CONMEBOL U-20 Championship 2019

Chile, 17 January – 10 February 2019

Referee: Fernando Rapallini (ARG, photo)
Assistant Referee 1: Ezequiel Brailovsky (ARG)
Assistant Referee 2: Gabriel Chade (ARG)

Referee: Gery Vargas (BOL)
Assistant Referee 1: Jose Antelo (BOL)
Assistant Referee 2: Edwar Saavedra (BOL)

Referee: Raphael Claus (BRA)
Assistant Referee 1: Kleber Gil (BRA)
Assistant Referee 2: Bruno Pires (BRA)

Referee: Piero Maza (CHI)
Assistant Referee 1: Claudio Rios (CHI)
Assistant Referee 2: Jose Retamal (CHI)

Referee: Nicolas Gallo (COL)
Assistant Referee 1: Alexander Leon (COL)
Assistant Referee 2: Wilmar Navarro (COL)

Referee: Carlos Orbe (ECU)
Assistant Referee 1: Juan Macias (ECU)
Assistant Referee 2: Ricardo Baren (ECU)

Referee: Mario Diaz de Vivar (PAR)
Assistant Referee 1: Roberto Canete (PAR)
Assistant Referee 2: Dario Gaona (PAR)

Referee: Joel Alarcon (PER)
Assistant Referee 1: Victor Raez (PER)
Assistant Referee 2: Michael Orue (PER)

Referee: Leodan Gonzalez (URU)
Assistant Referee 1: Richard Trinidad (URU)
Assistant Referee 2: Carlos Barreiro (URU)

Referee: Alexis Herrera (VEN)
Assistant Referee 1: Carlos Lopez (VEN)
Assistant Referee 2: Jorge Urrego (VEN)

Support Referees
1. Facundo Tello (ARG)
2. Cristian Garay (CHI)

FIFA Club World Cup 2018 – Second Round

15 December 2018

Kashima Antlers – CD Guadalajara
Referee: Bamlak Tessema (ETH, photo)
Assistant Referee 1: Zakhele Siwela (RSA)
Assistant Referee 2: Waleed Ahmed (SUD)
Fourth Official: Wilton Sampaio (BRA)
Reserve AR: Rodrigo Figueiredo (BRA)
VAR: Massimiliano Irrati (ITA)
AVAR 1: Abdulla Mohammed (UAE)
AVAR 2: Bruno Boschilia (BRA)
AVAR 3: Danny Makkelie (NED)

ES Tunis – Al Ain
Referee: Jair Marrufo (USA)
Assistant Referee 1: Frank Anderson (USA)
Assistant Referee 2: Corey Rockwell (USA)
Fourth Official: Ryuji Sato (JPN)
Reserve AR: Hiroshi Yamauchi (JPN)
VAR: Mark Geiger (USA)
AVAR 1: Paweł Gil (POL)
AVAR 2: Toru Sagara (JPN)
AVAR 3: Mauro Vigliano (ARG)

VAR at the Women’s World Cup?

As the men’s World Cup was winding down last summer in Russia, FIFA’s president, Gianni Infantino, used his final news conference to heap praise on the video assistant referee system, which had been used for the first time at the tournament. It had become, Infantino declared, “difficult to think about the World Cup without VAR”. It remains to be seen whether Infantino was referring only to the men’s game when he essentially called the technology indispensable.
To the dismay of some top players and coaches in the women’s game, FIFA, the governing body of international soccer, has not confirmed whether VAR will be used at the Women’s World Cup next summer in France. For some, the organization’s failure to take advantage of the technology - already widely used in men’s domestic leagues and coming soon to the UEFA Champions League, club soccer’s highest-profile competition - is yet another sign that the organization sees female players as second-class citizens. “The men had it at their World Cup,” said Becky Sauerbrunn, a veteran defender for the United States women’s team. “The women should have it at theirs”. Still, six months before the opening game of the World Cup, and days before the draw to set the field, the fact that FIFA had not revealed a decision on VAR for the tournament left some players rolling their eyes. The American coach Jill Ellis said she had been at a coaching seminar in Zurich in October when a FIFA official explained that the organization was focusing on March as a deadline to make a decision on whether it would implement the video technology at the women’s tournament.
In an email, a FIFA spokesman said, “We are still in an evaluation phase,” but declined to comment further on the process. The organization may, however, be quietly working on a solution. This week, FIFA named the 27 referees and 48 assistant referees - all of them women - slated to work at the World Cup next summer. This month in Abu Dhabi, those referees will take part in the first of several training seminars leading to the World Cup. The current program for the first seminar includes sessions focused on video review, according to a person familiar with the schedule. That suggests that FIFA will make an effort to begin training the referees to use the VAR system, though it offers no guarantee that it will be implemented next summer. FIFA’s video review system employs a video assistant referee — working either on site or in a video room at a remote location — in addition to the traditional crew of four officials on the field. The video assistant role requires the most specialized training, according to several referees experienced with the system, while the on-field referees would primarily need practice communicating with the system in live settings. That has led some to envision a hypothetical situation (among many hypothetical situations) in which a group of male assistant video referees - the great majority of international officials trained in the technology, at the moment, are men - could be added to the previously announced all-female refereeing roster. The move would be controversial - the Women’s World Cup has long been overseen only by female officials - but Ellis supports it. “Hire the men in the booth, then”, Ellis said about the idea that there might not be enough time to train the female officials. “I don’t care about gender. I want equality”.

UEFA Europa League – Group Stage (Matchday 6)

13 December 2018

Olympiakos – AC Milan
Referee: Benoît Bastien (FRA, photo)
Assistant Referee 1: Hicham Zakrani (FRA)
Assistant Referee 2: Frédéric Haquette (FRA)
Fourth Official: Philippe Jeanne (FRA)
Additional AR 1: Benoît Millot (FRA)
Additional AR 2: Jérôme Miguelgorry (FRA)
Referee Observer: Jørn West Larsen (DEN)

Villarreal CF – Spartak Moskva
Referee: Andris Treimanis (LVA)
Assistant Referee 1: Haralds Gudermanis (LVA)
Assistant Referee 2: Aleksejs Spasjonņikovs (LVA)
Fourth Official: Raimonds Tatriks (LVA)
Additional AR 1: Aleksandrs Golubevs (LVA)
Additional AR 2: Edgars Maļcevs (LVA)
Referee Observer: Bo Karlsson (SWE)

Rapid Wien – Rangers FC
Referee: Paolo Mazzoleni (ITA)
Assistant Referee 1: Alessandro Costanzo (ITA)
Assistant Referee 2: Matteo Passeri (ITA)
Fourth Official: Alberto Tegoni (ITA)
Additional AR 1: Marco Guida (ITA)
Additional AR 2: Piero Giacomelli (ITA)
Referee Observer: Shmuel Shteif (ISR)

Olympique de Marseille – Apóllon Limassol
Referee: Radu Petrescu (ROU)
Assistant Referee 1: Radu Ghinguleac (ROU)
Assistant Referee 2: Mircea Grigoriu (ROU)
Fourth Official: Vladimir Urzică (ROU)
Additional AR 1: Sebastian Colțescu (ROU)
Additional AR 2: Marcel Bîrsan (ROU)
Referee Observer: Guy Goethals (BEL)

Lazio – Eintracht Frankfurt
Referee: Halil Umut Meler (TUR)
Assistant Referee 1: Kerem Ersoy (TUR)
Assistant Referee 2: İbrahim Uyarcan (TUR)
Fourth Official: Ceyhun Sesigüzel (TUR)
Additional AR 1: Alper Ulusoy (TUR)
Additional AR 2: Ümit Öztürk (TUR)
Referee Observer: Manuel Mejuto González (ESP)

Beşiktaş JK – Malmö FF
Referee: Luca Banti (ITA)
Assistant Referee 1: Lorenzo Manganelli (ITA)
Assistant Referee 2: Gianluca Vuoto (ITA)
Fourth Official: Giorgio Peretti (ITA)
Additional AR 1: Daniele Doveri (ITA)
Additional AR 2: Maurizio Mariani (ITA)
Referee Observer: Ichko Lozev (BUL)

KRC Genk – Sarpsborg FF
Referee: István Kovács (ROU)
Assistant Referee 1: Vasile Marinescu (ROU)
Assistant Referee 2: Ovidiu Artene (ROU)
Fourth Official: Alexandru Cerei (ROU)
Additional AR 1: Marius Avram (ROU)
Additional AR 2: Horațiu Feșnic (ROU)
Referee Observer: Herbert Fandel (GER)

Sevilla FC – FC Krasnodar
Referee: Daniel Stefański (POL)
Assistant Referee 1: Marcin Boniek (POL)
Assistant Referee 2: Dawid Golis (POL)
Fourth Official: Krzysztof Myrmus (POL)
Additional AR 1: Bartosz Frankowski (POL)
Additional AR 2: Zbigniew Dobrynin (POL)
Referee Observer: Ilkka Koho (FIN)

Akhisarspor – Standard de Liège
Referee: Ádám Farkas (HUN)
Assistant Referee 1: Balázs Buzás (HUN)
Assistant Referee 2: Balázs Szert (HUN)
Fourth Official: Péter Kóbor (HUN)
Additional AR 1: Sándor Andó-Szabó (HUN)
Additional AR 2: Péter Solymosi (HUN)
Referee Observer: Lucílio Batista (POR)

Stade Rennais – FC Astana
Referee: Serdar Gözübüyük (NED)
Assistant Referee 1: Charles Schaap (NED)
Assistant Referee 2: Jan de Vries (NED)
Fourth Official: Davie Goossens (NED)
Additional AR 1: Kevin Blom (NED)
Additional AR 2: Siemen Mulder (NED)
Referee Observer: Sándor Piller (HUN)

Dynamo Kyiv – FK Jablonec
Referee: Vilhjálmur Thórarinsson (ISL)
Assistant Referee 1: Gylfi Sigurdsson (ISL)
Assistant Referee 2: Jóhann Gudmundsson (ISL)
Fourth Official: Birkir Sigurdarson (ISL)
Additional AR 1: Ívar Kristjánsson (ISL)
Additional AR 2: Thóroddur Hjaltalín (ISL)
Referee Observer: Murat Ilgaz (TUR)

PAOK FC – Bate Borisov
Referee: Tobias Welz (GER)
Assistant Referee 1: Rafael Foltyn (GER)
Assistant Referee 2: Markus Häcker (GER)
Fourth Official: Dominik Schaal (GER)
Additional AR 1: Marco Fritz (GER)
Additional AR 2: Christian Dingert (GER)
Referee Observer: Andrejs Sipailo (LVA)

MOL Vidi – Chelsea FC
Referee: Aleksandar Stavrev (MKD)
Assistant Referee 1: Marjan Kirovski (MKD)
Assistant Referee 2: Dejan Kostadinov (MKD)
Fourth Official: Nikola Karakolev (MKD)
Additional AR 1: Dimitar Mečkarovski (MKD)
Additional AR 2: Dejan Jakimovski (MKD)
Referee Observer: Michális Argyroú (CYP)

AEK Larnaca – Bayer Leverkusen
Referee: François Letexier (FRA)
Assistant Referee 1: Cyril Mugnier (FRA)
Assistant Referee 2: Mehdi Rahmouni (FRA)
Fourth Official: Huseyin Ocak (FRA)
Additional AR 1: Frank Schneider (FRA)
Additional AR 2: Mikaël Lesage (FRA)
Referee Observer: Matteo Trefoloni (ITA)

PFC Ludogorets – FC Zürich
Referee: Kirill Levnikov (RUS)
Assistant Referee 1: Valeriy Danchenko (RUS)
Assistant Referee 2: Maksim Gavrilin (RUS)
Fourth Official: Dmitriy Mosyakin (RUS)
Additional AR 1: Vladislav Bezborodov (RUS)
Additional AR 2: Aleksey Eskov (RUS)
Referee Observer: Jan Wegereef (NED)

RB Leipzig – Rosenborg BK
Referee: Serhiy Boyko (UKR)
Assistant Referee 1: Volodymyr Volodin (UKR)
Assistant Referee 2: Ihor Alokhin (UKR)
Fourth Official: Semen Shlonchak (UKR)
Additional AR 1: Mykola Balakin (UKR)
Additional AR 2: Anatoliy Abdula (UKR)
Referee Observer: Goran Mihaljević (MNE)

Celtic FC – Red Bull Salzburg
Referee: Ruddy Buquet (FRA)
Assistant Referee 1: Guillaume Debart (FRA)
Assistant Referee 2: Julien Pacelli (FRA)
Fourth Official: Benjamin Pagès (FRA)
Additional AR 1: Jérôme Brisard (FRA)
Additional AR 2: Olivier Thual (FRA)
Referee Observer: Darko Čeferin (SVN)

FC København – Girondins de Bordeaux
Referee: Hüseyin Göçek (TUR)
Assistant Referee 1: Mustafa Eyisoy (TUR)
Assistant Referee 2: Kemal Yılmaz (TUR)
Fourth Official: Serkan Ok (TUR)
Additional AR 1: Mete Kalkavan (TUR)
Additional AR 2: Barış Şimşek (TUR)
Referee Observer: Volodymyr Petrov (UKR)

