieri (SUI)
Referee Observer: Luc Wouters (BEL)

Sheriff Tiraspol – Fola Esch
Referee: Balázs Berke (HUN)
Assistant Referee 1: Vencel Tóth (HUN)
Assistant Referee 2: Balázs Szert (HUN)
Fourth Official: Gergő Bogár (HUN)
Referee Observer: Vadims Direktorenko (LVA)

Connahs Quay Nomads – FK Sarajevo
Referee: Jamie Robinson (NIR)
Assistant Referee 1: Gareth Eakin (NIR)
Assistant Referee 2: Paul Robinson (NIR)
Fourth Official: Lee Tavinder (NIR)
Referee Observer: Kenneth Clark (SCO)

Buducnost Podgorica – PFC Ludogorets
Referee: Ferenc Karakó (HUN)
Assistant Referee 1: István Albert (HUN)
Assistant Referee 2: Theodoros Georgiou (HUN)
Fourth Official: Ádám Farkas (HUN)
Referee Observer: Karel Vidlák (CZE)

KI – Slovan Bratislava
Referee: Kristoffer Hagenes (NOR)
Assistant Referee 1: Tom Grønevik (NOR)
Assistant Referee 2: Geir Isaksen (NOR)
Fourth Official: Sigurd Kringstad (NOR)
Referee Observer: Cyril Zimmermann (SUI)

Floriana FC – CFR Cluj
Referee: Laurent Kopriwa (LUX)
Assistant Referee 1: Joaquim Da Silva (LUX)
Assistant Referee 2: Claude Ries (LUX)
Fourth Official: Jérémy Muller (LUX)
Referee Observer: Chrístos Nikolaidis (CYP)

Referee hospitalized after brutal attack by former Russian captain

Shocking footage has captured the moment when a former national captain attacked a referee during an amateur football match in Russia. Former Russia midfielder Roman Shirokov could face criminal charges over the sickening incident that left referee Nikita Danchenko in hospital. Shirokov - who scored 13 goals in 57 games for Russia - lashed out at the whistle-blower after receiving a red card during the Moscow Celebrity Cup. The 39-year-old, who played in three European Championships and won the 2008 UEFA Cup with Zenit St Petersburg, was left fuming after the referee failed to award him a penalty for an apparent foul in the box. Shirokov was then sent off after abusing the referee, prompting him to launch a vicious attack on the official. The midfielder punched the referee in the face, causing him to the fall to the ground, where he proceeded to kick him before players stepped in to put a stop to the madness. The referee suffered a broken eyebrow as well as other bruising and spent over four hours in hospital, according to reports in Russia. The match was abandoned. 
The referee Nikita Danchenko plans to go to the police, but fears his career might be over as "Shirokov has too many connections". He shared photos of his injuries from the brutal assault. "I spent four to four and a half hours in the hospital, then another 15-20 minutes in the emergency room", he wrote on Instagram. "They put stitches everywhere, did a bunch of examinations. And most importantly, everything seems to be fine with me. What does not kill you will make you stronger, as they say. Therefore, we continue to work and go further. I want to thank everyone for the words of support; this is a difficult moment for me and my loved ones." 
Shirokov also took to Instagram to apologise, saying: "I would like to express my sincere apologies to Nikita for such an inappropriate act committed by me. I am well aware that not assigning an obvious penalty and then the red card shown cannot be a reason for waving his hands, I hope Nikita as soon as possible will return to service. I also want to apologise to the organisers of the tournament, my teammates, Match TV and viewers." Shirokov is unlikely to face sanction from a football sense because it was not an official match but he could yet face criminal charges. The captain of Shirokov's team, Dmitry Shnyakin, took to social media to say he was ashamed by his teammate's actions. "Zero excuses, zero disputes over the act of Roman Shirokov. This is a nightmarish, paralysing episode," he wrote. "I am ashamed and incredibly sorry that this happened." 

Source: Yahoo

UEFA Champions League 2019/2020 – Quarter-finals (I)

12 August 2020
Atalanta Calcio – Paris Saint Germain
Referee: Anthony Taylor (ENG, photo)
Assistant Referee 1: Gary Beswick (ENG)
Assistant Referee 2: Adam Nunn (ENG)
Fourth Official: Artur Soares Dias (POR)
VAR: Stuart Attwell (ENG)
AVAR: Paul Tierney (ENG)
Referee Observer: Vladimir Šajn (SVN)

