The AFC Referees Committee met at the AFC House in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, and approved the establishment of a new AFC Referee Academy.
The AFC Referee Academy is scheduled to open later this year and it will be based at the AFC House in Kuala Lumpur. The academy will focus on the AFC’s objective of increasing the number of AFC referees at world-class level and extending development support to the AFC Member Associations. Talent development as well as identifying and preparing potential referees for the AFC elite referees panel will be key tasks of the academy. These objectives will be driven by syllabus excellence delivered by top educators. The curriculum will consist of a four-year programme, conducted at three levels: introductory, intermediate and advanced. All AFC Member Associations can nominate two candidates to study at the academy. The programme will be open to both men and women referees. The committee (photo), chaired by Chung Mung Gyu for the first time, also agreed that the academy will replace the AFC Project Future Referees Programme. In addition, the committee approved the introduction of age criteria for the recruitment of AFC referees. The suggestion of a 35-year age limit was approved and it will apply to football and futsal, from the 2018 season. The members agreed the change was necessary to ensure refereeing in Asia continues to be of the highest possible standard.
Training Europe’s leading assistant referees is a significant element of UEFA’s comprehensive referee development programme - and the men who assist the men in the middle have received expert advice and motivation for their duties at their latest UEFA course in Malaga.
Forty-one international assistant referees travelled to the Spanish resort to test their fitness and analyse a role that has grown in importance in the high-speed, high-stakes modern-day game. The course focused on various aspects of the assistant referee’s role, in particular Law 11 of the Laws of the Game relating to offside. Video clips of various incidents were studied and discussed, and clear guidelines were delivered to all of the assistants to ensure uniformity in decision-making in UEFA’s competitions. Assistant referees must also have a clear understanding of all laws including Law 12 - Fouls and Misconduct - as they must be ready to inform the referee of any infringement that occurs outside the latter’s vision, and this aspect of the role was another key discussion point in Malaga. The assistants undertook a stringent fitness test, led by UEFA referee expert Werner Helsen and his team, with particular attention paid to the crucial speed and agility that is required by assistants over short distances.
UEFA refereeing officer Hugh Dallas was assisted at the course by former FIFA World Cup final assistant referees Philip Sharp and Leif Lindberg, together with experienced colleagues Giovanni Stevanato and Maciej Wierzbowski. “It’s great that we have such former top assistant referees who have operated at the highest level to pass on their vast experience and knowledge”, said Dallas. The assistants present in Malaga were unanimous in praising UEFA for giving them a clearer understanding of what is expected from them at the top European level. They worked hard on the field of play as well, with youth team players from local La Liga club Málaga CF assisting in helping simulate various offside scenarios. The officials then received instant video feedback and advice on how to improve their accuracy in their decision-making. “We also explained the importance of the assistants being prepared in advance of a match, by knowing the tactics of the teams that they will be officiating, and studying the movement of players and being aware of the team formations”, said Dallas, “as this will help them throughout the match. Tactical awareness is such a crucial part of the match officials’ preparation in modern-day football”, he explained. Alongside its tried and trusted work with referees, UEFA will carry on fostering assistant referees and aiding their development. “It’s important that UEFA doesn’t stand still,” Dallas said, “and that we continue to discover the new generation of match officials, including assistant referees. This course has gone a long way to serve that purpose”.
