Italy mourns former referee Farina

Italy's former international referee Stefano Farina, who took charge of the 2006 UEFA Super Cup match, has passed away at the age of 54. He was ill for some time but his family wanted to protect his privacy. A distinguished career brought Farina assignments in major European competitions, including the UEFA Champions League, and he was appointed to take charge of the 2006 UEFA Super Cup match between FC Barcelona and Sevilla FC at the Stade Louis II in Monaco. Born in Ovada in 1962, Stefano Farina took up refereeing at the age of 16. He made his debut in Serie A in January 1995 and became an international referee in 2001.
The news was announced on the website of the Italian Association of Referees (AIA): "At the age of 54, the former international referee and current Head of CAN B, Stefano Farina, has left us. He made his debut in Serie A in January 1995, refereeing 236 Serie A and 117 Serie B matches. He has refereed two Italian Supercoppa finals”. In a 27-year career, he has refereed several high-profile matches in Serie A and the UEFA Champions League, including the 2006 UEFA Super Cup in Monaco. During this time, he also had an appearance in the movie Goal 2 as the referee of the fictional Champions League final between Real Madrid and Arsenal. Farina officiated in qualifiers for the 2004 and 2008 European Championships, as well as preliminary matches for the 2002 and 2006 World Cups. He is known to have served as a FIFA referee during the period from 2001 to 2007. He retired internationally in 2007 after reaching the mandatory retirement age of 45 and became UEFA referee observer.

The AIA President, Marcello Nicchi, posted an open letter on their website:

Dear Stefano,
Your game, the most important one, ended in an unexpected way, prematurely, without giving you the opportunity to recover. It is very hard, in these moments, to write or say something... even more so for those who, like me, have had the opportunity to share a life long experience with you. We will remember you as we have known you: a meticulous professional, a very good referee and a great manager, a master of training. An exemplar father, husband and friend. Your family and the refereeing family lose a point of reference. The world of football loses a great sports man.
Ciao "Principe"!

The Italian Football Federation (FIGC) has asked for a minute of silence to be observed in memory of Farina at all matches in Italy over the coming days. Referees will also wear black armbands, along with Italy’s national teams. Italy play San Marino in a senior friendly in Empoli next Wednesday.

Source: AIA