Algarve Cup 2018

Portugal, 28 February - 7 March 2018

Referee: Oh Hyeon Jeong (KOR, 1988)
Assistant Referee 1: Maiko Hagio (JPN, 1979)
Assistant Referee 2: Bao Mengxiao (CHN, 1988)

Referee: Casey Reibelt (AUS, 1988, photo)
Assistant Referee 1: Lee Seul Gi (KOR, 1980)
Assistant Referee 2: Troung Thi Le Trinh (VIE, 1984)

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

Referee: Jonesia Kabakama (TAN, 1989)
Assistant Referee 1: Fanta Kone (MLI, 1990)
Assistant Referee 2: Botsalo Mosimanewatlala (BOT, 1981)

Referee: Salima Mukansanga (RWA, 1988)
Assistant Referee 1: Josiane Mbakop (CMR, 1979)
Assistant Referee 2: Bielignin Some (BFA, 1987)

Referee: Marianela Araya (CRC, 1988)
Assistant Referee 1: Kimberly Moreira (CRC, 1986)
Assistant Referee 2: Elizabeth Aguilar (SLV, 1987)

Referee: Ekaterina Koroleva (USA, 1987)
Assistant Referee 1: Felisha Mariscal (USA, 1982)
Assistant Referee 2: Deleana Quan (USA, 1984)

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

Referee: Laura Fortunato (ARG, 1985)
Assistant Referee 1: Mariana Almeida (ARG, 1982)
Assistant Referee 2: Maria Rocco (ARG, 1979)

Referee: Sandra Braz (POR, 1978)
Assistant Referee 1: Rocio Puente Pino (ESP, 1983)
Assistant Referee 2: Lucia Abruzzese (ITA, 1976)

Referee: Monika Mularczyk (POL, 1980)
Assistant Referee 1: Ekaterina Marinova (BUL, 1979)
Assistant Referee 2: Lisa Rashid (ENG, 1987)

Referee: Anastasia Pustovoitova (RUS, 1981)
Assistant Referee 1: Ekaterina Kurochkina (RUS, 1986)
Assistant Referee 2: Mihaela Tepusa (ROU, 1983)

Referee Assessors
1. Ana Perez (PER)
2. Maria Villa Gutierrez (ESP)

CONCACAF Champions League – Round of 16 (Second Leg)

27 February - 1 March 2018 

Tigres – Herediano
Referee: Joel Aguilar (SLV, photo)
Assistant Referee 1: Juan Zumba (SLV)
Assistant Referee 2: William Torres (SLV)
Fourth Official: Jaime Herrera (SLV)

Toronto FC – Colorado Rapids
Referee: Luis Santander (MEX)
Assistant Referee 1: Marcos Quintero (MEX)
Assistant Referee 2: Andres Hernandez (MEX)
Fourth Official: Enrique Miranda (MEX)

Tijuana – Motagua
Referee: Mario Escobar (GUA)
Assistant Referee 1: Ricardo Ake (BLZ)
Assistant Referee 2: Rene Ochoa (GUA)
Fourth Official: Ricangel De Leca (ARU)

FC Dallas – Tauro
Referee: Hector Rodriguez (HON)
Assistant Referee 1: Jesus Tabora (HON)
Assistant Referee 2: Nicholas Anderson (JAM)
Fourth Official: Kevin Morrison (JAM)

Club America – Saprissa
Referee: Oscar Moncada (HON)
Assistant Referee 1: Christian Ramirez (HON)
Assistant Referee 2: Jonathan Moran (SLV) 

Fourth Official: Raul Castro (HON)

Guadalajara – Cibao FC
Referee: Drew Fischer (CAN)
Assistant Referee 1: Philippe Briere (CAN)
Assistant Referee 2: Oscar Mitchell (CAN)
Fourth Official: David Gantar (CAN)

New York Red Bulls – Olimpia
Referee: Ricardo Montero (CRC)
Assistant Referee 1: Juan Mora (CRC)
Assistant Referee 2: Osvaldo Luna (CRC)
Fourth Official: Hugo Cruz (CRC)

Seattle Sounders – Santa Tecla
Referee: Walter Lopez (GUA)
Assistant Referee 1: Gerson Lopez (GUA)
Assistant Referee 2: Alejandro Camarena (GUA)
Fourth Official: Sherwin Moore (GUY)

Karasev: referee with responsibility

When the team line-ups are announced prior to a football match, the volume inside the stadium surges as the players' names ring out from the stands, the atmosphere thick with anticipation ahead of kick-off. A swig of drink lubricates the fans' voices, their chants converting the stage into a cauldron of noise. In the catacombs of the stadium, however, the sound of their cheers is filtered, making it seem as if the pitch is miles away, rather than just a few steps along a corridor. At this point so close to kick-off, there is silence in Sergei Karasev's changing room. The Russian referee shuts himself away with his team for a few minutes in order to focus. The officials sit together, take a deep breath and pause to set themselves for the task ahead. "It's become a tradition for us," said Karasev at the FIFA Referee Seminar in Abu Dhabi.
Ordinarily, though, the Moscow native is not so quiet. A passionate concert-goer, he is a fan of hard rock and heavy metal. Loud, up-tempo music is audible from his headphones even on match days, but just before kick-off a sense of calm sets in and he trains his focus on the upcoming 90 minutes. "When I'm on the pitch I feel I have a sense of responsibility," Karasev said. "It's a feeling that's grown stronger over the years as the level I've refereed at has increased." And with officials under the spotlight, their performances are observed in minute detail which means, "It's not easy being a referee," according to Karasev. Nevertheless, the Russian cannot imagine anything better. His passion for football stems from the 1988 European Championship, when he watched every game live on television and became determined to join a football academy. At the age of 16 he tried his hand at refereeing and is proud to be a FIFA referee today, sharing the field with the world's best players. "In order to be a successful referee you always have to be honest with yourself," Karasev continued. He is aware that mistakes can happen - but then nobody is infallible. "The most important thing is to learn from your errors and to keep working hard on yourself," he said. While he was working up a sweat in temperatures reaching 30 degrees in Abu Dhabi alongside 35 other potential FIFA World Cup referees in preparation for Russia 2018, the Final Draw took place in his home city of Moscow. For Karasev it would be a dream come true to officiate World Cup games in his homeland. The allure of the competition is therefore also tangible out in Abu Dhabi. "Come to Russia, you won't be disappointed," he concluded with a smile. "It'll be the best World Cup of all time, I'm sure of it".

Source: FIFA

VAR to be used at World Cup, but not in Champions League

UEFA has confirmed that video assistant referees (VARs) will not be used in next season’s Champions League, while Gianni Infantino said, on the same day, that the system was almost certain to be deployed at the World Cup.
VAR, which allows match referees to review decisions on a pitch side monitor or by consulting an assistant who monitors the game on a video, has been trialled in a number of competitions over the past year, including the FA Cup. Football’s law-making body IFAB is expected to decide on Saturday whether to authorise its use on a permanent basis and Infantino, the FIFA president, has said that, if VAR is approved, it will be used at this summer’s World Cup. It has proved controversial in this season’s FA Cup and in Serie A, where there have been cases of penalty kicks being revoked after a wait of several minutes, or goals being disallowed for minor infringements after delays. Critics argue it has taken the spontaneity and emotion out of the game and left fans confused. “We have to base decisions on facts and not feelings”, Infantino said at the UEFA Congress. “The facts are that from almost 1,000 matches which were tested, the accuracy rate of the referees went up from 93% to 99%. If we, or I, can do something to make sure that the World Cup is not decided by a referee’s mistakes, then I think it’s our duty to do it”. Infantino added that controversy was part and parcel of Serie A – with or without VAR. “If you lose the match, before it was the fault of the referee, now it’s the fault of VAR... that’s part of the customs, of the traditions of Italian football as well,” he said.
The UEFA president, Aleksander Ceferin, later told a news conference that he was not necessarily against VAR but that it needed more time. “We will not use it in the Champions League next season”, he said. “I see a lot of confusion... I think there is no way back any more but we have to educate the referees properly and we have to explain to the fans when it can be used. Fans keep seeing the [VAR] screen all the time but nobody knows how it works. For me, it might be a good project but we shouldn’t rush it”.

