Proud "treble" for 2019 Champions League Final referee Skomina

Damir Skomina will reach an historic milestone when he referees Saturday's UEFA Champions League final between Tottenham Hotspur and Liverpool – and the Slovenian says there are still targets to be achieved. Skomina didn't set fixed goals for himself when he started out on his refereeing journey as a teenager – but his road has now brought him a prestigious 'treble' at European club level.
When the 42-year-old Slovenian takes charge of Saturday's UEFA Champions League final in Madrid between Tottenham Hotspur and Liverpool, Skomina will complete a full set of major European club final appointments. An international referee since 2002, Skomina officiated at the UEFA Europa League final between Ajax and Manchester United in 2017, as well as the UEFA Super Cup match between Chelsea and Atletico de Madrid in 2012. He also acted as fourth official at the 2013 UEFA Champions League final between Borussia Dortmund and Bayern Munich. "I didn't set myself these targets," says Skomina, a father of two from Koper, on Slovenia's Adriatic coast, close to the borders with Italy and Croatia. "But I feel I've worked very hard over the years to get this far. I'm hugely proud of being chosen for this match." Skomina began refereeing in 1992 at the age of 15. "I played football, but was told by doctors at the time to stop because they thought I had a health problem. So, I started refereeing as a way of staying in football. A few years later, I had another medical exam, and was told that everything was fine – so I was free to continue refereeing." His path now leads him to the eagerly anticipated all-English encounter at Madrid's Estadio Metropolitano, where he will be assisted by his compatriots Jure Praprotnik and Robert Vukan. The fourth official is Antonio Mateu Lahoz from Spain. Skomina says that he never had any idols – "you must be yourself," he insists – but cites UEFA refereeing officer and fellow Slovenian Vlado Šajn and Italy's distinguished former referee Pierluigi Collina as people who have given him special guidance along the way. Strong focus and self-belief are characteristics that have helped Skomina enjoy such a successful career. That focus will switch on in the run-up to the match. "By the time we line up with the teams, I'll be totally concentrated on the game," he says. "In fact, it won't be until I look at the match the next day that I'll finally fully notice all of the pre-match activities." The experience gathered over the years will doubtless stand Skomina in good stead. "I won't put too much pressure on myself ahead of the game; it's important for us as a referee team not to stress. We'll have some music playing in the background in the dressing-room, and we'll all go through our normal preparations." Skomina says that the changes in top-class football have made it essential for today's top referees to live, prepare and train like athletes. "The players are getting quicker, the speed of the game is faster," he reflects. "And each season, referees get older by another year – so you must be ready to adapt and work hard. I'm grateful to [UEFA referee fitness expert] Werner Helsen for his help and guidance in preparing me for matches like this." Living on the Adriatic coast gives Skomina and his family, including his two sons of 13 and 10 – who will be attentive spectators at the final – plenty of scope for rest and recreation. "I like the sea, and our surroundings help me to relax," he says. Nor does getting the European club final 'treble' as a referee mean that Skomina will rest on his laurels, satisfied with his achievements. "The next game is this final on 1 June – and then comes an assignment in the European Qualifiers soon afterwards – and that match will then become my next 'final'," he emphasises. "I still have a few years in front of me as a referee – there are still targets and hard work ahead. There's no way that after the match in Madrid, I could ever think to myself: 'I've done it all now'."

Source: UEFA

FIFA U-20 World Cup 2019 – Group Stage (Matches 33-36)

31 May 2019

Mali – France
Referee: Hector Martinez (HON, photo)
Assistant Referee 1: Walter Lopez (HON)
Assistant Referee 2: Helpys Feliz (DOM)
Fourth Official: Fernando Guerrero (MEX)
VAR: Alejandro Hernandez Hernandez (ES)
AVAR: Jesus Valenzuela (VEN)

Saudi Arabia – Panama
Referee: Ndala Ngambo (COD)
Assistant Referee 1: Olivier Safari (COD)
Assistant Referee 2: Soulaimane Amaldine (COM)
Fourth Official: Sandro Schärer (SUI)
VAR: Alan Kelly (USA)
AVAR: Pawel Raczkowski (POL)

South Africa – Portugal
Referee: Alexis Herrera (VEN)
Assistant Referee 1: Jorge Urrego (VEN)
Assistant Referee 2: Tulio Moreno (VEN)
Fourth Official: Pacifique Ndabihawenimana (BDI)
VAR: Julio Bascunan (CHI)
AVAR: Gery Vargas (BOL)

Korea – Argentina
Referee: Benoît Bastien (FRA)
Assistant Referee 1: Hicham Zakrani (FRA)
Assistant Referee 2: Frederic Haquette (FRA)
Fourth Official: Ivan Barton (SLV)
VAR: Benoît Millot (FRA)
AVAR: Khamis Al-Marri (QAT)

Referee Grisha suspended for 6 months by CAF

CAF have decided to suspend Egyptian referee Gehad Grisha for six months following his poor refereeing decisions in the Champions League final.
The Egyptian referee took charge of the first-leg of the CAF Champions League final between Wydad Casablanca and Esperance de Tunis, which ended in a 1-1 draw in Morocco. Fousseny Coulibaly put the visitors into a 44th-minute lead, before they gave it up after Cheick Ibrahim Comara’s late equaliser in the 79th minute. In a game full of incessant fouling and bickering, Grisha dished out four yellow cards in the opening 45 minutes, then twice went to VAR, first time to rule out a goal for the hosts due to a handball, before not awarding Wydad a penalty in the 57th minute. Wydad’s other main complaint was a red card shown to midfielder Ibrahim Nakach after he picked up two yellows in only five minutes. This led the Moroccan giants to lodge a complaint to CAF against the Egyptian referee because of his poor decision making, highlighting his actions in the two VAR incidents. And two days later, the CAF have announced that Grisha, who officiated in the 2018 World Cup, has been suspended for sixth months. The official CAF statement said: “Following the first of leg of the Champions League final match played on 24 May 2019 between Wydad Athletic Club and Esperance de Tunis, the Referees Committee of the Confederation Africain de Football (CAF) has decided to suspend Mr. Gehad Grisha (Egypt) for a period of six (6) months due to poor performance.” Interestingly, the complaint was sent directly to CAF president Ahmad Ahmad, who recently fired his Egyptian general secretary and replaced him with a Moroccan.

FIFA U-20 World Cup 2019 – Group Stage (Matches 29-32)

30 May 2019

Norway – Honduras
Referee: Muhammad Bin Jahari (SIN, photo)
Assistant Referee 1: Koh Min Kiat (SIN)
Assistant Referee 2: Hannan Bin Abdul (SIN)
Fourth Official: David Yareboinen (PNG)
VAR: Juan Martínez Munuera (ESP)
AVAR: Fu Míng (CHN)

New Zealand – Uruguay
Referee: Adham Makhadmeh (JOR)
Assistant Referee 1: Ahmad Al-Roalle (JOR)
Assistant Referee 2: Mohammad Al-Kalaf (JOR)
Fourth Official: Joel Alarcon (PER)
VAR: Artur Soares Dias (POR)
AVAR: Bamlak Tessema (ETH)

USA – Qatar
Referee: Abdelkader Zitouni (TAH)
Assistant Referee 1: Folio Moeaki (TON)
Assistant Referee 2: Bernard Mutukera (SOL)
Fourth Official: Ivan Barton (SLV)
VAR: Benoît Millot (FRA)
AVAR: Adonai Escobedo (MEX)

Nigeria – Ukraine
Referee: Fernando Rapallini (ARG)
Assistant Referee 1: Diego Bonfa (ARG)
Assistant Referee 2: Gabriel Chade (ARG)
Fourth Official: Pacifique Ndabihawenimana (BDI)
VAR: Julio Bascunan (CHI)
AVAR: Gery Vargas (BOL)

UEFA Europa League Final 2019, a "fantastic appointment" for Rocchi

Gianluca Rocchi is delighted and proud to have been chosen by UEFA's Referees Committee to take charge of Wednesday's UEFA Europa League final between Chelsea and Arsenal in Baku – and the Italian is determined to enjoy the moment. "It's a fantastic appointment for me – it's a London derby, so it's a special match," says the 45-year-old father of two, who comes from Florence. "I want to make the best of this match. In the line-up before the kick-off, I'll probably look at the teams, the coaches, the crowd, my referee team-mates, and really fully understand the importance of the occasion."
An international referee since 2008, Rocchi is in the closing stages of a distinguished career during which he has already taken charge of another major European encounter – the 2017 UEFA Super Cup between Manchester United and Real Madrid. Neither is he a stranger to UEFA Europa League finals – he was fourth official for the 2010 encounter between Atlético Madrid and Fulham, as well as Manchester United's 2017 encounter against Ajax. Rocchi began refereeing in 1989. "I played football, but realised that I wasn't going to be the best player ever, so I decided to 'cross the river' and become a referee," he says. "It's a decision that I've obviously never regretted – I made an excellent choice." He will be assisted at the final in Baku by compatriots Filippo Meli and Lorenzo Manganelli, with Daniele Orsato taking the role of fourth official. "We're a good team," Rocchi explains. "And without your team, you can't expect to referee a match to the best of your ability. It's also very important that you get on as a team – if the relationship is good, and there's a good atmosphere, this goes a long way towards ensuring that you perform well as a unit on the field." Rocchi emphasises that management skills go hand in hand with the various technical aspects of refereeing, saying: "I believe that there has to be mutual respect between a referee and the players, so you have to be able to communicate with them." Rocchi also feels that refereeing in Italy's Serie A since 2004 has been crucial in helping him gather the experience and mental strength necessary to handle the biggest international occasions. "It's vital that you are yourself as a referee, but it's also valid to look at other referees and take certain things from them to improve yourself," he said. Knowledge of football and its tactics, he feels, is also essential. "I don't think you can referee at the highest levels today if you don't know something about the game," added Rocchi, who welcomes the opportunities that today's top referees have to study teams and how they play. Travelling, spending precious moments with family and friends and going to the cinema with his two sons, aged eight and ten, occupy Rocchi's time away from the field. "Your time can be limited because of refereeing duties, so I really look forward to these moments when they come around," he said. Rocchi is now approaching the day when it will be time to hang up his whistle and look back on a satisfying refereeing journey. "I'm determined to do my best until the very last whistle of my very last game," he said. "And that same desire to do my very utmost also applies to the final in Baku."

