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

Men

Elite
Deniz Aytekin (GER), Benoit Bastien (FRA), Felix Brych (GER), Cüneyt Cakir (TUR), William Collum (SCO), 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), Luca Banti (ITA), John Beaton (SCO), Ivan Bebek (CRO), Vladislav Bezborodov (RUS), Kevin Blom (NED), Tamas Bognar (HUN), Sergii Boiko (UKR), Ruddy Buquet (FRA), Carlos Del Cerro Grande (ESP), Sebastien Delferiere (BEL), Andreas Ekberg (SWE), Aleksei Eskov (RUS), Javier Estrada Fernandez (ESP), Mattias Gestranius (FIN), Pawel Gil (POL), Hüseyin Göcek (TUR), Serdar Gözübüyük (NED), Manuel Gräfe (GER), 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), Paolo Mazzoleni (ITA), 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), Oliver Drachta (AUT), Simon Evans (WAL), 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), Charalampos Kalogeropoulos (GRE), 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), Robert Madley (ENG), Juan Martinez Munuera (ESP), Dimitar Meckarovski (MKD), Vitaly Meshkov (RUS), Hugo Miguel (POR), Benoît Millot (FRA), 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), Ivaylo Stoyanov (BUL), Paul Tierney (ENG), Vilhjalmur Thorarinnsson (ISL), Kristo Tohver (EST), Leontios Trattou (CYP), Siarhei Tsynkevich (BLR), Michael Tykgaard (DEN), Halil Umut Meler (TUR), Paolo Valeri (ITA), Pol van Boekel (NED), Bart Vertenten (BEL), Carlos Xistra (POR).

Third Category
Kari a Hovdanum (FRO), Alexandr Aliyev (KAZ), Sandor Ando-Szabo (HUN), Aleksandrs Anufrijevs (LVA), Stefan Apostolov (BUL), Alexandros Aretopoulos (GRE), Furkat Atazhanov (KAZ), Mykola Balakin (UKR), Suren Baliyan (ARM), Veaceslav Banari (MDA), Luca Barbeno (SMR), Jason Barcelo (GIB), Luis Branco Godinho (POR), Jörgen Burchardt (DEN), Volen Chinkov (BUL), Timotheos Christofí (CYP), Vasilis Dimitriou (CYP), Nenad Djokic (SRB), Luis Do Nascimento Teixeira (AND), Alain Durieux (LUX), Espen Eskas (NOR), Trustin Farrugia Cann (MLT), Horatiu Fesnic (ROU), Yigal Frid (ISR), George Gaman (ROU), Aleksandrs Golubevs (LVA), Iwan Griffith (WAL), Danilo Grujic (SRB), Kristoffer Hagenes (NOR), Eldorjan Hamiti (ALB), Rahim Hasanov (AZE), Robert Hennessy (IRL), Thoroddur Hjaltalin (ISL), Zaven Hovhannisyan (ARM), Christopher Jäger (AUT), Dejan Jakimovski (MKD), Krzysztof Jakubik (POL), Jari Järvinen (FIN), 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), Giorgi Kruashvili (GEO), Nicolas Laforge (BEL), Erik Lambrechts (BEL), Manfredas Lukjancukas (LTU), Stavros Mantalos (GRE), Boris Marhefka (SVK), Bryn Markham-Jones (WAL), Tim Marshall (NIR), Dimitrios Masias (CYP), Aleksei Matiunin (RUS), Paul McLaughlin (IRL), Ian McNabb (NIR), Milovan Milacic (MNE), Dumitru Muntean (MDA), Tomasz Musial (POL), Bojan Nikolic (SRB), Genc Nuza (KVX), Glenn Nyberg (SWE), Rade Obrenovic (SVN), Michal Ocenas (SVK), Pavel Orel (CZE), Igor Pajac (CRO), Ioannis Papadopoulos (GRE), Erez Papir (ISR), Omar Pashayev (AZE), Tihomir Pejin (CRO), Christophe Pires Martins (LUX), Anders Poulsen (DEN), Radek Prihoda (CZE), Zbynek Proske (CZE), Donald Robertson (SCO), Vitaly Romanov (UKR), Rohit Saggi (NOR), Daniyar Sakhi (KAZ), Fedayi San (SUI), Joao Santos Capela (POR), Urs Schnyder (SUI), Admir Sehovic (BIH), Dzianis Shcharbakou (BLR), Denys Shurman (UKR), Joao Silva Pinheiro (POR), Kai Steen (NOR), Duje Strukan (CRO), Roomer Tarajev (EST), Alexandru Tean (MDA), Stanislav Todorov (BUL), Alex Troleis (FRO), Lionel Tschudi (SUI), Alper Ulusoy (TUR), George Vadachkoria (GEO), Petri Viljanen (FIN), Mikhail Vilkov (RUS), Lawrence Visser (BEL), Nick Walsh (SCO), Julian Weinberger (AUT), Juxhin Xhaja (ALB), Fyodor Zammit (MLT), Mario Zebec (CRO).

Women

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

First Category
Vesna Budimir (CRO), Amy Fearn (ENG), Marta Frias Acedo (ESP), Cheryl Foster (WAL), Desiree Grundbacher (SUI), Sofia Karagiorgi (CYP), Zuzana Kovacova (SVK), Ivana Martincic (CRO), Melis Ozcigdem (TUR), Petra Pavlikova (SVK), Silvia Rosa Domingos (POR), Marte Soro (NOR), Eszter Urban (HUN).

Second Category
Eleni Antoniou (GRE), Ewa Augustyn (POL), Julia Baier (AUT), 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), Tess Olofsson (SWE), Lois Otte (BEL), Vivian Peeters (NED), Graziella Pirriatore (ITA), Barbara Poxhofer (AUT), Ivana Projkovska (MKD), Viola Raudzina (LVA), Angelika Soeder (GER), Tanja Subotic (SVN), Karolina Tokarska (POL), Volha Tsiareshka (BLR),Rebecca Welch (ENG).

Third Category
Ainara Acevedo Dudley (ESP), Victoria Beyer (FRA), Sabina Bolic (CRO), Briet Bragadottir (ISL), Catarina Ferreira Campos (POR), Merima Celik (BIH), Aleksandra Cesen (SVN), Tinna Christensen (DEN), Solen Dallongeville (FRA), Iuliana Demetrescu (ROU), Emilie Rodahl Dokset (NOR), Galiya Echeva (BUL), Valentina Finzi (ITA), Chryso Georgíou (CYP), Yuliya Gurbanova (AZE), Liliya Hasanova (KAZ), Lizzy van der Helm (NED), Rasa Imanalijeva (LTU), Jeļena Jermolajeva (LVA), Hanna Kaplainen (FIN), Veronika Kovarova (CZE), Ifeoma Kulmala (FIN), Sabayel Kuzutürk (AZE), Triinu Laos (EST), Katarzyna Lisiecka-Sek (POL), Irina Lyussina (BEL), Jurgita Macikunyte (LTU), Maria Martinez Madrona (ESP), 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), Araksya Saribekyan (ARM), Meitar Shemesh (ISR), Rachel Shkuri (ISR), Shona Shukrula (NED), 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).

Futsal

Elite
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), Oleg Ivanov (UKR), Borislav Kolev (BUL), Gabor Kovacs (HUN), Timo Onatsu (FIN), Cedric Pelissier (FRA), Ivan Shabanov (RUS), Bogdan Sorescu (ROU), Sasa Tomic (CRO), Admir Zahovic (SVN).

First Category
Josip Barton (MKD), Victor Berg Audic (FRA), Moshe Bohbot (ISR), Vasileios Christodoulis (GRE), Nuno Costa Bogalho (POR), Swen Eichler (GER), Trayan Enchev (BUL), Balazs Farkas (HUN), Nikola Jelic (CRO), Vladimir Kadykov (RUS), Pascal Lemal (BEL), Alessandro Malfer (ITA), Alejandro Martinez Flores (ESP), Costas Nicolaou (CYP), Lukas Pesko (SVK), Ozan Soykan (TUR), Barry Weijers (NED).

Second Category
Veljko Boskovic (MNE), Michalis Christofides (CYP), Daniele Di Resta (ITA), Ibrahim El Jilali (NED), Hennadii Hora (UKR), Tarik Keco (BIH), Kalin Kinov (BUL), Nicola Manzione (ITA), Daniel Matkovic (SUI), Kirill Naishouler (FIN), Iuri Neverov (RUS), Fredric Nilholt (SWE), Arsen Nonikashvili (GEO), Peter Nurse (ENG), Yusif Nurullayev (AZE), Miguel Oliveira Castilho (POR), Ruben Pinto Guerreiro (POR), Patrik Porkert (AUT), Ingus Purins (LVA), Petar Radojcic (SRB), Damir Radovic (SRB), Vladan Radulovic (SRB), Vitali Rakutski (BLR), Simon Rogers (IRL), Elchin Samadli (AZE), David Schaerli (SUI), Aleksandras Sliva (LTU), Simon Todorovic (SVN), Andrej Topic (CRO), Yaroslav Vovchok (UKR), Stefan Vrijens (BEL), Grigori Zelentsov (RUS).