Schalke – Ajax Referee: Ovidiu Hațegan (ROU) Assistant Referee 1: Octavian Şovre (ROU) Assistant Referee 2: Sebastian Gheorghe (ROU) Additional AR 1: Radu Petrescu (ROU) Additional AR 2: Sebastian Colţescu (ROU) Fourth Official: Radu Ghinguleac (ROU) Referee Observer: Michael Riley (ENG)
KRC Genk – Celta Vigo Referee: William Collum (SCO) Assistant Referee 1: Francis Connor (SCO) Assistant Referee 2: David McGeachie (SCO) Additional AR 1: Robert Madden (SCO) Additional AR 2: John Beaton (SCO) Fourth Official: Alan Mulvanny (SCO) Referee Observer: Jaap Uilenberg (NED)
Manchester United – Anderlecht Referee: Alberto Undiano Mallenco (ESP) Assistant Referee 1: Raul Cabañero Martínez (ESP) Assistant Referee 2: Diego Barbero Sevilla (ESP) Additional AR 1: Carlos Clos Gómez (ESP) Additional AR 2: José Sánchez Martínez (ESP) Fourth Official: Roberto Alonso Fernández (ESP) Referee Observer: Zdravko Jokić (SRB)
18 April 2017 Real Madrid – Bayern München Referee: Viktor Kassai (HUN, photo) Assistant Referee 1: György Ring (HUN) Assistant Referee 2: Vencel Tóth (HUN) Additional AR 1: Tamás Bognar (HUN) Additional AR 2: Adám Farkas (HUN) Fourth Official: Peter Berettyán (HUN) Referee Observer: Jean Lemmer (LUX)
Leicester City – Atletico Madrid Referee: Gianluca Rocchi (ITA) Assistant Referee 1: Elenito Di Liberatore (ITA) Assistant Referee 2: Mauro Tonolini (ITA) Additional AR 1: Davide Massa (ITA) Additional AR 2: Daniele Doveri (ITA) Fourth Official: Riccardo Di Fiore (ITA) Referee Observer: Bertrand Layec (FRA)
19 April 2017 FC Barcelona – Juventus Referee: Björn Kuipers (NED) Assistant Referee 1: Sander van Roekel (NED) Assistant Referee 2: Erwin Zeinstra (NED) Additional AR 1: Danny Makkelie (NED) Additional AR 2: Pol van Boekel (NED) Fourth Official: Mario Diks (NED) Referee Observer: Murat Ilgaz (TUR)
AS Monaco – Borussia Dortmund Referee: Damir Skomina (SVN) Assistant Referee 1: Jure Praprotnik (SVN) Assistant Referee 2: Robert Vukan (SVN) Additional AR 1: Matej Jug (SVN) Additional AR 2: Slavko Vinčić (SVN) Fourth Official: Tomaž Klančnik (SVN) Referee Observer: Hugh Dallas (SCO)
Sporting Cristal – The Strongest Referee: Mario Diaz de Vivar (PAR) Assistant Referee 2: Milciades Saldivar (PAR) Assistant Referee 2: Roberto Canete (PAR) Fourth Official: Julio Quintana (PAR) Referee Assessor: Jorge Larrionda (URU)
Chapecoense – Nacional Referee: Carlos Orbe (ECU) Assistant Referee 1: Byron Romero (ECU) Assistant Referee 2: Christian Lescano (ECU) Fourth Official: Guillermo Guerrero (ECU) Referee Assessor: Ubaldo Aquino (PAR)
19 April 2017 Estudiantes – Atletico Nacional Referee: Andres Cunha (URU) Assistant Referee 1: Mauricio Espinosa (URU) Assistant Referee 2: Nicolas Taran (URU) Fourth Official: Oscar Rojas (URU) Referee Assessor: Rodolfo Otero (ARG) Zamora – Deportivo Iquique Referee: Michael Espinosa (PER) Assistant Referee 1: Coty Carrera (PER) Assistant Referee 2: Jorge Yupanqui (PER) Fourth Official: Miguel Santivanez (PER) Referee Assessor: Sandro Vera (ECU)
Santa Fe – Santos Referee: Fernando Rapallini (ARG) Assistant Referee 1: Juan Belatti (ARG) Assistant Referee 2: Gabriel Chade (ARG) Fourth Official: Silvio Trucco (ARG) Referee Assessor: Adrian Gomez (VEN)
Libertad – Atletico Mineiro Referee: Julio Bascunan (CHI) Assistant Referee 1: Carlos Astroza (CHI) Assistant Referee 2: Christian Schiemann (CHI) Fourth Official: Jorge Osorio (CHI) Referee Assessor: Joel Ruiz (PAR)