Slavia Praha – FC Zenit
Referee: Andrew Dallas (SCO)
Assistant Referee 1: Francis Connor (SCO)
Assistant Referee 2: Douglas Potter (SCO)
Fourth Official: Stuart Stevenson (SCO)
Additional AR 1: Greg Aitken (SCO)
Additional AR 2: Euan Anderson (SCO)
Referee Observer: Jaap Uilenberg (NED)

Spartak Trnava – Fenerbahçe SK
Referee: José Sánchez Martínez (ESP)
Assistant Referee 1: Raúl Cabañero Martínez (ESP)
Assistant Referee 2: Javier Aguilar Rodríguez (ESP)
Fourth Official: Diego Barbero Sevilla (ESP)
Additional AR 1: Alejandro Hernández Hernández (ESP)
Additional AR 2: Juan Martínez Munuera (ESP)
Referee Observer: Iain Robertson Brines (SCO)

GNK Dinamo – RSC Anderlecht
Referee: Sandro Schärer (SUI)
Assistant Referee 1: Stéphane De Almeida (SUI)
Assistant Referee 2: Bekim Zogaj (SUI)
Fourth Official: Raffael Zeder (SUI)
Additional AR 1: Alain Bieri (SUI)
Additional AR 2: Lukas Fähndrich (SUI)
Referee Observer: Michális Koukoulákis (GRE)

Sporting CP – Vorskla Poltava
Referee: Manuel Schüttengruber (AUT)
Assistant Referee 1: Roland Brandner (AUT)
Assistant Referee 2: Robert Steinacher (AUT)
Fourth Official: Stefan Kühr (AUT)
Additional AR 1: Oliver Drachta (AUT)
Additional AR 2: Dieter Muckenhammer (AUT)
Referee Observer: Elmir Pilav (BIH)

Arsenal FC – Qarabağ FK
Referee: Jens Maae (DEN)
Assistant Referee 1: Lars Hummelgaard (DEN)
Assistant Referee 2: Heine Sørensen (DEN)
Fourth Official: Jesper Dahl (DEN)
Additional AR 1: Jørgen Burchardt (DEN)
Additional AR 2: Morten Krogh (DEN)
Referee Observer: Stávros Tritsónis (GRE)

F91 Dudelange – Real Betis Balompié
Referee: Peter Královič (SVK)
Assistant Referee 1: Miroslav Benko (SVK)
Assistant Referee 2: Erik Weiss (SVK)
Fourth Official: Tomáš Mókoš (SVK)
Additional AR 1: Michal Očenáš (SVK)
Additional AR 2: Boris Marhefka (SVK)
Referee Observer: Petteri Kari (FIN)

FIFA Club World Cup 2018 – First Round

12 December 2018

Al Ain – Team Wellington
Referee: Ryuji Sato (JPN, photo)
Assistant Referee 1: Toru Sagara (JPN)
Assistant Referee 2: Hiroshi Yamauchi (JPN)
Fourth Official: Gianluca Rocchi (ITA)
Reserve AR: Elenito Di Liberatore (ITA)
VAR: Danny Makkelie (NED)
AVAR 1: Pawel Gil (POL)
AVAR 2: Mauro Tonolini (ITA)
AVAR 3: Massimiliano Irrati (ITA)

UEFA Champions League – Group Stage (Matchday 6)

11 December 2018
Liverpool FC – SSC Napoli
Referee: Damir Skomina (SVN, photo)
Assistant Referee 1: Jure Praprotnik (SVN)
Assistant Referee 2: Robert Vukan (SVN)
Fourth Official: Tomaž Klančnik (SVN)
Additional AR 1: Slavko Vinčič (SVN)
Additional AR 2: Matej Jug (SVN)
Referee Observer: Hugh Dallas (SCO)

Galatasaray – FC Porto
Referee: Aleksei Kulbakov (BLR)
Assistant Referee 1: Dzmitry Žuk (BLR)
Assistant Referee 2: Alieh Maslianka (BLR)
Fourth Official: Jury Chomčanka (BLR)
Additional AR 1: Dzianis Ščarbakov (BLR)
Additional AR 2: Dzmitry Dzmitryeŭ (BLR)
Referee Observer: Patrick Kelly (IRL)

FC Schalke – Lokomotiv Moskva
Referee: Anastásios Sidirópoulos (GRE)
Assistant Referee 1: Polychrónis Kostarás (GRE)
Assistant Referee 2: Lázaros Dimitriádis (GRE)
Fourth Official: Damianós Efthymiádis (GRE)
Additional AR 1: Anastásios Papapétrou (GRE)
Additional AR 2: Ioánnis Papadópoulos (GRE)
Referee Observer: Alain Hamer (LUX)

Club Brugge – Atlético de Madrid
Referee: Davide Massa (ITA)
Assistant Referee 1: Filippo Meli (ITA)
Assistant Referee 2: Fabiano Preti (ITA)
Fourth Official: Stefano Alassio (ITA)
Additional AR 1: Paolo Valeri (ITA)
Additional AR 2: Marco Di Bello (ITA)
Referee Observer: Bertrand Layec (FRA)

AS Monaco – Borussia Dortmund
Referee: Craig Pawson (ENG)
Assistant Referee 1: Lee Betts (ENG)
Assistant Referee 2: Ian Hussin (ENG)
Fourth Official: Constantine Hatzidakis (ENG)
Additional AR 1: Paul Tierney (ENG)
Additional AR 2: Christopher Kavanagh (ENG)
Referee Observer: Kóstas Kapitanís (CYP)

FC Barcelona – Tottenham Hotspur
Referee: Milorad Mažić (SRB)
Assistant Referee 1: Milovan Ristić (SRB)
Assistant Referee 2: Dalibor Djurdjević (SRB)
Fourth Official: Nemanja Petrović (SRB)
Additional AR 1: Nenad Djokić (SRB)
Additional AR 2: Danilo Grujić (SRB)
Referee Observer: Nikolai Levnikov (RUS)

Internazionale Milano – PSV Eindhoven
Referee: Felix Zwayer (GER)
Assistant Referee 1: Thorsten Schiffner (GER)
Assistant Referee 2: Marco Achmüller (GER)
Fourth Official: Eduard Beitinger (GER)
Additional AR 1: Daniel Siebert (GER)
Additional AR 2: Sascha Stegemann (GER)
Referee Observer: Alexandru Deaconu (ROU)

Crvena Zvezda – Paris St. Germain
Referee: William Collum (SCO)
Assistant Referee 1: David McGeachie (SCO)
Assistant Referee 2: Graeme Stewart (SCO)
Fourth Official: Alan Mulvanny (SCO)
Additional AR 1: Kevin Clancy (SCO)
Additional AR 2: Nicolas Walsh (SCO)
Referee Observer: Juan Fernández Marín (ESP)

12 December 2018
Real Madrid – CSKA Moskva
Referee: Artur Soares Dias (POR)
Assistant Referee 1: Rui Barbosa (POR)
Assistant Referee 2: Paulo Santos (POR)
Fourth Official: Bruno Campos (POR)
Additional AR 1: Hugo Miguel (POR)
Additional AR 2: João Pinheiro (POR)
Referee Observer: Kaj Østergaard (DEN)

Viktoria Plzeň – AS Roma
Referee: Anthony Taylor (ENG)
Assistant Referee 1: Gary Beswick (ENG)
Assistant Referee 2: Adam Nunn (ENG)
Fourth Official: Stephen Child (ENG)
Additional AR 1: Stuart Attwell (ENG)
Additional AR 2: Martin Atkinson (ENG)
Referee Observer: Frank De Bleeckere (BEL)

AFC Ajax – Bayern München
Referee: Clément Turpin (FRA)
Assistant Referee 1: Nicolas Danos (FRA)
Assistant Referee 2: Cyril Gringore (FRA)
Fourth Official: Bertrand Jouannaud (FRA)
Additional AR 1: Nicolas Rainville (FRA)
Additional AR 2: Karim Abed (FRA)
Referee Observer: Vladimir Antonov (MDA)

SL Benfica – AEK Athens
Referee: Robert Madden (SCO)
Assistant Referee 1: Alastair Mather (SCO)
Assistant Referee 2: Sean Carr (SCO)
Fourth Official: David Roome (SCO)
Additional AR 1: Donald Robertson (SCO)
Additional AR 2: Alan Muir (SCO)
Referee Observer: Francesco Bianchi (SUI)

Shakhtar Donetsk – Olympique Lyonnais
Referee: Björn Kuipers (NED)
Assistant Referee 1: Sander van Roekel (NED)
Assistant Referee 2: Erwin Zeinstra (NED)
Fourth Official: Mario Diks (NED)
Additional AR 1: Dennis Johan Higler (NED)
Additional AR 2: Pol van Boekel (NED)
Referee Observer: Dušan Krchňák (SVK)

Manchester City – TSG Hoffenheim
Referee: Andreas Ekberg (SWE)
Assistant Referee 1: Mehmet Culum (SWE)
Assistant Referee 2: Stefan Hallberg (SWE)
Fourth Official: Fredrik Klyver (SWE)
Additional AR 1: Kristoffer Karlsson (SWE)
Additional AR 2: Glenn Nyberg (SWE)
Referee Observer: Alfredo Trentalange (ITA)

BSC Young Boys – Juventus FC
Referee: Tobias Stieler (GER)
Assistant Referee 1: Mike Pickel (GER)
Assistant Referee 2: Jan Seidel (GER)
Fourth Official: Christian Gittelmann (GER)
Additional AR 1: Bastian Dankert (GER)
Additional AR 2: Harm Osmers (GER)
Referee Observer: Miroslav Liba (CZE)

Valencia CF – Manchester United
Referee: Georgi Kabakov (BUL)
Assistant Referee 1: Martin Margaritov (BUL)
Assistant Referee 2: Diyan Valkov (BUL)
Fourth Official: Georgi Todorov (BUL)
Additional AR 1: Nikola Popov (BUL)
Additional AR 2: Stanislav Todorov (BUL)
Referee Observer: Rune Pedersen (NOR)

CONMEBOL Copa Sudamericana Final 2018 (Second Leg)

12 December 2018

Atletico Paranaense – Junior
Referee: Roberto Tobar (CHI, photo)
Assistant Referee 1: Christian Schiemann (CHI)
Assistant Referee 2: Claudio Rios (CHI)
Fourth Official: Roddy Zambrano (ECU)
VAR: Julio Bascuñan (CHI)
AVAR 1: Piero Maza (CHI)
AVAR 2: Carlos Astroza (CHI)
VAR Observer: Enrique Osses (CHI)
Referee Assessor: Ubaldo Aquino (PAR)

UEFA Youth League – Group Stage (Matchday 6)

11-12 December 2018

Galatasaray – FC Porto
Referee: Stephan Klossner (SUI, photo)
Assistant Referee 1: Marco Zürcher (SUI)
Assistant Referee 2: Matthias Sbrissa (SUI)
Fourth Official: Can Cengiz (TUR)
Referee Observer: Sabri Çelik (TUR)

AS Monaco – Borussia Dortmund
Referee: Luca Barbeno (SMR)
Assistant Referee 1: Marco Ercolani (SMR)
Assistant Referee 2: Ernesto Cristiano (SMR)
Fourth Official: Florent Batta (FRA)
Referee Observer: Bernardino González Vázquez (ESP)

Internazionale Milano – PSV Eindhoven
Referee: Rade Obrenovič (SVN)
Assistant Referee 1: Tomislav Pospeh (SVN)
Assistant Referee 2: Matej Vojska (SVN)
Fourth Official: Lorenzo Maggioni (ITA)
Referee Observer: Ján Fašung (SVK)

Liverpool FC – SSC Napoli
Referee: Mario Zebec (CRO)
Assistant Referee 1: Borut Križarić (CRO)
Assistant Referee 2: Jerko Crnčić (CRO)
Fourth Official: Peter Wright (ENG)
Referee Observer: Edward Foley (IRL)

FC Schalke – Lokomotiv Moskva
Referee: Timótheos Christofí (CYP)
Assistant Referee 1: Pávlos Georgíou (CYP)
Assistant Referee 2: Omiros Tziortzís (CYP)
Fourth Official: Sven Waschitzki (GER)
Referee Observer: Jens Larsen (DEN)

Club Brugge – Atlético de Madrid
Referee: Irfan Peljto (BIH)
Assistant Referee 1: Senad Ibrišimbegović (BIH)
Assistant Referee 2: Davor Beljo (BIH)
Fourth Official: Jasper Vergoote (BEL)
Referee Observer: Joeri Van De Velde (BEL)

FC Barcelona – Tottenham Hotspur
Referee: Antti Munukka (FIN)
Assistant Referee 1: Jukka Honkanen (FIN)
Assistant Referee 2: Juuso Mantere (FIN)
Fourth Official: Víctor García Verdura (ESP)
Referee Observer: Brian Lawlor (WAL)

Crvena Zvezda – Paris St. Germain
Referee: Nejc Kajtazovič (SVN)
Assistant Referee 1: Grega Kordež (SVN)
Assistant Referee 2: David Gabrovec (SVN)
Fourth Official: Ivan Stamenković (SRB)
Referee Observer: Dejan Filipović (SRB)