Third Category
Olzhas Abrayev (KAZ), Antonios Adamopoulos (GRE), Nikola Aleksic (SRB), Ademir Avdic (SWE), Vedran Babic (CRO), Mario Belavy (SVK), Rastislav Behancin (SVK), Besar Beqiri (KVX), Guy Berger (ISR), David Berry (IRL), Juan Boelen (BEL), Mario Bohun (SVK), Viktor Bugenko (MDA), Clinton Cassar (MLT), Serhat Celik (TUR), Martin Cilek (CZE), Vlad Ciobanu (ROU), Christos Christou (CYP), Vasilica Ciuplea (WAL), Ovidiu Curta (ROU), Daniele D’Adamo (SMR), Danijel Darandik (GER), Daniel Deca (ROU), Maksim Dzeikala (BLR), Eduards Fatkulins (LVA), David Glavonjic (SWE), Kreshnik Hakrama (ALB), Ingo Heemsoth (GER), Tom-Joran Henriksen (NOR), Yevhen Hordiienko (UKR), Carl Hughes (WAL), Besart Ismajli (KVX), Damian Jaruchiewicz (POL), Shota Khukhilava (GEO), Kaloyan Kirilov (BUL), Jan Kliner (CZE), Konstantinos Kommatas (GRE), Talgat Kosmukhambetov (KAZ), Jan Kresta (CZE), Julien Lang (FRA), Toni Lehtinen (FIN), Marjan Mladenovski (MKD), Ales Mocnik (SVN), Ramil Namazov (AZE), Olli Niemela (FIN), David Nissen (DEN), Grigori Osomkov (EST), Jacob Pawlowski (GER), Igor Puzovic (BIH), Hikmat Qafarli (AZE), Omar Rafiq (NOR), Gerard Ramirez (AND), Sylvester Rodrigues (NED), Marco Rothenfluh (SUI), Sabit Selvi (TUR), Oren Simanian (ISR), Zyl Sheriff (GIB), Slawomir Steczko (POL), Norbert Szilagyi (HUN), Sarunas Tamulynas (LTU Adalbjorn Thornsteisson (ISL), Adrian Tschopp (SUI), Aurelien Uzan (FRA), Lars Van Leeuwen (NED), Matthew Vella (MLT), Dejan Veselic (SVN), Andrzej Witkowski (POL),Yiangos Yiangou (CYP).

UEFA: Referees Bastien, Gil Manzano and Soares Dias promoted to Elite

The UEFA Referees Committee approved the referee categories for the first half of the season 2018/2019. Benoit Bastien, Jesus Gil Manzano (photo), Artur Soares Dias (men) and Florence Guillemin (women) were promoted to Elite Category, while Gerald Bauernfeind (futsal) was demoted to First Category. The changes take effect on 1 July 2018.


Men

Retired from Elite: Martin Atkinson (ENG), Jonas Eriksson (SWE), David Fernandez Borbalan (ESP).

Promoted from First Category to Elite: Benoit Bastien (France), Jesus Gil Manzano (Spain), Artur Soares Dias (Portugal).

Retired from First Category: Liran Liani (ISR), Clayton Pisani (MLT).

Demoted from First Category to Second Category: Oliver Drachta (AUT), Simon Lee Evans (WAL).

Promoted from Second Category to First Category: Aliyar Agayev (AZE), Srdjan Jovanović (SRB), Georgi Kabakov (BUL), Davide Massa (ITA), Craig Pawson (ENG), Daniel Siebert (GER).

Promoted from Third Category to Second Category: Mohammed Al-Hakim (SWE),Fabio Costa Verissimo (POR), Juri Frischer (EST), Filip Glova (SVK), Robert Harvey (IRL), Dennis Higler (NED), Kirill Levnikov (RUS), Jens Maae (DEN), Halil Umut Meler (TUR), Anastasios Papapetrou (GRE), Donatas Rumsas (LTU), Vilhjalmur Thorarinsson (ISL),

Retired/removed from Third Category: Mykola Kryvonosov (UKR), Irakli Kvirikashvili (GEO), Dragan Petrovic (BIH).

Women

Promoted from First Category to Elite: Florence Guillemin (FRA).

Promoted from Second Category to First Category: Marta Frias Acedo (ESP), Silvia Rosa Domingos (POR), Desiree Grundbacher (SUI), Melis Ozcigdem (TUR), Cheryl Foster (WAL).

Promoted from Third Category to Second Category: Hristiana Guteva (BUL), Frida Klarlund Nielsen (DEN), Viola Raudzina (LVA).

Retired/removed from Third Category: Michaela Fritz (AUT), Dimitra Tsaganou (GRE), Ruth Wright (NIR), Cristina Paraluta (ROU), Marina Krupskaya (RUS), Cansu Tryak (TUR), Liudmila Telbukh (UKR).

Futsal

Demoted from Elite to First Category: Gerald Bauernfeind (AUT).

Promoted from Second Category to First Category: Victor Berg Audic (FRA).

Demoted from First Category to Second Category: Elchin Samadli (AZE).

Promoted from Third Category to Second Category: Yusif Nurullayev (AZE), Stefan Vrijens (BEL), Ingus Purins (LVA), Petar Radojcic (SRB), Daniel Matkovic (SUI), Yaroslav Vovchok (UKR).

Updated List of Match Officials for FIFA World Cup 2018

With reference to the current situation of the Saudi referee Fahad Al Mirdasi, the FIFA Referees Committee has considered that the conditions to be selected for the 2018 FIFA World Cup are not satisfied anymore and therefore has decided that the selection of Fahad Al Mirdasi is withdrawn with immediate effect. In line with FIFA’s overall philosophy of seeking to appoint match officials together as a team of three during the preparation, the FIFA Referees Committee has therefore also decided to remove the two assistant referees Mohammed Al Abakry and Abdulah Al-Shalwai, who were in referee Al Mirdasi’s team. The Saudi Arabian Football Federation (SAFF) and the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) have been officially informed. The FIFA Referees Committee has taken the decision not to directly replace referee Al Mirdasi. However, two assistant referees - Hasan Al-Mahri (UAE) and Hiroshi Yamauchi (JPN) - will be nominated for the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia to work as assistant referees to Mohammed Abdulla (UAE) and Ryuji Sato (JPN) respectively, who have already been appointed to officiate at the tournament. (Source: FIFA)


AFC

Referee: Alireza Faghani (IRN, 1978)
Assistant Referee 1: Reza Sokhandan (IRN, 1974)
Assistant Referee 2: Mohammadreza Mansouri (IRN, 1978)

Referee: Ravshan Irmatov (UZB, 1977)
Assistant Referee 1: Abduxamidullo Rasulov (UZB, 1976)
Assistant Referee 2: Jakhongir Saidov (UZB, 1979)

Referee: Abdulla Mohammed (UAE, 1978)
Assistant Referee 1: Mohamed Al-Hammadi (UAE, 1984)
Assistant Referee 2: Hasan Al-Mahri (UAE, 1978)

Referee: Ryuji Sato (JPN, 1977)
Assistant Referee 1: Toru Sagara (JPN, 1976)
Assistant Referee 2: Hiroshi Yamauchi (JPN, 1979)

Referee: Nawaf Shukralla (BHR, 1976)
Assistant Referee 1: Yaser Abdulla (BHR, 1974)
Assistant Referee 2: Taleb Al Marri (QAT, 1988)

Video Assistant Referee:
Abdulrahman Al Jassim (QAT, 1987)

CAF

Referee: Mehdi Abid Charef (ALG, 1980)
Assistant Referee 1: Abdelhak Etchiali (ALG, 1981)
Assistant Referee 2: Anouar Hmila (TUN, 1974)

Referee: Malang Diedhiou (SEN, 1973)
Assistant Referee 1: Djibril Camara (SEN, 1983)
Assistant Referee 2: El Hadji Samba (SEN, 1979)

Referee: Bakary Gassama (GAM, 1979)
Assistant Referee 1: Jean Birumushahu (BDI, 1972)
Assistant Referee 2: Marwa Range (KEN, 1977)

Referee: Ghead Grisha (EGY, 1976)
Assistant Referee 1: Redouane Achik (MAR, 1972)
Assistant Referee 2: Waleed Ahmed (SDN, 1974)

Referee: Janny Sikazwe (ZAM, 1979)
Assistant Referee 1: Jerson Dos Santos (ANG, 1983)
Assistant Referee 2: Zakhele Siwela (RSA, 1982)

Referee: Bamlak Tessema (ETH, 1980)

CONCACAF

Referee: Mark Geiger (USA, 1974)
Assistant Referee 1: Joe Fletcher (CAN, 1976)
Assistant Referee 2: Frank Anderson (USA, 1975)

Referee: Cesar Ramos (MEX, 1983)
Assistant Referee 1: Marvin Torrentera (MEX, 1971)
Assistant Referee 2: Miguel Hernandez (MEX, 1977)

Referee: Joel Aguilar (SLV, 1975)
Assistant Referee 1: Juan Zumba (SLV, 1982)

Referee: Jair Marrufo (USA, 1977)
Assistant Referee: Corey Rockwell (USA, 1974)

Referee: Ricardo Montero (CRC, 1986)
Assistant Referee 2: Juan Mora (CRC, 1989)

Referee: John Pitti (PAN, 1978)
Assistant Referee 2: Gabriel Victoria (PAN, 1973)

CONMEBOL

Referee: Julio Bascunan (CHI, 1978)
Assistant Referee 1: Carlos Astroza (CHI, 1976)
Assistant Referee 2: Christian Schiemann (CHI, 1977)

Referee: Enrique Caceres (PAR, 1974)
Assistant Referee 1: Eduardo Cardozo (PAR, 1982)
Assistant Referee 2: Juan Zorrilla (PAR, 1975)

Referee: Andres Cunha (URU, 1976)
Assistant Referee 1: Nicolas Taran (URU, 1980)
Assistant Referee 2: Mauricio Espinosa (URU, 1972)

Referee: Nestor Pitana (ARG, 1975)
Assistant Referee 1: Hernan Maidana (ARG, 1972)
Assistant Referee 2: Juan Belatti (ARG, 1979)

Referee: Sandro Ricci (BRA, 1974)
Assistant Referee 1: Emerson De Carvalho (BRA, 1972)
Assistant Referee 2: Marcelo Van Gasse (BRA, 1976)

Referee: Wilmar Roldan (COL, 1980)
Assistant Referee 1: Alexander Guzman (COL, 1985)
Assistant Referee 2: Cristian De La Cruz (COL, 1978)

Video Assistant Referees:
1. Wilton Sampaio (BRA, 1981)
2. Gery Vargas (BOL, 1981)
3. Mauro Vigliano (ARG, 1975)

