FIFA Futsal World Cup 2020 Qualifiers – UEFA (Elite Round)

29 January - 5 February 2020

Group A – Varzim (POR)
1. Juan Cordero Gallardo (ESP, photo)
2. Alejandro Martinez Flores (ESP)
3. Javier Moreno Reina (ESP)
4. David Urdanoz Apezteguia (ESP)

Group B – Nis (SRB)
1. Cristiano Cardoso Santos (POR)
2. Eduardo Fernandes Coelho (POR)
3. Miguel Oliveira Castilho (POR)
4. Filipe Santos Duarte (POR)

Group C – Osijek (CRO)
1. Angelo Galante (ITA)
2. Alessandro Malfer (ITA)
3. Nicola Manzione (ITA)
4. Chiara Perona (ITA)

Group D – Brno (CZE)
1. Vladimir Kadykov (RUS)
2. Iurii Neverov (RUS)
3. Ivan Shabanov (RUS)
4. Irina Velikanova (RUS)

Concacaf Women’s Olympic Qualifiers 2020

USA, 28 January - 9 February 2020

1. Myriam Marcotte (CAN)*replacing Marie-Soleil Beaudoin (CAN)
2. Melissa Borjas (HON, photo)
3. Odette Hamilton (JAM)
4. Francia Gonzalez (MEX)
5. Lucila Venegas (MEX)
6. Tatiana Guzman (NCA)
7. Crystal Sobers (TRI)
8. Ekaterina Koroleva (USA)

Assistant Referees
1. Tonia Deane (BRB)
2. Chantal Boudreau (CAN)
3. Princess Brown (JAM)
4. Stephanie Yee Sing (JAM)
5. Shirley Perello (HON)
6. Enedina Caudillo (MEX)
7. Mayte Chavez (MEX)
8. Karen Diaz (MEX)
9. Mijensa Rensch (SUR)
10. Felisha Mariscal (USA)
11. Brooke Mayo (USA)
12. Kathryn Nesbitt (USA)

Support Referee
1. Emperatriz Ayala (SLV)

Referee Assessors
1. Patricia Miranda (CRC)
2. Diane Ferreira-James (GUY)
3. Isabel Tovar (MEX)

UEFA Futsal Euro 2022 Qualifiers – Qualifying Round

29 January - 1 February 2020

Group A – Zenica (BIH)
1. Ibrahim El Jilali (NED, photo)
2. Kaloyan Kirilov (BUL)
3. Kirill Naishouler (FIN)
4. Yaroslav Vovchok (UKR)

Group B – Herentals (BEL)
1. Trayan Enchev (BUL)
2. Daniel Matkovic (SUI)
3. Ingus Puriņš (LVA)
4. Jacob Van Dijke (NED)

Group C – Pembroke (MLT)
1. Veljko Bošković (MNE)
2. Balázs Farkas (HUN)
3. Aleš Mocnik Peric (SVN)
4. Igor Puzović (BIH)

Group D – Varna (BUL)
1. Grigori Ošomkov (EST)
2. Petar Radojcic (SRB)
3. Stefan Vrijens (BEL)
4. Yiangos Yiangou (CYP)

Group E – Jonava (LTU)
1. Juan Boelen (BEL)
2. Peter Nurse (ENG)
3. Timo Onatsu (FIN)
4. Lukáš Peško (SVK)

Group F – Tbilisi (GEO)
1. Josip Barton (MKD)
2. Viktor Bugenko (MDA)
3. Vitali Rakutski (BLR)
4. Adrian Tschopp (SUI)

Group G – Jelgava (LVA)
1. Vasilios Christodoulis (GRE)
2. Bogdan Hanceariuc (ROU)
3. David Schaerli (SUI)

Group H – Ciorescu (MDA)
1. Vlad Ciobanu (ROU)
2. Haris Curovac (SWE)
3. Tomasz Frak (POL)

Group I – Skopje (MKD)
1. Moshe Bohbot (ISR)
2. Michael Christofides (CYP)
3. Slawomir Steczko (POL)