Source: The Guardian

Copa Libertadores – Group Stage (Matchday 1)

27 February 2018
Monagas – Cerro Porteño
Referee: Mauro Vigliano (ARG, photo)
Assistant Referee 1: Ezequiel Brailovsky (ARG)
Assistant Referee 2: Lucas Germanotta (ARG)
Fourth Official: Silvio Trucco (ARG)
Referee Assessor: Miguel Buitrago (VEN)

Defensor Sporting – Gremio
Referee: Fernando Rapallini (ARG)
Assistant Referee 1: Hernán Maidana (ARG)
Assistant Referee 2: Juan Belatti (ARG)
Fourth Official: Fernando Espinoza (ARG)
Referee Assessor: Alberto Tejada (PER)

Racing Club – Gremio
Referee: Wilmar Roldán (COL)
Assistant Referee 1: Alexander Guzmán (COL)
Assistant Referee 2: Cristian De La Cruz (COL)
Fourth Official: Carlos Herrera (COL)
Referee Assessor: Juan Lugones (BOL)

Colo Colo – Atlético Nacional
Referee: Wilton Sampaio (BRA)
Assistant Referee 1: Emerson De Carvalho (BRA)
Assistant Referee 2: Marcelo Van Gasse (BRA)
Fourth Official: Wagner Reway (BRA)
Referee Assessor: Ricardo Casas (ARG)

28 February 2018
Nacional – Estudiantes De La Plata
Referee: Mario Díaz de Vivar (PAR)
Assistant Referee 1: Carlos Cáceres (PAR)
Assistant Referee 2: Darío Gaona (PAR)
Fourth Official: José Méndez (PAR)
Referee Assessor: Alberto Tejada (PER)

Delfín – Bolívar
Referee: Rodolpho Toski (BRA)
Assistant Referee 1: Danilo Manis (BRA)
Assistant Referee 2: Fabricio Vilarinho (BRA)
Fourth Official: Dewson Freitas (BRA)
Referee Assessor: Darío Ubriaco (URU)

Millonarios – Corinthians
Referee: Roddy Zambrano (ECU)
Assistant Referee 1: Christian Lescano (ECU)
Assistant Referee 2: Edwin Bravo (ECU)
Fourth Official: Guillermo Guerrero (ECU)
Referee Assessor: Manuel Bernal (PAR)

Flamengo – River Plate

Referee: Víctor Carrillo (PER)
Assistant Referee 1: Jonny Bossio (PER)
Assistant Referee 2: Coty Carrera (PER)
Fourth Official: Joel Alarcón (PER)
Referee Assessor: Juan Cardellino (URU)

1 March 2018
Independiente Santa Fe – Emelec
Referee: Juan Soto (VEN)
Assistant Referee 1: Luis Murillo (VEN)
Assistant Referee 2: Elbis Gómez (VEN)
Fourth Official: Jesús Valenzuela (VEN)
Referee Assessor: Manuel Bernal (PAR)

Real Garcilaso – Santos
Referee: Gery Vargas (BOL)
Assistant Referee 1: José Antelo (BOL)
Assistant Referee 2: Juan Montaño (BOL)
Fourth Official: Luis Yrusta (BOL)
Referee Assessor: Joel Ruiz (PAR)

Deportivo Lara – Independiente
Referee: Diego Haro (PER)
Assistant Referee 1: Michael Orue (PER)
Assistant Referee 2: Jesús Sánchez (PER)
Fourth Official: Luis Garay (PER)
Referee Assessor: Candelario Andarcia (VEN)

Alianza Lima – Boca Juniors
Referee: Daniel Fedorzuck (URU)
Assistant Referee 1: Mauricio Espinosa (URU)
Assistant Referee 2: Nicolás Tarán (URU)
Fourth Official: Gustavo Tejera (URU)
Referee Assessor: Sergio Cristiano (BRA)

Junior – Palmeiras
Referee: Enrique Cáceres (PAR)
Assistant Referee 1: Eduardo Cardozo (PAR)
Assistant Referee 2: Juan Zorrilla (PAR)
Fourth Official: Julio Quintana (PAR)
Referee Assessor: Claudio Puga (CHI)

Bouchardeau – a strong personality of the African refereeing

Former World Cup referee Lucien Bouchardeau has died on 20 February 2018, at the age of 56, following a heart attack. He started to referee in 1987 and earned his FIFA badge in 1993. Lucien Bouchardeau is to date the only referee to have represented Niger at a World Cup. It was in 1998 in France. FIFA entrusted him with the group match between Italy and Chile (2-2), when he awarded a controversial penalty kick awarded to Italy following a handball by the Chilean Fuentes. Bouchardeau justified his decision in an Italian newspaper and that ended his participation at the World Cup, FIFA prohibiting any speech in the media. Close to Joseph Blatter, president of FIFA from 1998 to 2015, Lucien Bouchardeau said three years ago in an interview with So Foot that Issa Hayatou, former president of the Confederation of African Football (CAF) had "ruined his career". His national federation did not spare him either. "My career has been shortened by CAF and my federation, so instead of going to three World Cups, I only had one. When Hayatou ran against Blatter in the 2002 FIFA elections, I became the enemy of the African confederation because I got on well with Blatter", explained Bouchardeau in that interview.
Two African Cups of Nations (1996 and 1998) including a semi-final (Zambia-Tunisia) in 1996, a participation in the 1997 FIFA Confederations Cup in Saudi Arabia, where he refereed three games, including the match for the third place (Czech Republic-Uruguay), Lucien Bouchardeau also took part in the Atlanta Summer Olympics in 1996. In 2001, he resigned, although he still had five years of potential refereeing, as a protest following the non-selection of any referee from Niger for the 2002 African Cup of Nations in Mali and the 2002 World Cup in Japan and South Korea. His son, Issa Bouchardeau, followed in his father's footsteps by becoming a referee.

Source: Arbitrage57

Brazil: Shocking brawl and game abandoned after 9 red cards

A Brazilian football match between Vitoria and Bahia was abandoned with 11 minutes remaining after the hosts had six players sent off in a game marked by a mass punch-up between players from both sides. The score in the Bahia state championship clash between the two local rivals was 1-1 when Bruno Bispo became the ninth player in all, and the fifth from Vitoria, to be shown the red card. With teams requiring a minimum of seven players, the referee was forced to abandon the game.
Denilson opened the scoring for Vitoria after 33 minutes, but Vinicius levelled with a penalty kick four minutes into the second half. He celebrated with a provocative dance in front of the Vitoria supporters, which sparked outrage between the home fans and players. The situation escalated rapidly, as Vitoria players came racing over and a nasty brawl developed behind the goal. Punches were thrown from both sides and five players were sent off, three from Bahia and two from Vitoria. It took 16 minutes for the situation to calm down. However, tensions were still running high as the referee sent off two more players, one from each side, just minutes later. The aggressive tensions quickly spread to the stands, resulting in some ugly scenes. With 13 minutes left, a fourth Vitoria player was sent off and Bispo responded stupidly by kicking the ball away and forcing the referee into awarding him his second yellow and a match-ending red card. A sporting court in Brazil will now decide what action to take over the indiscipline. It is expected that Bahia will be awarded a 3-0 victory.

CAF Super Cup 2018: Sikazwe (ZAM)

The Video Assistant Referee (VAR) system will be used for the first time in an African competitive game during the CAF Super Cup clash between Wydad Athletic Club (Morocco) and TP Mazembe (DR Congo) on Saturday at the Complexe Mohamed V in Casablanca. The green light has been given by the International Football Association Board (IFAB) and FIFA for the competitive trial in the one-off match featuring the winner of the CAF Champions League 2017 against the holder of the CAF Confederation Cup 2017. This follows impressive results from a series of mock-up and offline sessions during the recent African Nations Championship Morocco 2018 under the supervision of FIFA experts. It was deployed in matches in Casablanca, Marrakech and Tangiers. “It is a historic moment for African football. I’m proud that Africa has taken the initiative to embrace the latest technology towards the development of football and I’m positive the impact will be felt at all levels of the game”, said CAF general secretary Amr Fahmy. During CHAN, the selected match officials underwent vigorous training sessions, theoretical and practical, to acquaint themselves with the technology that has been described as a game-changer for decision-making in football. “Our motto for the VAR is to minimise interference and maximise benefits. Following the successes during the offline sessions at CHAN, I’m optimistic that we are ready to use VAR in major CAF competitions. Africa cannot always be left out on the usage of technology in football and I’m impressed by the support from the various stakeholders to make it happen. The good news is that African referees, who are familiar with the VAR following their participation at FIFA tournaments, will be in charge during the Super Cup”, CAF Refereeing Manager Eddy Maillet added. It will be recalled that the CAF Referees Committee at its meeting on 27 November 2017 approved the usage of the latest technology in CAF competitions. (Source: CAF)

24 February 2018
Wydad Casablanca – TP Mazembe
Referee: Janny Sikazwe (ZAM)
Assistant Referee 1: Jerson Dos Santos (ANG)
Assistant Referee 2: Zakhele Siwela (RSA)