OFC

Referee: Matthew Conger (NZL, 1978)
Assistant Referee 1: Simon Lount (NZL, 1981)
Assistant Referee 2: Tevita Makasini (TGA, 1976)

Referee: Norbert Hauata (TAH, 1979)
Assistant Referee: Bertrand Brial (NCL, 1979)

UEFA

Referee: Felix Brych (GER, 1975)
Assistant Referee 1: Mark Borsch (GER, 1977)
Assistant Referee 2: Stefan Lupp (GER, 1978)

Referee: Cuneyt Cakir (TUR, 1976)
Assistant Referee 1: Bahattin Duran (TUR, 1975)
Assistant Referee 2: Tarik Ongun (TUR, 1973)

Referee: Sergei Karasev (RUS, 1979)
Assistant Referee 1: Anton Averianov (RUS, 1973)
Assistant Referee 2: Tikhon Kalugin (RUS, 1974)

Referee: Bjorn Kuipers (NED, 1973)
Assistant Referee 1: Sander van Roekel (NED, 1974)
Assistant Referee 2: Erwin Zeinstra (NED, 1977)

Referee: Antonio Mateu Lahoz (ESP, 1977)
Assistant Referee 1: Pau Cebrian Devis (ESP, 1979)
Assistant Referee 2: Roberto Diaz Perez (ESP, 1976)

Referee: Szymon Marciniak (POL, 1981)
Assistant Referee 1: Pawel Sokolnicki (POL, 1980)
Assistant Referee 2: Tomasz Listkiewicz (POL, 1978)

Referee: Milorad Mazic (SRB, 1973)
Assistant Referee 1: Milovan Ristic (SRB, 1974)
Assistant Referee 2: Dalibor Djurdjevic (SRB, 1973)

Referee: Gianluca Rocchi (ITA, 1973)
Assistant Referee 1: Elenito Di Liberatore (ITA, 1973)
Assistant Referee 2: Mauro Tonolini (ITA, 1973)

Referee: Damir Skomina (SVN, 1976)
Assistant Referee 1: Jure Praprotnik (SVN, 1985)
Assistant Referee 2: Robert Vukan (SVN, 1976)

Referee: Clement Turpin (FRA, 1982)
Assistant Referee 1: Nicolas Danos (FRA, 1980)
Assistant Referee 2: Cyril Gringore (FRA, 1972)

Video Assistant Referees:
1. Bastian Dankert (GER, 1980)
2. Artur Dias Soares (POR, 1979)
3. Pawel Gil (POL, 1976)
4. Massimiliano Irrati (ITA, 1979)
5. Danny Makkelie (NED, 1983)
6. Tiago Martins (POR, 1980)
7. Daniele Orsato (ITA, 1975)
8. Paolo Valeri (ITA, 1978)
9. Felix Zwayer (GER, 1976)

International Friendly Matches

May - June 2018

Saudi Arabia – Greece
Referee: Carlos Del Cerro Grande (ESP, photo)
Assistant Referee 1: Juan Yuste Jimenez (ESP)
Assistant Referee 2: Roberto Alonso Fernandez (ESP)
Fourth Official: Jesus Gil Manzano (ESP)

Kuwait – Egypt
Referee: Ovidiu Haţegan (ROU)
Assistant Referee 1: Sebastian Gheorghe (ROU)
Assistant Referee 2: Octavian Sovre (ROU)
Fourth Official: Ali Hasan Shaban (KUW)

Cameroon – Burkina Faso
Referee: Benoit Millot (FRA)
Assistant Referee 1: David Mateus (LUX)
Assistant Referee 2: Tom Hansen (LUX)
Fourth Official: Mehdi Mokhtari (FRA)

France – Ireland
Referee: Georgi Kabakov (BUL)
Assistant Referee 1: Diyan Valkov (BUL)
Assistant Referee 2: Martin Margaritov (BUL)
Fourth Official: Nikola Popov (BUL)

Portugal – Tunisia

Referee: Luca Banti (ITA)
Assistant Referee 1: Filippo Meli (ITA)
Assistant Referee 2: Alessandro Costanzo (ITA)
Fourth Official: Daniele Doveri (ITA)
VAR: Marco Di Bello (ITA)
AVAR: Gianluca Vuoto (ITA)

Italy – Saudi Arabia
Referee: Sandro Schärer (SUI)
Assistant Referee 1: Bekim Zogaj (SUI)
Assistant Referee 2: Stéphane De Almeida (SUI)
Fourth Official: Remy Zgraggen (SUI)

Bosnia and Herzegovina – Montenegro
Referee: Dimitar Mečkarovski (MKD)
Assistant Referee 1: Dejan Nedelkoski (MKD)
Assistant Referee 2: Goce Petreski (MKD)
Fourth Official: Dejan Jakimovski (MKD)

Mexico – Wales
Referee: Armando Villarreal (USA)
Assistant Referee 1: Charles Morgante (USA)
Assistant Referee 2: Eduardo Mariscal (USA)
Fourth Official: Ismail Elfath (USA)

Turkey – Iran
Referee: Valentin Kovalenko (UZB)
Assistant Referee 1: Ruslan Serazitdinov (UZB)
Assistant Referee 2: Alisher Usmanov (UZB)
Fourth Official: Hüseyin Göçek (TUR)

Malta – Armenia
Referee: Julian Weinberger (AUT)
Assistant Referee 1: Andreas Heidenreich (AUT)
Assistant Referee 2: Robert Steinacher (AUT)
Fourth Official: Alexander Harkam (AUT)

Albania – Kosovo

Referee: Alain Bieri (SUI)
Assistant Referee 1: Jean-Yves Wicht (SUI)
Assistant Referee 2: Alain Heiniger (SUI)
Fourth Official: Bekim Zogaj (SUI)

Peru – Scotland
Referee: Fernando Guerrero (MEX)
Assistant Referee 1: Alberto Morín (MEX)
Assistant Referee 2: Pablo Hernández (MEX) 

Fourth Official: Michael Espinoza (PER)

Panama – Northern Ireland
Referee: Henry Bejarano (CRC)
Assistant Referee 1: Carlos Fernández (CRC)
Assistant Referee 2: Osvaldo Luna (CRC)
Fourth Official: Hugo Cruz (CRC)

Argentina – Haiti
Referee: Arnaldo Samaniego (PAR)
Assistant Referee 1: Rodney Aquino (PAR)
Assistant Referee 2: Roberto Canete (PAR)

Azerbaijan – Kyrgyzstan
Referee: Ali Palabıyık (TUR)
Assistant Referee 1: Serkan Olguncan (TUR)
Assistant Referee 2: İbrahim Uyarcan (TUR)
Fourth Official: Alper Ulusoy (TUR)

Austria – Russia
Referee: Bas Nijhuis (NED)
Assistant Referee 1: Mario Diks (NED)
Assistant Referee 2: Hessel Steegstra (NED)
Fourth Official: Kevin Blom (NED)

Estonia – Lithuania
Referee: Andris Treimanis (LVA)
Assistant Referee 1: Haralds Gudermanis (LVA)
Assistant Referee 2: Aleksejs Spasjonnikovs (LVA)
Fourth Official: Neeme Neemlaid (EST)

Japan – Ghana
Referee: Christopher Beat (AUS)
Assistant Referee 1: Matthew Cream (AUS)
Assistant Referee 2: Owen Goldrick (AUS)
Fourth Official: Jumpei Iida (JPN)
VAR: Craig Zetter (AUS)
AVAR: Luke Brennan (AUS)

Chile – Romania
Referee: Christopher Jäger (AUT)
Assistant Referee 1: Christian Rigler (AUT)
Assistant Referee 2: Andreas Staudinger (AUT)
Fourth Official: Christian Ciochirca (AUT)

Moldova – Congo
Referee: Robert Schörgenhofer (AUT)
Assistant Referee 1: Markus Gutschi (AUT)
Assistant Referee 2: Andreas Heidenreich (AUT)
Fourth Official: Walter Altmann (AUT)

Luxembourg – Senegal
Referee: Javier Estrada Fernández (ESP)
Assistant Referee 1: Javier Aguilar Rodríguez (ESP)
Assistant Referee 2: Manuel Fernandes (AND) 

Fourth Official: Luis Teixeira (AND)

Morocco – Ukraine
Referee: Sandro Schärer (SUI)
Assistant Referee 1: Marco Zürcher (SUI)
Assistant Referee 2: Vital Jobin (SUI)
Fourth Official: Alain Bieri (SUI)

France – Italy
Referee: Anthony Taylor (ENG)
Assistant Referee 1: Lee Betts (ENG)
Assistant Referee 2: Adam Nunn (ENG)
Fourth Official: Craig Pawson (ENG)
VAR: Neil Swarbrick (ENG)
AVAR: Michael McDonough (ENG)

Egypt – Colombia
Referee: Paolo Mazzoleni (ITA)
Assistant Referee 1: Fabiano Preti (ITA)
Assistant Referee 2: Matteo Passeri (ITA)
Fourth Official: Luca Banti (ITA)

Slovakia – Netherlands
Referee: Bartosz Frankowski (POL)
Assistant Referee 1: Marcin Boniek (POL)
Assistant Referee 2: Dawid Golis (POL)
Fourth Official: Peter Kralovic (SVK)

Australia – Czech Republic
Referee: Alexander Harkam (AUT)
Assistant Referee 1: Andreas Witschnigg (AUT)
Assistant Referee 2: Robert Steinacher (AUT)
Fourth Official: Harald Lechner (AUT)

Malta – Georgia
Referee: Manuel Schüttengruber (AUT)
Assistant Referee 1: Roland Brandner (AUT)
Assistant Referee 2: Stefan Kühr (AUT)

Fourth Official: Christopher Jäger (AUT)

Korea – Bosnia and Herzegovina
Referee: Peter Green (AUS)
Assistant Referee 1: Ashley Beecham (AUS)
Assistant Referee 2: Ryan Gallagher (AUS)