Shakhtar Donetsk – Olympique Lyonnais
Referee: Tomasz Musiał (POL)
Assistant Referee 1: Marek Arys (POL)
Assistant Referee 2: Bartosz Heinig (POL)
Fourth Official: Dmytro Kryvushkin (UKR)
Referee Observer: Vasyl Melnychuk (UKR)

Viktoria Plzeň – AS Roma
Referee: Filip Glova (SVK)
Assistant Referee 1: Peter Kováč (SVK)
Assistant Referee 2: Adam Jekkel (SVK)
Fourth Official: Vojtěch Severýn (CZE)
Referee Observer: Karel Bohuněk (CZE)

Valencia CF – Manchester United FC
Referee: Laurent Kopriwa (LUX)
Assistant Referee 1: David Santos (LUX)
Assistant Referee 2: Joaquim Gomes (LUX)
Fourth Official: Iván Muñoz Pérez (ESP)
Referee Observer: Manuel Díaz Vega (ESP)

BSC Young Boys – Juventus FC
Referee: Admir Šehović (BIH)
Assistant Referee 1: Sreten Udovičić (BIH)
Assistant Referee 2: Goran Dujak (BIH)
Fourth Official: Sven Wolfensberger (SUI)
Referee Observer: Markus Nobs (SUI)

Real Madrid – CSKA Moskva
Referee: Manfredas Lukjančukas (LTU)
Assistant Referee 1: Edgaras Bučinskas (LTU)
Assistant Referee 2: Mangirdas Mirauskas (LTU)
Fourth Official: Manuel Pérez Hernández (ESP)
Referee Observer: Kostadin Gerginov (BUL)

AFC Ajax – Bayern München
Referee: Alexander Harkam (AUT)
Assistant Referee 1: Andreas Staudinger (AUT)
Assistant Referee 2: Andreas Witschnigg (AUT)
Fourth Official: Jeroen Manschot (NED)
Referee Observer: Hans Reijgwart (NED)

SL Benfica – AEK Athens
Referee: Espen Eskås (NOR)
Assistant Referee 1: Øystein Ytterland (NOR)
Assistant Referee 2: Morten Jensen (NOR)
Fourth Official: Rui Rodrigues (POR)
Referee Observer: Nuno Castro (POR)

Manchester City – TSG Hoffenheim
Referee: Tore Hansen (NOR)
Assistant Referee 1: Geir Isaksen (NOR)
Assistant Referee 2: Isaak Bashevkin (NOR)
Fourth Official: Martin Coy (ENG)
Referee Observer: Peter Jones (ENG)

UEFA Referee Categories – second half of the season 2018/2019


Deniz Aytekin (GER), Benoit Bastien (FRA), Felix Brych (GER), Cüneyt Cakir (TUR), William Collum (SCO), Carlos Del Cerro Grande (ESP), Jesus Gil Manzano (ESP), Ovidiu Hategan (ROU), Sergei Karasev (RUS), Viktor Kassai (HUN), Pavel Kralovec (CZE), Björn Kuipers (NED), Danny Makkelie (NED), Szymon Marciniak (POL), Antonio Mateu Lahoz (ESP), Milorad Mazic (SRB), Michael Oliver (ENG), Daniele Orsato (ITA), Gianluca Rocchi (ITA), Anastasios Sidiropoulos (GRE), Damir Skomina (SVN), Artur Soares Dias (POR), Anthony Taylor (ENG), Clement Turpin (FRA), Alberto Undiano Mallenco (ESP), Felix Zwayer (GER).

First Category
Aliyar Aghayev (AZE), Ievgenii Aranovskyi (UKR), John Beaton (SCO), Ivan Bebek (CRO), Vladislav Bezborodov (RUS), Kevin Blom (NED), Tamas Bognar (HUN), Sergii Boiko (UKR), Ruddy Buquet (FRA), Andreas Ekberg (SWE), Aleksei Eskov (RUS), Javier Estrada Fernandez (ESP), Mattias Gestranius (FIN), Pawel Gil (POL), Hüseyin Göcek (TUR), Serdar Gözübüyük (NED), Orel Grinfeeld (ISR), Srdjan Jovanovic (SRB), Matej Jug (SVN), Georgi Kabakov (BUL), Jakob Kehlet (DEN), Istvan Kovacs (ROU), Ivan Kruzliak (SVK), Aleksei Kulbakov (BLR), Harald Lechner (AUT), Robert Madden (SCO), Davide Massa (ITA), Gediminas Mazeika (LTU), Svein Oddvar Moen (NOR), Bas Nijhuis (NED), Halis Özkahya (TUR), Craig Pawson (ENG), Pawel Raczkowski (POL), Robert Schörgenhofer (AUT), Daniel Siebert (GER), Manuel De Sousa (POR), Aleksandar Stavrev (MKD), Daniel Stefanski (POL), Tobias Stieler (GER), Martin Strömbergsson (SWE), Andris Treimanis (LVA), Istvan Vad (HUN), Slavko Vincic (SVN), Tobias Welz (GER), Miroslav Zelinka (CZE).

Second Category
Karim Abed (FRA), Mohammed Al-Hakim (SWE), Petr Ardeleanu (CZE), Thorvaldur Arnason (ISL), Stuart Attwell (ENG), Marius Avram (ROU), Alain Bieri (SUI), Alexandre Boucaut (BEL), Jerome Brisard (FRA), Kevin Clancy (SCO), Sebastian Coltescu (ROU), Fabio Costa Verissimo (POR), Nikola Dabanovic (MNE), Andrew Dallas (SCO), Bastian Dankert (GER), Ricardo De Burgos Bengoetxea (ESP), Amaury Delerue (FRA), Marco Di Bello (ITA), Christian Dingert (GER), Daniele Doveri (ITA), Neil Doyle (IRL), Michael Fabbri (ITA), Adam Farkas (HUN), Bartosz Frankowski (POL), Juri Frischer (EST), Marco Fritz (GER), Filip Glova (SVK), Marco Guida (ITA), Tore Hansen (NOR), Alexander Harkam (AUT), Robert Harvey (IRL), Alejandro Hernandez Hernandez (ESP), Dennis Higler (NED), Arnold Hunter (NIR), Massimiliano Irrati (ITA), Sergei Ivanov (RUS), Adrien Jaccottet (SUI), Enea Jorgji (ALB), Fran Jovic (CRO), Mete Kalkavan (TUR), Christopher Kavanagh (ENG), Stephan Klossner (SUI), Georgios Kominis (GRE), Peter Kralovic (SVK), Mads-Kristoffer Kristoffersen (DEN), Artyom Kuchin (KAZ), Sergei Lapochkin (RUS), Jonathan Lardot (BEL), Francois Letexier (FRA), Kirill Levnikov (RUS), Tiago Lopes Martins (POR), Jens Maae (DEN), Maurizio Mariani (ITA), Juan Martinez Munuera (ESP), Dimitar Meckarovski (MKD), Vitaly Meshkov (RUS), Hugo Miguel (POR), Benoît Millot (FRA), Jose Munuera Montero (ESP), Antti Munukka (FIN), Ville Nevalainen (FIN), Ola Hobber Nilsen (NOR), Ali Palabiyik (TUR), Bojan Pandzic (SWE), Anastasios Papapetrou (GRE), Irfan Peljto (BIH), Radu Petrescu (ROU), Nikola Popov (BUL), Nicolas Rainville (FRA), Roi Reinshreiber (ISR), Donatas Rumsas (LTU), Jose Sanchez Martinez (ESP), Alan Sant (MLT), Sandro Schärer (SUI), Frank Schneider (FRA), Manuel Schüttengruber (AUT), Eitan Shmuelevitz (ISR),Sascha Stegemann (GER), Ivaylo Stoyanov (BUL), Paul Tierney (ENG), Vilhjalmur Thorarinnsson (ISL), Kristo Tohver (EST), Siarhei Tsynkevich (BLR), Michael Tykgaard (DEN), Halil Umut Meler (TUR), Paolo Valeri (ITA), Pol van Boekel (NED).

Third Category
Kari a Hovdanum (FRO), Aleksandrs Anufrijevs (LVA), Stefan Apostolov (BUL), Furkat Atazhanov (KAZ), Mykola Balakin (UKR), Suren Baliyan (ARM), Veaceslav Banari (MDA), Luca Barbeno (SMR), Jason Barcelo (GIB), Balazs Berke (HUN), Marcel Bîrsan (ROU), Luis Branco Godinho (POR), Jörgen Burchardt (DEN), Antonio Carvalho Nobre (POR), Volen Chinkov (BUL), Timotheos Christofí (CYP), Matthew De Gabriele (MLT), Aristotelis Diamantopoulos (GRE), Vasilis Dimitriou (CYP), Nenad Djokic (SRB), Milos Djordjic (SRB), Luis Do Nascimento Teixeira (AND), Alain Durieux (LUX), Espen Eskas (NOR), Trustin Farrugia Cann (MLT), Horatiu Fesnic (ROU), Yigal Frid (ISR), Sebastian Gishamer (AUT), Aleksandrs Golubevs (LVA), Iwan Griffith (WAL), Danilo Grujic (SRB), Kristoffer Hagenes (NOR), Kaarlo Hämäläinen (FIN), Eldorjan Hamiti (ALB), Rahim Hasanov (AZE), Robert Hennessy (IRL), Zaven Hovhannisyan (ARM), Arman Ismuratov (KAZ), Rauf Jabarov (AZE),Christopher Jäger (AUT), Dejan Jakimovski (MKD), Krzysztof Jakubik (POL), Robert Jenkins (WAL), Helgi Jonasson (ISL), Nejc Kajtazovic (SVN), Jovan Kaludjerovic (MNE), Ferenc Karako (HUN), Kristoffer Karlsson (SWE), Besfort Kasumi (KVX), Keith Kennedy (NIR), Peter Kjaersgaard (DEN), Laurent Kopriwa (LUX), Yaroslav Kozyk (UKR), Ivar Kristjansson (ISL), Morten Krogh (DEN), Giorgi Kruashvili (GEO), Mykola Kryvonosov (UKR), Irakli Kvirikashvili (GEO), Nicolas Laforge (BEL), Erik Lambrechts (BEL), Gal Leibovitz (ISR), Manfredas Lukjancukas (LTU), Boris Marhefka (SVK), Bryn Markham-Jones (WAL), Tim Marshall (NIR), Aleksei Matiunin (RUS), Paul McLaughlin (IRL), Ian McNabb (NIR), Milovan Milacic (MNE), Vladimir Moskalev (RUS), Dumitru Muntean (MDA), Tomasz Musial (POL), Nikolas Neokleous (CYP), Genc Nuza (KVX), Glenn Nyberg (SWE), Rade Obrenovic (SVN), Michal Ocenas (SVK), Pavel Orel (CZE), Ümit Öztürk (TUR), Igor Pajac (CRO), Ioannis Papadopoulos (GRE), Erez Papir (ISR), Ondrej Pechanec (CZE), Tihomir Pejin (CRO), Dragan Petrovic (BIH), Christophe Pires Martins (LUX), Zbynek Proske (CZE), Donald Robertson (SCO), Vitaly Romanov (UKR), Rohit Saggi (NOR), Daniyar Sakhi (KAZ), Fedayi San (SUI), Joao Santos Capela (POR), Emmanouíl Skoulas (GRE), Urs Schnyder (SUI), Admir Sehovic (BIH), Dzianis Shcharbakou (BLR), Denys Shurman (UKR), Joao Silva Pinheiro (POR), Kaspar Sjöberg (SWE), Emmanouíl Skoulas (GRE), Loukas Sotiriou (CYP), Kai Steen (NOR), Duje Strukan (CRO), Roomer Tarajev (EST), Alexandru Tean (MDA), Stanislav Todorov (BUL), Alex Troleis (FRO), Lionel Tschudi (SUI), Athanasios Tzílos (GRE), George Vadachkoria (GEO), Bram Van Driessche (BEL), Nathan Verboomen (BEL), Petri Viljanen (FIN), Lawrence Visser (BEL), Nick Walsh (SCO), Julian Weinberger (AUT), Juxhin Xhaja (ALB), Fyodor Zammit (MLT), Mario Zebec (CRO).


Jana Adamkova (CZE), Sandra Braz Bastos (POR), Stephanie Frappart (FRA), Florence Guillemin (FRA), Riem Hussein (GER), Katalin Kulcsar (HUN), Pernilla Larsson (SWE), Lina Lehtovaara (FIN), Ivana Martincic (CRO), Kateryna Monzul (UKR), Monika Mularczyk (POL), Sara Persson (SWE), Anastasia Pustovoitova (RUS), Esther Staubli (SUI), Bibiana Steinhaus (GER), Lorraine Watson (SCO), Olga Zadinova (CZE).

First Category
Eleni Antoniou (GRE), Vesna Budimir (CRO), Amy Fearn (ENG), Marta Frias Acedo (ESP), Cheryl Foster (WAL), Desiree Grundbacher (SUI), Zuzana Kovacova (SVK), Tess Olofsson (SWE), Melis Ozcigdem (TUR), Petra Pavlikova (SVK), Silvia Rosa Domingos (POR), Eszter Urban (HUN), Rebecca Welch (ENG).