13 August 2020
RB Leipzig – Atletico de Madrid
Referee: Szymon Marciniak (POL)
Assistant Referee 1: Paweł Sokolnicki (POL)
Assistant Referee 2: Tomasz Listkiewicz (POL)
Fourth Official: Anastasios Sidiropoulos (GRE)
VAR: Paweł Gil (POL)
AVAR: Tomasz Kwiatkowski (POL)
Referee Observer: Roberto Rosetti (ITA)

Russian referees to take polygraph test

Two Russian match officials will be given polygraph tests after being branded 'clowns' over a penalty row in Spartak Moscow's draw with Sochi, following which the Moscow club's owner threatened to pull the team from the league. Sochi were awarded a dubious 90th-minute penalty at the Otkritie Arena in Moscow which Christian Noboa duly converted to earn a 2-2 draw in the teams' opening game of the new Russian Premier League season on Sunday. The visitors had earlier converted a first-half spot-kick to bring themselves back into the game after Spartak had raced into a 2-0 lead after just 10 minutes.
Both penalties against Spartak were awarded by referee Vasily Kazartsev (photo) with the help of the Video Assistant Referee (VAR), although the second in particular was highly controversial after Sochi substitute Anatoli Nemchenko went down under contact from Samuel Gigot despite the Spartak defender appearing to stop short of challenging the midfielder. Referee Kazartsev has been suspended over the decisions while a ruling is yet to be made on VAR Alexey Eskov. According to reports in the Russian media, both men will have to take lie detector tests to answer questions over the integrity of the decisions during the game. Polygraphs have previously been used to question match officials and Russian Football Union employees where there is the suspicion of bias or potential betting irregularities.

Source: RT

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Messi shouts “no” and refuses Cakir's fist bump

Lionel Messi refused to shake the hand of referee Cuneyt Cakir at the end of Barcelona's 3-1 victory over Napoli for the official's involvement in some controversial VAR incidents in the first half. Messi was the star of the show at the Nou Camp after firstly scoring a brilliant goal, having one disallowed and then winning a penalty, with Barca sealing progression to the Champions League quarter-finals with a 4-2 aggregate victory. Messi thought he had put his side 3-0 inside half an hour but, after a lengthy VAR check, the goal was ruled out. Soon after, the referee took over four minutes to award Barca a penalty for what looked like a clear foul on the Argentine. 
The forward was adjudged to have handled Frenkie de Jong's delightful cross before firing home, sparking controversy due to the touch appearing to be more of his chest. Later in the half Messi snuck in front of defender Kalidou Koulibaly who brought him down with his swinging leg for what seemed a clear penalty. It was originally not given by the official before being eventually awarded but only after a four-minute VAR check. The incidents did not cost Barca in the end but Messi was visibly unhappy with Cakir and made his feelings clear during the post-match handshakes and fist bumps. In the video circulating on social media, Cakir could be seen holding out his fist towards Messi but the Argentine could be seen wagging his finger and shouting “no” at the official before walking in the other direction. 

Source: Daily Mail

UEFA Europa League 2019/2020 – Quarter-finals

10 August 2020
Manchester United – FC Copenhagen
Referee: Clement Turpin (FRA, photo)
Assistant Referee 1: Nicolas Danos (FRA)
Assistant Referee 2: Cyril Gringore (FRA)
Fourth Official: William Collum (SCO)
VAR: François Letexier (FRA)
AVAR: Jerôme Brisard (FRA)
Referee Observer: Hugh Dallas (SCO)

Internazionale Milano – Bayer Leverkusen
Referee: Carlos Del Cerro Grande (ESP)
Assistant Referee 1: Juan Yuste Jimenez (ESP)
Assistant Referee 2: Roberto Alonso Fernandez (ESP)
Fourth Official: Jesus Gil Manzano (ESP)
VAR: Alejandro Hernandez Hernandez (ESP)
AVAR: Jose Sanchez Martinez (ESP)
Referee Observer: Marc Batta (FRA)

11 August 2020
Shakhtar Donetsk – FC Basel
Referee: Michael Oliver (ENG)
Assistant Referee 1: Stuart Burt (ENG)
Assistant Referee 2: Simon Bennett (ENG)
Fourth Official: William Collum (SCO)
VAR: Craig Pawson (ENG)
AVAR: Alejandro Hernandez Hernandez (ESP)
Referee Observer: Hugh Dallas (SCO)

Wolverhampton Wanderers – Sevilla FC
Referee: Daniele Orsato (ITA)
Assistant Referee 1: Lorenzo Manganelli (ITA)
Assistant Referee 2: Alessandro Giallatini (ITA)
Fourth Official: Ovidiu Haţegan (ROU)
VAR: Massimiliano Irrati (ITA)
AVAR: Marco Guida (ITA)
Referee Observer: Marc Batta (FRA)