Turkey – Tunisia
Referee: Fedayi San (SUI)

Assistant Referee 1: Alain Heiniger (SUI)
Assistant Referee 2: Jan Köbeli (SUI)
Fourth Official: Stephane De Almeida (SUI)

Belgium – Portugal
Referee: Viktor Kassai (HUN)
Assistant Referee 1: István Albert (HUN)
Assistant Referee 2: Theodoros Georgiou (HUN)
Fourth Official: Ferenc Karakó (HUN)

Austria – Germany
Referee: Pavel Královec (CZE)
Assistant Referee 1: Ivo Nádvorník (CZE)
Assistant Referee 2: Kamil Hájek (CZE)
Fourth Official: Petr Ardeleánu (CZE)

Sweden – Denmark
Referee: Tobias Stieler (GER)
Assistant Referee 1: Mike Pickel (GER)
Assistant Referee 2: Jan Seidel (GER)
Fourth Official: Christian Dingert (GER)

England – Nigeria
Referee: Marco Guida (ITA)
Assistant Referee 1: Riccardo Di Fiore (ITA)
Assistant Referee 2: Alessandro Giallatini (ITA)
Fourth Official: Davide Massa (ITA)
VAR: Michael Fabbri (ITA)
AVAR: Giulio Dobosz (ITA)

Iceland – Norway
Referee: Jonas Eriksson (SWE)
Assistant Referee 1: Mathias Klasenius (SWE)
Assistant Referee 2: Daniel Wärnmark (SWE)
Fourth Official: Vilhjalmur Thorarinsson (ISL)

Latvia – Estonia
Referee: Manfredas Lukjancukas (LTU)

Assistant Referee 1: Aleksandr Radius (LTU)
Assistant Referee 2: Vladimir Gerasimov (LTU)
Fourth Official: Aleksandrs Anufrijevs (LVA)

Montenegro – Slovenia
Referee: Igor Pajаć (CRO)
Assistant Referee 1: Ivica Modrić (CRO)

Assistant Referee 2: Bojan Zobenica (CRO)
Fourth Official: Jovan Kaludjerović (MNE)

Ireland – USA

Referee: Andrew Dallas (SCO)
Assistant Referee 1: Sean Carr (SCO)
Assistant Referee 2: Jordan Stokoe (SCO)
Fourth Official: Robert Hennessy (IRL)

Albania – Ukraine
Referee: François Letexier (FRA)
Assistant Referee 1: Cyril Mugnier (FRA)
Assistant Referee 2: Raffael Zeder (SUI)
Fourth Official: Salem El Hadj (FRA)

Brazil – Croatia
Referee: Michael Oliver (ENG)
Assistant Referee 1: Stuart Burt (ENG)

Assistant Referee 2: Simon Bennett (ENG)
Fourth Official: Paul Tierney (ENG)

Costa Rica – Northern Ireland

Referee: Fernando Guerrero (MEX)
Assistant Referee 1: Alberto Morin (MEX)
Assistant Referee 2: Mario Lopez (MEX)
Fourth Official: Juan Calderon (CRC)

Mexico – Scotland
Referee: Henry Bejarano (CRC)
Assistant Referee 1: Carlos Fernandez (CRC)
Assistant Referee 2: William Arrieta (CRC)
Fourth Official: Oscar Macias (MEX)

Honduras – El Salvador
Referee: Ted Unkel (USA)
Assistant Referee 1: Charles Morgante (USA)
Assistant Referee 2: Apolinar Mariscal (USA)
Fourth Official: Armando Villarreal (USA)

Spain – Switzerland
Referee: István Kovács (ROU)

Assistant Referee 1: Vasile Marinescu (ROU)
Assistant Referee 2: Vladimir Urzica (ROU)
Fourth Official: Juan Martínez Munuera (ESP)

Kosovo – Cote d’Ivoire
Referee: Adrien Jaccottet (SUI)
Assistant Referee 1: Vital Jobin (SUI)
Assistant Referee 2: Stéphane De Almeida (SUI)
Fourth Official: Lionel Tschudi (SUI)

Saudi Arabia – Peru
Referee: Fedayi San (SUI)
Assistant Referee 1: Remy Zgraggen (SUI)
Assistant Referee 2: Sladan Josipovic (SUI)
Fourth Official: Bekim Zogaj (SUI)

Italy – Netherlands
Referee: Vladislav Bezborodov (RUS)
Assistant Referee 1: Maksim Gavrilin (RUS)
Assistant Referee 2: Valeri Danchenko (RUS)

Fourth Official: Marco Di Bello (ITA)

Andorra – Cape Verde
Referee: Fabio Costa Verissimo (POR)
Assistant Referee 1: Ricardo Ferreira (POR)
Assistant Referee 2: Rui Teixeira (POR)
Fourth Official: Joao Capela (POR)

Congo – Malta

Referee: Christopher Jäger (AUT)
Assistant Referee 1: Roland Riedel (AUT)
Assistant Referee 2: Andreas Staudinger (AUT)
Fourth Official: Oliver Drachta (AUT)

Moldova – Armenia
Referee: Manuel Schüttengruber (AUT)
Assistant Referee 1: Roland Brandner (AUT)
Assistant Referee 2: Christian Rigler (AUT)
Fourth Official: Andreas Heiss (AUT)

Serbia – Chile
Referee: Alexander Harkam (AUT)
Assistant Referee 1: Andreas Witschnigg (AUT)
Assistant Referee 2: Stefan Kühr (AUT)
Fourth Official: Christian Ciochirca (AUT)

Slovakia – Morocco
Referee: Lionel Tschudi (SUI)
Assistant Referee 1: Raffael Zeder (SUI) 

Assistant Referee 2: Jean-Yves Wicht (SUI)
Fourth Official: Stephane De Almeida (SUI)

Romania – Finland

Referee: Robert Harvey (IRL)
Assistant Referee 1: Wayne McDonnell (IRL)
Assistant Referee 2: Mark Gavin (IRL)
Fourth Official: Marius Avram (ROU)

Luxembourg – Georgia
Referee: Iwan Griffith (WAL)
Assistant Referee 1: Gareth Jones (WAL)
Assistant Referee 2: Ian Bird (WAL)

Fourth Official: Christophe Pires (LUX)

Kazakhstan – Azerbaijan
Referee: Alexandru Tean (MDA)
Assistant Referee 1: Andrei Bodean (MDA)
Assistant Referee 2: Victor Mardari (MDA)

Fourth Official: Dumitru Muntean (MDA)

Lithuania – Latvia
Referee: Kristo Tohver (EST)
Assistant Referee 1: Silver Koiv (EST)
Assistant Referee 2: Aron Härsing (EST)
Fourth Official: Donatas Simėnas (LTU)

Russia – Turkey

Referee: Ovidiu Hațegan (ROU)
Assistant Referee 1: Octavian Șovre (ROU)
Assistant Referee 2: Sebastian Gheorghe (ROU)

Fourth Official: Alexei Eskov (RUS)

Belarus – Hungary
Referee: Sergei Lapochkin (RUS)
Assistant Referee 1: Viacheslav Semenov (RUS)
Assistant Referee 2: Aleksei Lebedev (RUS)

Belgium – Egypt

Referee: Anastasios Sidiropoulos (GRE) 
Assistant Referee 1: Polychronis Kostaras (GRE)
Assistant Referee 2: Chrysoula Kourompylia (GRE)
Fourth Official: Anastasios Papapetrou (GRE)

Nigeria – Czech Republic
Referee: Julian Weinberger (AUT)
Assistant Referee 1: Maximilian Kolbitsch (AUT)
Assistant Referee 2: Andreas Heidenreich (AUT)
Fourth Official: Markus Hameter (AUT)

Norway – Panama
Referee: Serdar Gözübüyük (NED)
Assistant Referee 1: Dave Goossens (NED)
Assistant Referee 2: Joost van Zuilen (NED)

Fourth Official: Pol van Boekel (NED)

Belarus – Hungary
Referee: Sergey Lapochkin (RUS)
Assistant Referee 1: Vyacheslav Semenov (RUS)
Assistant Referee 2: Aleksey Lebedev (RUS)

Andorra – Cape Verde
Referee: Fabio Costa Veríssimo (POR)
Assistant Referee 1: Ricardo Ferreira (POR)
Assistant Referee 2: Rui Martins (POR)
Fourth Official: João Capela (POR)

England – Costa Rica

Referee: Hiroyuki Kimura (JPN)
Assistant Referee 1: Hiroshi Yamauchi (JPN)
Assistant Referee 2: Jun Mihara (JPN)
Fourth Official: Yusuke Araki (JPN)

Estonia – Morocco
Referee: Marius Avram (ROU)
Assistant Referee 1: Valentin Avram (ROU)
Assistant Referee 2: Mircea Orbulet (ROU)
Fourth Official: Veiko Motsnik (EST)

Uruguay – Uzbekistan
Referee: Raphael Claus (BRA)
Assistant Referee 1: Danilo Manis (BRA)
Assistant Referee 2: Bruno Pires (BRA)
Fourth Official: Leodan Gonzalez (URU)

Portugal – Algeria
 
Referee: Craig Pawson (ENG)
Assistant Referee 1: Lee Betts (ENG)
Assistant Referee 2: Ian Hussin (ENG)
Fourth Official: Stuart Attwell (ENG)
VAR: Neil Swarbrick (ENG)
AVAR: Michael McDonough (ENG)

Switzerland – Japan 

Referee: Amaury Delerue (FRA)
Assistant Referee 1: Guillaume Debart (FRA)
Assistant Referee 2: Bertrand Jouannaud (FRA)

Fourth Official: Sladjan Josipovic (SUI)

Croatia
 Senegal
Referee: Adam Farkas (HUN)
Assistant Referee 1: Balazs Buzas (HUN)
Assistant Referee 2: Balazs Szert (HUN)
Fourth Official: Tihomir Pejin (CRO)