Concacaf Elite Referee Course

Referees from around the Concacaf region have convened in Houston, Texas for the 2020 Concacaf Elite Referee/Assistant Referee Course, hosted by the Concacaf Refereeing Department. 54 Elite Men and Women Referees and Assistant Referees, plus 10 Talented Advanced Referee Program (TARP) participants will take part in a week-long course that will feature special guests Kari Seitz, FIFA Refereeing Group Leader Women & Operations, and Massimo Busacca, FIFA Director of Referees.
“The Elite Referee and Assistant Referee course is always an annual highlight. Bringing our top male and female match officials together in an intense and demanding course is an important part of our plan to provide the best officials for Concacaf competitions,” said Concacaf Director of Refereeing, Brian Hall. “The passion and dedication of our referees, instructors, assessors, and staff has resulted in our developing some of the world’s top match officials. The positive results of our annual courses can be seen in the success of our referee team on the world stage and in our competitions,” added Hall. In addition to presentations and discussions from Concacaf’s Sports Scientist, Sports Psychologist and the FIFA guests, several FIFA instructors will lead intensive technical sessions both in the classroom and on the field in order to simulate real match situations. Among the highlighted topics will be referee fitness and how to better understand your personality traits and the impact they have on one’s refereeing style. There will also be an emphasis on analyzing video clips, positioning and group presentations that will seek to unify interpretation of the Laws of the Game. “Our Elite Course is vital to preparing referees for competitions - FIFA, Concacaf, and Member Associations. Investing in our officials pays dividends on and off the field. Intensive classroom sessions and practical technical sessions on the field of play highlight the six days of training,” concluded Hall.

Source: Concacaf

UEFA assistant referees raise the bar

Assistant referees are having to change with the times as football maintains its constant evolution - and Europe's elite have proved that they are relishing the challenge at UEFA's winter course in Majorca. More than 70 top assistant referees from across the continent have spent a week in Majorca at their latest UEFA winter course. They’ve received a glowing reference from UEFA Referees Committee chairman Roberto Rosetti for the quality of their work, their flexibility in adapting to football’s development, and their determination to get better with each game. Rosetti gave us an insight into the vital role played by assistant referees, and the challenges that those who 'run the line' face in their quest for excellence. Why did UEFA convene the assistant referees in Majorca?
Roberto Rosetti: We’ve a very busy few months ahead of us - we’re not far away from the UEFA Champions League and UEFA Europa League knockout phases, and the UEFA EURO 2020 tournament follows in the summer. Some of the assistants will be part of refereeing teams at that tournament. So, we brought them all together to fine-tune preparations for the important assignments that are coming up. This certainly emphasises the importance that UEFA gives to assistant referees…
Rosetti: It’s true that their job is becoming increasingly important in modern-day elite football, so it’s vital that we work together on the various facets of the Laws of the Game, and look to achieve a common goal of maximum consistency in the referee team’s on-field decision-making. What were the specific topics covered during the week in Majorca?
Rosetti: First of all, we tested the assistants’ fitness, in particular their sprinting and sideways movement – happily, everyone came through the tests successfully. In practical sessions, we looked at a broad range of topics – offside and its interpretation, handball, and so forth…the assistants worked in groups to analyse video clips of incidents from UEFA matches over the past few months – we encouraged them to give us feedback not only on the incidents and decisions taken, but also to reflect on the broader aspects of their role. Was the video assistant referee (VAR) system on the agenda?
Rosetti: Of course, because it’s now an integral part of the game, and assistant referees are making a crucial contribution to the success and further development of the system. In Majorca, the assistants took part in simulator exercises for various situations, and were asked to react and give decisions. Are you happy with the way that the assistant referees have adapted to the VAR system?
Rosetti: We’re very satisfied, because the assistants have had to adjust their role – for example, they’ve been instructed to delay raising their flag in certain situations, whereas previously, they would have raised their flag immediately. Football is changing, refereeing is changing, and we’ve seen that the assistants have fully understood the need to adapt as well. They’ve shown an open-mindedness at the course in reacting positively to such developments. The assistant referees seem determined to match UEFA’s drive to raise standards
Rosetti: We’re consistently looking to improve the quality of the assistants, and they are keeping pace with our demands. We’re extremely impressed with their work ethic and preparation – and their desire to achieve peak performance. They’re being given the best possible training by UEFA, we continually monitor their progress…and, to their credit, they’re responding to the challenge. How important is teamwork between a referee and the assistants on the field of play?
Rosetti: It’s absolutely crucial. They must work together as a solid, focussed and professional team, in terms of both on-field communication and decision-making. We’re encouraging referee teams to become like ‘families’ – it’s not just about how they perform on the field; they form bonds, spending time together off the field, travelling to matches, talking about refereeing. There’s no doubt that creating a close relationship and a genuine team spirit is a key ingredient for success. Finally, what do you think are the major improvements that assistant referees have made in recent years?
Rosetti: Firstly, they’ve been able to keep up with the development of football at the highest level. Secondly, along with the referees, they’ve become 100% athletes – they’re total professionals, they look after themselves, and have understood that they can only do their job with the right preparation, attitude and approach. Thirdly, they’ve taken on board our advice that they should improve their reading of the game and understand specific situations in a match. This all means that our assistant referees are in an increasingly ideal position to successfully fulfil their role – to give the highest quality support to referees on and away from the pitch.