Source: UEFA

FIFA U-20 World Cup 2019 – Group Stage (Matches 25-28)

29 May 2019

Senegal – Poland
Referee: Raphael Claus (BRA, photo)
Assistant Referee 1: Danilo Manis (BRA)
Assistant Referee 2: Bruno Pires (BRA)
Fourth Official: Joel Alarcon (PER)
VAR: Wilton Sampaio (BRA)
AVAR: Artur Soares Dias (POR)

Colombia – Tahiti
Referee: Daniel Siebert (GER)
Assistant Referee 1: Jan Seidel (GER)
Assistant Referee 2: Rafael Foltyn (GER)
Fourth Official: David Yareboinen (PNG)
VAR: Juan Martinez Munuera (ESP)
AVAR: Ammar Al-Jeneibi (UAE)

Ecuador – Mexico
Referee: Ivan Kružliak (SVK)
Assistant Referee 1: Tomáš Somoláni (SVK)
Assistant Referee 2: Branislav Hancko (SVK)
Fourth Official: Michael Oliver (ENG)
VAR: Pawel Raczkowski (POL)
AVAR: Alejandro Hernandez Hernandez (ESP)

Italy – Japan
Referee: Mustapha Ghorbal (ALG)
Assistant Referee 1: Mahmoud Ahmed (EGY)
Assistant Referee 2: Mokrane Gourari (ALG)
Fourth Official: Sandro Schärer (SUI)
VAR: Paulus van Boekel (NED)
AVAR: Khamis Al-Marri (QAT)

Legendary referee Collina reflects on the 1999 Champions League Final

Pierluigi Collina pauses for thought and casts his mind back 20 years to the night Manchester United scored twice in the three minutes of injury-time he added on at the Nou Camp. Is there anything the revered Italian referee would have done differently? 'Probably the stoppage time would have been longer,' replies Collina after a few moments of careful reflection. 'Normally, only substitutions were considered for stoppage time. Today, we are telling the referees to be more accurate in calculating it. When a goal is scored there is normally one minute of celebration and we tell the referee to compensate for this. But I think we are talking about small, small details.' There were only 20 seconds left on Collina's watch when Ole Gunnar Solskjaer stuck out a leg to divert Teddy Sheringham's header into the Bayern Munich net. The game was over. Collina knew it and so did the Germans. 
One of the most poignant images of that night was Collina trying to physically haul the distraught Bayern players to their feet so he could blow the whistle on their Champions League dream. It was one not entirely in keeping with the fearsome sight of Collina in his pomp; that famous bald head, bulging eyes and a menacing stare that practically dared players to step out of line. 'Answering back was one step from suicide,' Steven Gerrard wrote in his autobiography. Again a moment of contemplation while Collina recalls his act of compassion two decades ago. 'It was a human reaction, absolutely,' he says. 'I agree with you, it's something that doesn't usually happen. I didn't realise I was doing that. If you live that moment and you see these players desperate, it is the normal reaction to try to tell them, "come on guys, you need to play a few seconds”. They were lying on the ground because they knew the match was over. We could have finished it at that moment but there were 20 seconds and the show must go on. On one side was the joy of the Man United players and on the other side the desperation of the Bayern Munich players. Two completely different reactions. What happened in the three minutes of stoppage time was something very unique in the history of the Champions League, and I would say even in the history of football. That's why this match is considered the ultimate final, not because of the 90 minutes but because of the three-minute ending. To come back at the very end, it can happen. But if it happens in the most important match in the biggest club competition in the world, it's different. For me, it was a privilege to be there and part of the Champions League history.' Collina is speaking at home in Forte dei Marmi, a seaside playground for the Italian elite. Other residents in this exclusive part of Tuscany include Giorgio Armani and Andrea Bocelli.
Nearly 14 years have passed since he hung up his whistle and Collina is still the most recognisable referee on the planet; still a hugely respected but formidable presence as the head of FIFA's referee committee at the age of 59. All the more surprising then to discover that one of his favourite memories from '99 was hearing Montserrat Caballe's pre-match duet of Barcelona with Freddie Mercury who appeared on a big screen at the Nou Camp nearly eight years after his death. 'That was absolutely great,' recalls Collina. 'I like Freddie Mercury very much and that was something special for me. At the time I was 39-years-old so I was quite young compared to the age of the referee who normally has the Champions League final. But I already refereed many matches so frankly speaking I was not under pressure. Not at all. I think I can be happy with how the match went.'
Collina still has Jaap Stam's shirt as a souvenir but couldn't accept an invitation to referee the anniversary game at Old Trafford on Sunday due to a back complaint. Bayern will be relieved. Collina was also in charge for Germany's 5-1 defeat to England in 2001 and again a year later when they lost the World Cup final to Brazil in Yokohama. 'Oliver Khan said that I definitely didn't bring him luck because he lost many important matches with me as the referee,' says Collina. 'I can agree with Khan. But the referee's task isn't to bring someone luck.'

Source: Daily Mail

FIFA U-20 World Cup 2019 – Group Stage (Matches 21-24)

28 May 2019

Saudi Arabia – Mali
Referee: Slavko Vinčič (SVN, photo)
Assistant Referee 1: Tomaž Klančnik (SVN)
Assistant Referee 2: Andraž Kovačič (SVN)
Fourth Official: Davide Massa (ITA)
VAR: Alejandro Hernandez Hernandez (ESP)
AVAR: Paweł Raczkowski (POL)

Panama – France
Referee: Leodan Gonzalez (URU)
Assistant Referee 1: Richard Trinidad (URU)
Assistant Referee 2: Martín Soppi (URU)
Fourth Official: Sandro Schärer (SUI)
VAR: Jesus Valenzuela (VEN)
AVAR: Andres Rojas (COL)

Portugal – Argentina
Referee: Ismail Elfath (USA)
Assistant Referee 1: Kyle Atkins (USA)
Assistant Referee 2: Corey Parker (USA)
Fourth Official: Pacifique Ndabihawenimana (BDI)
VAR: Alan Kelly (USA)
AVAR: Adonai Escobedo (MEX)

South Africa – Korea
Referee: Fernando Guerrero (MEX)
Assistant Referee 1: Pablo Hernandez (MEX)
Assistant Referee 2: Jose Martínez (MEX)
Fourth Official: Ivan Barton (SLV)
VAR: Julio Bascunan (CHI)
AVAR: Gery Vargas (BOL)

CONMEBOL Recopa Sudamericana 2019

First Leg, 22 May 2019

Athletico Paranaense – River Plate
Referee: Wilmar Roldan (COL, photo)
Assistant Referee 1: Alexander Guzman (COL)
Assistant Referee 2: John Leon (COL)
Fourth Official: Carlo Herrera (COL)
VAR: Daniel Fedorczuk (URU)
AVAR 1: Nicolas Gallo (COL)
AVAR 2: Nicolas Taran (URU)
VAR Observer: Carlos Astroza (CHI)
Referee Assessor: Enrique Caceres (PAR)

Second Leg, 30 May 2019

River Plate – Athletico Paranaense
Referee: Roberto Tobar (CHI)
Assistant Referee 1: Christian Schiemann (CHI)
Assistant Referee 2: Claudio Rios (CHI)
Fourth Official: Eduardo Gamboa (CHI)
VAR: Diego Haro (PER)
AVAR 1: Victor Carrillo (PER)
AVAR 2: Jonny Bossio (PER)
VAR Observer: Carlos Astroza (CHI)
Referee Assessor: Ubaldo Aquino (PAR)

FIFA U-20 World Cup 2019 – Group Stage (Matches 17-20)

27 May 2019

Honduras – Uruguay
Referee: Jesus Gil Manzano (ESP, photo)
Assistant Referee 1: Angel Nevado Rodríguez (ESP)
Assistant Referee 2: Diego Barbero Sevilla (ESP)
Fourth Official: David Yareboinen (PNG)
VAR: Juan Martínez Munuera (ESP)
AVAR: Artur Soares Dias (POR)

Norway – New Zealand
Referee: Ndala Ngambo (COD)
Assistant Referee 1: Olivier Safari (COD)
Assistant Referee 2: Soulaimane Amaldine (COM)
Fourth Official: Joel Alarcon (PER)
VAR: Paulus van Boekel (NED)
AVAR: Ammar Al-Jeneibi (UAE)