Korea – Bolivia

Referee: Robert Schörgenhofer (AUT)
Assistant Referee 1: Markus Gutschi (AUT)
Assistant Referee 2: Stefan Kühr (AUT)
Fourth Official: Manuel Schüttengruber (AUT)

Germany – Saudi Arabia
Referee: Slavko Vinčić (SVN)
Assistant Referee 1: Tomaž Klančnik (SVN)
Assistant Referee 2: Grega Kordež (SVN)
Fourth Official: Rade Obrenovič (SVN)

Poland – Chile
Referee: Paolo Mazzoleni (ITA)
Assistant Referee 1: Filippo Meli (ITA)
Assistant Referee 2: Fabiano Preti (ITA)
Fourth Official: Daniel Stefanski (POL)
VAR: Marco Di Bello (ITA)

AVAR: Sergio Ranghetti (ITA)

Iran – Lithuania
Referee: Alexei Eskov (RUS)
Assistant Referee 1: Dmitri Mosyakin (RUS)
Assistant Referee 2: Igor Demeshko (RUS)

Israel – Argentina

Referee: Jesús Gil Manzano (ESP)
Assistant Referee 1: Ángel Nevado Rodríguez (ESP)
Assistant Referee 2: Juan Yuste Jiménez (ESP)

Serbia – Bolivia
Referee: Christopher Jäger (AUT)
Assistant Referee 1: Roland Riedel (AUT)
Assistant Referee 2: Maximilian Kolbitsch (AUT)

Fourth Official: Gerhard Grobelnik (AUT)

Iran 
 Lithuania
Referee: Alexei Eskov (RUS)
Assistant Referee 1: Dmitri Mosyakin (RUS)
Assistant Referee 2: Igor Demeshko (RUS)

Finland – Belarus

Referee: Alain Durieux (LUX)
Assistant Referee 1: Claude Ries (LUX)
Assistant Referee 2: David Mateus (LUX)

Fourth Official: Christophe Pires (LUX)

France – USA
Referee: William Collum (SCO)
Assistant Referee 1: David McGeachie (SCO)
Assistant Referee 2: Graeme Stewart (SCO)
Fourth Official: Donald Robertson (SCO)

Sweden – Peru
Referee: Svein Oddvar Moen (NOR)
Assistant Referee 1: Kim Haglund (NOR)
Assistant Referee 2: Magnus Lundberg (NOR)
Fourth Official: Ola Hobber Nilsen (NOR)

Latvia – Azerbaijan
Referee: Dzianis Shcharbakou (BLR)

Assistant Referee 1: Yuri Khomchanka (BLR)
Assistant Referee 2: Andrei Hetsikau (BLR)

Fourth Official: Aleksandrs Anufrijevs (LVA)

Hungary – Australia
Referee: Matej Jug (SVN)
Assistant Referee 1: Manuel Vidali (SVN)
Assistant Referee 2: Tomislav Pospeh (SVN)
Fourth Official: Nejc Kajtazovič (SVN)

Spain – Tunisia 
Referee: Bas Nijhuis (NED)
Assistant Referee 1: Jan de Vries (NED)
Assistant Referee 2: Charles Schaap (NED)
Fourth Official: Kevin Blom (NED)
VAR: Pol van Boekel (NED)
AVAR: Siemen Mulder (NED)

Austria – Brazil
Referee: Viktor Kassai (HUN)
Assistant Referee 1: Oszkar Lemon (HUN)
Assistant Referee 2: Zsolt Varga (HUN)
Fourth Official: Sandor Ando-Szabo (HUN)

Belgium – Costa Rica
Referee: Ovidiu Hațegan (ROU)
Assistant Referee 1: Octavian Șovre (ROU)
Assistant Referee 2: Sebastian Gheorghe (ROU)
Fourth Official: Radu Petrescu (ROU)

Korea – Senegal
Referee: Harald Lechner (AUT)
Assistant Referee 1: Maximilian Kolbitsch (AUT)
Assistant Referee 2: Andreas Staudinger (AUT)
Fourth Official: Julian Weinberger (AUT)

Japan – Paraguay
Referee: Oliver Drachta (AUT)
Assistant Referee 1: Roland Brandner (AUT)
Assistant Referee 2: Christian Rigler (AUT)
Fourth Official: Robert Schörgenhofer (AUT)

Poland – Lithuania
Referee: Kevin Blom (NED)
Assistant Referee 1: Rob van de Ven (NED)
Assistant Referee 2: Jan de Vries (NED)
Fourth Official: Paweł Raczkowski (POL)
VAR: Pol van Boekel (NED)
AVAR: Jeroen Manschot (NED)

Collina : “UEFA is facing a change in refereeing”

The head of Europe’s referees, the Italian Pierluigi Collina, has backed Michael Oliver over his decision to award that dramatic late penalty for Real Madrid against Juventus in their Champions League semi-final second leg, later dismissing Gianluigi Buffon for his subsequent aggression. Collina, 58, UEFA’s chief refereeing officer was speaking ahead of the Champions League final in Kiev for the first time about the incident that saw the English referee at the eye of the storm, and his wife Lucy subject to online threats. Buffon has since apologised for the extent of his attack on Oliver during and then after the game, and the Italy international has been charged by UEFA. On Oliver giving a penalty for Medhi Benatia’s collision with Lucas Vazquez, Collina said it was “a penalty correctly given”. “It’s an interpretation of the incident. The referee saw what happened, he made an assessment and made a decision.” Collina defended his decision to appoint Oliver to the match despite his relative lack of experience. He said: “I can only say one thing: the referee for that match had 199 Premier League matches at that point. I refereed 240 matches in Serie A in my whole career.” Nevertheless, in a wide-ranging interview, Collina admitted that mistakes by other referees had meant that the standard in the Champions League this season had fallen below the standards he expects and that UEFA needs to develop a new generation of officials to replace those retiring. He said that Leroy Sane’s disallowed goal against Liverpool in the second leg of Manchester City’s quarter-final, refereed by Spaniard Antonio Mateu Lahoz should have stood. He also said that Slovenian referee Damir Skomina should have given Roma a penalty for a handball by Trent Alexander-Arnold in the second leg of Liverpool’s semi-final.
Speaking about refereeing in the Champions League and Europa League in 2017-2018, Collina said that he had been pleased with the standard of the previous two seasons and at Euro 2016. “The refereeing was considered a very high standard. We were very, very happy. There may have been one or two that weren’t as expected but the full picture was positive. We were expecting another successful season [in 2017-2018]. We have to admit and be honest when things don’t go as expected. Some things were not as expected. We are already working for the next season. We are trying to understand why we were not as successful as before. It would be easy for us to say we were unlucky. Being lucky is one of the reasons you are successful but it’s not the main reason.” He said that UEFA was facing “a change in refereeing”. “We had some referees who retired in the last years, referees who were involved in top matches. Carlos Velasco (Spain), Mark Clattenburg (England), Nicola Rizzoli (Italy), Martin Atkinson (England). Losing these referees means we need a new generation of referees. We can’t trade like clubs do with players and bring them in from Asia and South America. We need to work with the ‘academy’. We need to build up new referees and offer them experiences. Building up a reputation and a name, it’s a matter of how you are known. When there is change it can happen that a season is not so successful.” On the mistakes themselves, Collina pointed out that in the second leg in Rome the players themselves had not reacted to the Alexander-Arnold incident. “Daniele De Rossi asked Dzeko, ‘What happened?’ and Dzeko said ‘Nothing’. On the field, the Roma players didn’t realise. It was a handball and a penalty but human beings did not notice the incident. I was watching on TV and only after three replays I saw it. The commentators didn’t realise.” For the Sane goal, when the ball was inadvertently played to him by James Milner, Collina said that decision “was not an interpretation. It was a matter of fact. It was who touched the ball last, before it went to Alexander-Arnold? Defender or attacker?”
Collina explained that there were huge problems introducing VAR across the Champions League – a much more complicated challenge than at a World Cup or Confederations’ Cup staged in a few venues in a single country. Also chairman of FIFA’s referees committee, he said that World Cup officials has been part of a two and a half year programme to introduce them to VAR involving training and seminars. VAR would be operated from a central location in Moscow. He said that bringing all footage into UEFA’s centre in Nyon in Switzerland was fraught with problems including dealing with a range of broadcasters across Europe. “If someone in Russia decides to dig his garden and cuts the fibre the feed doesn’t arrive in Nyon. There is a back-up satellite, but at Euro 2012 there was a strong in Donetsk which cut the satellite. No-one could see the France - Ukraine game.” UEFA has chosen, like the Premier League, not to introduce VAR next season. “With all respect to other competitions, we care about the Champions League,” Collina said. “We cannot say that because it is not easy we mustn’t do it. We will work and go through all details but it takes time. When it happens will depends on of we are ready or not. The league with the biggest revenue in the world [the Premier League] wants to be sure before they start with VAR – we are the same.” On the issue of whether aggression towards referee in elite games filtered down to abuse and attacks on referees at grassroots, Collina said that he was not convinced there was a link but that the game did have a responsibility. “We need to be careful because the young referees at grassroots level are constantly at risk and we need them in the community. “Football helps people to grow and work together and stay together to achieve a goal together, which is all part of life. Instead of people being grateful, they are attacking referees. How is that possible? We need to be very careful about every message we give. I don’t know if there is a clear link between bad behaviour at the elite level and referee attacks at grassroots. We need to take any action to protect referees who give service to all the community”.