Source: UEFA

FIFA Elite Referee Seminars

UEFA – Lisbon, 3-7 February 2020

Referees (Men)
1. Georgi Kabakov (BUL, 1986, photo)
2. Michael Oliver (ENG, 1985)
3. Anthony Taylor (ENG, 1978)
4. Carlos Del Cerro Grande (ESP, 1976)
5. Jesus Gil Manzano (ESP, 1984)
6. Clement Turpin (FRA, 1982)
7. Felix Zwayer (GER, 1981)
8. Daniele Orsato (ITA, 1975)
9. Andris Treimanis (LVA, 1985)
10. Danny Makkelie (NED, 1983)
11. Szymon Marciniak (POL, 1981)
12. Artur Soares Dias (POR, 1979)
13. Ovidiu Hațegan (ROU, 1980)
14. Srdjan Jovanović (SRB, 1986)
15. Ivan Kružliak (SVK, 1984)
16. Slavko Vinčič (SVN, 1979)
17. Andreas Ekberg (SWE, 1985)

Referees (Women)
1. Ivana Martinčić (CRO, 1985)
2. Olga Zadinova (CZE, 1985)
3. Rebecca Welch (ENG, 1983)
4. Marta Huerta de Aza (ESP, 1990)
5. Lina Lehtovaara (FIN, 1981)
6. Eleni Antoniou (GRE, 1985)
7. Ewa Augustyn (POL, 1989)
8. Tess Olofsson (SWE, 1988)
9. Cheryl Foster (WAL, 1980)

AFC, CAF, OFC – Doha, 9-13 March 2020

Referees (Men)
1. Christopher Beath (AUS, 1984)
2. Nawaf Shukralla (BHR, 1976)
3. Ma Ning (CHN, 1979)
4. Alireza Faghani (IRN 1978)
5. Ryuji Sato (JPN, 1977)
6. Adham Makhadmeh (JOR, 1986)
7. Ko Hyung-Jin (KOR, 1982)
8. Ahmad Al-Kaf (OMA, 1983)
9. Abdulrahman Al-Jassim (QAT, 1987)
10. Muhammad Bin Jahari (SIN, 1986)
11. Mohammed Abdulla (UAE, 1978)

Referees (Women)
1. Ranjita Tekcham (IND)
2. Mahsa Ghorbani (IRN)
3. Kim Yu Jeong (KOR)
4. Oh Hyeong Jeong (KOR, 1988)
5. Pak Un Jong (PRK)
6. Abirami Naidu (SIN, 1983)
7. Edita Mirabidova (UZB)
8. Thi Thu Bui (VIE)