Second Category
Ewa Augustyn (POL), Paula Brady (IRL), Tania Fernandes Morais (LUX), Sarah Garratt (ENG), Simona Ghisletta (SUI), Hristiana Guteva (BUL), Marta Huerta de Aza (ESP), Frida Klarlund Nielsen (DEN), Justina Lavrenovaite (LTU), Maria Marotta (ITA), Elvira Nurmustafina (KAZ), Lois Otte (BEL), Vivian Peeters (NED), Graziella Pirriatore (ITA), Barbara Poxhofer (AUT), Ivana Projkovska (MKD), Viola Raudzina (LVA), Angelika Soeder (GER), Tanja Subotic (SVN), Volha Tsiareshka (BLR).

Third Category
Ainara Acevedo Dudley (ESP), Ioanna Allaylotou (CYP), Marina Aufschnaiter (AUS), Victoria Beyer (FRA), Sabina Bolic (CRO), Briet Bragadottir (ISL), Abigail Byrne (ENG), Catarina Ferreira Campos (POR), Merima Celik (BIH), Aleksandra Cesen (SVN), Tinna Christensen (DEN), Jelena Cvetkovic (SRB), Solen Dallongeville (FRA), Viki De Cremer (BEL), Iuliana Demetrescu (ROU), Michalina Diakow (POL), Emilie Rodahl Dokset (NOR), Galiya Echeva (BUL), Maria Ferrieri Caputi (ITA), Valentina Finzi (ITA), Chryso Georgíou (CYP), Zulema Gonzalez Gonzalez (ESP), Yuliya Gurbanova (AZE), Liliya Hasanova (KAZ), Lizzy van der Helm (NED), Rasa Imanalijeva (LTU), Jeļena Jermolajeva (LVA), Hanna Kaplainen (FIN), Veronika Kovarova (CZE), Marina Krupskaya (RUS), Ifeoma Kulmala (FIN), Sabayel Kuzutürk (AZE), Triinu Laos (EST), Katarzyna Lisiecka-Sek (POL), Irina Lyussina (BEL), Jurgita Macikunyte (LTU), Maria Martinez Madrona (ESP), Minna Maenpaa (FIN), Dimitrina Milkova (BUL), Ana Minic (SRB), Neslihan Muratdagi (TUR), Henrikke Nervik (NOR), Vera Onica (MDA), Hannelore Onsea (BEL), Vera Opeikina (RUS), Jelena Pejkovic (CRO), Tamara Petric (SRB), Ruzanna Petrosyan (ARM), Alina Pesu (ROU), Alexandra Ponomareva (RUS), Tanja Racic (BIH), Laura Rapp (SWE), Anastasiya Romanyuk (UKR), Emanuela Rusta (ALB), Araksya Saribekyan (ARM), Michele Schmolzer (SUI), Meitar Shemesh (ISR), Rachel Shkuri (ISR), Shona Shukrula (NED), Katalin Sipos (HUN), Tatyana Sorokopudova (KAZ), Nelli Stepanyan (ARM), Sandra Strub (SUI), Lucie Sulcova (CZE), Cristina Trandafir (ROU), Andromachi Tsiofliki (GRE), Reelika Turi (EST), Irina Turovskaya (BLR), Kateryna Usova (UKR), Irena Velevackoska (MKD), Marina Visnjic (SRB), Karoline Wacker (GER), Sarah Zangeneh (NOR).


Marc Birkett (ENG), Gerd Bylois (BEL), Ondrej Cerni (CZE), Kamil Cetin (TUR), Juan Cordero Gallardo (ESP), Eduardo Fernandes Coelho (POR), Tomasz Frak (POL), Angelo Galante (ITA), Borislav Kolev (BUL), Gabor Kovacs (HUN), Timo Onatsu (FIN), Cedric Pelissier (FRA), Ivan Shabanov (RUS), Sasa Tomic (CRO), Admir Zahovic (SVN).

First Category
Josip Barton (MKD), Gerald Bauernfeind (AUT), Victor Berg Audic (FRA), Moshe Bohbot (ISR), Vasileios Christodoulis (GRE), Trayan Enchev (BUL), Balazs Farkas (HUN), Nikola Jelic (CRO), Vladimir Kadykov (RUS), Alessandro Malfer (ITA), Alejandro Martinez Flores (ESP), Costas Nicolaou (CYP), Lukas Pesko (SVK), Ozan Soykan (TUR).

Second Category
Veljko Boskovic (MNE), Cristiano Cardoso Santos (POR), Michalis Christofides (CYP), Daniele Di Resta (ITA), Ibrahim El Jilali (NED), Raquel Gonzalez Ruano (ESP), Hennadii Hora (UKR), Tarik Keco (BIH), Kalin Kinov (BUL), Nicola Manzione (ITA), Daniel Matkovic (SUI), Javier Moreno Reina (ESP), Kirill Naishouler (FIN), Iuri Neverov (RUS), Fredric Nilholt (SWE), Arsen Nonikashvili (GEO), Peter Nurse (ENG), Yusif Nurullayev (AZE), Miguel Oliveira Castilho (POR), Chiara Perona (ITA), Dario Pezzuto (ITA), Patrik Porkert (AUT), Ingus Purins (LVA), Petar Radojcic (SRB), Damir Radovic (SRB), Vladan Radulovic (SRB), Vitali Rakutski (BLR), Simon Rogers (IRL), Filipe Santos Duarte (POR), David Schaerli (SUI), Simon Todorovic (SVN), David Urdanoz Apezteguia (ESP), Irina Velikanova (RUS), Yaroslav Vovchok (UKR), Stefan Vrijens (BEL), Grigori Zelentsov (RUS).

Third Category
Antonios Adamopoulos (GRE), Yasin Alageyik (BEL), Raafat Al Hamola (ISR), Ademir Avdic (SWE), Vedran Babic (CRO), Alem Bajrovic (BIH), David Balzan (MLT), Mario Belavy (SVK), Rastislav Behancin (SVK), Besar Beqiri (KVX), Idan Berenshtein (ISR), David Berry (IRL), Juan Boelen (BEL), Mario Bohun (SVK), Tatiana Boltneva (RUS), Viktor Bugenko (MDA), Ugur Cakmak (TUR), Clinton Cassar (MLT), Radim Cep (CZE), Vlad Ciobanu (ROU), Christos Christou (CYP), Vasilica Ciuplea (WAL), Murat Colak (TUR), Haris Curovac (SWE), Ovidiu Curta (ROU), Daniele D’Adamo (SMR), Danijel Darandik (GER), Daniel Deca (ROU), Josip Dujmic (CRO), Maksim Dzeikala (BLR), Eduards Fatkulins (LVA), Ekrem Franca (KVX), Aslan Galayev (KAZ), David Glavonjic (SWE), Damian Grabowski (POL), Christian Gundler (GER), Kreshnik Hakrama (ALB), Bogdan Hanceariuc (ROU), Ingo Heemsoth (GER), Tom-Joran Henriksen (NOR), Yevhen Hordiienko (UKR), Carl Hughes (WAL), Besart Ismajli (KVX), Jagnar Jakobson (EST), Damian Jaruchiewicz (POL), Farik Keco (BIH), Shota Khukhilava (GEO), Kaloyan Kirilov (BUL), Talgat Kosmukhambetov (KAZ), Martin Koster (DEN), Jan Kresta (CZE), Mihran Kudoyan (ARM), Denys Kutsyi (UKR), Julien Lang (FRA), Gordon McCabe (SCO), Marjan Mladenovski (MKD), Ales Mocnik (SVN), Ramil Namazov (AZE), Filip Nesnera (CZE), Olli Niemela (FIN), David Nissen (DEN), Panagiotis Ntalas (GRE), Grigori Osomkov (EST), Nebojsa Panic (SRB), Volha Pauliuts (BLR), Jacob Pawlowski (GER), Djordje Petrovic (SRB), Mantas Pomeckis (LTU), Igor Puzovic (BIH), Hikmat Qafarli (AZE), Omar Rafiq (NOR), Gerard Ramirez (AND), Done Ristovski (MKD), Sylvester Rodrigues (NED), Marco Rothenfluh (SUI), Slawomir Steczko (POL), Norbert Szilagyi (HUN), Sarunas Tamulynas (LTU), Annamaria Tolnay (HUN), Adrian Tschopp (SUI), Ivo Tsenov (BUL), Turekhan Tursumbayev (AZE), Fatma Tursun (TUR), Aurelien Uzan (FRA), Jacob Van Dijke (NED), Lars Van Leeuwen (NED), Yiangos Yiangou (CYP).

UEFA: Referees Del Cerro Grande and Martincic promoted to Elite

The UEFA Referees Committee approved the referee categories for the second half of the season 2018/2019. Carols Del Cerro Grande (men) and Ivana Martincic (women) have been promoted to Elite, effective 1 January 2019.


Promoted from First Category to Elite: Carlos Del Cerro Grande (ESP, photo).

Retired/removed from First Category: Sebastien Delferiere (BEL), Manuel Gräfe (GER), Luca Banti (ITA), Paolo Mazzoleni (ITA).

Retired/removed from Second Category: Oliver Drachta (AUT), Bart Vertenten (BEL), Leóntios Tráttou (CYP), Robert Madley (ENG), Charalampos Kalogeropoulos (GRE), Carlos Taborda Xistra (POR), Simon Lee Evans (WAL).

New FIFA referees entered into Second Category: Christopher Kavanagh (ENG), Jose Munuera Montero (ESP), Sascha Stegemann (GER), Michael Fabbri (ITA), Maurizio Mariani (ITA).

Retired/removed from Third Category: Omer Pasayev (AZE), Dimítris Masiás (CYP), Radek Příhoda (CZE), Anders Poulsen (DEN), Jari Järvinen (FIN), Aléxandros Aretopoulos (GRE), Stavros Mantalos (GRE), Sándor Ando-Szabo (HUN), Thoroddur Hjaltalín (ISL), Aleksandr Aliyev (KAZ), George Găman (ROU), Mikhail Vilkov (RUS), Bojan Nikolić (SRB), Alper Ulusoy (TUR).

New FIFA referees entered into Third Category: Sebastian Gishamer (AUT), Bram Van Driessche (BEL), Nathan Verboomen (BEL), Dragan Petrovic (BIH), Nikolas Neokleous (CYP), Loukas Sotiríou (CYP), Ondrej Pechanec (CZE), Morten Krogh (DEN), Kaarlo Hämäläinen (FIN), Irakli Kvirikashvili (GEO), Aristotelis Diamantopoulos (GRE), Emmanouíl Skoulas (GRE), Athanasios Tzílos (GRE), Balazs Berke (HUN), Rauf Jabarov (AZE), Helgi Jonasson (ISL), Gal Leibovitz (ISR), Arman Ismuratov (KAZ), Matthew De Gabriele (MLT), Antonio Nobre (POR), Marcel Bîrsan (ROU), Vladimir Moskalev (RUS), Miloš Djordjić (SRB), Kaspar Sjöberg (SWE), Ümit Öztürk (TUR), Mykola Kryvonosov (UKR), Robert Jenkins (WAL).


Retired/removed from Elite: Gyöngyi Gaal (HUN), Carina Vitulano (ITA).

Promoted from First Category to Elite: Ivana Martincic (CRO).

Retired/removed from First Category: Sofia Karagiorgi (CYP), Marte Soro (NOR).

Promoted from Second Category to First Category: Eleni Antoniou (GRE), Rebecca Welch (ENG), Tess Olofsson (SWE).

Retired/removed from Second Category: Julia Baier (AUT), Karolina Tokarska (POL).

New FIFA referees entered in Third Category: Emanuela Rusta (ALB), Marina Aufschnaiter (AUS), Viki De Cremer (BEL), Ioanna Allaylotou (CYP), Abigail Byrne (ENG), Zulema Gonzalez Gonzalez (ESP), Minna Maenpaa (FIN), Katalin Sipos (HUN), Maria Ferrieri Caputi (ITA), Tatyana Sorokopudova (KAZ), Sarah Zangeneh (NOR), Michalina Diakow (POL), Marina Krupskaya (RUS), Jelena Cvetkovic (SRB), Michele Schmolzer (SUI).


Retired from Elite: Bogdan Sorescu (ROU).

Retired from First Category: Nuno Bogalho (POR), Swen Eichler (GER).

Retired/removed from Second Category: Elchin Samadli (AZE), Andrej Topic (CRO), Aleksandras Sliva (LTU), Ruben Pinto (POR).

Retired/removed from Third Category: Zoran Sofrenic (BIH), Jan Kliner (CZE), Toni Lehtinen (FIN), Zyl Sheriff (GIB), Adalbjorn Thorsteinsson (ISL), Oren Simanian (ISR), Olzhas Abrayev (KAZ), Matthew Vella (MLT), Katarzyna Netkowska (POL), Andrzej Witkowski (POL), Tadija Stantic (SRB), Dejan Veselic (SVN), Sabit Selvi (TUR).