Snoddy: “Mazic had all the attributes to succeed”

While most packed into Kiev's Olympic Stadium will only have eyes for the superstars on the pitch, one man at the Champions League final will take a special interest in the performance of the man in charge. Former World Cup referee Alan Snoddy first met Champions League final referee Milorad Mazic in 2010. The Carryduff man mentored the Serbian in his early refereeing days. His invite fulfils a promise Mazic made should he make it to the top. "Milorad had always joked with me that if he got a major final he would issue the invitation", Snoddy said. "True to his word, he's delivered after this long journey we have had together."
The Liverpool - Real Madrid final comes eight years after the Serb and the World Cup referee from Carryduff first met at a UEFA referee's talent programme. Snoddy, who officiated at Mexico 86 and Italia 90, was one of four mentors chosen to pass on their know-how-to some of Europe's most promising refs. In the years since the two men have kept in touch, and Snoddy has kept a close eye on his former student's rise to the top. "I followed Milorad very closely for a few years officially, watching his games, watching his highlights and clips from matches and giving him the best coaching advice that I could assist him with." While the programme came to a close, the friendship between the men endured. "We always kept in touch. We would always have been discussing his performance after each game as he moved up the ranks," the Northern Irish referee added. He said even as a young man, the Serb had all the attributes to succeed. "He was always extremely fit, he always wanted to pay attention to the small details. He was never satisfied after his games, even if they'd gone particularly well. He wanted to work hard, he listened to the advice. And step by step as he moved up the European ladder he continued to improve and develop," he said. The former World Cup ref said the final invitation came as "a tremendous surprise". The teacher and pupil had been joking for years about an invitation if and when Mazic got the big game call. "When he didn't receive the semi-final appointment this season, I think we thought that perhaps that this was his best opportunity," he added. Mazic's former mentor has only one hope for his former pupil - that when the full time whistle sounds "no one is talking about the referee". 

Source: BBC

Urs Meier: “You will be happy if nothing has happened”

Serbian referee Milorad Mazic will take charge of the Champions League final between Liverpool and Real Madrid in Kiev on May 26 and it will be the biggest match the 45-year-old has officiated, having overseen last year's FIFA Confederations Cup final and the 2016 UEFA Super Cup.
ESPN spoke with former referee Urs Meier, who took charge of the 2002 final between Real and Bayer Leverkusen at Hampden Park, for insight into what it's like to be the man in the middle of such a huge occasion.
Q. When you find out you're going to be officiating a Champions League final, what's the feeling like?
A. As a referee you know you've only got one Champions League final and a lot of top referees never reach it. It's really something special. The pressure is much higher than in the semi-finals because the whole world will look on this final and you know there is no chance for mistakes.
Q. In terms of preparing for the game, Liverpool have been in Spain doing some warm-weather training. Does something similar happen for referees?
A. It's a good idea to relax and get the mind free from the final. If you can, you try to go away with your family and not think about the final or football. Not thinking too much about the final is very important. As a referee, I think it's always good to go to a place where you are happy. If you're happy in the mountains or by the sea, you have to go there for three, four or five days and enjoy a good hotel, good food and then you are all relaxed. Your mind is free from the pressure and you can start [to prepare] for Kiev.
Q. Do you do homework on the game itself? For example, studying the players on each team?
A. All these referees [in consideration] for the final are really experienced. They've watched other referees for these teams and they have watched the teams on the television in the semi-finals, quarter-finals for many years. You know exactly the teams and the players that are playing. For me, there was not special preparation for my final because I knew the Real Madrid team and I knew the Leverkusen side. I knew exactly what I had to look for.
Q. With all the pressure that's on the officials, how do you are feel in the hours before the game?
A. The night before the game it's better if you can go to a very good restaurant to eat some good food together with your team and the delegates from UEFA. There has to be a relaxed atmosphere in this restaurant. Sometimes it's better that you drink good wine the night before, but not too much, of course - a good glass of red wine. Then you have to go to bed in a good hotel and have to sleep, not thinking too much about the final or football. When you do think about the final you're thinking with positive pictures, not negative. In my preparation for all the important games, I always had the same pictures in my mind before sleeping. It was at the final whistle and both teams went to each other and shook hands, the people in the stadium stood up and gave a big hand for the teams and also the referee. Everybody was happy. This was always my picture when I went to bed, not what could happen if I miss a handball, miss a penalty or send off a player with a wrong red card. The next day is more or less the same. You get up, have a good breakfast with your team. You go to the stadium, make a small city tour with the delegates, and have a good lunch. Then you go to bed for two or three hours, relax and then you prepare with your team and go to the stadium. It's more or less the same procedure in the other games. You can't change something because it's the final. You have to think that it's a normal game.
Q. After a long wait you lead the teams out and walk past the trophy. That must be a proud moment?
A. In this time you're happy that you can finally go to the pitch. The pressure was before. The problem always in the Euros, World Cup and Champions League final is that you have a lot of people - a lot of very important people - who come from UEFA, from everywhere to your dressing room with a lot of questions about the balls, the kits, etc. In a normal game - the semi-final, for example - you have a maximum of three or four people in the dressing room. In a final like this, you have 10 people come in with some questions. You're really happy when you can finally get to the pitch. It's a special moment when you walk in the stadium with the teams, the cup is there, the ball is there and all the atmosphere is fantastic. You are part of the final and you know this is the moment to start the whole ceremony. You're happy and proud.
Q. Then when the game has finally kicked off, do you notice any difference in the behaviour of players during the game?
A. In finals, normally the behaviour of players is better than in the semi-finals or quarter-finals because they know they are in focus. Normally the players in the finals are really polite and it's different. [It's like] the semi-finals and quarter-finals are normal working days for the players and the final is a Sunday, so they come into church and are more polite! It's the same with the coaches.
Q. We often see players go down with cramp in finals, especially when it goes to extra-time. Does fatigue play a part with referees, too?
A. For the referees, of course, but they have to have enough physical power to make extra-time and to be fit in the mind. If they are not able to do this, it would be a disaster in extra-time. You have to be concentrated, especially in this time. It's always the same. The good referees are strong at the end of the game, not just in the beginning. At the end of the game they have to be very strong because the players are not as fit as they were in the beginning. So they make more mistakes and are sometimes one second or one metre too late and have to do something special - holding, pushing or make a foul. In this time you have to be strong and fit as a referee. This is the difference between a good referee and a very good referee.
Q. Then when you blow the final whistle, it must be great relief?
A. Normally you know exactly after the final whistle if you've had a good game or a not-so-good game. If you've had a good game then you're really happy. Sometimes when you go from the pitch to the dressing room and you are out of the focus from the cameras, the people, the whole pressure goes away and you are crying because you are so happy with this performance - not only for yourself, but for your team of officials. In the other case, you know exactly if a team or both teams aren't happy - perhaps it was a mistake in a crucial situation and you got it wrong. Sometimes you are really alone in the dressing room. Nobody is speaking with you, the delegates come in and it's a heavy atmosphere - nobody is happy. You know the critics will be huge on you. This is really the worst thing that can happen to a referee in such a game. After 20-25 years, it's your biggest moment in your career and you've worked for such a moment. You'll be happy if nothing has happened.

Source: ESPN

Sanchez Arminio replaced by Velasco Carballo as the new CTA President

On the day when he was elected RFEF president, Luis Rubiales was clear that there will be changes in the Spanish refereeing: "There will be changes. The best that Sánchez Arminio could do is to resign, as he supported Larrea". Well, the president of the CTA did not like the form or the place chosen by Rubiales to send him his request, which is why he refused to resign. Arminio considered that this was a lack of respect for a person who has dedicated his whole life to refereeing and the CTA itself. He considered that there was no reason to submit his resignation and, even less, in the current circumstances. In addition, he feels appreciated and recognized by the referee group, which recognizes his legacy. Rubiales had no choice but to declare his dismissal and this has happened. This Tuesday, he appointed Velasco Carballo, as anticipated. But there will be more changes. Diaz Vega would not continue as technical director, since it could be covered by Medina Cantalejo or Rubinos, although the latter also count for the Segunda B and Third Division, among whose functions is the recruitment of new talents. Clos Gómez will be director of the VAR and Marisa Villa would continue to lead the women's refereeing. All dismissals and appointments will be formalized at the first meeting of the Board of Directors chaired by Luis Rubiales. (Source: Iusport)


Velasco Carballo: "We need a 21st century refereeing"
The Spanish referees have a new boss. Carlos Velasco Carballo (Madrid, 1971) is the one elected by the new president of the RFEF to chair the Technical Committee. He replaces Victoriano Sánchez Arminio, who has spent more than two decades leading with a heavy hand a collective often weighed down by Villar's resistance to modernization. Everything is going to change now. In fact, Velasco Carballo can boast of having arrived at his post not because of a loyal fidelity and defense of the leader, as in other times, but exclusively because of his preparation. He was even working for La Liga (with the VAR), and, despite the differences that Rubiales and Tebas maintain, this has not prevented them from choosing him for the position.
- How will the refereeing change now, after 25 years of Victoriano Sánchez Arminio?
- Well, we are starting from the legacy that he has transmitted to the Committee and, from there, continue building on it. The main ideas are to invest a lot in training, transparency is one of our priorities, we are closer to the environment, we support the referees of the future (without them we will not succeed). You have to train and help the territories.
- And more modernity, I suppose. 
- Of course, new technologies. Modernize and professionalize the referee structure. We need a 21st century refereeing, where we are leaders internationally. It is one of the strong bets we have and I believe that my international positions can help that. 
- Of the few things that Rubiales advanced as soon as he was named, he wanted the referees to retire at age 47. Do you agree? 
- Well, in all the operative things of the future, my priority will always be that the CTA revolves around the referees. They are the center and the others are our support. I would like to sit down with the referees and, among all of us, let's see what the main lines that affect the entire group are. We will analyze all the consequences that could be derived and we will make the best decision. 
- A question people ask themselves on the street: when we will be able to see a woman referee in Spanish professional soccer? 
- All weekends they referee in Spain in other categories. Evidently, one of the great bets of the RFEF is women's football and, within it, also in the CTA. It will remain a priority. I would like to see a Spanish woman referee appointed to a Champions League final and World Cups (although we already had an assistant referee in a World Cup final - Yolanda Parga). 
- So we do not risk much if we say that during Velasco Carballo's term we will see women officiating in Primera Division? 
- During the mandate of Velasco Carballo, we will be very strong for female referees and we will help with all our strength, especially because I believe a lot in them. 
- Are referees going to talk more? Are we going to know them better? 
- My clear answer is that my intention is that they should be closer to the environment, that we know each other more, that people know how we work and how we prepare ourselves, because that helps a lot to understand our profession and, with that, also understand our mistakes and our hits, which are many more. The clear intention is that it be so. 
- The way to make the referee appointments for the matches, will it change? 
- At the moment it is included in the collaboration agreement between La Liga and the RFEF, so today there is no debate. It is something that has always been discussed and discussed, and we have always said that any system of appointing the referees have done well. They have adapted to everyone, so it will be studied in the future, but we have always responded to any system. 
- The last question. A madrileño. Would you understand that your appointment raised some suspicion in Barcelona
- I am sure that the people who know me and have followed my career for more than 30 years in football know my professionalism. For a referee there are no colors, there are no territories or there is nothing more than two teams among which you try to do justice every weekend. After 30 years, I do not need to defend my honesty or my impartiality. It is proven by my trajectory, I do not think it is necessary to bring it up, this is the truth. (Source: Marca)