100 instructors attending the FIFA Referee Technical & Fitness seminar

The Seminar for FIFA Referee Technical & Fitness Instructors brings together 100 instructors from all over the world to prepare for the FIFA refereeing activities in 2018. During the five days, instructors will take part in theoretical and practical sessions to improve their knowledge, share ideas and expertise, and study the latest trends in the refereeing world, to achieve a uniform interpretation and application of the Laws of the Game. The seminar aims to update the instructors with the latest teaching materials, fitness data and results, and enhance their knowledge on fitness and technical training and evaluation.
The opening ceremony was held at the InterContinental Hotel Doha and was attended by Pierluigi Collina, Chairman of the FIFA Referees Committee, Hani Ballan, Vice-Chairman of the FIFA Referees Committee, Chairman of AFC Referees Committee and Chairman of QFA Referees Committee, Massimo Busacca, Head of the FIFA Refereeing Department, and Neji Jouini, Executive Director of the QFA Referees Committee. Speaking at the opening ceremony, Collina said: “The best men and women referees in the world were here in Doha over the last few weeks, and the referees did an excellent job of under the leadership of Busacca. Today we have the referees who we can count on in important competitions, but we need to also focus on future referees.” Collina added: “We told the referees in the last few weeks that they have to set an example for the new generation of referees, and that we would be happy if each of them could help the younger referees by developing their skills. We have to pay attention to the future of the referees and this is why we are here. We have to help new referees to develop their skills and take part in advanced workshops, and the only way we can do that is through the instructors.” Collina expressed his confidence in the instructors’ role as they play a huge role in the future of the refereeing world and football because they possess the commitment and experience and have a great responsibility. He is confident that each instructor can be trusted and thanked them for their commitment. Ballan said: “Collina addressed your responsibilities towards the referees and what we must do to develop the referees. When it comes to instructors, I always remember Stephen Covey’s book titled “7 habits of highly effective people”. I was influenced by the first two habits, first one being to influence others around us and that is what we do as instructors. We do not just expect reactions but we train the referees to be ready for any situation, and this is important for us as fitness and technical instructors, we must allow the referees to learn through application. The second habit that influenced me to is to put in mind the goal we aspire to achieve, and the final product for us is the referees, who we appreciate and respect their efforts as they are a diamond that we must protect. In order for referees to excel, we do this by determining our priorities and our tasks and how we can do things differently and offer them different ways to develop”. Busacca said: “The reason we were here again is because we had wonderful training sessions to train men and women candidate referees for the Russia World Cup and for the Women’s World Cup in France. We will see positive results in the remainder of this year and must tell the referees that we have to work accordingly by setting clear goals and in order to achieve these goals we must hope to achieve positive results”.

Referee Petrescu returns after brain surgery

Romanian FIFA referee Radu Petrescu, 35, completed the UEFA CORE Programme and was attempting to climb the refereeing ladder when he received unexpected news. On 12 July 2017, he refereed Dundalk – Rosenborg in the second preliminary round of the UEFA Champions League. After that match he felt pain in the back of his head, consulted a medical specialist and was recommended urgent brain surgery. The medical intervention was successful and was followed by a very strict and intensive recovery.
He passed the FIFA fitness test a few weeks ago and recently refereed a domestic friendly game, supervised by Kyros Vassaras, chairman of the Romanian Referees Committee and member of the UEFA Referees Committee. He was pleased with Petrescu’s recovery and will support his return to refereeing in the national competitions.

Source: ScoalaDeArbitri / GSP

Clattenburg set to make stunning return to England

Express Sport understands talks are underway over a deal which would bring one of the world’s most respected officials back to the country. It is at this stage unclear as to which competition Clattenburg is being lined up to referee. But sources close to the situation claim Clattenburg is open to returning to England to ref - 12 months after he left the country to work for the Saudi Arabian Football Federation (SAFF). In his new role as the country’s Head of Refereeing, Clattenburg has combined taking charge of matches with helping to improve the standard of officials in the country. But things are far different in Saudi than they are in England. The standard of football is a world away from what it is in England and he last month had to call a stop to Saudi King's cup clash in extra time when Adhaan was recited in mosques surrounding the stadium. There is no suggestion that Clattenburg, 42, will leave the well-paid job he has in Saudi Arabia permanently. But the option remains for him to appear at one-off matches or longer competitions.
Clattenburg took charge of 292 Premier League matches with his last coming in April 2017 when West Brom played Leicester. He officiated the men's gold medal match between Brazil and Mexico at the London 2012 Olympic Games and then made history four years later when he became the first man to take charge of the FA Cup, Champions League and European Championship finals in the same year. Clattenburg hit the headlines last month when he made the astonishing claim that he allowed Tottenham to "self-destruct" in the infamous 2016 Battle of the Bridge. Clattenburg took charge of Spurs' bad-tempered 2-2 draw at Chelsea in 2016, which saw Pochettino's team concede the crown to Leicester. Needing a win to stay in the race, Tottenham lost a 2-0 lead at Stamford Bridge as the referee booked nine of their players. He claimed he went into the match with a "game plan" to avoid any negative. "I didn't want blame headlines and blame for Spurs losing the title", Clattenburg told NBC's Men in Blazers podcast: "I allowed Spurs to self-destruct so all the media went for the title 'Tottenham lost the title'. If I had sent three players off from Tottenham, what are the headlines? 'Clattenburg cost Tottenham the title'. It was pure theatre that Tottenham self-destructed against Chelsea and Leicester won the title. I certainly benefited the game by my style of refereeing. Some referees would have played by the book. Tottenham would have been down to seven or eight players and probably lost and they would've been looking for an excuse. But I didn't give them an excuse, because my game plan was to let them lose the title".

Source: Express

UEFA Europa League – Round of 32 (Second Leg)

21-22 February 2018

CSKA Moskva – Crvena Zvezda
Referee: Manuel de Sousa (POR, photo)
Assistant Referee 1: Ricardo Santos (POR)
Assistant Referee 2: Nuno Pereira (POR)
Additional AR 1: Fabio Veríssimo (POR)
Additional AR 2: Luis Godinho (POR)
Fourth Official: Rui Teixeira (POR)
Referee Observer: Ilkka Koho (FIN)

Lokomotiv Moskva – OGC Nice
Referee: Pavel Královec (CZE)
Assistant Referee 1: Roman Slyško (SVK)
Assistant Referee 2: Ivo Nádvorník (CZE)
Additional AR 1: Petr Ardeleánu (CZE)
Additional AR 2: Karel Hrubeš (CZE)
Fourth Official: Jiří Moláček (CZE)
Referee Observer: Frank De Bleeckere (BEL)

Sporting – Astana
Referee: Tamás Bognár (HUN)
Assistant Referee 1: Balázs Buzás (HUN)
Assistant Referee 2: Theodoros Georgiou (HUN)
Additional AR 1: Ádám Farkas (HUN)
Additional AR 2: Péter Solymosi (HUN)
Fourth Official: Péter Kóbor (HUN)
Referee Observer: Zbigniew Przesmycki (POL)

Lazio – FCSB
Referee: Slavko Vinčič (SVN)
Assistant Referee 1: Tomaž Klančnik (SVN)
Assistant Referee 2: Andraž Kovačič (SVN)
Additional AR 1: Rade Obrenovič (SVN)
Additional AR 2: Roberto Ponis (SVN)
Fourth Official: Grega Kordež (SVN)
Referee Observer: Herbert Fandel (GER)

Viktoria Plzeň – Partizan
Referee: Jakob Kehlet (DEN)
Assistant Referee 1: Lars Hummelgaard (DEN)
Assistant Referee 2: Heine Sørensen (DEN)
Additional AR 1: Michael Tykgaard (DEN)
Additional AR 2: Jens Maae (DEN)
Fourth Official: Christian Brixen (DEN)
Referee Observer: Uno Tutk (GER)

Villarreal – Olympique Lyonnais
Referee: Luca Banti (ITA)
Assistant Referee 1: Alessandro Giallatini (ITA)
Assistant Referee 2: Alessandro Costanzo (ITA)
Additional AR 1: Paolo Valeri (ITA)
Additional AR 2: Daniele Doveri (ITA)
Fourth Official: Riccardo Di Fiore (ITA)
Referee Observer: László Vágner (HUN)

RB Leipzig – SSC Napoli
Referee: Anthony Taylor (ENG)
Assistant Referee 1: Gary Beswick (ENG)
Assistant Referee 2: Adam Nunn (ENG)
Additional AR 1: Craig Pawson (ENG)
Additional AR 2: Stuart Attwell (ENG)
Fourth Official: Stephen Child (ENG)
Referee Observer: Alain Hamer (LUX)

