Craciunescu returns as Head of the Romanian referees

Former FIFA Referee Ion Craciunescu, 61, will be returning as the chairman of the Romanian Referees Committee for a second period, starting on 13 October 2011.

Craciunescu was voted the world’s second-best referee in 1995, when he refereed the UEFA Champions League Final, Ajax Amsterdam – AC Milan. After his retirement, he became an international referee observer and led the Romanian Referees Committee from 2003 to 2005. The last two chairmen of the committee, Gheorghe Constantin (ex-FIFA Referee) and Vasile Avram (ex-FIFA Assistant Referee) were both accused of corruption and they are currently on trial. They were also accused of nepotism when they put their children on the FIFA List, while leading the Romanian refereeing.

The new chairman, Ion Craciunescu, is considered the most qualified former Romanian international referee to lead the committee and his top priority will be to increase the refereeing budget in order to support various development programs.

Craciunescu was the last Romanian who refereed an European final (1995 UEFA Champions League, Ajax - Milan). In 1993, he had been assigned two Asian World Cup qualifiers, Iran – Iraq and Korea Republic – Korea DPR, with heavy political implications. Although he was trusted to do those matches and managed them without any incidents, he was not selected for the 1994 World Cup because FIFA usually only allocates one spot to Eastern European referees and that one went to Sandor Puhl (HUN), who will have been appointed for the final Brazil – Italy. In 1995, when Craciunescu refereed the third place match at the Confederations Cup, Puhl was rated first and Craciunescu second in the IFFHS ranking, the only time when the top two positions were occupied by Eastern European referees.