Whistle Stop Tour 2018

Premier League referee Martin Atkinson is swapping his whistle for wheels this summer as he embarks on an epic 1700 mile cycle from England to Russia for the World Cup. Martin will be flanked by fellow riders Mike Tomlinson and Darren Clark, representing the Jane Tomlinson Appeal for the duration of the ride, and as in 2016, the riders will again be supported by Chris Sanders from 1st Class Events and Barry Phillipson from Smart Therapy Studios, the trio will be joined by other riders throughout their journey, including Atkinson’s fellow professional referee Jon Moss, Jim Butters, who led the 2016 challenge, Paul Edmondson, and Mick McGuire from James Grant Sports.
The #WhistleStopTour2018 starts at St. George’s Park on Monday, June 11, and the team will travel through France, Belgium, Holland, Germany and Poland before reaching their destination in Kaliningrad 18 days later to watch England face Belgium in their World Cup clash on Thursday, June 28. The ride is all in the name of charity, with the money raised being split between the St David’s Hospice Care Newport, University Hospitals - Coventry & Warwickshire Charity, Yorkshire Young Achievers Foundation and The Jane Tomlinson Appeal. Atkinson said: “It’s going to be a huge challenge, but it’s one I think we’re all relishing. In 2016 we cycled to all 20 Premier League grounds, which totalled around 1000 miles, so we’re really upping the ante for this one. We’ve been saying it’ll be 18 days of hurt, but it’s all for some brilliant charities, so we’re ready to go through that pain barrier! We want to raise as much money as we possibly can, so any donation, large or small would be gratefully received”.

Source: WST2018

OFC Champions League Final 2018 (Second Leg)

20 May 2018

Lautoka – Wellington
Referee: Norbert Hauata (TAH, photo)
Assistant Referee 1: Philippe Revel (TAH)
Assistant Referee 2: Bertrand Brial (NCL)
Fourth Official: David Yareboinen (PNG)

Copa Libertadores – Group Stage (Matchday 8)

22-24 May 2018

Universidad de Chile – Vasco Da Gama
Referee: Gery Vargas (BOL, photo)
Assistant Referee 1: Edwar Saavedra (BOL)
Assistant Referee 2: Reluy Vallejos (BOL)
Fourth Official: Ivo Méndez (BOL)
Referee Assessor: Martín Vásquez (URU)

Cruzeiro – Racing Club
Referee: Andrés Rojas (COL)
Assistant Referee 1: Alexander Guzmán (COL)
Assistant Referee 2: Eduardo Díaz (COL)
Fourth Official: Carlos Herrera (COL)
Referee Assessor: Carlos Torres (PAR)

Cerro Porteño – Monagas
Referee: Fernando Espinoza (ARG)
Assistant Referee 1: Ezequiel Brailovsky (ARG)
Assistant Referee 2: Maximiliano Del Yesso (ARG)
Fourth Official: Fernando Echenique (ARG)
Referee Assessor: Hugo Muñoz (CHI)

Gremio – Defensor Sporting
Referee: Nicolás Gallo (COL)
Assistant Referee 1: Humberto Clavijo (COL)
Assistant Referee 2: Dionisio Ruiz (COL)
Fourth Official: Carlos Betancur (COL)
Referee Assessor: Rodolfo Otero (ARG)

River Plate – Flamengo
Referee: Andres Cunha (URU)
Assistant Referee 1: Mauricio Espinosa (URU)
Assistant Referee 2: Nicolas Taran (URU)
Fourth Official: Jonathan Fuentes (URU)
Referee Assessor: Ubaldo Aquino (PAR)

Emelec – Independiente Santa Fe 

Referee: Piero Maza (CHI)
Assistant Referee 1: Carlos Astroza (CHI)
Assistant Referee 2: Christian Schiemann (CHI)
Fourth Official: Eduardo Gamboa (CHI)
Referee Assessor: César Escano (PER)

Santos – Real Garcilaso
Referee: Alexis Herrera (VEN)
Assistant Referee 1: Luis Murillo (VEN)
Assistant Referee 2: Jorge Urrego (VEN)
Fourth Official: Marlon Escalante (VEN)
Referee Assessor: Manuel Bernal (PAR)

Estudiantes De La Plata – Nacional
Referee: Mario Diaz de Vivar (PAR)
Assistant Referee 1: Eduardo Cardozo (PAR)
Assistant Referee 2: Dario Gaona (PAR)
Fourth Official: Julio Quintana (PAR)
Referee Assessor: Carlos Herrera (ECU)

Atlético Nacional – Colo Colo
Referee: Néstor Pitana (ARG)
Assistant Referee 1: Hernan Maidana (ARG)
Assistant Referee 2: Juan Belatti (ARG)
Fourth Official: Silvio Trucco (ARG)
Referee Assessor: Candelario Andarcia (VEN)

Bolívar – Delfín
Referee: Wilton Sampaio (BRA)
Assistant Referee 1: Rodrigo Correa (BRA)
Assistant Referee 2: Alessandro Rocha (BRA)
Fourth Official: Dewson Freitas (BRA)
Referee Assessor: Saúl Laverni (ARG)

Corinthians – Millonarios
Referee: Diego Haro (PER)
Assistant Referee 1: Raul Lopez (PER)
Assistant Referee 2: Victor Raez (PER)
Fourth Official: Miguel Santivañez (PER)
Referee Assessor: Darío Ubriaco (URU)

Independiente – Deportivo Lara
Referee: Eber Aquino (PAR)
Assistant Referee 1: Rodney Aquino (PAR)
Assistant Referee 2: Milciades Saldívar (PAR)
Fourth Official: Arnaldo Samaniego (PAR)
Referee Assessor: Francisco Mondría (CHI)

UEFA Women’s U-17 Euro Final 2018: Grundbacher (SUI)

Swiss referee Désirée Grundbacher will make an important step forward when she takes charge of Monday's UEFA European Women's Under-17 Championship final in Lithuania. From an international player to an international referee – Désirée Grundbacher has been able to see football from both sides. The 34-year-old from Switzerland is relishing the latest stage on her career path, which comes on Monday when she leads the UEFA European Women's Under-17 Championship final between Germany and Spain in Marijampole, Lithuania. Grundbacher, who comes from the town of Effretikon, near Zurich, made 13 appearances as a midfielder for the Swiss national women's team, and says that her experiences at the higher levels as a player have been vital in helping her to forge a career as a referee. "You understand how players react, and you understand about situations in a match," she says – and admits that when she was a player, she often had a word or two to say to the officials during matches. "I didn't always give referees as much respect as I should have, to be honest. As a referee, it's clear that you learn a lot about respect – showing respect to players, and learning people management skills which mean that the players can respect you." The assignment in Marijampole sees Grundbacher, an international referee since 2012, fulfilling a major ambition. "I wanted to referee at a tournament such as this one – and I've really enjoyed this experience. I've learned a great amount." Grundbacher is following in the footsteps of other distinguished Swiss female referees – Nicole Pétignat, who was the first female official to take charge of a UEFA men's competition match in 2003, and Esther Staubli, who officiated at last year's UEFA Women’s EURO 2017 final. "Esther is a very good friend; we often train together, and she's given me a lot of good advice," she says. The WU17 final team sees Grundbacher accompanied by assistants Elodie Coppola (France) and Almira Spahić (Bosnia and Herzegovina), with Lucie Šulcová (Czech Republic) acting as fourth official. "We've been a great family at the tournament," Grundbacher reflects, fully appreciating the chance to work and talk about experiences together with counterparts from other countries. Away from refereeing, Grundbacher has a very special person in her life – her two-year-old son Mael Jése. "I spend so much time playing with him, and he's always wanting to play football," she says proudly. As for the future, she hopes the tournament in Lithuania will be a major stepping stone towards a long and fulfilling career. "I'm so happy about being selected for the final, it was a wonderful surprise," she says. "I've worked very hard to get to this stage. In the future, I will take everything step by step – and I will certainly look forward to every game I referee". (Source: UEFA


21 May 2018 
Germany – Spain
Referee: Désirée Grundbacher (SUI)
Assistant Referee 1: Elodie Coppola (FRA)
Assistant Referee 2: Almira Spahić (BIH)
Fourth Official: Lucie Šulcová (CZE)

UEFA U-17 Euro Final 2018: Meler (TUR)