Qatar – Ukraine
Referee: Hector Martínez (HON)
Assistant Referee 1: Walter Lopez (HON)
Assistant Referee 2: Helpys Feliz (DOM)
Fourth Official: Ivan Barton (SLV)
VAR: Julio Bascunan (CHI)
AVAR: Gery Vargas (BOL)

USA – Nigeria
Referee: Benoît Bastien (FRA)
Assistant Referee 1: Hicham Zakrani (FRA)
Assistant Referee 2: Frederic Haquette (FRA)
Fourth Official: Pacifique Ndabihawenimana (BDI)
VAR: Benoît Millot (FRA)
AVAR: Adonai Escobedo (MEX)

CONMEBOL Copa Sudamericana – Second Round (Second Leg)

28-30 May 2019

Caracas – Liverpool
Referee: Nicolas Gallo (COL, photo)
Assistant Referee 1: Alexander Leon (COL)
Assistant Referee 2: Sebastian Vela (COL)
Fourth Official: Bismark Santiago (COL)
Referee Assessor: Freddy Arellano (PER)

Melgar – Universidad Catolica
Referee: Dewson Freitas (BRA)
Assistant Referee 1: Emerson Carvalho (BRA)
Assistant Referee 2: Fabricio Villarinho (BRA)
Fourth Official: Wagner Reway (BRA)
Referee Assessor: Patricio Polic (CHI)

Colon – River Plate
Referee: Ricardo Marques (BRA)
Assistant Referee 1: Rodrigo Correa (BRA)
Assistant Referee 2: Guilherme Camilo (BRA)
Fourth Official: Luiz Oliveira (BRA)
Referee Assessor: Joel Ruiz (PAR)

Sporting Cristal – Union Espanola
Referee: Arnaldo Samaniego (PAR)
Assistant Referee 1: Eduardo Cardozo (PAR)
Assistant Referee 2: Rodney Aquino (PAR)
Fourth Official: Derlis Lopez (PAR)
Referee Assessor: Jose Buitrago (COL)

Independiente – Rio Negro Aguilas
Referee: Mario Diaz de Vivar (PAR)
Assistant Referee 1: Juan Zorrilla (PAR)
Assistant Referee 2: Dario Gaona (PAR)
Fourth Official: Jose Mendez (PAR)
Referee Assessor: Dario Ubriaco (URU)

Atletico Mineiro – Union La Calera
Referee: Daniel Fedorczuk (URU)
Assistant Referee 1: Miguel Nievas (URU)
Assistant Referee 2: Horacio Ferreiro (URU)
Fourth Official: Christian Ferreyra (URU)
Referee Assessor: Ricardo Casas (ARG)

Penarol – Deportivo Cali
Referee: Nestor Pitana (ARG)
Assistant Referee 1: Hernan Maidana (ARG)
Assistant Referee 2: Maximiliano Del Yesso (ARG)
Fourth Official: Silvio Trucco (ARG)
Referee Assessor: Nilson Moncao (BRA)

Palestino – Zulia
Referee: Roddy Zambrano (ECU)
Assistant Referee 1: Byron Romero (ECU)
Assistant Referee 2: Christian Lescano (ECU)
Fourth Official: Roberto Sanchez (ECU)
Referee Assessor: Wilson Lamouroux (COL)

Botafogo – Sol de America
Referee: Esteban Ostojich (URU)
Assistant Referee 1: Nicolas Taran (URU)
Assistant Referee 2: Gabriel Popovits (URU)
Fourth Official: Gustavo Tejera (URU)
Referee Assessor: Pablo Silva (ARG)

Macara – Royal Pari
Referee: Jose Argote (VEN)
Assistant Referee 1: Carlos Lopez (VEN)
Assistant Referee 2: Alberto Ponte (VEN)
Fourth Official: Juan Soto (VEN)
Referee Assessor: Cesar Escano (PER)

Deportivo Santani – La Equidad
Referee: Angel Arteaga (VEN)
Assistant Referee 1: Luis Murillo (VEN)
Assistant Referee 2: Franchescoly Chacon (VEN)
Fourth Official: Marlon Escalante (VEN)
Referee Assessor: Martin Vazquez (URU)

Atletico Nacional – Fluminense
Referee: Patricio Loustau (ARG)
Assistant Referee 1: Ezequiel Brailovsky (ARG)
Assistant Referee 2: Cristian Navarro (ARG)
Fourth Official: Dario Herrera (ARG)
Referee Assessor: Claudio Puga (CHI)

Deportivo Lara – Corinthians
Referee: Wilmar Roldan (COL)
Assistant Referee 1: Alexander Guzman (COL)
Assistant Referee 2: Wilmar Navarro (COL)
Fourth Official: Gustavo Murillo (COL)
Referee Assessor: Jose Carpio (ECU)

Atletico Cerro – Montevideo Wanderers
Referee: Facundo Tello (ARG)
Assistant Referee 1: Juan Belatti (ARG)
Assistant Referee 2: Julio Fernandez (ARG)
Fourth Official: Fenando Espinoza (ARG)
Referee Assessor: Mauricio Espinosa (URU)

Deportes Tolima – Argentinos Juniors
Referee: Anderson Daronco (BRA)
Assistant Referee 1: Marcelo Van Gasse (BRA)
Assistant Referee 2: Kleber Gil (BRA)
Fourth Official: Braulio Machado (BRA)
Referee Assessor: Carlos Herrera (ECU)

Universidad Catolica – Independiente del Valle
Referee: Carlos Herrera (COL)
Assistant Referee 1: Dionisio Ruiz (COL)
Assistant Referee 2: Miguel Roldan (COL)
Fourth Official: John Ospina (COL)
Referee Assessor: Manuel Bernal (PAR)

FIFA U-20 World Cup 2019 – Group Stage (Matches 13-16)

26 May 2019

Senegal – Colombia
Referee: Michael Oliver (ENG, photo)
Assistant Referee 1: Simon Bennett (ENG)
Assistant Referee 2: Stuart Burt (ENG)
Fourth Official: David Yareboinen (PNG)
VAR: Artur Soares Dias (POR)
AVAR: Fu Ming (CHN)

Poland – Tahiti
Referee: Ahmed Al-Kaf (OMA)
Assistant Referee 1: Abu Bakar Al-Amri (OMA)
Assistant Referee 2: Rashid Al-Ghaithi (OMA)
Fourth Official: Joel Alarcon (PER)
VAR: Khamis Al-Marri (QAT)
AVAR: Ammar Al-Jeneibi (UAE)

Mexico – Japan
Referee: Daniel Siebert (GER)
Assistant Referee 1: Jan Seidel (GER)
Assistant Referee 2: Rafael Foltyn (GER)
Fourth Official: Ilgiz Tantashev (UZB)
VAR: Alan Kelly (USA)
AVAR: Andres Rojas (COL)

Ecuador – Italy
Referee: Adham Makhadmeh (JOR)
Assistant Referee 1: Ahmad Al-Roalle (JOR)
Assistant Referee 2: Mohammad Al-Kalaf (JOR)
Fourth Official: Sandro Schärer (SUI)
VAR: Paweł Raczkowski (POL)
AVAR: Jesus Valenzuela (VEN)

FIFA U-20 World Cup 2019 – Group Stage (Matches 9-12)

25 May 2019

France – Saudi Arabia
Referee: Fernando Rapallini (ARG, photo)
Assistant Referee 1: Diego Bonfa (ARG)
Assistant Referee 2: Gabriel Chade (ARG)
Fourth Official: Ndala Ngambo (COD)
VAR: Wilton Sampaio (BRA)
AVAR: Andres Rojas (COL)

Portugal – Korea
Referee: Abdelkader Zitouni (TAH)
Assistant Referee 1: Folio Moeaki (TGA)
Assistant Referee 2: Bernard Mutukera (SOL)
Fourth Official: Pacifique Ndabihawenimana (BDI)
VAR: Alejandro Hernandez Hernandez (ESP)
AVAR: Benoit Millot (FRA)

Panama – Mali
Referee: Davide Massa (ITA)
Assistant Referee 1: Filippo Meli (ITA)
Assistant Referee 2: Fabiano Preti (ITA)
Fourth Official: Sandro Schaerer (SUI)
VAR: Marco Guida (ITA)
AVAR: Gery Vargas (BOL)

Argentina – South Africa
Referee: Ivan Kruzliak (SVK)
Assistant Referee 1: Tomas Somolani (SVK)
Assistant Referee 2: Branislav Hancko (SVK)
Fourth Official: Ivan Barton (SLV)
VAR: Paulus Van Boekel (NED)
AVAR: Adonai Escobedo (MEX)

Macron signs three-year deal to become UEFA referee kit supplier

The agreement was officially announced today at UEFA's headquarters in Nyon, with Macron becoming the first Italian company to provide kits for UEFA's referees section. The company's CEO Gianluca Pavanello unveiled the new uniforms alongside UEFA's chief refereeing officer Roberto Rosetti. The kits will be used in all UEFA competitions until 2022 and will make their debut at the UEFA Europa League final between Chelsea and Arsenal on 29 May 2019 in Baku. They will also be worn at the UEFA Champions League final three days later in Madrid.
"We are delighted to have Macron on board as UEFA's new referee kit supplier for the next three years," said Rosetti. "This is a company that is always pushing the boundaries to come up with the latest innovations to ensure that referees feel as comfortable as possible when undertaking such an important and high-pressured role on the field of play." The new jerseys preserve the traditional colours sported by referees: black, neon yellow, neon blue and neon pink. The front of the shirt has a striped design with black details on the crewneck and the sleeve edges (except for the solid black version), and it is accessorised with comfortable front pockets. Black shorts accompany all four tops, and the socks echo the colours of the jerseys, interrupted by one black horizontal stripe bearing the Macron Hero logo. The jerseys have a slim-fit cut, while the micromesh inserts allow maximum breathability. When designing the kits, Macron called upon the expertise of some of football's most high-profile referees, including Nicola Rizzoli, who refereed the 2013 UEFA Champions League final.