New FIFA referees entered into Third Category: Mihran Kudoyan (ARM), Farik Keco (BIH), Volha Pauliuts (BLR), Josip Dujmic (CRO), Radim Cep (CZE), Martin Koster (DEN), Jagnar Jakobson (EST), Christian Gundler (GER), Panagiotis Ntalas (GRE), Annamaria Tolnay (HUN), Aslan Galayev (KAZ), Turekhan Tursumbayev (AZE), Ekrem Franca (KVX), Mantas Pomeckis (LTU), Done Ristovski (MKD), David Balzan (MLT), Clinton Cassar (MLT), Damian Grabowski (POL), Bogdan Hanceariuc (ROU), Djordje Petrovic (SRB).

IFFHS World’s Best Referee 2018: Pitana (ARG)

Argentin referee Nestor Pitana has capped a stellar season with his election as the World’s Best Referee 2018 in the annual IFFHS Awards. He succeeds the German Felix Brych who took place four this year. Pitana, 43 years old, was the referee of the 2018 World Cup final between France and Croatia. He made great performances during the month of the Russia World Cup, so he won with a large margin before the Dutch referee Björn Kuipers and the Serbian Milorad Mazic. Selected journalists and experts from 90 countries around the world took part in the 2018 annual election of the Top referee, the 32th time it has been carried out by the IFFHS. Nestor Pitana began in 2007 in the Argentina Primera Division and has received his FIFA badge in 2010. He was selected for two World Cups in Brazil 2014 and Russia 2018, where he made a great impression in the whole football world. He took place 5 last year in the IFFHS election. Milorad Mazic was the referee of the Champions League final 2018 between Real Madrid and Livverpool FC. Björn Kuipers continued to be part of the Top 6 since 5 years with his best place, the second in 2018. (Source: IFFHS

IFFHS World’s Best Referees 2018
1. Nestor Pitana (ARG, photo) 180 p
2. Björn Kuipers (NED) 100 p
3. Milorad Mazic (SRB) 86 p
4. Felix Brych (GER) 79 p
5. Cuneyt Cakir (TUR) 55 p
6. Gianluca Rocchi (ITA) 25 p
7. Alireza Faghani (IRN) 21 p
8. Antonio Mateu Lahoz (ESP) 18 p
9. Damir Skomina (SVN) 18 p
10. Sandro Ricci (BRA) 16 p
11. Malang Diedhiou (SEN) 14 p
12. Andres Cunha (URU) 13 p
13. Cesar Ramos (MEX) 7 p
14. David Fernandez Borbalan (ESP) 5 p
15. Janny Sikazwe (ZAM) 5 p
16. Martin Atkinson (ENG) 1 p
17. Matthew Conger (NZL) 1 p
18. Mark Geiger (USA) 1 p

IFFHS World’s Best Woman Referee 2018: Steinhaus (GER)

90 experts and journalists from all continents crowned Bibiana Steinhaus for the fourth time after 2013, 2014 and 2017 to The World’s Best Woman Referee 2018 in the Annual IFFHS Awards. The German referee stepped in a new area in May 2017, when she became the first woman to referee matches in one of the top five leagues of the World. Bibiana Steinhaus, who began her career in 2005, leaded matches in all greatest woman world competitions and since one year in the men Bundesliga with big success. Jana Adamkova, from Czech Republic, took a brilliant second place thanks to her performances in UEFA Champions League particularly the final between Olympique Lyonnais and VFL Wolfsburg. French Stephanie Frappart took again, like last year, place 3 before Esther Stäubli, the swiss regularity (always in the top 5 since 2012). IFFHS Awards winners 2015 Kateryna Monzul and 2016 Katalin Kulcsar took again place in the Top 7. (Source: IFFHS

IFFHS World’s Best Women Referees 2018
1. Bibiana Steinhaus (GER, photo) 138 p
2. Jana Adamkova (CZE) 100 p
3. Stephanie Frappart (FRA) 67 p
4. Esther Staubli (SUI) 54 p
5. Kateryna Monzul (UKR) 35 p
6. Carol Anne Chenard (CAN) 31 p
7. Kate Jacewicz (AUS) 24 p
8. Katalin Kulcsar (HUN) 24 p
9. Edina Alves (BRA) 23 p
10. Claudia Umpierrez (URU) 19 p
11. Qin Liang (CHN) 8 p
12. Lydia Tafesse (ETH) 6 p
13. Gladys Lengwe (ZAM) 6 p
14. Ana Maria Keighley (NZL) 5 p
15. Rebecca Welch (ENG) 5 p
16. Melissa Borjas (HON) 4 p
17. Hyang Ok Ri (PRK) 4
18. Pernilla Larsson (SWE) 3 p
19. Sian Massey (ENG) 3 p
20. Amy Fearn (ENG) 1 p
21. Petra Pavlikova (SVK) 1 p
22. Shona Shukrula (NED) 1 p

AFC Asian Cup 2019

With the expansion of Asia’s most prestigious tournament from 16 to 24 teams, a record 60 match officials – comprising 30 referees and assistant referees each – have been appointed to the AFC Asian Cup UAE 2019, which is scheduled to kick-off in one month’s time on January 5, 2019. The largest-ever contingent, which will also be supported by four reserve officials, will see a diverse range of nationalities, with 19 Member Associations represented across the five AFC zones. The Continent’s best referees and assistant referees were selected based on their skill, technical knowledge, management competence and physical fitness. They will be expected to perform various roles including Additional Assistant Referees, Reserve Assistant Referees as well as Video Assistant Referees (VAR), which will come into force from the quarter-final stage. The appointments are a culmination of a robust and comprehensive preparation programme dating back to the conclusion of the AFC Asian Cup Australia 2015. Since then, ten seminars have been organised to ensure optimum consistency and uniformity and the highest level of refereeing standards. As the Continent shifts its attention to the UAE, a final preparatory course is scheduled to take place in Abu Dhabi five days prior to the competition, which has been designed specifically to focus on the seamless implementation of the VAR system. As part of the main cast, the AFC also appointed a guest trio from Concacaf, led by FIFA World Cup referee Cesar Ramos from Mexico, as part of the existing exchange programme between the two Confederations, with an Asian trio set to feature in the Concacaf's Gold Cup later this year. (Source: AFC)

1. Christopher Beath (AUS)
2. Peter Green (AUS)
3. Nawaf AShukralla (BHR)
4. Fu Ming (CHN)
5. Ma Ning (CHN)
6. Liu Kwok Man (HKG)
7. Alireza Faghani (IRN)
8. Ali Al-Qaysi (IRQ)
9. Mohanad Sarray (IRQ)
10. Adham Makhadmeh (JOR)
11. Ahmed Alali (JOR)
12. Jumpei Iida (JPN)
13. Hiroyuki Kimura (JPN)
14. Ryuji Sato (JPN)
15. Kim Dong Jin (KOR)
16. Ko Hyung Jin (KOR)
17. Turki Alkhudhayr (KSA)
18. Mohd Bin Yaacob (MAS)
19. Ahmed Al Kaf (OMA)
20. Abdulrahman Al-Jassim (QAT)
21. Khamis Al-Kuwari (QAT)
22. Khamis Al-Marri (QAT)
23. Muhammad Bin Jahari (SIN)
24. Hettikankanamge Perera (SRI)
25. Ali Aljneibi (UAE)
26. Mohammed Abdulla (UAE)
27. Ravshan Irmatov (UZB)
28. Valentin Kovalenko (UZB)
29. Ilgiz Tantashev (UZB)
30. Cesar Ramos (MEX)

Assistant Referees
1. Anton Shchetinin (AUS)
2. Matthew Cream (AUS)
3. Mohamed Salman (BHR)
4. Yaser Tulefat (BHR)
5. Cao Yi (CHN)
6. Huo Weiming (CHN)
7. Mohammadreza Mansouri (IRN)
8. Reza Sokhandan (IRN)
9. Ahmad Alroalle (JOR)
10. Mohammad Alkalaf (JOR)
11. Mihara Jun (JPN)
12. Hiroshi Yamauchi (JPN)
13. Sergei Grishchenko (KGZ)
14. Kim Youngha (KOR)
15. Yoon Kwangyeol (KOR)
16. Mohammed Alabakry (KSA)
17. Mohamad Bin Zainal (MAS)
18. Mohd Bin Muhamad (MAS)
19. Abu Al-Amri (OMA)
20. Ali Al Ghaithi (OMA)
21. Saoud Almaqaleh (QAT)
22. Taleb Al-Marri (QAT)
23. Koh Min Kiat (SIN)
24. Palitha Hemathunga (SRI)
25. Hasan Almahri (UAE)
26. Mohamed Alhammadi (UAE)
27. Abdukhamidullo Rasulov (UZB)
28. Jakhongir Saidov (UZB)
29. Miguel Hernandez (MEX)
30. Alberto Morin (MEX)

Support Referees
1. Hanna Hattab (SYR)
2. Gamini Robesh (SRI)

Support Assistant Referees
1. Ali Ubaydee (IRQ)
2. Palliya Namal (SRI)

VAR to be used in UEFA Champions League knock-out phase

The UEFA Executive Committee met in Dublin, Republic of Ireland, and decided to use Video Assistant Referees (VAR) in the UEFA Champions League as from the Round of 16 in February 2019 following successful technological testing and the training of referees over the last few months. In addition, the committee decided to also use VAR at the UEFA Europa League Final 2019, in the UEFA Nations Leagues Finals 2019 and in the final tournament of the UEFA European Under-21 Championship 2019.
As already decided during the September meeting of the UEFA Executive Committee, VAR will then also be used in the 2019/20 UEFA Champions League, as of the play-off stage of the competition, and at the 2019 UEFA Super Cup. UEFA still plans to subsequently extend the use of VAR at the final tournament of UEFA EURO 2020, in the 2020/21 UEFA Europa League (group-stage onwards), and in the 2021 UEFA Nations League Finals. UEFA President Aleksander Čeferin, said: "We are ready to use VAR earlier than initially planned and we are convinced that it will be beneficial for our competitions as it will provide valuable help to match officials and will allow to reduce incorrect decisions".

Source: UEFA

FIFA Women’s World Cup 2019

The FIFA Referees Committee has selected 27 referees and 48 assistant referees, representing 42 different countries, for the FIFA Women’s World Cup France 2019. The journey to the FIFA Women’s World Cup 2019 began for an initial group of female referees and assistant referees from all over the world in September 2015, when FIFA officially started its Road to France 2019 women’s refereeing project. As part of this project, preparatory seminars have taken place over the last three years for referees and assistant referees, focusing on protecting players and the image of the game, as well as on consistency in interpreting the Laws of the Game. Technical expertise, football understanding, fitness and the ability to read the game and teams’ tactical approaches to each match have been the main topics covered at these seminars. The referees selected for the next FIFA Women’s World Cup, the most important competition in women’s sport, have demonstrated their skills at previous tournaments, including the FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup Jordan 2016 and Uruguay 2018, as well as the FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup in Papua New Guinea in 2016 and this summer in Brittany, France. Preparation will continue for the selected match officials between now and the start of France 2019. There will be a number of further preparatory seminars, while the FIFA referee instructors will carry out observation work and provide ongoing support and guidance. Every effort is being made to ensure that the officials will be 100 per cent ready for the big occasion. The FIFA Women’s World Cup France 2019 will be played from 7 June to 7 July in Grenoble, Le Havre, Lyon, Montpellier, Nice, Paris, Reims, Rennes and Valenciennes. The final will take place in Lyon on Sunday, 7 July 2019. (Source: FIFA)

Referee: Qin Liang (CHN, 1979)
Assistant Referee 1: Fang Yan (CHN, 1979)
Assistant Referee 2: Kim Kyoung Min (KOR, 1980)

Referee: Kate Jacewicz (AUS, 1985)
Assistant Referee 1: Lee Seul Gi (KOR, 1980)
Assistant Referee 1: Maiko Hagio (JPN, 1979)

Referee: Ri Hyang Ok (PRK, 1977)
Assistant Referee 1: Hong Kum Nyo (PRK, 1973)
Assistant Referee 2: Cui Yongmei (CHN, 1979)

Referee: Yoshimi Yamashita (JPN, 1986)
Assistant Referee 1: Naomi Teshirogi (JPN, 1980)
Assistant Referee 2: Makoto Bozono (JPN, 1980)

Support Referee: Casey Reibelt (AUS, 1988)

Referee: Lidya Tafesse Abebe (ETH, 1980)
Assistant Referee 1: Queency Victoire (MRI, 1987)
Assistant Referee 2: Mary Njoroge (KEN, 1985)

Referee: Gladys Lengwe (ZAM, 1978)
Assistant Referee 1: Bernadettar Kwimbira (MWI, 1981)
Assistant Referee 2: Lidwine Rakotozafinoro (MAD, 1978)

Support Referee: Salima Mukansanga (RWA, 1988)

Referee: Marie-Soleil Beaudoin (CAN, 1982)
Assistant Referee 1: Stephanie Yee Sing (JAM, 1988)
Assistant Referee 2: Princess Brown (JAM, 1986)

Referee: Melissa Borjas (HON, 1986)
Assistant Referee 1: Shirley Perello (HON, 1986)
Assistant Referee 2: Felisha Mariscal (USA, 1982)

