World Cup final referee Nicola Rizzoli has won the poll to determine The World’s Best Referee for the year 2014. Rizzoli, from Italy, had finished second in the 2013 voting but was a runaway winner with 131 points after his great performances at the World Cup finals in Brazil. Selected editorial offices and experts from 55 countries around the world took part in the 2014 annual election for the top referee, the 28th time it has been carried out by the IFFHS. The leading group come from 10 different countries and eight of them were in the Top 10 in 2013.
Rizzoli, who is 43, began his senior career in 2002, became an international at 2007 and made a great jump to the Top World referees in 2013 with his second place. English referee Howard Webb, on 78 points, was runner-up after another season of consistency and continued respect in the football world. Webb has been in the Top 3 ranking since 2009 with two Awards as The World’s Best Referee in 2010 and 2013. Germany’s Felix Brych (39) came third on 61 points and has made a great jump in the last two years with his clear-sighted performances. Björn Kuipers, Ravshan Irmatov and Pedro Proenca completed the ranking similar to their efforts from the previous year. Mexican referee Marco Rodriguez and Argentine Nestor Pitana jump for the first time into the World’s Top 10.
IFFHS World’s Best Referees 2014
1. Nicola Rizzoli (ITA, photo) 131 p
2. Howard Webb (ENG) 78 p
3. Felix Brych (GER) 61 p
4. Bjorn Kuipers (NED) 45 p
5. Ravshan Irmatov (UZB) 37 p
6. Pedro Proenca (POR) 34 p
7. Carlos Velasco Carballo (ESP) 16 p
8. Cüneyt Cakir (TUR) 13 p
9. Marco Rodriguez (MEX) 13 p
10. Nestor Pitana (ARG) 7 p