Source: UEFA

CAF Champions League Final 2019

First Leg, 24 May 2019

Wydad AC – ES Tunis
Referee: Ghead Grisha (EGY, photo)
Assistant Referee 1: Waleed Ahmed (SDN)
Assistant Referee 2: Abdelhak Etchiali (ALG)
Fourth Official: Bernard Camille (SEY)

Second Leg, 31 May 2019

ES Tunis – Wydad AC
Referee: Bakary Gassama (GAM)
Assistant Referee 1: Djibril Camara (SEN)
Assistant Referee 2: El Hadji Samba (SEN)
Fourth Official: Joshua Bondo (BOT)

CAF Confederation Cup Final 2019

First Leg, 19 May 2019

RS Berkane – Zamalek
Referee: Janny Sikazwe (ZAM, photo)
Assistant Referee 1: Jerson Dos Santos (ANG)
Assistant Referee 2: Anouar Hmila (TUN)
Fourth Official: Bernard Camille (SEY)

Second Leg, 26 May 2019

Zamalek – RS Berkane
Referee: Bamlak Tessema (ETH)
Assistant Referee 1: Zakhele Siwela (RSA)
Assistant Referee 2: El Hadji Samba (SEN)
Fourth Official: Sadok Selmi (TUN)
VAR: Janny Sikazwe (ZAM)
AVAR 1: Djibril Camara (SEN)
AVAR 2: Waleed Ahmed (SDN)

Bolivian referee’s death puts altitude matches under spotlight

The death of a Bolivian referee officiating a match at more than 4,000 metres has reopened the debate about the safety of playing football at such altitude. Victor Hugo Hurtado collapsed while refereeing a Bolivian first division match in El Alto, at 4,090 metres, between the local side Always Ready and visitors Oriente Petrolero. He had suffered a cardiac arrest and was stretchered from the field before being taken to hospital, where he died following a second heart attack. He was just 32.
The El Alto municipal stadium is the highest in the world that is home to a professional football team, according to a banner displayed outside the ground. It is more than 400 metres higher than the El Hernando Siles stadium (3,660 metres) in nearby La Paz that is used by the Bolivian national team. Always Ready's club doctor Erick Koziner insisted altitude played no part in Hurtado's death. "There was no pulmonary edema, that is the first thing observed in altitude sicknesses before it passes into the cardiac system," said Koziner after performing the autopsy.
Bolivia's football federation president Cesar Salinas told Diez.com website that "people inside and outside who don't like us will try to use this incident" against Bolivian football. He insisted tests have previously "proved" playing at altitude "has no effect." One of Hurtado's cousins, Orlando Herrera, told local media that the referee was used to altitude as he had previously lived in El Alto, once a sprawling La Paz suburb that has grown into its own city. Pedro Saucedo, head of Bolivia's refereeing commission, told Los Tiempo that Hurtado had displayed "no signs of tiredness, nothing suspect. At half time he even said a joke."
Back in 2007, FIFA suspended all matches above 2,500m after some of Bolivia's rivals in South America complained that “the minnows” - who have only qualified for the World Cup three times - were gaining an unfair advantage playing in La Paz. A month later a special exemption was made for the "Condor's Nest" in La Paz before the ban was overturned entirely a year later. But that hasn't changed opinions. Two years ago, Brazil superstar Neymar posted a picture on Instagram of him and his teammates wearing oxygen masks ahead of a match against Bolivia. "Inhuman to play in these conditions. Pitch, altitude, ball... everything bad," he wrote. After the match, a 0-0 draw, Manchester City forward Gabriel Jesus said he "felt a little tired... it wasn't nice." Bolivia were briefly banned from playing in La Paz in 1993 after Brazil lost a 40-year unbeaten record in World Cup qualifiers in a 2-0 defeat to the plucky minnows. Brazilian Joao Havelange was the president of world football's governing body, FIFA at the time. And the subject came up again in 2009 after an Argentina side coached by Diego Maradona and starring Lionel Messi was humiliated 6-1 in a qualifier for the 2010 World Cup. Maradona was one of those to have criticized the FIFA ban two years earlier. Whether playing at such an altitude is dangerous or not, there is no doubt that it provides Bolivia with an advantage. Their record at home is leaps and bounds better than their efforts on their travels. In World Cup 2018 qualifying, Bolivia lost every single away match, but at home they managed four wins and two draws from their nine games, even beating the mighty Argentina 2-0. High-altitude pitches are not uncommon in the Andean country where Potosi's two teams Nacional and Real play at 3,990m in the Victor Agustin Ugarte stadium, while San Jose play at the Jesus Bermudez stadium in Oruro at 3,731m. While this tragedy will undoubtedly heighten concerns about the safety of playing at such altitude, Bolivia's football federation has decided to act quickly to clear up any doubts. "We have already taken the initiative to invite four specialists in the field to issue a clinical and medical report," said Salinas.

Source: CNA

CONMEBOL Copa Sudamericana – Second Round (First Leg)

21-23 May 2019

River Plate – Colon
Referee: Mario Diaz de Vivar (PAR, photo)
Assistant Referee 1: Juan Zorrilla (PAR)
Assistant Referee 2: Carlos Caceres (PAR)
Fourth Official: Juan Benitez (PAR)
Referee Assessor: Sergio Cristiano (BRA)

Universidad Catolica – Melgar
Referee: Angel Arteaga (VEN)
Assistant Referee 1: Lubin Torrealba (VEN)
Assistant Referee 2: Alberto Ponte (VEN)
Fourth Official: Juan Soto (VEN)
Referee Assessor: Wilson Lamouroux (COL)

Royal Pari – Macara
Referee: Michael Espinoza (PER)
Assistant Referee 1: Raul Lopez (PER)
Assistant Referee 2: Jesus Sanchez (PER)
Fourth Official: Miguel Santivañez (PER)
Referee Assessor: Francisco Mondria (CHI)

Union Española – Sporting Cristal
Referee: Guillermo Guerrero (ECU)
Assistant Referee 1: Juan Macias (ECU)
Assistant Referee 2: Flavio Nall (ECU)
Fourth Official: Carlos Orbe (ECU)
Referee Assessor: Roberto Perassi (BRA)

Rio Negro Aguilas – Independiente
Referee: Eber Aquino (PAR)
Assistant Referee 1: Eduardo Cardozo (PAR)
Assistant Referee 2: Roberto Cañete (PAR)
Fourth Official: Jose Mendez (PAR)
Referee Assessor: Jose Carpio (ECU)

Union La Calera – Atletico Mineiro
Referee: Roddy Zambrano (ECU)
Assistant Referee 1: Luis Vera (ECU)
Assistant Referee 2: Edwin Bravo (ECU)
Fourth Official: Franklin Congo (ECU)
Referee Assessor: Henry Gambetta (PER)

Zulia – Palestino
Referee: Gustavo Murillo (COL)
Assistant Referee 1: Sebastian Vela (COL)
Assistant Referee 2: John Gallego (COL)
Fourth Official: John Ospina (COL)
Referee Assessor: Juan Corozo (ECU)

Deportivo Cali – Penarol
Referee: Anderson Daronco (BRA)
Assistant Referee 1: Rodrigo Correa (BRA)
Assistant Referee 2: Guilherme Camilo (BRA)
Fourth Official: Braulio Machado (BRA)
Referee Assessor: Juan Lugones (BOL)

Sol de America – Botafogo
Referee: German Delfino (ARG)
Assistant Referee 1: Lucas Germanotta (ARG)
Assistant Referee 2: Pablo Gonzalez (ARG)
Fourth Official: Fernando Echenique (ARG)
Referee Assessor: Roberto Silvera (URU)

Liverpool – Caracas
Referee: Rodolpho Toski (BRA)
Assistant Referee 1: Bruno Boschilia (BRA)
Assistant Referee 2: Alessandro Rocha (BRA)
Fourth Official: Wagner Magalhaes (BRA)
Referee Assessor: Sergio Viola (ARG)

La Equidad – Deportivo Santaní
Referee: Ivo Mendez (BOL)
Assistant Referee 1: Juan Montano (BOL)
Assistant Referee 2: Ariel Guizada (BOL)
Fourth Official: Raul Orosco (BOL)
Referee Assessor: Jorge Jaimes (PER)