On Wednesday, Björn Kuipers took charge of his second UEFA Europa League final, having also refereed the 2014 UEFA Champions League decider and UEFA Super Cup - but it all started for the Dutch official at the 2006 UEFA European Under-17 Championship. That year Kuipers, in his first full season as an international referee, was appointed for the final in Luxembourg between Russia and the Czech Republic. On Sunday, 31-year-old Halil Umut Meler from Turkey will follow in Kuipers' footsteps as he referees the U17 final between Italy and the Netherlands in Rotherham. "I am very proud to referee the final," Meler told UEFA.com. "It is the biggest target and the big dream for all the referees here. But I know it is the beginning of a long path. I will do my best and enjoy the final." This will be Meler's fourth game at the finals in England, having handled three group fixtures, and he has enjoyed the experience both at the matches and at the referees' base near Derby. "It has been perfect for me and my colleagues, amazing," he said. "This is the international arena – amazing organisation. I am so happy to be here. I have seen new places, seen new players, new tactics. I have learned many things during the tournament because I met with new colleagues from other countries. There has been good communication and a good atmosphere between us." A regular referee in the Turkish Süper Lig, Meler explained his journey to the international list. "When I was 18, I started to referee and, nine years later, I was in the top division in Turkey," he said. "When I was 29, I became an international referee, this is my second year. I finished my sports education and started refereeing when I was young. I played amateur football for six years before university in my home town." Meler credits UEFA's Centre of Refereeing Excellence (CORE) in Nyon, which began in 2010, for helping him to Sunday's final. "This has been a very good season for me," he said. "I have been given top-division games in Turkey after I went to CORE. I learned very important things to become an excellent referee from very experienced people like David Elleray, Jorn West Larsen and Roberto Rosetti. After CORE, in 2017, I became a FIFA referee. Now, in my second year, I was invited to the U17 EURO final tournament. It will be the most important international match in my career." That match on Sunday excites him: "Every final has a story, every game has a story. Because in a final every team has just one goal – the trophy." This season, Meler has also gained experience in a very different arena - as an additional assistant referee in the UEFA Europa League. "It's amazing to referee at the top level, I get a great feeling of pride," he said. (Source: UEFA)


20 May 2018
Italy – Netherlands
Referee: Halil Umut Meler (TUR, photo)
Assistant Referee 1: Robert Steinacher (AUT)
Assistant Referee 2: Péter Kóbor (HUN)
Fourth Official: Horațiu Feșnic (ROU)
Referee Observer: Hugh Dallas (SCO)

Clattenburg reveals death threats, vile abuse and alcohol

Former FIFA referee Mark Clattenburg has told Independent.ie that he was on the receiving end of death threats as he revealed that his family were also abused during his time officiating in England’s top flight. Clattenburg’s lowest point came as he was accused of racially abusing Chelsea midfielder Jon Obi Mikel in a game against Manchester United in October 2012, in an incident that he admits forced him to consider his future in the game.
Now the official who has quit the Premier League last year to take up a new role in Saudi Arabia had opened up on the vile social media abuse that flowed his way in a career that saw him take charge of the FA Cup final, Champions League final and the decisive game of Euro 2016 between Portugal and France. “I’ve had death threats, my family have been threatened and it is not nice. People say what they are going to do to you, that they know where you live,” Paddy Power ambassador Clattenburg told Independent.ie. “The odds of them carrying out these threats are low, but your children can still read it and that is not nice. When it affects your family, it is a horrible situation and I wouldn’t wish that on anyone. The low point for me was clearly the Chelsea - Manchester United game in 2012 and the racism accusation that cause such a storm. After that, I wanted to quit, but I was not in a position to do that. “One day the whole truth will come out on what happened in that game and people will be surprised by that story. The incident on the day and what happened afterwards was not right and it left a lasting mark on me. It made me realise that football is not just a sport any more. There are bigger issues around; that was not a football incident. Sometimes things happen in life that make you stronger and I am probably a better referee after that incident than I was before it, but it was still a difficult situation to live through.” Clattenburg admits he was ready to walk away from refereeing for good after the racism accusations that were belatedly dropped by Mikel and Chelsea, but he suggests he was ‘trapped’ in a job he could not escape from. “At the time, I wanted to quit and the support is not there in that kind of situation, but what can you do?” he asks. “In refereeing, you are stuck in an industry you can’t get out of and that is a difficult place to be in. You cannot step away from referee once you are in it for a very good reason. I have a family, they need to be looked after. I have left my profession as an electrical engineer behind and there is nowhere to go if I walk away from refereeing. This is a unique job in many ways and not always for the right reason. If you are a player or a manager or even a journalist, you can always get a job somewhere else if something goes wrong, but you cannot do that in refereeing. Who is going to employ me in a job outside football given my profile and the like? That is why I had to take the offer to move to Saudi Arabia when it came my way, as it offered security to my family. People sometimes forget that referees are not there for a hobby or to live out the dream of being on the pitch as it is a job at the end of the day. Social media has probably not helped referees. It is not just the 90 minutes on the field any more as it is the backlash that follows if there is a controversial incident or a mistake that might have been made by the officials. That doesn’t just last for a few hours, it can go on for days and weeks and that is not easy. There are some nasty people out there and people who want to say things that they wouldn’t say to your face”. (Source: The Independent)
Clattenburg insists he quit England after getting fed-up of always being in the eye of the storm after bust-ups with players, and managers never apologising when they got it wrong. The ex-FIFA ref, now working in Saudi Arabia, said: “It’s a relief to get away from the Premier League. “The pressures inside your own country are sometimes more difficult than high-profile international games. It can affect your family. All the social media things that are written, it affects people who know you. If you make the same mistakes abroad, nobody seems to comment. I think more of our referees will go overseas. In the Premier League, people are criticising you constantly. That criticism is one of the catalysts for my decision to quit the Premier League. Is it worth doing this job? You make a right decision, you’re told it’s wrong, and you’re driving home hundreds of miles with that in your head. Managers never come out and apologise for it, or come into the dressing room privately and say they’ve made a mistake. The drama of it is unique, but I don’t miss the day-to-day Premier League”. Clattenburg says whenever he was involved in a flash point - once being cleared of a racist bust-up with Jon Obi Mikel - the only escape was to turn to drink. “How do you release the tension around refereeing big games?” said Clattenburg. “Drink lots of beer! I used to call my wife after a game, and she’d know by my voice if I’d had a bad game or not. When I got home, she’d be in the bed and the fridge would be full of beer if I had a nightmare. If I’d had a good game, she’d wait up. It’s horrible after a game if you’ve made a mistake – it would be a horrible drive home. If you had a good game, you would want to listen to the radio stations talking about the match. But, if you’d had a 'mare, you’d turn the Bluetooth on and play some music. The worst was when Chelsea played Manchester United, and I’d been accused of being racist by Jon Obi Mikel. I had to fly out of Heathrow and it was breaking news all over the world, having to deal with that and the aftermath while getting on the flight. I remember boarding and the guy sitting next to me said, ‘You’re the referee aren’t you? F***ing hell, you’ve made some headlines’. You realise then the impact football has. I couldn’t leave the house for the next week. To be accused of something you hadn’t done was difficult to deal with, because you get frustrated. You have to leave the investigations to run their course. They asked us to come back and referee and I wasn’t in the right state of mind for it for a while. I thought about quitting a lot after that, but the problem you’ve got as a professional is you’ve left your other industry for nine years. I was an electrical engineer, and I couldn’t go back to that because the game had changed. What could I do? I had a mortgage to pay, I had a family, I had a house. It becomes different when refereeing becomes your job. You have to think differently. There aren’t many alternatives”. (Source: Irish Mirror)

World Cup referee Al-Mirdasi banned for life for match-fixing attempt in Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia has banned referee Fahad Al-Mirdasi from football for life for a match-fixing attempt, weeks before he was due to fly to Russia to officiate at the 2018 World Cup, said the country's football federation [SAFF] in a statement.
Al-Mirdasi had confessed to offering to fix Saturday's King's Cup final on behalf of the Al Ittihad club, the SAFF said. It added that it had requested FIFA to hand him a lifetime global ban as well as removing him from the World Cup list. The 32-year-old referee made the approach to Al Ittihad chief Hamad Al-Senaie, who immediately handed over the WhatsApp messages to SAFF officials who in turn alerted the relevant government authorities, SAFF said. Al-Mirdasi was taken into police custody where he confessed to soliciting the corrupt payment, the statement from the SAFF Ethics Committee added. 
Al Ittihad played Al Faisaly in the King's Cup final at Jeddah's King Abdullah Sports City on Saturday, winning in extra-time in a game refereed by Mark Clattenburg, who was appointed Head of Refereeing at the SAFF last year, and stepped in to replace Al-Mirdasi on the eve of the game. Al-Mirdasi has been on the FIFA referees list since 2011 and officiated at last year's Confederations Cup in Russia. "FIFA notes the information that referee Fahad Al-Mirdasi has allegedly been banned from all football-related activities by the Saudi Arabian Football Federation (SAFF)", the world governing body told BBC Sport. 

Serbian referee arrested after penalty howler

Serbian referee Srdjan Obradovic has been arrested and questioned on abuse of power charges after awarding a wrongful penalty kick in Sunday's crucial top division soccer match, the country's interior ministry (MUP) said on Tuesday. 
"Obradovic is suspected of abusing his authority in the match between Spartak Subotica and Radnicki Nis to favour the home team against their rivals", MUP said. "He will be detained for 48 hours and handed over to the prosecutor in charge". Spartak won the match 2-0 to nose ahead of Radnicki into third place and a Europa League qualifying slot ahead of the last round of matches, courtesy of two penalties with the latter leaving viewers and the visitors perplexed. A Radnicki defender deflected an innocuous low cross from the right with his feet making no contact with any of the home players, but Obradovic awarded the spot-kick and gesticulated that the would-be offender had handled the ball. The howler also prompted Serbian FA chief Slavisa Kokeza to ask the soccer authorities to punish Obradovic accordingly and suspend him. 
Serbian media invariably vilified Obradovic after the incident and showed video clips of a long list of his poor decisions in previous matches, notably a Belgrade derby between Serbia's big two Red Star and Partizan in March 2017. Obradovic allowed play to go on after the ball had clearly gone out of play for Red Star's opener in a 1-1 draw, sparking bitter protests from Partizan's officials and supporters. Red Star won a record 28th Serbian league title earlier this month with games to spare ahead of second-placed Partizan, while Spartak and fourth-placed Radnicki, who are three points behind them, are battling it out for a Europa League berth.