Zenit – Celtic
Referee: Antonio Mateu Lahoz (ESP)
Assistant Referee 1: Pau Cebrián Devís (ESP)
Assistant Referee 2: Roberto Díaz Pérez (ESP)
Additional AR 1: Carlos Del Cerro Grande (ESP)
Additional AR 2: Alejandro Hernández Hernández (ESP)
Fourth Official: Teodoro Sobrino Magán (ESP)
Referee Observer: Rune Pedersen (NOR)

Dynamo Kyiv – AEK Athens
Referee: Matej Jug (SVN)
Assistant Referee 1: Matej Žunič (SVN)
Assistant Referee 2: Manuel Vidali (SVN)
Additional AR 1: Nejc Kajtazovič (SVN)
Additional AR 2: Dejan Balažič (SVN)
Fourth Official: Tomislav Pospeh (SVN)
Referee Observer: Elmir Pilav (BIH)

Atlético de Madrid – FC København
Referee: Gediminas Mažeika (LTU)
Assistant Referee 1: Vytautas Šimkus (LTU)
Assistant Referee 2: Vytenis Kazlauskas (LTU)
Additional AR 1: Donatas Rumšas (LTU)
Additional AR 2: Robertas Valikonas (LTU)
Fourth Official: Dovydas Sužiedėlis (LTU)
Referee Observer: Murat Ilgaz (TUR)

SC Braga – Olympique de Marseille

Referee: Svein Oddvar Moen (NOR)
Assistant Referee 1: Kim Haglund (NOR)
Assistant Referee 2: Magnus Lundberg (NOR)
Additional AR 1: Tore Hansen (NOR)
Additional AR 2: Ola Hobber Nilsen (NOR)
Fourth Official: Jon-Michael Knutsen (NOR)
Referee Observer: John Ward (IRL)

Arsenal – Östersunds
Referee: Ivan Kružliak (SVK)
Assistant Referee 1: Branislav Hancko (SVK)
Assistant Referee 2: Martin Balko (SVK)
Additional AR 1: Peter Kralović (SVK)
Additional AR 2: Filip Glova (SVK)
Fourth Official: František Ferenc (SVK)
Referee Observer: Darko Čeferin (SVN)

AC Milan – Ludogorets
Referee: Alberto Undiano Mallenco (ESP)
Assistant Referee 1: Roberto Alonso Fernández (ESP)
Assistant Referee 2: Juan Yuste Jiménez (ESP)
Additional AR 1: Juan Martínez Munuera (ESP)
Additional AR 2: José Sánchez Martínez (ESP)
Fourth Official: Raúl Cabañero Martínez (ESP)
Referee Observer: Serhey Zuev (RUS)

FC Salzburg – Real Sociedad

Referee: Sergey Karasev (RUS)
Assistant Referee 1: Anton Averyanov (RUS)
Assistant Referee 2: Tikhon Kalugin (RUS)
Additional AR 1: Sergey Lapochkin (RUS)
Additional AR 2: Sergey Ivanov (RUS)
Fourth Official: Igor Demeshko (RUS)
Referee Observer: Miroslav Tulinger (CZE)

Athletic Club – Spartak Moskva
Referee: Tobias Stieler (GER)
Assistant Referee 1: Rafael Foltyn (GER)
Assistant Referee 2: Jan Seidel (GER)
Additional AR 1: Patrick Ittrich (GER)
Additional AR 2: Harm Osmers (GER)
Fourth Official: Christian Gittelmann (GER)
Referee Observer: Rodger Gifford (WAL)

Atalanta Bergamasca – Borussia Dortmund
Referee: Jesús Gil Manzano (ESP)
Assistant Referee 1: Ángel Nevado Rodríguez (ESP)
Assistant Referee 2: Diego Barbero Sevilla (ESP)
Additional AR 1: Javier Estrada Fernández (ESP)
Additional AR 2: Ricardo De Burgos Bengoetxea (ESP)
Fourth Official: Miguel Martínez Munuera (ESP)
Referee Observer: Bo Karlsson (SWE)

CONCACAF Champions League – Round of 16 (First Leg)

20-22 February 2018

Herediano – Tigres
Referee: Ismail Elfath (USA, photo)

Assistant Referee 1: Corey Rockwell (USA)
Assistant Referee 2: Ian Anderson (USA)
Fourth Official: Theodore Unkel (USA)

Colorado Rapids – Toronto FC

Referee: Kimbell Ward (SKN)
Assistant Referee 1: Graeme Browne (SKN)
Assistant Referee 2: Jean Moreau (HAI)
Fourth Official: Daneon Parchment (JAM)

Tauro – FC Dallas
Referee: Cesar Ramos (MEX)
Assistant Referee 1: Marvin Torrentera (MEX)
Assistant Referee 2: Miguel Hernandez (MEX)
Fourth Official: Oscar Macias (MEX)

Saprissa – Club America
Referee: Mark Geiger (USA)
Assistant Referee 1: Joseph Fletcher (CAN)
Assistant Referee 2: Frank Anderson (USA)
Fourth Official: Armando Villarreal (USA)

Motagua – Tijuana
Referee: Henry Bejarano (CRC)
Assistant Referee 1: Osvaldo Luna (CRC)
Assistant Referee 2: Kevin Stephens (GUY) 

Fourth Official: Juan Calderon (CRC)

Cibao FC – Guadalajara

Referee: Yadel Martinez (CUB)
Assistant Referee 1: Hiran Dopico (CUB)
Assistant Referee 2: Geovany Garcia (SLV)
Fourth Official: Marcos Brea (CUB)

Santa Tecla – Sounders FC
Referee: Melvin Matamoros (HON)
Assistant Referee 1: Melvyn Cruz (HON)
Assistant Referee 2: Angel Castillo (DOM)
Fourth Official: Hector Martinez (HON)

Olimpia – New York Red Bulls
Referee: John Pitti (PAN)
Assistant Referee 1: Gabriel Victoria (PAN)
Assistant Referee 2: Ronald Bruna (PAN)
Fourth Official: Ariel Sanchez (PAN)

UEFA Youth League – Round of 16

20-21 February 2018

Paris St. Germain – FC Barcelona

Referee: Daniel Siebert (GER, photo)
Assistant Referee 1: Lasse Koslowski (GER)
Assistant Referee 2: Jan Neitzel-Petersen (GER)
Fourth Official: Bastien Dechepy (FRA)
Referee Observer: Pascal Garibian (FRA)

Manchester City – Inter
Referee: Mads-Kristoffer Kristoffersen (DEN)
Assistant Referee 1: Dennis Rasmussen (DEN)
Assistant Referee 2: Victor Skytte (DEN)
Fourth Official: Tom Nield (ENG)
Referee Observer: Peter Jones (ENG)

Tottenham Hotspur – AS Monaco

Referee: Ville Nevalainen (FIN)
Assistant Referee 1: Jan-Peter Aravirta (FIN)
Assistant Referee 2: Turkka Valjakka (FIN)
Fourth Official: John Brooks (ENG)
Referee Observer: Leslie Irvine (NIR)

FC Porto – FC Salzburg
Referee: Sandro Schärer (SUI)
Assistant Referee 1: Bekim Zogaj (SUI)
Assistant Referee 2: Jean-Yves Wicht (SUI)
Fourth Official: João Matos (POR)
Referee Observer: Nuno Castro (POR)

Liverpool FC – Manchester United
Referee: Tiago Martins (POR)
Assistant Referee 1: Luis Campos (POR)
Assistant Referee 2: Nélson Moniz (POR)
Fourth Official: Scott Oldham (ENG)
Referee Observer: Stephen Lodge (ENG)

Atlético de Madrid – FC Basel
Referee: Andrew Dallas (SCO)
Assistant Referee 1: Sean Carr (SCO)
Assistant Referee 2: Daniel McFarlane (SCO)
Fourth Official: Valentín Pizarro Gómez (ESP)
Referee Observer: Lucílio Batista (POR)

Bayern München – Real Madrid
Referee: Benoît Millot (FRA)
Assistant Referee 1: Julien Pacelli (FRA)
Assistant Referee 2: Cyril Mugnier (FRA)
Fourth Official: Tobias Reichel (GER)
Referee Observer: Stefan Messner (AUT)

Chelsea – Feyenoord
Referee: Roi Reinshreiber (ISR)
Assistant Referee 1: Sagy Mazamber (ISR)
Assistant Referee 2: Idan Berenshtein (ISR)
Fourth Official: John Busby (ENG)
Referee Observer: Brian Lawlor (WAL)