Corinthians – Deportivo Lara
Referee: Cristian Garay (CHI)
Assistant Referee 1: Raul Orellana (CHI)
Assistant Referee 2: Claudio Urrutia (CHI)
Fourth Official: Felipe Gonzalez (CHI)
Referee Assessor: Rodolfo Otero (ARG)

Montevideo Wanderers – Atletico Cerro
Referee: Dario Herrera (ARG)
Assistant Referee 1: Maximiliano Del Yesso (ARG)
Assistant Referee 2: Cristian Navarro (ARG)
Fourth Official: Facundo Tello (ARG)
Referee Assessor: Juan Cardellino (URU)

Argentinos Juniors – Deportes Tolima
Referee: Daniel Fedorczuk (URU)
Assistant Referee 1: Miguel Nievas (URU)
Assistant Referee 2: Horacio Ferreiro (URU)
Fourth Official: Andres Matonte (URU)
Referee Assessor: Ednilson Corona (BRA)

Independiente Del Valle – Universidad Catolica
Referee: Andres Cunha (URU)
Assistant Referee 1: Gabriel Popovits (URU)
Assistant Referee 2: Carlos Barreiro (URU)
Fourth Official: Gustavo Tejera (URU)
Referee Assessor: Manuel Bernal (PAR)

Fluminense – Atletico Nacional
Referee: Roberto Tobar (CHI)
Assistant Referee 1: Christian Schiemann (CHI)
Assistant Referee 2: Claudio Rios (CHI)
Fourth Official: Cesar Deischler (CHI)
Referee Assessor: Sabrina Lois (ARG)

FIFA U-20 World Cup 2019 – Group Stage (Matches 1-8)

23 May 2019
Poland – Colombia
Referee: Mustapha Ghorbal (ALG, photo)
Assistant Referee 1: Mahmud Ahmed (EGY)
Assistant Referee 2: Mokrane Gourari (ALG)
Fourth Official: Hector Martinez (HON)
VAR: Marco Guida (ITA)
AVAR: Khamis Al-Marri (QAT)

Tahiti – Senegal
Referee: Muhammad Bin Jahari (SIN)
Assistant Referee 1: Min Kiat Koh (SIN)
Assistant Referee 2: Hannan Bin Abdul (SIN)
Fourth Official: David Yareboinen (PNG)
VAR: Paulus Van Boekel (NED)
AVAR: Fu Ming (CHN)

Mexico – Italy
Referee: Raphael Claus (BRA)
Assistant Referee 1: Danilo Manis (BRA)
Assistant Referee 2: Bruno Pires (BRA)
Fourth Official: Leodan Gonzalez (URU)
VAR: Wilton Sampaio (BRA)
AVAR: Andres Rojas (COL)

Japan – Ecuador
Referee: Slavko Vinčič (SVN)
Assistant Referee 1: Tomaž Klančnik (SVN)
Assistant Referee 2: Andraž Kovačič (SVN)
Fourth Official: Sandro Schärer (SUI)
VAR: Artur Soares Dias (POR)
AVAR: Ammar Al-Jeneibi (UAE)

24 May 2019
Honduras – New Zealand
Referee: Alexis Herrera (VEN)
Assistant Referee 1: Jorge Urrego (VEN)
Assistant Referee 2: Tulio Moreno (VEN)
Fourth Official: Joel Alarcon (PER)
VAR: Julio Bascuñan (CHI)
AVAR: Jesus Valenzuela (VEN)

Uruguay – Norway
Referee: Ismail Elfath (USA)
Assistant Referee 1: Kyle Atkins (USA)
Assistant Referee 2: Corey Parker (USA)
Fourth Official: Ilgiz Tantashev (UZB)
VAR: Alan Kelly (USA)
AVAR: Pawel Raczkowski (POL)

Qatar – Nigeria
Referee: Fernando Guerrero (MEX)
Assistant Referee 1: Pablo Hernandez (MEX)
Assistant Referee 2: Jose Martinez (MEX)
Fourth Official: Ivan Barton (SLV)
VAR: Juan Martínez Munuera (ESP)
AVAR: Adonai Escobedo (MEX)

Ukraine – USA
Referee: Maguette N'Diaye (SEN)
Assistant Referee 1: Elvis Noupue (CMR)
Assistant Referee 2: Seydou Tiama (BFA)
Fourth Official: Pacifique Ndabihawenimana (BDI)
VAR: Benoît Millot (FRA)
AVAR: Alejandro Hernandez Hernandez (ESP)

UEFA U-17 Euro Final 2019: Eskas (NOR)

When Espen Eskås leads the two teams out for the 2019 UEFA European Under-17 Championship final on Sunday, he expects it to be an emotional occasion for him, as well as for the players. The Norwegian referee has been selected to officiate at the showpiece between the Netherlands and Italy at the Tallaght Stadium in Dublin – and he admits it will be his career highlight. "Of course it is," he told uefa.com.
"It's amazing, you almost get goosebumps standing there, taking in the emotions and feelings. It's an amazing feeling; an almost out-of-body experience." Once he blows the whistle to set the ball rolling, that emotion will make way for focus and concentration. Then, Eskås says his responsibility will be to ensure the rules are abided by, but more than that, he will be aiming to ensure that the players show respect for each other and the game. To that end, he assesses his role as more of a pedagogical figure. "You need to educate the players," he said. "They have a lot of emotions and a lot of feelings, and it's important as a referee in a tournament like this to recognise these and not punish, but instead try to solve situations with management and communication. "You need to have personality and be yourself, and that's one of the most important things: be yourself and highlight your own strengths. In this tournament, we have to show our personality and manage the players, be good in our communication and solving problems, and of course try to enjoy being a referee." That final point is a salient one. "When we arrive at the stadium for the final, we'll put our bags down, check our communication equipment, and then we will have a look around, smile and relax," he continued, consciously using the plural as he prepares for the privilege of officiating the final together with assistant referees Riku Vihreävuori (Finland) and Raimonds Tatriks (Latvia), as well as fourth official Trustin Farrugia Cann (Malta). "The main thing is to know I have my team-mates with me, and to let them know we are in this together, and that we manage to enjoy the moment." It is a moment the young referee says he has dreamt of since being encouraged to take up refereeing from an early age. "I was introduced to refereeing by a colleague of my father," Eskås said. "After two or three matches, you start to realise it is fun, and you get feedback that you have a talent for this, and you should go for it. One thing leads to another, and then you progress from refereeing youngsters to adults, and when you get new appointments, all the time you realise how good a feeling it is to be able to do this." Eskås, 30, says seeing compatriots Rune Pedersen, Terje Hauge and Tom Henning Øvrebø officiating at the highest level gave him further belief not only that he could make it, but that he wanted to. "When I started refereeing, these were at the top in Europe, and it was an inspiration to see them refereeing in the UEFA Champions League," Eskås continued. "Maybe there are times when you think 'it's too difficult for me', but you overcome it, and it's an amazing feeling to be able to take part in football, especially at a youth final tournament like this where you see all the aspects of football; all the emotions, the feelings, the dreams and the ambitions. "You have the same ambitions and dreams as a referee, and this is a dream come true." (Source: UEFA)


19 May 2019
Netherlands – Italy
Referee: Espen Eskas (NOR)
Assistant Referee 1: Riku Vihreävuori (FIN)
Assistant Referee 2: Raimonds Tatriks (LVA)
Fourth Official: Trustin Farrugia Cann (MLT)
Referee Observer: Bo Karlsson (SWE)

Referee Pustovoitova relishing Budapest assignment

Swapping a career as a player for that of a referee hasn’t proved an obstacle to success for Anastasia Pustovoitova – who takes charge of Saturday’s UEFA Women’s Champions League final between Lyon and Barcelona in Budapest. The Russian match official is relishing the prospect of handling the premier occasion in European women’s club football, the latest step in an impressive ten-year refereeing pathway which began after a fulfilling career as a player which also brought her international recognition. 
“To be honest, I still can’t quite believe it,” the 38-year-old said of her appointment for the final in Hungary. “There’s a mixture of emotions – certainly happiness and excitement. I can’t wait to get to the match, and I’m sure that my heart rate will increase when I’m lining up with the teams!” Pustovoitova, based in Moscow, was bitten by the football bug at an early age, and made her mark as a player before taking the whistle. She was a defender with TNK Ryazan, and was selected for the Russian squad that reached the quarter-finals of the 2003 FIFA Women’s World Cup in the United States. “I also played for Ryazan in the UEFA Women’s Cup, the predecessor of the UEFA Women’s Champions League,” she remembers. “We were the first Russian club to play in the competition when it started in 2001/02, and we reached the quarter-finals, when we were knocked out by the strong Swedish team Umeå IK, who reached the final that year and won the competition the year after.” Pustovoitova scored Ryazan's goal in the second leg. Once her playing career ended, Pustovoitova’s passion for football pushed her towards refereeing. “I thought about what I could do next, because I can’t live without football – and I decided to try refereeing,” she says. “When I refereed, I felt confident, so I continued.” Having been a player at higher levels can help a referee, and Pustovoitova agrees. “You are able to read the game,” she explains, “and you can anticipate a lot of the time what comes next.” In addition to the high level of fitness needed to referee modern-day high-calibre European women’s football, Pustovoitova is pleased that she can study team tactics ahead of big matches such as Saturday’s final. “It’s been a great move to bring this in,” she says, “because it means that we’re fully ready for the match – we know everything about the teams and the players.”
Pustovoitova will be assisted by Ekaterina Kurochkina (Russia) and Petruţa Iugulescu (Romania). Katalin Kulcsár (Hungary) will act as the fourth official. A reserve assistant referee, Katalin Török, also from Hungary, completes the line-up of the refereeing team. She insists that the well-being of her team is a major priority, joining every top-level referee in underlining the importance of a close-knit refereeing unit. “Without the team, I’m nothing,” she says emphatically. Pustovoitova, who relaxes away from the game by walking and exercising her three year-old Black Labrador dog, feels it is crucial for a referee not to copy others. “You must be yourself as a referee,” she reflects. “I don’t really have role models, but I respect [German referee] Bibiana Steinhaus, she’s a women’s refereeing icon, as well as [former Czech referee and UEFA refereeing officer] Dagmar Damková, who is so experienced and took charge of so many important games in her career.” Pustovoitova’s objective is to referee as long as she can. After her date in Budapest, the next big challenge will be this summer’s FIFA Women’s World Cup in France – following on from her previous major tournament, UEFA Women’s EURO 2017 in the Netherlands. “I just want to keep doing my best and looking ahead,” she emphasises. And what would be Anastasia Pustovoitova’s advice to a young girl who might be keen to take up refereeing? “Just do it, if you love football – and believe in yourself.”