Referees (Men)
1. Mustapha Ghorbal (ALG, 1985)
2. Ndala Ngambo (COD, 1987)
3. Amin Mohamed (EGY, 1985)
4. Bamlak Tessema (ETH, 1980)
5. Bakary Gassama (GAM, 1979)
6. Redouane Jiyed (MAR, 1979)
7. Victor Gomes (RSA, 1982)
8. Maguette Ndiaye (SEN, 1986)

Referees (Women)
1. Maria Rivet (MRI)
2. Bouchra Karboubi (MAR)
3. Ndidi Madu (NGA)
4. Fatou Thioune (SEN, 1985)
5. Jonesia Kabakama (TAN, 1989)
6. Vincentia Amedone (TGO)
7. Dorsaf Ganouati (TUN)
8. Letticia Viana (SWZ)

Referees (Men)
1. Matthew Conger (NZL, 1978)
2. Nicholas Waldron (NZL, 1982)
3. Abdelkader Zitouni (TAH, 1981)

Longest serving match officials on the FIFA List 2020

Referees (M): Nawaf Shukralla (BHR, 1997, photo), Enea Jorgi (ALB, 2002), Ivan Bebek (CRO, 2002), Vasilios Dimitriou (CYP, 2002), Joel Aguilar (SLV, 2002), Ali Al-Qaysi (IRQ, 2002), Veaceslav Banari (MDA, 2002), Damir Skomina (SVN, 2002), Charymurat Kurbanov (TKM, 2002), Valentin Kovalenko (UZB, 2002).

Referees (F): Salome Di Iorio (ARG, 2004), Katalin Kulcsar (HUN, 2004), Sandra Braz (POR, 2004), Kateryna Monzul (UKR, 2004), Sirley Cornejo (BOL, 2005), Lidya Abebe (ETH, 2005), Bibiana Steinhaus (GER, 2005), Vivian Peeters (NED, 2005), Tanja Subotic (SVN, 2005), Esther Staubli (SUI, 2005), Cong Thi Dung (VIE, 2005). 

Assistant Referees (M): Yaser Tulefat (BHR, 1997), Konrad Sapela (POL, 1998), Matthew Cream (AUS, 2000), Anatolie Bodean (MDA, 2000), Anton Averianov (RUS, 2000), David Bitton (ISR, 2001), Ricardo Ake (BLZ, 2002), Berke Tesfagiorghis (ERI, 2002), Alan Camilleri (MLT, 2002), Bahattin Duran (TUR, 2002), Emre Eyisoy (TUR, 2002), Pham Manh Long (VIE, 2002).

Assistant Referees (F): Kossiwa Kpadenou (TOG, 2002), Sarah Ho (AUS, 2004), Judit Kulcsar (HUN, 2004), Kim Kyoung Min (KOR, 2004), Lidwine Rakotozafinoro (MAD, 2004), Mayte Chavez (MEX, 2004), Sonia Louis (BEN, 2005), Mona Mahmoud (EGY, 2005), Lee Seul Gi (KOR, 2005), Bernadettar Kwimbira (MWI, 2006). 

Futsal Referees (M): Francisco Rivera (MEX, 2005), Borislav Kolev (BUL, 2006), Jan Kresta (CZE, 2006), Nurdin Bukuev (KGZ, 2006), Josip Barton (MKD, 2006), Ray Ritaga (PHI, 2006), Gean Telles (BRA, 2007), Timo Onatsu (FIN, 2007), Balazs Farkas (HUN, 2007), Gabor Kovacs (HUN, 2007). 

Futsal Referees (F): Katiucia Meneguzzi (BRA, 2007), Giselle Torri (BRA, 2007), Liga Didrike (LVA, 2009), Irina Velikanova (RUS, 2012), Raquel Gonzalez (ESP, 2012), Bettina Cingari (ARG, 2014), Maria Pinto (ARG, 2014), Gelareh Nazemi (IRN, 2014). 