Successful FWWC 2019 seminar draws to a close in Doha

The referees preparing for the upcoming FIFA Women’s World Cup France 2019 share a single aim: to deliver the best officiating performance ever seen at a Women’s World Cup. To help reach this target, 33 referees from all six confederations travelled to Doha to attend a seminar. The programme awaiting the potential Women’s World Cup participants included numerous theory lessons in the classroom, as well as practical exercises in which the officials were confronted with match situations recreated by local players. The referees received direct feedback on their positioning and decision-making from instructors while still out on the pitch. The theory sessions focused on topics such as reading the game, positioning, fitness and health. The candidates also watched video recordings of past matches before discussing technical and tactical aspects of the clips.
"I’m sure that you will continue your commitment and hard work, and will continue to pursue your dream of reaching the pinnacle of our sport", said Hany Ballan, Deputy Chairman of the FIFA Referees Committee, to the referees in his closing address at the seminar. "Everest is the highest mountain in Asia. It is 8,848 metres high. Only a few people have reached its peak. Do you know how long they had to prepare to reach the summit of Everest? More than three years. They took things step by step, stop by stop, level by level, until they reached the top. It took plenty of hard work and preparation, but when they achieved their goal, the joy they felt was incredible. I’m confident that you all deserve to stand on this particular summit. You deserve to succeed and experience the delight of seeing the fruits of the hard work you have put in all year. I’m sure that your practical, theoretical and fitness preparations will continue." Massimo Busacca, Head of the FIFA Refereeing Department, was also on hand in Doha to add his own encouragement. "Congratulations on successfully completing this seminar," he said. "We deal in facts, and you have proven just how hard you have worked. It is a moment to celebrate and be happy. My advice is that you enjoy yourselves tonight and get back to the hard work tomorrow". FIFA Referees Committee Chairman Pierluigi Collina also emphasised the importance of continued commitment. "How do you stay at the top? Hard work – nothing more, nothing less. France 2019 is the goal you are aiming for. It is the World Cup, the most important competition there is", said the Italian, who was named the world’s best referee for six successive years between 1998 and 2003. "Kari (Seitz, FIFA’s Senior Manager of Refereeing, - editor’s note) said how important it is to be a role model, and that is absolutely vital for us", Collina continued. "We need you to teach a new generation of referees, as this is essential for the future of our sport – and who is better equipped to help this new generation than you? You are the world’s best athletes. We trust you, your expertise and your knowledge. It is a great responsibility. Think about this on your journey home. It would be wonderful if each of you could help to develop a new referee, as this would mean our future is in good hands".

Source: FIFA

UEFA Champions League – Round of 16 (First Leg, II)

20 February 2018
Bayern München – Beşiktaş
Referee: Ovidiu Hațegan (ROU, photo)
Assistant Referee 1: Octavian Șovre (ROU)
Assistant Referee 2: Sebastian Gheorghe (ROU)
Additional AR 1: István Kovács (ROU)
Additional AR 2: Sebastian Colţescu (ROU)
Fourth Official: Radu Ghinguleac (ROU)
Referee Observer: Matteo Trefoloni (ITA)

Chelsea – FC Barcelona
Referee: Cüneyt Çakır (TUR)
Assistant Referee 1: Bahattin Duran (TUR)
Assistant Referee 2: Tarik Ongun (TUR)
Additional AR 1: Hüseyin Göçek (TUR)
Additional AR 2: Barış Şimşek (TUR)
Fourth Official: Mustafa Eyisoy (TUR)
Referee Observer: Sándor Piller (HUN)

21 February 2018
Shakhtar Donetsk – AS Roma
Referee: William Collum (SCO)
Assistant Referee 1: David McGeachie (SCO)
Assistant Referee 2: Francis Connor (SCO)
Additional AR 1: Robert Madden (SCO)
Additional AR 2: John Beaton (SCO)
Fourth Official: Douglas Potter (SCO)
Referee Observer: Itchko Lozev (BUL)

Sevilla FC – Manchester United
Referee: Clément Turpin (FRA)
Assistant Referee 1: Nicolas Danos (FRA)
Assistant Referee 2: Cyril Gringore (FRA)
Additional AR 1: Ruddy Buquet (FRA)
Additional AR 2: Nicolas Rainville (FRA)
Fourth Official: Hicham Zakrani (FRA)
Referee Observer: Eugen Strigel (GER)

Referee Ovrebo issues shock apology to Chelsea

Chelsea were knocked out of the 2009 Champions League semi-finals by Barcelona, exiting the competition on away goals in a 1-1 draw. The game was not without its controversies and the Blues had numerous penalty appeals which were dismissed by referee Tom Henning Ovrebo. The Stamford Bridge club were incensed and Michael Ballack famously chased the ref across the pitch while Didier Drogba branded him a “disgrace” in his post-match comments. And the Norwegian official has now admitted in a candid interview with Spanish newspaper Marca that he was not proud of his performance and has apologised to the Blues.
"It was not my best day, really", Ovrebo said. "But those mistakes can be committed by a referee... and sometimes a player or a coach. Some days you're not at the level you should be. I can't be proud of that performance. They were handball situations. I judged them on the pitch and I think it is not interesting to know what I think of those actions once judged. But I understand that people think differently to the decisions I made at the time. That discussion will continue eternally. I was responsible for the decisions that were made and we can argue that, if I had taken others, maybe Chelsea would have qualified for the final. We will never know. I made decisions and they were not the best. But it is difficult to say if, without that refereeing, Barcelona would have been eliminated or not".

Source: Express

Ri Hyang Ok aims for rare double-double

Being part of a FIFA World Cup is something that everyone involved in football dreams of. Be it as a fan in the stadium, cheering on your team and enjoying the atmosphere, or even as a player, vying for the ultimate prize and representing your country. This dream came true for Ri Hyang Ok in a number of different ways. She played for her home country of Korea DPR at two FIFA Women’s World Cups, in 1999 and 2003 in the USA. She did not get her hands on any silverware, with her team bowing out after the group stages both times, but that was not the end of the World Cup adventure for Ri. Twelve years later, she was again part of a tournament, this time in Canada and in a completely different role. And she aims to be suiting up again with the whistle in hand during next year's Women's World Cup in France.
"As a player I never made it through to the final. The group phase was as good as it got and then we were on the plane back home. But I really wanted to experience another World Cup, so I asked myself, 'how can I do that?' “, the North Korean said in an interview with And then inspiration came to her. "I experienced the 1999 and 2003 World Cups as a player, and I was surprised to see female referees. That was so exciting, since I’d usually only seen male referees. I watched them during the matches and thought to myself: I’d like to follow in their footsteps and be like them, so I became a FIFA referee." Ri was in charge of four matches in Canada, including the last 16 tie between Germany and Sweden and the third-place match, where England edged Germany 1-0. Ri has also found that the two activities have more in common than you might think. "My experiences as a player and as a referee are actually quite similar," she said. "I'm in a big stadium, out on the pitch and all around me are players, referees, coaches, other officials and plenty of spectators. There are differences though of course. As a player, I needed to know all about the opposition, whereas as a referee, I need a knowledge of both teams. And although I'm a former player, I'm still constantly learning new things, out on the pitch or in the classroom. I’m learning wherever I go." One thing that has changed significantly is the game itself, which has become quicker, more athletic and more direct. And this is another reason why the 40-year-old loves the sport. "To be honest, football is something that I simply find wonderful. Being a player in the stadium was my whole world. I felt free-spirited and liberated, and it was a feeling that I wanted to keep hold of. As a referee, I can sense the excitement and the emotions of the players, and feel what the spectators are feeling. It’s really special".

Source: FIFA

Copa Libertadores – Round 3

First Leg, 13-15 February 2018

Santiago Wanderers – Independiente Santa Fe
Referee: Jose Argote (VEN, photo)
Assistant Referee 1: Jorge Urrego (VEN)
Assistant Referee 2: Tulio Moreno (VEN)
Fourth Official: Marlon Escalante (VEN)
Referee Assessor: Manuel Bernal (PAR)

Banfield – Nacional
Referee: Enrique Caceres (PAR)
Assistant Referee 1: Juan Zorrilla (PAR)
Assistant Referee 2: Roberto Canete (PAR)
Fourth Official: Ulises Mereles (PAR)
Referee Assessor: Ana Paula Oliveira (BRA)

Vasco Da Gama – Jorge Wilstermann
Referee: Fernando Rapallini (ARG)
Assistant Referee 1: Diego Bonfa (ARG)
Assistant Referee 2: Gustavo Rossi (ARG)
Fourth Official: Mauro Vigliano (ARG)
Referee Assessor: Jose Buitrago (COL)

Atletico Junior – Guarani
Referee: Leodan Gonzalez (URU)
Assistant Referee 1: Mauricio Espinosa (URU)
Assistant Referee 2: Richard Trinidad (URU)
Fourth Official: Jonathan Fuentes (URU)
Referee Assessor: Paulo Silva (ARG)