Source: UEFA

Concacaf Gold Cup 2019

The Confederation of North, Central America and Caribbean Association Football (Concacaf) today announced the referees and assistant referees that have been selected for the 2019 Concacaf Gold Cup. The 48 match officials were required to pass several assessments and fitness tests, to ensure they could be considered for Concacaf’s most prestigious national team competition. “In preparing our elite referees for Concacaf’s premier competition for national teams, we have left no stone unturned. The team of selected officials represents our Confederation’s best in terms of football knowledge, technical ability, as well as physical fitness preparation,” said Concacaf Director of Refereeing Brian Hall. “We just completed a five-day pre-tournament training focused on our objective of preparing the referee team for excellence. We are confident that our officials will be prepared to deliver an outstanding performance when the competition kicks off on June 15 at Rose Bowl Stadium in Los Angeles, California.” As part of the Memorandum of Understanding with the Asian Football Confederation (AFC), Concacaf also announced that a trio of referees from Qatar will officiate matches during this summer’s tournament. “Following the successful participation of Concacaf Referees in the 2019 Asian Cup, we are proud to continue collaborating with the AFC in our tournaments. This is the first time that a trio of match officials from AFC will be participating in a Concacaf Gold Cup, as part of our partnership with the Confederation. This exchange complements our efforts to raise the level of refereeing across Concacaf,” added Hall. The Concacaf Referees Committee approved the list of participants, who were reviewed and selected by the Concacaf Referee Technical Advisory Team, across regional group of refereeing experts. This team includes members of the Targeted Advanced Referee Program (TARP). TARP referees are part of the development strategy of the Confederation to provide an opportunity of working with elite officials in order to prepare them for future competitions. Game assignments will be published in the Media Center prior to each match. The 2019 Gold Cup will be the biggest-ever edition of the event, with more participating nations (16 up from 12 in 2017), more host countries (three, including first-time matches in Costa Rica and Jamaica), and more stadiums (17 up from 14 in 2017, eight of which are in contention to become a 2026 FIFA World Cup venue). (Source: Concacaf)

Referees
1. Henry Bejarano (CRC, 1978)
2. Juan Calderon (CRC, 1987)
3. Yadel Martinez (CUB, 1985)
4. Mario Escobar (GUA, 1986)
5. Walter Lopez (GUA, 1980, photo)
6. Hector Martinez (HON, 1991)
7. Daneon Parchment (JAM, 1981)
8. Adonai Escobedo (MEX, 1987)
9. Fernando Guerrero (MEX, 1981)
10. Marco Ortiz (MEX, 1988)
11. John Pitti (PAN, 1978)
12. Ivan Barton (SLV, 1991)
13. Ismail Elfath (USA, 1982)
14. Jair Marrufo (USA, 1977)
15. Armando Villarreal (USA, 1986)

AFC Guest Referee
1. Abdulrahman Al-Jassim (QAT, 1987)

TARP Referees
1. Keylor Herrera (CRC, 1993)
2. Randy Encarnacion (DOM, 1992)
3. Reon Radix (GRE, 1990)
4. Oshane Nation (JAM, 1991)
5. Diego Montano (MEX, 1985)
6. Oliver Vergara (PAN, 1993)
7. Jose Kellys (PAN, 1989)
8. Jose Torres (PUR, 1990)
9. Ismael Cornejo (SLV, 1987)

Assistant Referees
1. Michael Barwegen (CAN, 1986)
2. Kedlee Powell (CAY, 1979)
3. William Arrieta (CRC, 1983)
4. Juan Mora (CRC, 1989)
5. Helpys Feliz (DOM, 1989)
6. Gerson Lopez (GUA, 1983)
7. Humberto Panjoj (GUA, 1987)
8. Christian Ramirez (HON, 1988)
9. Walter Lopez (HON, 1978)
10. Nicholas Anderson (JAM, 1983)
11. Miguel Hernandez (MEX, 1977)
12. Alberto Morin (MEX, 1980)
13. Henry Pupiro (NCA, 1988)
14. Juan Zumba (SLV, 1982)
15. David Moran (SLV, 1985)
16. Zachari Zeegelaar (SUR, 1989)
17. Caleb Wales (TRI, 1988)
18. Frank Anderson (USA, 1975)
19. Ian Anderson (USA, 1975)
20. Kyle Atkins (USA, 1986)
21. Corey Parker (USA, 1986)

AFC Guest Assistant Referees
1. Taleb Al-Marri (QAT, 1988)
2. Saoud Al-Maqaleh (QAT, 1988)

Referee Assessors
1. John Nielsen (CAN)
2. Livingston Bailey (CAY)
3. Ronald Gutierez (CRC)
4. Carlos Batres (GUA)
5. Dave Meikle (JAM)
6. Victor Stewart (JAM)
7. Isabel Tovar (MEX)
8. Arkadiusz Prus (USA)

UEFA Women’s U-17 Euro Final 2019: Demetrescu (ROU)

Hard work and dedication are key words for referee Iuliana Demetrescu – and reward has come her way with her appointment to take charge of Friday's UEFA European Women's Under-17 Championship final between the Netherlands and Germany in Albena, Bulgaria. The 29-year-old match official from Romania is following in distinguished footsteps as far as women's refereeing in her country is concerned – referee Cristina Ionescu and assistant Irina Mirt officiated at the 2003 FIFA Women's World Cup final; Cristina Dorcioman took charge of the UEFA Women's Euro 2013 final; and Teodora Albon refereed the 2013 UEFA Women's Champions League final, together with assistants Petruţa Iugulescu and Mihaela Ţepuşă, with Dorcioman acting as fourth official. "I'm proud and happy," Demetrescu said. "I'm grateful for the trust that the UEFA Referees Committee has put in me, and it's also a tribute to the excellent work that the Romanian Football Federation and Referees Committee have carried out over the years in training referees. I'm really looking forward to the game." Demetrescu, who comes from the city of Ramnicu Valcea, took up refereeing in 2010 as an assistant. She started as a referee in 2012, and then joined the FIFA international list as a referee in 2016. She will be accompanied at the Albena final by assistants Josefin Aronsson (Sweden) and Francesca Di Monte (Italy), with Reelika Turi (Estonia) acting as fourth official. "I've really enjoyed being in Bulgaria for the finals, and my colleagues have become friends," the keen traveller said of her experience at the tournament. "It's clear that the training we've received here can only help me get better in the future."Demetrescu will take her favourite music into the dressing room with her to help her relax and prepare for the final. "I'm not someone who likes to be too quiet before the match," she said. "So I'll be listening to the band Queen in the dressing room – I like their music very much. Then, just before the match when we're lining up on the field, I'll make sure that I'm feeling calm, confident and 100% focused, and ready to start the game." The successful careers of compatriots such as Ionescu, Mirt, Dorcioman and Albon have helped to motivate Demetrescu on her own career path, but she remains determined to be herself as a referee. "I don't really have any role models, honestly," she reflected. "But if I see something a referee does that I think I can take, then I will. It's important for a referee to be well-prepared mentally and physically. You need a strong personality, integrity, courage and self-confidence – and you must always be ready to be self-critical if you want to get better." Friday's big occasion in Albena is seen by Demetrescu as a step forward in her profession. "I like to take things step by step, and I would like to reach the elite group of referees," she emphasized. "But I know I'll have to keep working hard and developing to get there." (Source: UEFA


17 May 2019 
Netherlands – Germany 
Referee: Iuliana Demetrescu (ROU) 
Assistant Referee 1: Josefin Aronsson (SWE) 
Assistant Referee 2: Francesca Di Monte (ITA) 
Fourth Official: Reelika Turi (EST)

Concacaf U-17 Championship Final 2019: Parchment (JAM)

16 May 2016

Mexico – USA
Referee: Daneon Parchment (JAM, photo)
Assistant Referee 1: Nicolas Anderson (JAM)
Assistant Referee 2: Kedlee Powell (CAY)
Fourth Official: Juan Calderon (CRC)