Beach Soccer: Ivo Moraes (BRA, 2005), Carlos Renato (BRA, 2005), Libor Kastanek (CZE, 2008), Eduards Borisevics (LVA, 2008), Abdulaziz Abdullah (KUW, 2009), Ebrahim El-Mansory (UAE, 2009), Mikhail Prokharav (UKR, 2009), Bakhtiyor Namazov (UZB, 2009), Hugo Pado (SOL, 2010), Sofien Benchabane (FRA, 2011). 

Member associations with most FIFA referees in 2020:
Brazil – 42 (15 referees, 15 assistant referees, 8 futsal, 4 beach soccer),
Spain – 41 (15 referees, 17 assistant referees, 5 futsal, 4 beach soccer),
Argentina – 39 (14 referees, 14 assistant referees, 7 futsal, 4 beach soccer),
Italy – 39 (14 referees, 15 assistant referees, 5 futsal, 5 beach soccer),
Russia – 39 (13 referees, 16 assistant referees, 6 futsal, 4 beach soccer),
France – 37 (14 referees, 16 assistant referees, 4 futsal, 3 beach soccer),
Germany – 37 (14 referees, 16 assistant referees, 4 futsal, 3 beach soccer). 

Member associations without any FIFA referees or assistant referees in 2020: American Samoa, Anguilla, British Virgin Islands, Curacao, Guam, Liechtenstein, Montserrat, St. Lucia, Turks and Caicos Islands, US Virgin Islands.

CONMEBOL Libertadores 2020 – Round 1 (Second Leg)

28-29 January 2020

Universitario – Carabobo
Referee: Braulio Machado (BRA, photo)
Assistant Referee 1: Bruno Boschilia (BRA)
Assistant Referee 2: Guilherme Dias (BRA)
Fourth Official: Bruno Arleu (BRA)
Referee Assessor: Omar Ponce (ECU)

Guarani – San Jose
Referee: Fernando Echenique (ARG)
Assistant Referee 1: Ezequiel Brailovsky (ARG)
Assistant Referee 2: Maximiliano Del Yesso (ARG)
Fourth Official: Fernando Espinoza (ARG)
Referee Assessor: Juan Cardellino (URU)

Barcelona – Progreso
Referee: Arnaldo Samaniego (PAR)
Assistant Referee 1: Milciades Saldivar (PAR)
Assistant Referee 2: Jose Cuevas (PAR)
Fourth Official: Juan Lopez (PAR)
Referee Assessor: Juan Lugones (BOL)

AFC U-23 Championship Final 2020: Beath (AUS)

26 January 2020

Korea Republic – Saudi Arabia
Referee: Christopher Beath (AUS, photo)
Assistant Referee 1: Anton Shchetinin (AUS)
Assistant Referee 2: Ashley Beecham (AUS)
Fourth Official: Ma Ning (CHN)
VAR: Shaun Evans (AUS)
AVAR 1: Fu Ming (CHN)
AVAR 2: Adham Makhadmeh (JOR)

AFC U-23 Championship 2020 – Match for Third Place

25 January 2020

Australia – Uzbekistan
Referee: Mohammed Abdulla (UAE)
Assistant Referee 1: Mohamed Al-Hammadi (UAE)
Assistant Referee 2: Hasan Al-Mahri (UAE)
Fourth Official: Sivakorn Pu-Udom (THA)
VAR: Abdulrahman Al-Jassim (QAT)
AVAR 1: Omar Al-Ali (UAE)
AVAR 2: Khamis Al-Marri (QAT)

CONMEBOL Libertadores 2020 – Round 1 (First Leg)

21-22 January 2020

Carabobo – Universitario
Referee: John Ospina (COL, photo)
Assistant Referee 1: Wilmar Navarro (COL)
Assistant Referee 2: Miguel Roldan (COL)
Fourth Official: Carlos Betancur (COL)
Referee Assessor: Ubaldo Aquino (PAR)

San Jose – Guarani
Referee: Augusto Aragon (ECU)
Assistant Referee 1: Christian Lescano (ECU)
Assistant Referee 2: Denny Guerrero (ECU)
Fourth Official: Roberto Sanchez (ECU)
Referee Assessor: Wilson Lamouroux (COL)