Second Leg, 20-22 February 2018

Independiente Santa Fe – Santiago Wanderers

Referee: Víctor Carrillo (PER)
Assistant Referee 1: Jonny Bossio (PER)
Assistant Referee 2: Coty Carrera (PER)
Fourth Official: Diego Haro (PER)
Referee Assessor: Sandro Vera (ECU)

Nacional – Banfield
Referee: Sandro Ricci (BRA)
Assistant Referee 1: Emerson De Carvalho (BRA)
Assistant Referee 2: Marcelo Van Gasse (BRA)
Fourth Official: Raphael Claus (BRA)
Referee Assessor: Jorge Jaimes (PER)

Jorge Wilstermann – Vasco Da Gama
Referee: Wilmar Roldán (COL)
Assistant Referee 1: Alexander Guzmán (COL)
Assistant Referee 2: Cristian De La Cruz (COL)
Fourth Official: Carlos Betancur (COL)
Referee Assessor: Juan Cardellino (URU)

Guaraní – Junior
Referee: Néstor Pitana (ARG)
Assistant Referee 1: Hernan Maidana (ARG)
Assistant Referee 2: Juan Belatti (ARG)
Fourth Official: Jorge Baliño (ARG)
Referee Assessor: Roberto Perassi (BRA)

Copa Sudamericana – Round 1 (First Leg, II)

20-22 February 2018

Lanús – Sporting Cristal
Referee: Gery Vargas (BOL, photo)
Assistant Referee 1: José Antelo (BOL)
Assistant Referee 2: Edwar Saavedra (BOL)
Fourth Official: Juan García (BOL)
Referee Assessor: Nilson Moncao (BRA)

Sport Rosario – Atlético Cerró
Referee: Andrés Rojas (COL)
Assistant Referee 1: Alexander León (COL)
Assistant Referee 2: Wilmar Navarro (COL)
Fourth Official: Carlos Herrera (COL)
Referee Assessor: Francisco Mondría (CHI)

Barcelona – General Díaz

Referee: Michael Espinoza (PER)
Assistant Referee 1: Raúl López (PER)
Assistant Referee 2: Michael Orue (PER)
Fourth Official: Miguel Santiváñez (PER)
Referee Assessor: Candelario Andarcia (VEN)

El Nacional – San José
Referee: Ulises Mereles (PAR)
Assistant Referee 1: Milciades Saldivar (PAR)
Assistant Referee 2: Carlos Cáceres (PAR)
Fourth Official: Arnaldo Samaniego (PAR)
Referee Assessor: Miguel Buitrago (VEN)

Everton – Caracas

Referee: Luis Quiroz (ECU)
Assistant Referee 1: Luis Vera (ECU)
Assistant Referee 2: Juan Macías (ECU)
Fourth Official: Carlos Orbe (ECU)
Referee Assessor: Darío Ubriaco (URU)

Seitz: “We are looking for elite athletes now”

"Find the best position to make the best decision" - those are the words with which Kari Seitz, FIFA's Senior Manager of Refereeing, summed up one of the most important elements of the FIFA Women's Referees Seminar that is currently taking place in Doha. For the 33 participants, preparations are already underway for the biggest tournament in the women's game: the FIFA Women's World Cup France 2019. "The 2019 Women's World Cup is only a year and few months away," the former elite referee told "It's a three-year project to prepare the referees for this competition. This seminar is one of the more important ones because in 2018 we have lots of competitions: the Algarve Cup and the U-20 and U-17 Women's World Cups, where we can see these referees. We need to bring them together to ensure that we have uniformity and consistency across all the referees that may go to France in 2019." Seminars such as this typically take place once a year, with another held during the tournament itself. "In this particular seminar we spend more time focusing on improving and developing general football understanding," Seitz explained. "We also have much more discussions and analysis of situations so that we can improve their analytical skills as officials. When we get closer to the tournament it will be more focused on expectations. Now we want to have more of an opportunity for discussion and guidance".
Topics in Doha:
•Achievements and expectations
•Improving football understanding
•Positioning (set pieces/penalty area), challenges and tactical fouls
•Positioning (anticipation/counterattacks), handball, match management
•Flexibility and injury prevention testing

Alongside the practical training sessions, decision-making processes and positioning, fitness is also a key focus of the course in Doha. "It is really intensive fitness testing," said Seitz, who is the only referee – male or female – to have officiated at four Women's World Cup editions. "We are looking for elite athletes now", she continued. "It's no longer good enough just to be active, you have to be an elite athlete. We also encourage the referees to reach higher, to do more than they have ever done and to work to be that elite athlete. The slogan is 'Reach higher in 2018'." Now it is up to the candidates to convince the members of the FIFA Referees Committee of their abilities.

Source: FIFA

UEFA Europa League – Round of 32 (First Leg)

13 February 2018
Crvena Zvezda – CSKA Moskva
Referee: Paweł Raczkowski (POL, photo)
Assistant Referee 1: Michal Obukowicz (POL)
Assistant Referee 2: Tomasz Listkiewicz (POL)
Additional AR 1: Tomasz Musiał (POL)
Additional AR 2: Tomasz Kwiatkowski (POL)
Fourth Official: Radosław Siejka (POL)
Referee Observer: Shmuel Shteif (ISR)

15 February 2018
Astana – Sporting
Referee: Ruddy Buquet (FRA)
Assistant Referee 1: Guillaume Debart (FRA)
Assistant Referee 2: Cyril Gringore (FRA)
Additional AR 1: Amaury Delerue (FRA)
Additional AR 2: François Letexier (FRA)
Fourth Official: Nicolas Danos (FRA)
Referee Observer: Oğuz Sarvan (TUR)

Olympique Marseille – SC Braga
Referee: Serdar Gözübüyük (NED)
Assistant Referee 1: Dave Goossens (NED)
Assistant Referee 2: Bas van Dongen (NED)
Additional AR 1: Dennis Higler (NED)
Additional AR 2: Jeroen Manschot (NED)
Fourth Official: Joost Van Zuilen (NED)
Referee Observer: William Young (SCO)

Östersunds – Arsenal
Referee: David Fernández Borbalán (ESP)
Assistant Referee 1: Raúl Cabañero Martínez (ESP)
Assistant Referee 2: Diego Barbero Sevilla (ESP)
Additional AR 1: Javier Estrada Fernández (ESP)
Additional AR 2: Juan Martínez Munuera (ESP)
Fourth Official: Miguel Martínez Munuera (ESP)
Referee Observer: Guy Goethals (BEL)

Ludogorets – AC Milan
Referee: Milorad Mažić (SRB)
Assistant Referee 1: Milovan Ristić (SRB)
Assistant Referee 2: Dalibor Djurdjević (SRB)
Additional AR 1: Nenad Djokić (SRB)
Additional AR 2: Danilo Grujić (SRB)
Fourth Official: Nemanja Petrović (SRB)
Referee Observer: Levan Paniashvili (GEO)

Real Sociedad – FC Salzburg
Referee: Robert Madden (SCO)
Assistant Referee 1: Graeme Stewart (SCO)
Assistant Referee 2: Alastair Mather (SCO)
Additional AR 1: Andrew Dallas (SCO)
Additional AR 2: Donald Robertson (SCO)
Fourth Official: Alan Mulvanny (SCO)
Referee Observer: Bertrand Layec (FRA)

Spartak Moskva – Athletic Club
Referee: Benoît Bastien (FRA)
Assistant Referee 1: Hicham Zakrani (FRA)
Assistant Referee 2: Frédéric Haquette (FRA)
Additional AR 1: Benoît Millot (FRA)
Additional AR 2: Nicolas Rainville (FRA)
Fourth Official: Julien Pacelli (FRA)
Referee Observer: Alexandru Deaconu (ROU)

OGC Nice – Lokomotiv Moskva
Referee: István Kovács (ROU)
Assistant Referee 1: Vasile Marinescu (ROU)
Assistant Referee 2: Ovidiu Artene (ROU)
Additional AR 1: Marius Avram (ROU)
Additional AR 2: Horațiu Fesnic (ROU)
Fourth Official: Alexandru Cerei (ROU)
Referee Observer: Kaj Østergaard (DEN)

Borussia Dortmund – Atalanta Bergamasca
Referee: Daniel Stefański (POL)
Assistant Referee 1: Marcin Boniek (POL)
Assistant Referee 2: Dawid Igor Golis (POL)
Additional AR 1: Bartosz Frankowski (POL)
Additional AR 2: Zbigniew Dobrynin (POL)
Fourth Official: Krzysztof Myrmus (POL)
Referee Observer: Kóstas Kapitanís (CYP)