UEFA U-17 Euro 2019 – Semi-finals

16 May 2019

France – Italy
Referee: Mykola Balakin (UKR, photo)
Assistant Referee 1: Gylfi Sigurdson (ISL)
Assistant Referee 2: Jan Hermansen (FRO)
Fourth Official: Rade Obrenović (SVN)
Referee Observer: Bo Karlsson (SWE)

Netherlands – Spain
Referee: Donald Robertson (SCO)
Assistant Referee 1: Raimond Tatriks (LVA)
Assistant Referee 2: Lewiss Edwards (WAL)
Fourth Official: Manfredas Lukjančukas (LTU)
Referee Observer: Gerard Perry (IRL)

Play-off for FIFA U-17 World Cup

Hungary – Belgium
Referee: Krzysztof Jakubik (POL)
Assistant Referee 1: Riku Vihreäuvuori (FIN)
Assistant Referee 2: Fatlum Berisha (KVX)
Fourth Official: Jorgen Burchardt (DEN)
Referee Observer: Bo Karlsson (SWE)

Former World Cup referee George Smith dies aged 75

Former FIFA referee George Smith, from Edinburgh, has died aged 75. Smith took charge of three Scottish Cup finals and two League Cup finals. He was the man in the middle at the notorious 1980 Scottish Cup final when a riot took place between fans at Hampden Park after Celtic had beaten Rangers in extra–time.
Smith also represented Scotland at the 1990 World Cup in Italy, taking charge of a group match between Austria and Czechoslovakia where he handed out seven yellow cards. He retired as a referee observer due to ill health in October last year and was then appointed honorary president of the Edinburgh and District Referees Association.

Source: The Scotsman

Female referees create AFC history

Asian football history will be made on Wednesday when Japanese referee Yoshimi Yamashita alongside assistant referees Makoto Bozono and Naomi Teshirogi become the first all-female cast to officiate an AFC Cup match between Myanmar’s Yangon United FC and Naga World of Cambodia at the Thuwunna Stadium. This will be the first time three female referees officiate in the Asian Football Confederation’s (AFC) club competitions, marking a new milestone in Asian refereeing. The trio had to pass a demanding fitness test, matching the requirements for men officials before being selected and their appointment is a timely boost, as they are also part of 12 Asian match officials representing the AFC at the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup France in June.
The experienced Yamashita was delighted to add another milestone in her career after officiating in the 2016 and 2018 FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup and AFC Women’s Asian Cup Jordan 2018. “This is one of my dreams,” said a proud Yamashita. “We’ve worked very hard and this is the result. I have to thank the AFC for giving us this opportunity to join the history books in women’s refereeing in Asia. It is an important achievement for us because it is the first time three women will officiate in an AFC club competition and it comes before the FIFA Women’s World Cup so we will do our best in every match.” Assistant referee Teshirogi believes their appointment will inspire female referees in Asia to follow in their footsteps. She said: “I’m excited and happy for the team but we know it will be a tough match because the players have different personalities and temperament. I worked really hard with my personal trainer and I’m glad I passed the fitness test. In the future, we hope to set the example for more female referees to take the leap to officiate in men’s football matches. More women passed the men’s fitness test so that shows how motivated the women referees are.” Bozono said the experience of being an assistant referee at the AFC Cup will help in her preparations for the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup. She explained: “I’m very honoured to be selected for the AFC Cup and sure it is a good warm-up for the FIFA Women’s World Cup. It is exciting to work with Yoshimi and Naomi. They are very experienced and have been very supportive. I will learn a lot from them.”
Female assistant referees Kim Kyoung-min and Lee Seul-gi will also officiate in the AFC Cup match between Ceres Negros FC and Becamex Binh Duong alongside male referee Kim Dae-yong. Their selection showcases AFC’s commitment to celebrate women’s contribution to Asian football and it fittingly marks the continuation of the AFC’s #ItsMyGame campaign in 2019 where a series of videos will be launched in the coming months.

Source: AFC

UEFA Champions League Final 2019: Skomina (SVN)

The UEFA Referees Committee has announced that Damir Skomina will referee the 2019 UEFA Champions League final between Tottenham Hotspur and Liverpool. The match will be played at the Estadio Metropolitano in Madrid on Saturday 1 June at 21:00CET. The 42-year-old Slovenian, an international referee since 2002, will have the opportunity to complete a prestigious European club competition "treble", as he has already officiated at the UEFA Europa League final between Ajax and Manchester United in 2017, as well as the UEFA Super Cup between Chelsea and Atletico in 2012. He also acted as fourth official at the 2013 UEFA Champions League final between Borussia Dortmund and Bayern München. Skomina has taken charge of four UEFA Champions League matches this season, as well as two UEFA Europa League games. At the final in Madrid, Skomina will be assisted by his countrymen Jure Praprotnik and Robert Vukan. The fourth official will be Antonio Mateu Lahoz from Spain. The video assistant referee role has been assigned to Danny Makkelie from the Netherlands, who will be supported by Pol van Boekel, Felix Zwayer and Mark Borsch. (Source: UEFA)


1 June 2019
Tottenham – Liverpool
Referee: Damir Skomina (SVN)
Assistant Referee 1: Jure Praprotnik (SVN)
Assistant Referee 2: Robert Vukan (SVN)
Fourth Official: Antonio Mateu Lahoz (ESP)
VAR: Danny Makkelie (NED)
AVAR 1: Pol van Boekel (NED)
AVAR 2: Mark Borsch (GER)
AVAR 3: Felix Zwayer (GER)
Referee Observer: Kyros Vassaras (GRE)

UEFA Europa League Final 2019: Rocchi (ITA)

The UEFA Referees Committee has announced today that Gianluca Rocchi will referee the 2019 UEFA Europa League final between Chelsea and Arsenal at the Baku Olympic Stadium on Wednesday 29 May 2019 (kick-off at 23.00 local time/21.00CET). Rocchi has been an international referee since 2008. This season, the 45-year-old Italian has officiated at six UEFA Champions League matches. This will be the first UEFA Europa League final that Rocchi has overseen, after handling the fourth referee duties in the 2010 encounter between Atlético Madrid and Fulham, as well as the 2017 UEFA Europa League final between Ajax and Manchester United. The same year, he was in charge of the UEFA Super Cup match between Manchester United and Real Madrid. He will be assisted by compatriots Filippo Meli and Lorenzo Manganelli at the final in Baku, with Daniele Orsato taking the role of fourth official. The video assistant referee team will be led by Massimiliano Irrati, supported by Marco Guida, Szymon Marciniak and Pawel Sokolnicki. (Source: UEFA)


29 May 2019
Chelsea – Arsenal
Referee: Gianluca Rocchi (ITA)
Assistant Referee 1: Filippo Meli (ITA)
Assistant Referee 2: Lorenzo Manganelli (ITA)
Fourth Official: Daniele Orsato (ITA)
VAR: Massimiliano Irrati (ITA)
AVAR 1: Marco Guida (ITA)
AVAR 2: Paweł Sokolnicki (POL)
AVAR 3: Szymon Marciniak (POL)
Referee Observer: Vladimir Sajn (SVN)

UEFA U-17 Euro 2919 – Quarter-finals

12-13 May 2019

Belgium – Netherlands
Referee: Rade Obrenović (SVN, photo)
Assistant Referee 1: Joaquim Da Silva (LUX)
Assistant Referee 2: Jan Hermansen (FRO)
Fourth Official: Espen Eskas (NOR)
Referee Observer: Gerard Perry (IRL)

France – Czech Republic
Referee: Jorgen Burchardt (DEN)
Assistant Referee 1: Gylfi Sigurdsson (ISL)
Assistant Referee 2: Lewiss Edwards (WAL)
Fourth Official: Mykola Balakin (UKR)
Referee Observer: Bo Karlsson (SWE)

Italy – Portugal
Referee: Manfredas Lukjančukas (LTU)
Assistant Referee 1: Riku Vihreävuori (FIN)
Assistant Referee 2: Fatlum Berisha (KVX)
Fourth Official: Krzysztof Jakubik (POL)
Referee Observer: Gerard Perry (IRL)

Hungary – Spain
Referee: Trustin Farrugia Cann (MLT)
Assistant Referee 1: Raimonds Tatriks (LVA)
Assistant Referee 2: Sergei Vassyutin (KAZ)
Fourth Official: Donald Robertson (SCO)
Referee Observer: Marc Batta (FRA)

UEFA U-17 Euro 2019 – Group Stage (Matches 17-24)

9-10 May 2019

Belgium – Ireland
Referee: Krzysztof Jakubik (POL, photo)
Assistant Referee 1: Ilir Tartaraj (ALB)
Assistant Referee 2: Riku Vihreäuvuori (FIN)
Fourth Official: Petri Viljanen (FIN)
Referee Observer: Dejan Filipovic (SRB)

Greece – Czech Republic
Referee: Manfredas Lukjančukas (LTU)
Assistant Referee 1: Frantisek Ferenc (SVK)
Assistant Referee 2: Deniz Sokolov (BUL)
Fourth Official: Paul McLaughlin (IRL)
Referee Observer: Bo Karlsson (SWE)