Referee: Carol Anne Chenard (CAN, 1977)
Assistant Referee 1: Kathryn Nesbitt (USA, 1988)
Assistant Referee 2: Chantal Boudreau (CAN, 1989)

Referee: Lucila Venegas (MEX, 1981)
Assistant Referee 1: Mayte Chavez (MEX, 1979)
Assistant Referee 2: Enedina Caudillo (MEX, 1984)

Support Referee: Ekaterina Koroleva (USA, 1987)

Referee: Edina Alves (BRA, 1980)
Assistant Referee 1: Neuza Back (BRA, 1984)
Assistant Referee 2: Tatiane Sacilotti (BRA, 1986)

Referee: Maria Carvajal (CHI, 1983)
Assistant Referee 1: Leslie Vasquez (CHI, 1987)
Assistant Referee 2: Loreto Toloza (CHI, 1984)

Referee: Laura Fortunato (ARG, 1985)
Assistant Referee 1: Mariana Almeida (ARG, 1982)
Assistant Referee 2: Mary Blanco (COL, 1984)

Referee: Claudia Umpierrez (URU, 1983)
Assistant Referee 1: Luciana Mascarana (URU, 1981)
Assistant Referee 2: Monica Amboya (ECU, 1982)

Referee: Anna-Marie Keighley (NZL, 1982)
Assistant Referee 1: Sarah Jones (NZL, 1990)
Assistant Referee 2: Maria Salamasina (SAM, 1989)

Referee: Jana Adamkova (CZE, 1978)
Assistant Referee 1: Lucie Ratajova (CZE, 1979)
Assistant Referee 2: Sanja Rodjak (CRO, 1983)

Referee: Sandra Braz (POR, 1978)
Assistant Referee 1: Julia Magnusson (SWE, 1985)
Assistant Referee 2: Oleksandra Ardasheva (UKR, 1987)

Referee: Stephanie Frappart (FRA, 1983) 
Assistant Referee 1: Manuela Nicolosi (FRA, 1980)
Assistant Referee 2: Michelle O’Neill (IRL, 1978)

Referee: Riem Hussein (GER, 1980)
Assistant Referee 1: Kylie Cockburn (SCO, 1988)
Assistant Referee 2: Mihaela Tepusa (ROU, 1983)

Referee: Katalin Kulcsar (HUN, 1984)
Assistant Referee 1: Sian Massey (ENG, 1985)
Assistant Referee 2: Katalin Torok (HUN, 1985)

Referee: Kateryna Monzul (UKR, 1981)
Assistant Referee 1: Maryna Striletska (UKR, 1983)
Assistant Referee 2: Petruta Iugulescu (ROU, 1979)

Referee: Anastasia Pustovoitova (RUS, 1981)
Assistant Referee 1: Ekaterina Kurochkina (RUS, 1986)
Assistant Referee 2: Maria Sukenikova (SVK, 1975)

Referee: Esther Staubli (SUI, 1979)
Assistant Referee 1: Susanne Kung (SUI, 1988)
Assistant Referee 2: Lisa Rashid (ENG, 1987)

Referee: Bibiana Steinhaus (GER, 1979)
Assistant Referee 1: Katrin Rafalski (GER, 1982)
Assistant Referee 2: Chrysoula Kourompylia (GRE, 1977)

CONMEBOL Copa Sudamericana Final 2018 (First Leg)

5 December 2018

Junior – Atletico Paranaense
Referee: Diego Haro (PER, photo)
Assistant Referee 1: Jonny Bossio (PER)
Assistant Referee 2: Victor Raez (PER)
Fourth Official: Carlos Orbe (ECU)
VAR: Gery Vargas (BOL)
AVAR 1: Alexis Herrera (VEN)
AVAR 2: Carlos Astroza (CHI)
VAR Observer: Dario Ubriaco (URU)
Referee Assessor: Pablo Silva (ARG)

Kelly earns MLS Referee of the Year honour for third time

Alan Kelly is the 2018 MLS Referee of the Year, announced Major League Soccer and PRO. It's the third time in four seasons Kelly has received the honor. The 43-year-old Irishman was also recognized in 2015 and 2016. In addition, he has been named the referee for the 2018 MLS Cup. Meanwhile, Joe Fletcher has been voted MLS Assistant Referee of the Year. A first-time recipient of the award, Fletcher was one of five officials to represent PRO at the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia. He called 100th MLS game this past August. 
“This has been another successful year for the Professional Referee Organization, and I’m delighted to see Alan Kelly named as our MLS Referee of the Year and Joe Fletcher as our MLS Assistant Referee of the Year,” PRO General Manager Howard Webb said in a statement. “They are excellent ambassadors for PRO and provide strong examples of the professionalism of our group, both domestically and internationally. Alan and Joe achieved high standards in all facets of their work, and PRO continues to make great strides in our accuracy, our impact on key moments and in our expanding influence in the Video Review realm.” Both distinctions are voted on by MLS club management, media and players, with finalists determined by U.S. Soccer, the Canadian Soccer Association and the MLS Competition Committee. (Source: MLS)

FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup Final 2018: Beaudoin (CAN)

1 December 2018

Spain – Mexico
Referee: Marie-Soleil Beaudoin (CAN, photo)
Assistant Referee 1: Princess Brown (JAM)
Assistant Referee 2: Stephanie Yee Sing (JAM)
Fourth Official: Maria Carvajal (CHI)
Reserve AR: Sarah Jones (NZL)

Match for Third Place
New Zealand – Canada
Referee: Riem Hussein (GER)
Assistant Referee 1: Kylie Cockburn (SCO)
Assistant Referee 2: Mihaela Tepusa (ROU)
Fourth Official: Salima Mukansanga (RWA)
Reserve AR: Oleksandra Ardasheva (UKR)

Mexican referee on hunger strike

Mexican referee Adalid Maganda has begun a hunger strike outside the headquarters of the country's Football Federation (Femexfut) in protest at his dismissal. After being sacked in April, Maganda attempted to return to his job but did not reach an agreement with the country's referees commission for his reinstatement. The 34-year-old, who originates from the town of Huehuetan in the state of Guerrero, accused the referee commission of racism and discrimination. He said Arturo Brizio, president of that commission, insulted him for both his skin color and his height. The last game Maganda took part in was on Jan. 16 as a fourth official. He has set up camp outside the Femexfut headquarters and is refusing to eat until he gets his job back. "I'm not fighting for money," Maganda told local media. "I'm just fighting for fairness and dignity. I want my job back as what I achieved I earned by putting in a lot of effort on the pitch, without getting any gifts from anyone. They are the ones to blame for being racists."
On Wednesday, Femexfut officials told Maganda that they will meet with him to hear his complaints. Maganda also confirmed to ESPN that he and his lawyer will attend the meeting and will not leave until there is some type of resolution. Maganda said he has no choice but to go on a hunger strike. "We have taken this decision because the Federation has taken us for a ride since this [process] began," he said. "In the first hearing, I was told I would not get my job back, then in the second, they said that I would but only officiate in the second division and in the third, they told me I would get to referee in the first division but that they didn't know when that would be. They are the ones to blame for being racists." 
In October, Maganda told ESPN Mexico that Brizio had not attended the hearings as "he was afraid because he knows what he did. The evidence is there." Maganda's final audience was on Tuesday and Brizio was again not in attendance. "We have not received any response," he said. "They only told us that neither the president nor the secretary were there but we will be here until someone from the Femexfut receives us." Maganda has the support of family and friends, who have protested with banners that read: "Justice for Adalid." 

Source: ESPN

Concacaf U-20 Championship Final 2018: Barton (SLV)

21 November 2018

USA – Mexico
Referee: Ivan Barton (SLV, photo)
Assistant Referee 1: Chantal Boudreau (CAN)
Assistant Referee 2: Jassett Kerr (JAM)
Fourth Official: Kimbell Ward (SKN)

UEFA Europa League – Group Stage (Matchday 5)

29 November 2018

Vorskla Poltava – Arsenal
Referee: Bartosz Frankowski (POL, photo)
Assistant Referee 1: Marcin Boniek (POL)
Assistant Referee 2: Dawid Golis (POL)
Fourth Official: Adam Kupsik (POL)
Additional AR 1: Daniel Stefański (POL)
Additional AR 2: Zbigniew Dobrynin (POL)
Referee Observer: Eugen Strigel (GER)

Spartak Moskva – Rapid Wien
Referee: Paweł Gil (POL)
Assistant Referee 1: Konrad Sapela (POL)
Assistant Referee 2: Marcin Borkowski (POL)
Fourth Official: Krzysztof Myrmus (POL)
Additional AR 1: Krzysztof Jakubik (POL)
Additional AR 2: Piotr Lasyk (POL)
Referee Observer: Salustià Ciprés (AND)

Astana – Dynamo Kyiv
Referee: Ivan Bebek (CRO)
Assistant Referee 1: Tomislav Petrović (CRO)
Assistant Referee 2: Miro Grgić (CRO)
Fourth Official: Goran Pataki (CRO)
Additional AR 1: Mario Zebec (CRO)
Additional AR 2: Goran Gabrilo (CRO)
Referee Observer: Asim Xudiyev (AZE)

FC Zürich – AEK Larnaca
Referee: Aleksey Eskov (RUS)
Assistant Referee 1: Dmitri Mosyakin (RUS)
Assistant Referee 2: Anton Averyanov (RUS)
Fourth Official: Dmitri Safyan (RUS)
Additional AR 1: Mikhail Vilkov (RUS)
Additional AR 2: Roman Galimov (RUS)
Referee Observer: Albano Janku (ALB)

Bayer Leverkusen – PFC Ludogorets
Referee: Dennis Higler (NED)
Assistant Referee 1: Joost van Zuilen (NED)
Assistant Referee 2: Bas van Dongen (NED)
Fourth Official: Davie Goossens (NED)
Additional AR 1: Pol van Boekel (NED)
Additional AR 2: Allard Lindhout (NED)
Referee Observer: László Vágner (HUN)

Red Bull Salzburg – RB Leipzig
Referee: Orel Grinfeld (ISR)
Assistant Referee 1: Dvir Shimon (ISR)
Assistant Referee 2: Roi Hassan (ISR)
Fourth Official: Idan Yarkoni (ISR)
Additional AR 1: Erez Papir (ISR)
Additional AR 2: Ziv Adler (ISR)
Referee Observer: Kristinn Jakobsson (ISL)

Rosenborg – Celtic
Referee: Halis Özkahya (TUR)
Assistant Referee 1: Ceyhun Sesigüzel (TUR)
Assistant Referee 2: Hakan Yemişken (TUR)
Fourth Official: Kemal Yılmaz (TUR)
Additional AR 1: Ali Palabıyık (TUR)
Additional AR 2: Koray Gençerler (TUR)
Referee Observer: Ferenc Székely (HUN)

FC Zenit – FC København
Referee: Slavko Vinčič (SVN)
Assistant Referee 1: Tomaž Klančnik (SVN)
Assistant Referee 2: Andraž Kovačič (SVN)
Fourth Official: Grega Kordež (SVN)
Additional AR 1: Rade Obrenovič (SVN)
Additional AR 2: Roberto Ponis (SVN)
Referee Observer: Fritz Stuchlik (AUT)

Girondins de Bordeaux – Slavia Praha
Referee: Fábio Veríssimo (POR)
Assistant Referee 1: Álvaro Mesquita (POR)
Assistant Referee 2: Nuno Pereira (POR)
Fourth Official: Bruno Rodrigues (POR)
Additional AR 1: Carlos Xistra (POR)
Additional AR 2: Luís Godinho (POR)
Referee Observer: Luis Medina Cantalejo (ESP)

RSC Anderlecht – Spartak Trnava
Referee: Anastásios Papapétrou (GRE)
Assistant Referee 1: Trýfon Petrópoulos (GRE)
Assistant Referee 2: Iordánis Aptósoglou (GRE)
Fourth Official: Ilías Alexéas (GRE)
Additional AR 1: Athanásios Tzílos (GRE)
Additional AR 2: Ángelos Evangélou (GRE)
Referee Observer: Stefano Podeschi (SMR)

Fenerbahçe – Dinamo
Referee: Robert Schörgenhofer (AUT)
Assistant Referee 1: Markus Gutschi (AUT)
Assistant Referee 2: Roland Riedel (AUT)
Fourth Official: Andreas Witschnigg (AUT)
Additional AR 1: René Eisner (AUT)
Additional AR 2: Dieter Muckenhammer (AUT)
Referee Observer: Gerard Perry (IRL)

Qarabağ FK – Sporting CP
Referee: Petr Ardeleanu (CZE)
Assistant Referee 1: Petr Blažej (CZE)
Assistant Referee 2: Tomáš Mokrusch (CZE)
Fourth Official: Jan Paták (CZE)
Additional AR 1: Zbyněk Proske (CZE)
Additional AR 2: Emanuel Marek (CZE)
Referee Observer: Bernardino González Vázquez (ESP)