FCSB – Lazio
Referee: Deniz Aytekin (GER)
Assistant Referee 1: Eduard Beitinger (GER)
Assistant Referee 2: Rafael Foltyn (GER)
Additional AR 1: Daniel Siebert (GER)
Additional AR 2: Benjamin Brand (GER)
Fourth Official: Marco Achmüller (GER)
Referee Observer: Geórgios Bíkas (GRE)

Partizan – Viktoria Plzeň
Referee: Anastasios Sidiropoulos (GRE)
Assistant Referee 1: Polychronis Kostaras (GRE)
Assistant Referee 2: Lazaros Dimitriadis (GRE)
Additional AR 1: Anastasios Papapetrou (GRE)
Additional AR 2: Alexandros Aretopoulos (GRE)
Fourth Official: Chrysoula Kourompylia (GRE)
Referee Observer: Karen Nalbandyan (ARM)

Olympique Lyonnais – Villarreal
Referee: Viktor Kassai (HUN)
Assistant Referee 1: György Ring (HUN)
Assistant Referee 2: Vencel Tóth (HUN)
Additional AR 1: Tamás Bognár (HUN)
Additional AR 2: Sándor Szabó (HUN)
Fourth Official: Peter Berettyán (HUN)
Referee Observer: Vladimir Antonov (MDA)

SSC Napoli – RB Leipzig
Referee: Artur Soares Dias (POR)
Assistant Referee 1: Rui Tavares (POR)
Assistant Referee 2: Paulo Soares (POR)
Additional AR 1: Tiago Martins (POR)
Additional AR 2: João Pinheiro (POR)
Fourth Official: Bruno Rodrigues (POR)
Referee Observer: Jaap Uilenberg (NED)

Celtic – Zenit
Referee: Damir Skomina (SVN)
Assistant Referee 1: Jure Praprotnik (SVN)
Assistant Referee 2: Robert Vukan (SVN)
Additional AR 1: Matej Jug (SVN)
Additional AR 2: Slavko Vinčič (SVN)
Fourth Official: Tomaž Klančnik (SVN)
Referee Observer: Gylfi Thór Orrason (ISL)

AEK Athens – Dynamo Kyiv
Referee: Carlos Del Cerro Grande (ESP)
Assistant Referee 1: Juan Yuste Jiménez (ESP)
Assistant Referee 2: Roberto Alonso Fernández (ESP)
Additional AR 1: Jesús Gil Manzano (ESP)
Additional AR 2: José Sánchez Martínez (ESP)
Fourth Official: Roberto Díaz Pérez (ESP)
Referee Observer: Zoran Petrović (SRB)

FC København – Atlético Madrid
Referee: Aleksei Kulbakov (BLR)
Assistant Referee 1: Dmitri Zhuk (BLR)
Assistant Referee 2: Oleg Maslyanko (BLR)
Additional AR 1: Denis Scherbakov (BLR)
Additional AR 2: Dmitri Dmitrieu (BLR)
Fourth Official: Yury Khomchenko (BLR)
Referee Observer: Hans Reijgwart (NED)

UEFA Champions League – Round of 16 (First Leg, I)

13 February 2018
Juventus – Tottenham Hotspur
Referee: Felix Brych (GER, photo)
Assistant Referee 1: Mark Borsch (GER)
Assistant Referee 2: Stefan Lupp (GER)
Additional AR 1: Bastian Dankert (GER)
Additional AR 2: Marco Fritz (GER)
Fourth Official: Markus Häcker (GER)
Referee Observer: Fritz Stuchlik (AUT)

FC Basel – Manchester City

Referee: Jonas Eriksson (SWE)
Assistant Referee 1: Mathias Klasenius (SWE)
Assistant Referee 2: Daniel Wärnmark (SWE)
Additional AR 1: Andreas Ekberg (SWE)
Additional AR 2: Stefan Johannesson (SWE)
Fourth Official: Mehmet Culum (SWE)
Referee Observer: Alfredo Trentalange (ITA)

14 February 2018
Real Madrid – Paris St. Germain
Referee: Gianluca Rocchi (ITA)
Assistant Referee 1: Elenito Di Liberatore (ITA)
Assistant Referee 2: Mauro Tonolini (ITA)
Additional AR 1: Luica Banti (ITA)
Additional AR 2: Paolo Valeri (ITA)
Fourth Official: Alessandro Costanzo (ITA)
Referee Observer: Hugh Dallas (SCO)

FC Porto – Liverpool
Referee: Daniele Orsato (ITA)
Assistant Referee 1: Riccardo Di Fiore (ITA)
Assistant Referee 2: Filippo Meli (ITA)
Additional AR 1: Davide Massa (ITA)
Additional AR 2: Antonio Damato (ITA)
Fourth Official: Alessandro Giallatini (ITA)
Referee Observer: Francesco Bianchi (SUI)

Referee exchange between France and Switzerland

A new international exchange in refereeing between the French Football Federation (FFF) and the Swiss Football Association (ASF) will take place on Saturday, 17 February 2018, in Ligue 1 and the Swiss Super League.
As part of an agreement between the two federations, the French international referee Jerome Brisard will officiate the match between FC Basel and FC St. Gallen 1879, counting for the 22nd day of the Swiss Super League, at the Saint-Jacques Park in Basel. He will be assisted by his compatriots Benjamin Pages and Cyril Mugnier.
For their part, Swiss officials Sandro Schärer (referee), Bekim Zogaj and Stéphane De Almeida (assistants) will lead the match between SM Caen and Stade Rennais FC, which will be played on the same day at the stadium Michel-d'Ornano de Caen, on the occasion of the 26th day of Ligue 1.
The FFF, the ASF, the Professional Football League (LFP) and the Swiss Football League will renew these international refereeing exchanges by the end of the season.

Source : FFF

Černý and Tomić ready to referee Futsal Euro 2018 final

Ondřej Černý of the Czech Republic and Croatia's Saša Tomić will be the main two referees in Saturday's UEFA Futsal Euro 2018 final between Portugal and Spain in Ljubljana – but neither is a stranger to the occasion. The 42-year-old Tomić was a referee in the 2014 decider in Antwerp, while Černý, 38, was timekeeper in 2016 when Spain beat Russia to take the title in Belgrade, as well as having officiated at previous Iberian 'derbies' in the last two tournaments. Both looked back on their route to Saturday's big match.
"Belgium was my first Euro and I was one of the youngest there, 34 years old, and it was excellent," Černý told "I refereed five games, and then in Serbia, I took charge of the semi-final between Russia and Serbia. There were 11,000 people there, for me a record. If I am under pressure from the fans, it is better for me as a referee." Tomić added: "My first time was also in Belgium – just to do that would have been enough. But I had a good tournament, two games in the group stage, then the semi-final between Russia and Spain – a top futsal game – and then the final. In Serbia, I refereed two group games and a semi-final." Černý spoke about his rise to this level: "I have been a futsal referee for almost 20 years. I started in my city, Prague, when I was 18. Then, step by step, I moved up the divisions, and then to international level – from 2010. This is my third Euro and my first final."
Neither is a full-time professional referee, and Tomić explained having to adapt to a more all-encompassing life while at a tournament camp: "I am an academic [for a day job], but to be here for 16 days, you must be prepared physically and psychologically. Every day you train, eat, the same routine, you must be prepared."
Unlike in football, the futsal refereeing teams are not all from one nation, but a mixture – like Černý, Tomić and Saturday's third referee Alessandro Malfer from Italy and FYR Macedonia timekeeper Josip Barton. "It's not like in football with trios from the same countries – here it is different," Černý explained. "You discover some different styles [of refereeing] – some small details." Tomić added: "We are real friends, we have refereed together in early rounds, final tournaments and other competitions. Sometimes I whistle with Ondřej or one of the other guys – there is real friendship between all of us. We support each other".

Source: UEFA

UEFA Futsal Euro Final 2018: Cerny (CZE) & Tomic (CRO)

10 February 2018

Portugal – Spain
First Referee: Ondřej Černý (CZE, photo)
Second Referee: Saša Tomić (CRO)
Third Referee: Alessandro Malfer (ITA)
Timekeeper: Josip Barton (MKD)

Match for Third Place
Russia – Kazakhstan
First Referee: Juan Cordero Gallardo (ESP)
Second Referee: Alejandro Martinez Flores (ESP)
Third Referee: Bogdan Sorescu (ROU)
Timekeeper: Vasilios Christodoulis (GRE)

Copa Sudamericana – Round 1 (First Leg, I)

13-15 February 2018

Sportivo Luqueño – Deportivo Cuenca
Referee: Jorge Bali
ño (ARG, photo)
Assistant Referee 1: Hernan Maidana (ARG)
Assistant Referee 2: Gabriel Chade (ARG)
Fourth Official: Germán Delfino (ARG)
Referee Assessor: Darío Ubriaco (URU)

UT Cajamarca – Rampla Jr.