France – Netherlands
Referee: Mykola Balakin (UKR)
Assistant Referee 1: Fatlum Berisha (KVX)
Assistant Referee 2: Sergei Vasiutin (KAZ)
Fourth Official: Iwan Arwell (WAL)
Referee Observer: Gerard Perry (IRL)

Sweden – England
Referee: Espen Eskas (NOR)
Assistant Referee 1: Lewiss Edwards (WAL)
Assistant Referee 2: Gylfi Sigurdson (ISL)
Fourth Official: Kaarlo Hämäläinen (FIN)
Referee Observer: Stavros Tritsonis (GRE)

Russia – Hungary
Referee: Jorgen Burchardt (DEN)
Assistant Referee 1: Sergei Vasiutin (KAZ)
Assistant Referee 2: Riku Vihreäuvuori (FIN)
Fourth Official: Paul McLaughlin (IRL)
Referee Observer: Gerard Perry (IRL)

Portugal – Iceland
Referee: Donald Robertson (SCO)
Assistant Referee 1: Evgeni Romanov (BLR)
Assistant Referee 2: Raimond Tatriks (LVA)
Fourth Official: Petri Viljanen (FIN)
Referee Observer: Stavros Tritsonis (GRE)

Italy – Spain
Referee: Rade Obrenović (SVN)
Assistant Referee 1: Gylfi Sigurdson (ISL)
Assistant Referee 2: Lewiss Edwards (WAL)
Fourth Official: Iwan Arwell (WAL)
Referee Observer: Marc Batta (FRA)

Austria – Germany
Referee: Trustin Farrugia Cann (MLT)
Assistant Referee 1: Jan Hermansen (FRO)
Assistant Referee 2: Joaquim Da Silva (LUX)
Fourth Official: Kaarlo Hämäläinen (FIN)
Referee Observer: Bo Karlsson (SWE)

Ovrebo: “I became the biggest fool in international football”

Referee Tom Henning Ovrebo opens up on the death threats he received after the controversial Chelsea vs Barcelona semi-final. The former referee from Norway has discussed the night that saw him become “the biggest fool in international football” when he officiated one of the most controversial Champions League matches of all-time a decade ago.
Barcelona won the second leg of their semi-final tie with the Blues on away goals thanks to a late strike by Andres Iniesta, but the match will always be remembered for Ovrebo's appalling officiating. The Norwegian official failed to award four penalties and a red card in Chelsea's favour at Stamford Bridge, which ultimately ended the Blues” European hopes while staining the official”s career. And speaking in a candid interview with Panenka magazine ten years on from that infamous night, Ovrebo recalled how he and his team required a police escort to leave the country, while lamenting the fact VAR was not available at the time. “I wish I had the help of the VAR that day,” said Ovrebo. ”After the first half, my assistants and I felt that we had control. At the end of the match, however, I did not have that feeling. When I got to the dressing room I thought: “Okay, Tom Henning, this has not been your best night”.” A catalogue of errors led to heated scenes at full time, where Chelsea players surrounded the official and an enraged Didier Drogba shouted to television cameras that the match had been a “disgrace, a f****** disgrace”.
Chelsea took an early lead through Michael Essien, who rifled home a volley from distance, before the controversy started and Ovrebo lost control of the match. Florent Malouda was the first to be denied a penalty after appearing to be hauled down inside the penalty area by Dani Alves - with the foul awarded outside instead - before Drogba was brought down by Barcelona left-back Eric Abidal, who somehow avoided conceding a clear penalty and receiving a red card. He was later dismissed for a soft foul on Nicolas Anelka in the second half, which was followed by two clear handball shouts; the first saw Gerard Pique palm the ball away as Anelka sought to go past him, and the second came after Iniesta”s equaliser, when Michael Ballack”s goal-bound shot was blocked by Samuel Eto”o”s arm. After the Ballack incident, Ovrebo revealed he told himself to “keep calm”, but inside, he was anything but that. “I must admit that inside I was boiling,” he added. “It was in the dressing room that I realised how controversial everything had been. In the space of two hours, I went from being a fairly respected referee to becoming the biggest fool in international football.” Chelsea”s rage on the field was shared by coach Guus Hiddink, who described Ovrebo”s performance as the worst he”d ever seen. But the anger emanated beyond the Stamford Bridge turf as supporters rightly felt a deep sense of injustice. However, for Ovrebo, that meant a distressing trip to the airport, followed by appalling abuse and death threats. “They put us in police escort until we could get a plane and return home,” he said. “(The death threats) came more from the frustration of not winning that match and my performance in it, than from the real desire to kill me and my family.”
The performance itself had long lasting ramifications for the Norwegian's refereeing career. He was unable to go to the 2010 World Cup in South Africa, while UEFA prevented him from speaking out. ”I did not go to the World Cup,” he added. “My team and I knew we had a good chance of going if we did a good job at Stamford Bridge. In the end, we did not do it, and I think it”s natural that our chance to be at the World Cup in South Africa disappeared.” On UEFA he added: “First they wanted the investigation into the match to end. They did not want any comments in the press that could intensify the situation, “he recalls, and acknowledges that “ it would have been very good to have been able to publicly express everything I felt about it.” The full interview with Tom Henning Ovrebo can be read in the latest edition of Panenka magazine.

Source: DailyMail

UEFA Europa League – Semi-finals (Second Leg)

9 May 2019

Chelsea FC – Eintracht Frankfurt
Referee: Ovidiu Hațegan (ROU, photo)
Assistant Referee 1: Octavian Șovre (ROU)
Assistant Referee 2: Sebastian Gheorghe (ROU)
Fourth Official: Pavel Kralovec (CZE)
Additional AR 1: Radu Petrescu (ROU)
Additional AR 2: Sebastian Colțescu (ROU)
Reserve AR: Radu Ghinguleac (ROU)
Referee Observer: Alain Hamer (LUX)

Valencia – Arsenal
Referee: Danny Makkelie (NED)
Assistant Referee 1: Mario Diks (NED)
Assistant Referee 2: Hessel Steegstra (NED)
Fourth Official: Sergei Karasev (RUS)
Additional AR 1: Dennis Higler (NED)
Additional AR 2: Jochem Kamphuis (NED)
Reserve AR: Joost van Zuilen (NED)
Referee Observer: Darko Čeferin (SVN)

Concacaf U-17 Championship 2019

The tournament takes place in Florida (USA) from 1-16 May 2019 and counts as Concacaf selection for the 2019 Gold Cup.

Referees
1. Henry Bejarano (CRC, 1978, photo)
2. Juan Calderon (CRC, 1987)
3. Yadel Martinez (CUB, 1985)
4. Ivan Barton (SLV, 1991)
5. Ismael Cornejo (SLV, 1987)
6. Mario Escobar (GUA, 1986)
7. Walter Lopez (GUA, 1980)
8. Hector Martinez (HON, 1991)
9. Oshane Nation (JAM, 1991)
10. Daneon Parchment (JAM, 1981)
11. Adonai Escobedo (MEX, 1987)
12. Fernando Guerrero (MEX, 1981)
13. Marco Ortiz (MEX, 1988)
14. John Pitti (PAN, 1978)
15. Kimbell Ward (SKN, 1983)
16. Ismail Elfath (USA, 1982)
17. Jair Marrufo (USA, 1977)
18. Armando Villarreal (USA, 1986)

Assistant Referees
1. Michael Barwegen (CAN, 1986)
2. Kedlee Powell (CAY, 1979)
3. William Arrieta (CRC, 1983)
4. Juan Mora (CRC, 1989)
5. Geovany Garcia (SLV, 1981)
6. David Moran (SLV, 1985)
7. Christian Ramirez (HON, 1988)
8. Nicholas Anderson (JAM, 1983)
9. Pablo Hernandez (MEX, 1978)
10. Ibrahim Martínez (MEX, 1985)
11. Henry Pupiro (NCA, 1988)
12. Zachari Zeegelaar (SUR, 1989)
13. Joseph Bertrand (TRI, 1990)
14. Ainsley Rochard (TRI, 1981)
15. Caleb Wales (TRI, 1988)
16. Frank Anderson (USA, 1975)
17. Ian Anderson (USA, 1975)
18. Kyle Atkins (USA, 1986)

Referee Assessors
1. John Nielsen (CAN)
2. Ronald Gutierez (CRC)
3. Carlos Batres (GUA)
4. Dave Meikle (JAM)
5. Isabel Tovar (MEX)
6. Arkadiusz Prus (USA)

UEFA Champions League – Semi-finals (Second Leg)

7-8 May 2019

FC Liverpool – FC Barcelona
Referee: Cüneyt Çakır (TUR, photo)
Assistant Referee 1: Bahattin Duran (TUR)
Assistant Referee 2: Tarık Ongun (TUR)
Fourth Official: Artur Soares Dias (POR)
VAR: Felix Zwayer (GER)
AVAR: Sascha Stegemann (GER)
Referee Observer: Sándor Piller (HUN)

AFC Ajax – Tottenham Hotspur
Referee: Felix Brych (GER)
Assistant Referee 1: Mark Borsch (GER)
Assistant Referee 2: Stefan Lupp (GER)
Fourth Official: Deniz Aytekin (GER)
VAR: Bastian Dankert (GER)
AVAR: Marco Fritz (GER)
Referee Observer: Rune Pedersen (NOR)