AC Milan – F91 Dudelange
Referee: Vladislav Bezborodov (RUS)
Assistant Referee 1: Valeri Danchenko (RUS)
Assistant Referee 2: Maksim Gavrilin (RUS)
Fourth Official: Aleksey Vorontsov (RUS)
Additional AR 1: Kirill Levnikov (RUS)
Additional AR 2: Vasiliy Kazartsev (RUS)
Referee Observer: Vlado Svilokos (CRO)

Real Betis – Olympiakos
Referee: Sergey Karasev (RUS)
Assistant Referee 1: Igor Demeshko (RUS)
Assistant Referee 2: Aleksey Lunev (RUS)
Fourth Official: Roman Usachev (RUS)
Additional AR 1: Sergey Ivanov (RUS)
Additional AR 2: Vladimir Moskalev (RUS)
Referee Observer: Hans Reijgwart (NED)

Krasnodar – Akhisarspor
Referee: Ivaylo Stoyanov (BUL)
Assistant Referee 1: Ivo Kolev (BUL)
Assistant Referee 2: Georgi Doynov (BUL)
Fourth Official: Petar Dzhuganski (BUL)
Additional AR 1: Volen Chinkov (BUL)
Additional AR 2: Nikolay Yordanov (BUL)
Referee Observer: Joeri Van De Velde (BEL)

Bate Borisov – Mol Vidi
Referee: Carlos Del Cerro Grande (ESP)
Assistant Referee 1: Juan Yuste Jiménez (ESP)
Assistant Referee 2: Roberto Alonso Fernández (ESP)
Fourth Official: Raúl Cabañero Martínez (ESP)
Additional AR 1: José Sánchez Martínez (ESP)
Additional AR 2: Santiago Jaime Latre (ESP)
Referee Observer: Zoran Petrović (SRB)

Rangers – Villarreal
Referee: Matej Jug (SVN)
Assistant Referee 1: Matej Žunič (SVN)
Assistant Referee 2: Manuel Vidali (SVN)
Fourth Official: Tomislav Pospeh (SVN)
Additional AR 1: Nejc Kajtazovič (SVN)
Additional AR 2: Mitja Žganec (SVN)
Referee Observer: Stefan Messner (AUT)

Eintracht Frankfurt – Olympique de Marseille
Referee: John Beaton (SCO)
Assistant Referee 1: Alan Mulvanny (SCO)
Assistant Referee 2: Sean Carr (SCO)
Fourth Official: Stuart Stevenson (SCO)
Additional AR 1: Kevin Clancy (SCO)
Additional AR 2: Greg Aitken (SCO)
Referee Observer: Rodger Gifford (WAL)

Apóllon Limassol – Lazio
Referee: Roi Reinshreiber (ISR)
Assistant Referee 1: Danny Krasikow (ISR)
Assistant Referee 2: David Biton (ISR)
Fourth Official: Amihay Mozes (ISR)
Additional AR 1: Yigal Frid (ISR)
Additional AR 2: Daniel Natan (ISR)
Referee Observer: Niklas Líðarenda (FRO)

Sarpsborg – Beşiktaş
Referee: Harald Lechner (AUT)
Assistant Referee 1: Andreas Heidenreich (AUT)
Assistant Referee 2: Maximilian Kolbitsch (AUT)
Fourth Official: Andreas Staudinger (AUT)
Additional AR 1: Alexander Harkam (AUT)
Additional AR 2: Julian Weinberger (AUT)
Referee Observer: Igor Pristovnik (CRO)

Malmö FF – KRC Genk
Referee: Srdjan Jovanović (SRB)
Assistant Referee 1: Uroš Stojković (SRB)
Assistant Referee 2: Milan Mihajlović (SRB)
Fourth Official: Dragan Bogićević (SRB)
Additional AR 1: Lazar Lukić (SRB)
Additional AR 2: Zoran Široki (SRB)
Referee Observer: Peter Sippel (GER)

Standard de Liège – Sevilla FC
Referee: Daniel Siebert (GER)
Assistant Referee 1: Jan Seidel (GER)
Assistant Referee 2: Rafael Foltyn (GER)
Fourth Official: Christian Gittelmann (GER)
Additional AR 1: Sascha Stegemann (GER)
Additional AR 2: Benjamin Cortus (GER)
Referee Observer: Cyril Zimmermann (SUI)

FK Jablonec – Stade Rennais
Referee: Tiago Martins (POR)
Assistant Referee 1: Luís Campos (POR)
Assistant Referee 2: Ricardo Santos (POR)
Fourth Official: António Godinho (POR)
Additional AR 1: Hugo Miguel (POR)
Additional AR 2: João Capela (POR)
Referee Observer: David Malcolm (NIR)

Chelsea – PAOK
Referee: Kristo Tohver (EST)
Assistant Referee 1: Silver Kõiv (EST)
Assistant Referee 2: Aron Härsing (EST)
Fourth Official: Jaan Roos (EST)
Additional AR 1: Juri Frischer (EST)
Additional AR 2: Eiko Saar (EST)
Referee Observer: Gaetano De Gabriele (MLT)

FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup 2018 – Semi-finals

28 November 2018

Mexico – Canada
Referee: Anastasia Pustovoitova (RUS, photo)
Assistant Referee 1: Ekaterina Kurochkina (RUS)
Assistant Referee 2: Maria Sukenikova (SVK)
Fourth Official: Sandra Braz (POR)
Reserve AR: Mariana Almeida (ARG)

New Zealand – Spain
Referee: Yoshimi Yamashita (JPN)
Assistant Referee 1: Naomi Teshirogi (JPN)
Assistant Referee 2: Makoto Bozono (JPN)
Fourth Official: Laura Fortunato (ARG)
Reserve AR: Mary Blanco (COL)

UEFA Champions League – Group Stage (Matchday 5)

27 November 2018

AS Roma – Real Madrid
Referee: Clément Turpin (FRA, photo)
Assistant Referee 1: Nicolas Danos (FRA)
Assistant Referee 2: Cyril Gringore (FRA)
Fourth Official: Hicham Zakrani (FRA)
Additional AR 1: Ruddy Buquet (FRA)
Additional AR 2: Nicolas Rainville (FRA)
Referee Observer: William Young (SCO)

AEK Athens – AFC Ajax
Referee: Michael Oliver (ENG)
Assistant Referee 1: Stuart Burt (ENG)
Assistant Referee 2: Simon Bennett (ENG)
Fourth Official: Stephen Child (ENG)
Additional AR 1: Paul Tierney (ENG)
Additional AR 2: Andre Marriner (ENG)
Referee Observer: Haim Jakov (ISR)

CSKA Moskva – Viktoria Plzeň
Referee: Danny Makkelie (NED)
Assistant Referee 1: Mario Diks (NED)
Assistant Referee 2: Hessel Steegstra (NED)
Fourth Official: Rob van de Ven (NED)
Additional AR 1: Kevin Blom (NED)
Additional AR 2: Jochem Kamphuis (NED)
Referee Observer: Karen Nalbandyan (ARM)

Bayern München – SL Benfica
Referee: Daniele Orsato (ITA)
Assistant Referee 1: Lorenzo Manganelli (ITA)
Assistant Referee 2: Fabiano Preti (ITA)
Fourth Official: Alessandro Costanzo (ITA)
Additional AR 1: Paolo Mazzoleni (ITA)
Additional AR 2: Marco Guida (ITA)
Referee Observer: Manuel Díaz Vega (ESP)

TSG Hoffenheim – Shakhtar Donetsk
Referee: Ivan Kružliak (SVK)
Assistant Referee 1: Tomáš Somoláni (SVK)
Assistant Referee 2: Branislav Hancko (SVK)
Fourth Official: Tomáš Mókoš (SVK)
Additional AR 1: Peter Kráľovič (SVK)
Additional AR 2: Filip Glova (SVK)
Referee Observer: Marc Batta (FRA)

Olympique Lyonnais – Manchester City
Referee: Gianluca Rocchi (ITA)
Assistant Referee 1: Elenito Di Liberatore (ITA)
Assistant Referee 2: Mauro Tonolini (ITA)
Fourth Official: Matteo Passeri (ITA)
Additional AR 1: Luca Banti (ITA)
Additional AR 2: Daniele Doveri (ITA)
Referee Observer: Oğuz Sarvan (TUR)

Manchester United – Young Boys
Referee: Felix Brych (GER)
Assistant Referee 1: Mark Borsch (GER)
Assistant Referee 2: Stefan Lupp (GER)
Fourth Official: Markus Häcker (GER)
Additional AR 1: Bastian Dankert (GER)
Additional AR 2: Marco Fritz (GER)
Referee Observer: Paulius Malžinskas (LTU)

Juventus – Valencia
Referee: William Collum (SCO)
Assistant Referee 1: David McGeachie (SCO)
Assistant Referee 2: Graeme Stewart (SCO)
Fourth Official: Francis Connor (SCO)
Additional AR 1: Andrew Dallas (SCO)
Additional AR 2: Nicolas Walsh (SCO)
Referee Observer: Uno Tutk (EST)

28 November 2018
Atlético de Madrid – AS Monaco
Referee: Mattias Gestranius (FIN)
Assistant Referee 1: Jan-Peter Aravirta (FIN)
Assistant Referee 2: Mikko Alakare (FIN)
Fourth Official: Jukka Honkanen (FIN)
Additional AR 1: Antti Munukka (FIN)
Additional AR 2: Dennis Antamo (FIN)
Referee Observer: Jaap Uilenberg (NED)

Lokomotiv Moskva – Galatasaray
Referee: Antonio Mateu Lahoz (ESP)
Assistant Referee 1: Pau Cebrián Devís (ESP)
Assistant Referee 2: Roberto Díaz Pérez (ESP)
Fourth Official: Teodoro Sobrino Magán (ESP)
Additional AR 1: Xavier Estrada Fernández (ESP)
Additional AR 2: Alejandro Hernández Hernández (ESP)
Referee Observer: Levan Paniashvili (GEO)

Borussia Dortmund – Club Brugge
Referee: Gediminas Mažeika (LTU)
Assistant Referee 1: Vytautas Šimkus (LTU)
Assistant Referee 2: Vytenis Kazlauskas (LTU)
Fourth Official: Dovydas Sužiedėlis (LTU)
Additional AR 1: Donatas Rumšas (LTU)
Additional AR 2: Manfredas Lukjančukas (LTU)
Referee Observer: Luciano Luci (ITA)

PSV Eindhoven – FC Barcelona
Referee: Pavel Královec (CZE)
Assistant Referee 1: Ivo Nádvorník (CZE)
Assistant Referee 2: Kamil Hájek (CZE)
Fourth Official: Jakub Hrabovský (CZE)
Additional AR 1: Miroslav Zelinka (CZE)
Additional AR 2: Karel Hrubeš (CZE)
Referee Observer: Domenico Messina (ITA)

Tottenham Hotspur – Internazionale Milano
Referee: Cüneyt Çakır (TUR)
Assistant Referee 1: Bahattin Duran (TUR)
Assistant Referee 2: Tarık Ongun (TUR)
Fourth Official: Mustafa Eyisoy (TUR)
Additional AR 1: Hüseyin Göçek (TUR)
Additional AR 2: Barış Şimşek (TUR)
Referee Observer: Gylfi Orrason (ISL)

Paris Saint Germain – Liverpool FC
Referee: Szymon Marciniak (POL)
Assistant Referee 1: Paweł Sokolnicki (POL)
Assistant Referee 2: Tomasz Listkiewicz (POL)
Fourth Official: Radosław Siejka (POL)
Additional AR 1: Paweł Raczkowski (POL)
Additional AR 2: Tomasz Musiał (POL)
Referee Observer: Emil Božinovski (MKD)

SSC Napoli – Crvena Zvezda
Referee: Jesús Gil Manzano (ESP)
Assistant Referee 1: Ángel Nevado Rodríguez (ESP)
Assistant Referee 2: Diego Barbero Sevilla (ESP)
Fourth Official: Íñigo Prieto López (ESP)
Additional AR 1: Juan Martínez Munuera (ESP)
Additional AR 2: Ricardo de Burgos Bengoetxea (ESP)
Referee Observer: Michael Riley (ENG)

FC Porto – FC Schalke
Referee: Ovidiu Hațegan (ROU)
Assistant Referee 1: Octavian Șovre (ROU)
Assistant Referee 2: Sebastian Gheorghe (ROU)
Fourth Official: Radu Ghinguleac (ROU)
Additional AR 1: Radu Petrescu (ROU)
Additional AR 2: Sebastian Colțescu (ROU)
Referee Observer: Leslie Irvine (NIR)

Williams: “Perfection does not exist”

