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)

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)

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)