The UEFA Youth League finals in Nyon are a crucial platform for gleaning experience for the future – not only for the talented young players on the field, but also for the referee teams chosen to officiate at the three matches. Three teams of match officials are taking another step along their development pathway at the finals, gathering knowledge on an international stage that will certainly stand them in good stead in their careers. The first semi-final between Barcelona and Salzburg at the Colovray Stadium was managed by a team of officials from Latvia – referee Andris Treimanis, and assistants Haralds Gudermanis and Aleksejs Spasjonnikovs.
The second semi-final featuring Real Madrid and Benfica was handled by a Polish trio: referee Bartosz Frankowski and assistants Dawid Golis and Jakub Winkler. Two referees from Switzerland – Alain Bieri and Sandro Schärer – acted as fourth officials at the semi-finals.
Turkey provides the officials for the final. Referee Ali Palabıyık, assistants Çem Satman and Kerem Ersoy, and fourth official Alper Ulusoy will take charge of the big occasion.
The referees have been selected for the potential they have shown so far on their assignments for UEFA. They already have match experience in other European competitions, and take charge of games in their own countries. Experienced former match officials are observing them at the UEFA Youth League games, and discuss the referees' performances with the officials after the match. The vast majority of this year's UEFA Youth League officials have also been learning the refereeing ropes at courses run by UEFA's Centre of Refereeing Excellence (CORE), which is playing a vital role in grooming young referees for their duties. Debriefing sessions are being held with the referees at the Nyon finals, as part of a process where the officials review their seasons so far, and look at areas for improvement. The referees are also asked to act in an educational capacity in managing the young players on the pitch - making a contribution in helping them learn key UEFA values such as respect for the referee and opponents. The UEFA Youth League appointments are the next step for the match officials as they look to develop successful careers, with UEFA offering constant advice and guidance to ease their path towards what the referees hope will be major assignments in the not-too-distant future.