The problem with chasing perfection is that it doesn’t exist. That’s what I feel like we’re doing with Video Assistant Referees in football right now. VAR was introduced because the football community weren’t willing to trust referees or accept mistakes anymore. The new technology was supposed to make everything clear-cut. It was supposed to stop the howlers. Well, when you look at the media scrutiny of VAR since it was introduced, we seem to be ‘debating’ refereeing decisions more than ever before. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not against the use of technology, but it seems that we haven’t fixed a single thing. In fact, even when the right call has been made by VAR – as we saw with the Wanderers’ disallowed goal in the Sydney Derby – people still aren’t happy. I heard people argue that the technology shouldn’t have been used or that it wasn’t a foul or that Zullo ‘wouldn’t have got there anyway’. At the end of the day, the officials made a ruling. Michael was impeded by Jaushua Sotirio who was coming back from an offside position, and that stopped him defending the cross that led to Bonevacia’s goal. The officials were right to correct it. The FFA have since come out and said they want to set a higher threshold for when VAR can be used. They don’t want ‘nitpicking’. Now we’re trying to find a middle ground between assisting referees and interfering with the game, and everyone will have a different opinion on where that line is. What the Sydney Derby incident does tell me is that VAR doesn’t have an inherent technical flaw. The outrage was over a refusal to accept an interpretation of the Laws of the Game by a team of referees using the technology. In that case, the powers that be can tweak VAR as much as they want. It seems refereeing decisions will be argued about in coffee shops forever. And for me, the answer is simple. It’s something that has been lacking from Australian football for quite some time. Respect.
This isn’t democracy
People talk about refereeing decisions as if there is a debate to be had. We need to get real about one thing here: refereeing isn’t democratic. I don’t know whether it’s a part of our Aussie culture that goes back to the colonial days or what, but we struggle to show respect for people in authority. It doesn’t matter if we’re talking about a police officer, or in my case a qualified teacher and referee. Respect just isn’t there as a given. In football, a team of officials have been given a job after a stringent selection process, to go out there and make the tough calls. And they’ve been trained to do a better job at that than anyone else, under incredible pressure. That’s where the frustration lies for me, because I loved the challenge of honing my craft. I’m proud of my profession. With my friends Mathew Cream and Hakan Anaz, I travelled to 46 different countries refereeing tournaments: World Cup qualifiers, international friendlies and even a J-League derby between Urawa and Kashima at the Saitama Stadium during my exchange in Japan. When it comes to respect for referees, I can tell you that Australia is worse than many of those countries I have visited. I remember one incident from the 2014 World Cup in Brasil that illustrates this perfectly. I had to make a really tough call in my second match at the tournament, which was between Belgium and South Korea. It was 0-0 right before half-time when I saw one of the Belgian guys, Steven Defour, stomp on the leg of a Korean player. I knew at that moment that no one in the stadium – players, coaches or spectators – expected a red card. Still, I knew that the player must be sent off. The tough, but correct call, needed to be made. The tackle could have broken the Korean bloke’s leg and the slow-motion replays after the game would have showed that. I knew that if I didn’t act, my boss would be booking me a ticket home the next day. So, I trusted my gut. I told my team what I was going to do and they didn’t try to talk me down, so I walked over and issued a red card. Everyone in the stadium was stunned and I remember Kevin Mirallas and Marouane Fellaini coming over to ask what happened. But you know what? When I told them Steven had stomped on the Korean player’s leg and could have broken it, they just said, ‘OK, fair enough.’ I thought, ‘If I’d made that same decision in the A-League, the players would have gone absolutely berko and the fans would have been cursing me’. Even worse, I would have been brutally castigated in the media. At the World Cup, I was congratulated for making the right decision. My team and I went on to be appointed for a match in the round of 16 – the first Aussies at a men’s World Cup to be appointed past the group stage. Then I was back again in the quarter-finals as a Fourth Official for the match between Argentina and Belgium. There was an understanding, acceptance and professionalism around that incident that is often absent in Australia. I’ve seen our national teams and club sides struggle with this when they compete on the world stage and a decision goes against them. If you lose your head over a decision from the referee, mentally you’ve lost the game. For success at the highest level, we need to change. We need to rediscover the resilience many of our old national teams were famous for.
The cost of a big call
There are two other moments that stand out in my memory. The first is from a mid-week FFA Cup match where I had to send a defender from one team off for kicking an attacking player in the chest. I knew that it was 100 per cent the right call to make but after the match no one backed me up. The commentators had plenty of scathing things to say and they got the coach to say what they wanted – that I’d ruined the match and cost his team. It all blew up. I was supposed to be on the Melbourne Derby that weekend but there was such a media outcry that I was taken off the match. A different referee was appointed in my place. I’d been excited for the derby for ages as well, because those big games are the ones you look forward to, just the same as the players and fans do. It’s a huge buzz refereeing in front of big crowds like that. You can imagine how disappointing it was to miss out. It wasn’t long after that I flew to Kuala Lumpur for a training seminar at the AFC headquarters. As I was walking in, FIFA’s main instructor took me aside. He said he had one of my clips in his presentation. As you can imagine, I was more than a bit nervous to hear that. He said, ‘Yeah, the red card in the Cup. We’re using that as an example for other referees of what they should do.’ The way everything had panned out was laughable. In Australia, many people had hung me out to dry for that decision but here was FIFA, using it as an example of good refereeing. Talk about a lack of understanding and respect! The second incident was at the 2015 Asian Cup in Australia. I was appointed referee for a quarter-final in Canberra between two huge rivals – Iran and Iraq. We had known this was a potential match-up since the draw had been released, and that my team may be a chance of being appointed. With that in mind, I worked with my two assistant referees, Matthew Cream and Paul Cetrangolo, on our analysis before the tournament so we could be fully prepared. I was excited about the prospect of being tested in such a big match, in my hometown, in front of my family and friends. It was a match that certainly lived up to the hype! With Iran up 1-0 just before half-time, I had to caution one of their players for simulation in the penalty area. He was attempting to deceive me into awarding a penalty. I ran over and told him there was no foul and that he needed to get up. He refused to follow my requests and stayed down, insisting there had been a foul. After calmly asking a few times, I said again that there was no foul and that he needed to get on with the game or face a caution. He continued to delay, so he received a yellow card as he sat on the ground with his number obscured. As I ran back to halfway, the Iraqi players pointed out that it was his second yellow. I checked and saw it was indeed a player that had already been booked. The Laws of the Game are clear, so I showed the red card and he was sent off. In such a big match, the delay between the yellow and the red card caused the ‘controversy’. It wasn’t ideal, but it was the right thing to do for that player’s behaviour. I had to act. The match got even crazier after that. It was 1-1 after regular time, then 3-3 after extra time before Iraq won on penalties. It was one of the most intense games I’d ever been involved with as a referee and walking off the field I was confident in all the decisions my team had made. But once again, the Australian media castigated me and the way they attacked me framed how the match was reported on internationally by the world media. Thankfully, I’ve never been on social media. The Iranian fans went crazy and flooded the Facebook page of some other unsuspecting Ben Williams. I didn’t read any of the media or comments after the match, but my wife did. She saw all the death threats being made against us and our baby. As you can imagine, my wife didn’t feel safe staying in our own home that night. An Australian Federal Police officer had been assigned to each team of referees for the whole tournament. The officer looking after us said my family would be protected, but for me the line had already been crossed. Members of the Aussie media had fuelled the hatred, in turn jeopardizing the safety of my family. All over a decision that had been correct, albeit delayed. The Aussie commentators had made out like I was the worst person to ever take up the whistle. On the other hand, the AFC stood by my decision and backed me up, and when my performance was assessed, I received extremely high marks. In fact, the match had so many challenging moments that it became an example used by referee coaches throughout Asia. Unfortunately, in my career there were many other times where I felt misrepresented in the Australian media. In fact, it got to the point where I considered legal action for defamation because I have no doubt that there were refereeing appointments I missed out on because of what was said about me in the media and how I was portrayed. I see this as a problem for many officials. The greatest currency for a referee is credibility, and when that credibility is eroded by uninformed voices it diminishes a referee’s capacity to control a match and make the hard but fair calls. I know I was a referee that stuck to his guns and some people didn’t like that. If I’d not had any success outside of Australia maybe I could understand my critics saying ‘You know what, mate, you weren’t that good,’ but I won’t cop that, because I did achieve a lot internationally. With the help of my team, I managed to get into the top 10 referees in the world and was voted best in the AFC. I refereed at FIFA tournaments, the Olympics and even the Asian Champions League Final. I didn’t stop and think much about all that at the time. It’s only since my career ended that I’ve been able to sit back, reflect, and feel a great sense of pride at what I achieved. There’s one thing I never got the chance to do, though. I never got to referee an A-League Grand Final. That kind of says it all really. Mind you, I wouldn’t trade my experiences internationally for that A-League GF!
Why we need to change
The younger officials just starting out now are the people I feel really bad for in all this. All those young boys and girls who will give up their lives for football, to go out there and do what they love, with the dream of representing Australia on the international stage one day. As it stands, they won’t receive the gratitude or respect they deserve for the sacrifices they make for the game. All they’ll get is criticism and anger for the small number of mistakes that are inevitable for any referee finding their feet at the elite level. Referees are marked against decision-making KMIs and achieve percentiles high in the 90s. You could argue that is much higher than the players! Star strikers will sometimes shoot the ball over the bar from six yards out, or a goalkeeper will fail to make an easy save. Still, the media never seem to go after those players in the same way they do with referees. Why can’t we just accept that referees will get it correct far more often than they get it wrong? It’s a tall-poppy syndrome and it extends beyond how we treat officials. I’ve seen top Socceroos brought down in the same way when they’ve come back to play in the A-League. One error and they’re crucified for it. It’s sad because that makes other Socceroos start thinking, ‘Well, why would I come back to play in Australia and put myself through that?’ We’re only hurting ourselves in all this and that’s why Australian football needs to change. I think it all comes down to education. There would be more respect for referees if people were less ignorant of what we actually do. We don’t just ‘rock up’ on match day, see how we feel, and blow a whistle. Self-analysis. Coaching and peer mentoring. Video analysis of tactics, teams and players. Discussing decision-making with other elite officials and coaches around the world. These are just some of the things we do each and every week to stay at the top of our game. Refereeing is physically demanding as well and it’s our own money that we spend to make sure our bodies can keep pace with the quickest players in the world. Getting on the park each week takes massage, acupuncture, running technique coaches and advice from nutritionists. Mentally, you might even need sessions with a sports psychologist. There’s more to refereeing than meets the eye! In recent years, we’ve been trying to educate people more about the preparation required. At the 2014 World Cup, the legendary Brazilian footballer Zico loaned his football facility in Rio de Janeiro to FIFA for the referees to use as a training base. He understood that referees need support to perform at the highest level and wanted us to have the best. After we’d settled in, the Head of Referees put on an open training session for the media. More than 160 members of the media from all around the world came to watch and speak with us. They lapped it up, because it was all stuff they’d never seen before. We took that idea into the 2015 Asian Cup in Australia and hosted a similar day in Sydney. Media came from as far as Japan and the Middle East but no one from Australia, even though it was in our own backyard. It’s unfortunate, because our commentators and journalists are the ones who could have benefitted most, I think. It’s important because the public often hear the commentary and read what’s in the newspapers and take that information as gospel. But when it comes to the ‘expert commentary’ regarding referees, it is ill-informed and unbalanced. In my opinion, the Australian media’s relationship with domestic clubs is often too close. Many Aussie commentators are ex-players who may have been sent off by the referees they are now commentating on. With the platform they now have, it’s easy for them to voice their own opinions, or even ask players and coaches for headlines, to feed outrage. That outrage can suit coaches as well because it’s an opportunity to deflect pressure away from their team. It’s easier for them to blame a referee instead of having to answer for their team’s poor performance. I think our media let coaches off too easily by providing them with this out. In some other countries, football analysts see through these smoke-screens and hold teams to account for the betterment of the game.
The one thing I miss
In the two-and-a-half years before the 2014 World Cup, I spent 400 days overseas. It got to the point where I’d be at the airport getting ready to fly out again, and my daughter would be pleading, ‘Daddy please don’t go.’ It breaks your heart and changes your perspective on things, that’s for sure. From that point, chasing a football around the world became less important. I decided to give up refereeing in 2016 after 25 years in the profession. It was time for me to focus on my family. My wife knew me well before my football career really took off and she has supported me in achieving my dreams, even when we were going through some really tough times. We lost our first daughter just a couple of months before the Olympics in 2012, and my Dad passed away nine days after I got back from the 2014 World Cup. Life has so many highs and lows. My wife was my strength off the field. She and my family kept me grounded, supporting me through it all. Away from home, Matthew Cream and Hakan Anaz were the best teammates I could have hoped for. I’m endlessly grateful because they were always there for me. I’m not sharing this information to seek pity – just as a reminder that referees are human. We have strengths and weaknesses and we’re certainly not infallible. I made mistakes in my career, but I can tell you that I got it right far more than I got it wrong. I want the next generation to get the right support. I don’t want them to miss out on the same magnificent ride that I was blessed to experience. I want them to go on and surpass my achievements and for our country to be proud of them. Do I miss running out in front of 100,000 people? Bloody oath! But I don’t miss the negative press or the countless training hours. I don’t miss red-eye flights back from Perth, Japan or the Middle East and catching a taxi straight from the airport to work. I don’t miss flying out again the next day to referee an A-League game, again and again. I don’t miss suffering financially for taking leave from work, just to represent my country. I don’t miss the sacrifices and moments missed with family. What I do miss, is running out into a cauldron atmosphere with your best mates and getting an absolute box seat for some of the best football in the world. Nothing can replace that. Those memories, they will live with me forever.

Source: PlayersVoice