Referee: Dewson Freitas (BRA)
Assistant Referee 1: Emerson De Carvalho (BRA)
Assistant Referee 2: Alessandro Rocha (BRA)
Fourth Official: Luiz De Oliveira (BRA)
Referee Assessor: Joel Ruiz (PAR)

Zamora – Colón
Referee: Arnaldo Samaniego (PAR)
Assistant Referee 1: Eduardo Cardozo (PAR)
Assistant Referee 2: Carlos Cáceres (PAR)
Fourth Official: Julio Quintana (PAR)
Referee Assessor: Candelario Andarcia (VEN)

Nacional – Mineros
Referee: Silvio Trucco (ARG)
Assistant Referee 1: Juan Bellati (ARG)
Assistant Referee 2: Cristian Navarro (ARG)
Fourth Official: Fernando Espinoza (ARG)
Referee Assessor: César Escano (PER)

Unión Española – Sport Huancayo

Referee: Omar Ponce (ECU)
Assistant Referee 1: Juan Macias (ECU)
Assistant Referee 2: Ricardo Baren (ECU)
Fourth Official: Juan Albarracín (ECU)
Referee Assessor: Alicio Pena (BRA)

Defensa y Justicia – Amèrica de Cali
Referee: Wilton Sampaio (BRA)
Assistant Referee 1: Marcelo Van Gasse (BRA)
Assistant Referee 2: Kleber Gil (BRA)
Fourth Official: Ricardo Marques (BRA)
Referee Assessor: Claudio Puga (CHI)

UEFA mourns renowned referee Karoly Palotai

Hungary and European football are mourning the loss, at the age of 82, of Karoly Palotai, who refereed four European club competition finals and won an Olympic football gold medal as a player.
Palotai took charge of two European Champion Clubs' Cup finals – the 1976 contest between Bayern München and Saint-Étienne, and the 1981 encounter between Liverpool and Real Madrid. In addition, he officiated at the 1979 European Cup Winners' Cup final between Barcelona and Fortuna Düsseldorf, as well as the first leg of the 1974/75 UEFA Cup final between Borussia Mönchengladbach and FC Twente. Moreover, Palotai was a referee at the 1974, 1978 and 1982 FIFA World Cups, with further assignments at the 1980 UEFA Euro final tournament, and the 1972 and 1976 Olympic Games. Before turning to refereeing, he had been a successful player with Győr, who reached four Hungarian Cup finals between 1964 and 1968, winning three of them, in addition to getting to the European Champion Clubs' Cup semi-finals in 1964/65. He was also a member of the Hungarian team that won gold in the Olympic football tournament at the Tokyo Games in 1964.
Palotai, who worked as UEFA referee observer following his retirement as a match official, was honoured for his services to European football when he received the UEFA Order of Merit in Diamond at the European body's Congress in the Hungarian capital Budapest in 2016. He also collected a Lifetime Achievement award from the Hungarian FA (MLSZ) a year later.

Source: UEFA

Portugal: giant flag blocks VAR camera and ‘offside goal’ stands

A match in Portugal’s Primeira Liga became the scene of a farcical incident involving a video assistant referee, a goal from a corner and a giant flag. Aves beat Boavista 3-0 on Tuesday and it was their third goal which was the centre of the controversy. Vítor Gomes scored from close range after reacting to a 70th-minute set-piece, but the midfielder appeared to be in an offside position when he struck. The referee, Fábio Veríssimo, seeing the position of Gomes, went to VAR to ask whether the goal should stand. But the VAR had some difficulty due to an enormous Boavista flag getting right in the way of the camera. As a result of not having sufficient evidence to rule out the goal, the referee had no choice but to stick with his original decision.
The incident was received mostly in humour on social media, but it could raise concerns about copycat incidents in future matches. If a VAR camera with a crucial angle is placed behind supporting fans, what is to stop fans from similarly attempting to block the view of the cameras when their side is defending?

Source: The Guardian

UEFA Futsal Euro 2018 – Semi-finals

8 February 2018

Russia – Portugal
First Referee: Gábor Kovács (HUN, photo)
Second Referee: Balázs Farkas (HUN)
Third Referee: Juan Cordero Gallardo (ESP)
Timekeeper: Josip Barton (MKD)

Kazakhstan – Spain
First Referee: Bogdan Sorescu (ROU)
Second Referee: Alessandro Malfer (ITA)
Third Referee: Ondřej Černý (CZE)
Timekeeper: Vasilios Christodoulis (GRE)

Referee Cunha injured before World Cup

According to Arbitro Internacional, referee Andres Cunha (Uruguay) has torn his meniscus and will be out of action for at least one month. The injury happened before the World Cup referee seminar in Qatar. FIFA said that the final list will be released following this seminar, so Cunha (photo) is in danger of missing the 2018 World Cup in Russia due to this unfortunate injury.
In 2014, South African referee Daniel Bennett missed the World Cup due to an injury suffered at a training session right before the final tournament in Brazil. Assistant referee Ravinesh Kumar (FIJ) got injured two months before the 2014 World Cup and was replaced with Mark Rule (NZL) in the OFC referee trio led by Peter O’Leary.
After refereeing at the 2002 World Cup in Korea/Japan, Carlos Batres (GUA, photo) missed the final tournament in 2006 due to an injury. He managed to recover later that year and then returned to the World Cup in South Africa 2010. Another CONCACAF referee who participated at the World Cup in 2002, Peter Prendergast (JAM), missed the 2006 competition in Germany due to a knee injury, which practically ended his career.

Collina urged the referees to retain their ‘hunger’ to be selected for the World Cup

The 2002 World Cup final referee Pierluigi Collina, now president of the FIFA Referees Committee, has hailed the outstanding capabilities of Qatar to host the FIFA World Cup 2018 Referees Workshop, which is currently being held in Doha. There are 48 referees: 35 referees and 13 video assistant referees (VARs). Following the workshop, the confirmed list of selected referees is set to be announced by FIFA.
The opening ceremony of the seminar was held at the InterContinental Hotel Doha and was attended by Pierluigi Collina, Chairman of the FIFA Referees Committee, Massimo Busacca, Head of the FIFA Refereeing Department, Hani Ballan, Vice-Chairman of FIFA and AFC Referees Committees and Chairman of QFA Referees Committee and Mansoor Al-Ansari, General Secretary of the Qatar Football Association (QFA). During his welcome speech, Pierluigi Collina, Chairman of FIFA Referees Committee thanked QFA: “I would like to thank the state of Qatar and QFA for their support and providing the best facilities in the world to this 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia Seminar. It’s a pleasure to welcome the best referees of the world here in Doha. We are grateful for the support received so far from the QFA.” He added: “We are using very good facilities and pitches that are 10 minutes away and are easily accessible.” He also said: “I would also like to extend a special thanks to Al Kass Sports Channel for providing us with their state of the art studios, staff and their latest technology and equipment to us for this seminar.” When commenting about the seminar, he said: “The target of this seminar is not something new for old referees here, but this is a very important week because after the seminar we will make the final decision regarding which referees will be selected for the World Cup 2018 next summer”. He urged the assembled referees to retain their ‘hunger’ to be selected for Russia. “The months between today and the day when the World Cup in Russia kicks off is everything”, he said. The referees will practice using the Video Assistant Referee (VAR) system during their stay in Doha, said Massimo Busacca, FIFA’s Head of Refereeing, ahead of its expected use in Russia. Asked how many referees will be selected for the 2018 World Cup, Busacca said FIFA is looking for quality, not quantity.
Hani Ballan, Vice-Chairman of FIFA and AFC Referees Committees said: “It brings me great pleasure to welcome you all to the opening ceremony of the seminar for 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia Referees, which witnesses the referees gathered from all over the world who will be officiating the matches of the most prominent event in the world, the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia. I would like to thank FIFA and those involved in organising this seminar here in Doha, which I am convinced will be extremely valuable for you.” He added: “We are pleased to host you here during the next few days to conduct your medical and fitness tests, as well as theoretical and practical analysis in preparation for the World Cup.” He also said: “Throughout the week, 48 referees and VARs from all confederations will benefit from both theoretical and practical sessions, while having the opportunity to discuss new trends and programs in the refereeing world. The seminar will also provide training on VAR, taking into consideration FIFA’s intention to apply the technology at the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia”.
This World Cup Referees Seminar is the second of the four workshops hosted by QFA this February. Last week, the first workshop held was the FIFA Technical Experts Workshop and next week the FIFA Women’s World Cup 2019 Workshop will be held from 12-16 February, followed by the FIFA Master Futuro Workshop, which will be held from 19-23 February.