Progreso – Barcelona
Referee: Eduardo Gamboa (CHI)
Assistant Referee 1: Edson Cisternas (CHI)
Assistant Referee 2: Raul Orellana (CHI)
Fourth Official: Angelo Hermosilla (CHI)
Referee Assessor: Sergio Viola (ARG)

Dean – EPL Match 500: “Players accept my style and personality”

Mike Dean has opened up on his maverick personality on the pitch, insisting players appreciate that he is not a 'robotic' referee ahead of his record 500th game. Dean – described as 'one of a kind' by Sportsmail's refereeing expert Mark Clattenburg – is the first to hit the milestone. Clattenburg insists the Premier League would be a worse place without the 51-year-old from the Wirral, who is often described as the 'gift that keeps on giving' by fans. There are even compilations of his funny moments on YouTube, from the times he has let the ball run through his legs to his no-look cautions and puzzled looks at players. Most recently he was caught on camera asking an assistant 'who the f*** is that?' after an unknown man shook his hand ahead of Southampton against Tottenham on New Year's Day.
Telling Sportsmail about his style on the pitch, Dean said: “For me, the players respond to the way I am and over the years have accepted my style and personality. I've never been a 'robotic' referee. I try to be approachable and explain decisions briefly to players if they ask. The communication we have with them is really important. “I don't have an issue with the odd bad publicity I get as it's all part of the game we love. I speak to a few referees after games on the way home, but I try not to worry about decisions – good or bad, I make every decision to the best of my ability.” Dean, having refereed in the Premier League since the year 2000, counts former Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson as the best but toughest manager he dealt with. The most memorable match he officiated was Manchester City's 2012 last-gasp, title-clinching victory over Queen's Park Rangers at the Etihad Stadium, courtesy of Sergio Aguero's winner. Yet Dean was almost given a decision to make, when QPR defender Taye Taiwo lunged in on the Argentinian seconds before he made it 3-2 in stoppage time. On that game, Dean said: 'With what was at stake and to be trusted to referee such an important game on the final day of the season and with the ending, it will live long in the memory. As a refereeing team, we didn't know what was happening in other games but you could sense that City needed a winner to win the title and when Aguero went through on goal, there was only going to be one outcome”. On match No. 500 – Martin Atkinson is the next nearest on 397 – Dean added: “When I first got onto the Premier League in 2000 there wasn't a specific goal on amount of games I wanted to do. The retirement age of a referee was 48 back in 2000, but today, luckily, we don't have an age limit. The game this weekend will be a special one of course, but there is still a match to officiate so my focus will be on that. My wife Karam, eldest daughter Zara and my grandson Harvey will all be there to watch, as will a very good friend of mine, Dave Somers, a former SFA referee who will travel down from Scotland. My other daughter Brittany won't be coming as her priority will be watching Tranmere, as always!”
Mike Dean is like Marmite. But love or hate him, it takes a special referee to reach 500 Premier League games, as Mike will at Arsenal against Sheffield United. I know Mike well and he is one of a kind. He came from a normal background, worked in a chicken factory, then got into refereeing and reached the very top. The social media trolls may mock him but the younger officials look up to him because of his vast experience. Mike is one of the old school PGMOL members, and a bit of a joker. That's what we see on the pitch, too. When he does silly little things, that's just Mike being Mike. He doesn't hide his personality and the players appreciate that. He's no robot. Those at the top of the PGMOL want to manufacture the perfect referee but it's important to show personality and have a bit of banter. Don't just walk up to a player and stick a card up in the air. A personal touch can help defuse heated situations, and that's what Mike brings to the table. His type is a dying breed, and it isn't easy to get to 500 games. You have to stay fit but the older you get, the wiser you become. You read the game better and know where to position yourself. You run less but end up no further away from the ball. Mike has that down to a tee, too. What will he do after football? I know in between his refereeing duties, Mike loves to play golf and he caddies on the women's tour. That will be his next move, in my opinion. For now, though, let's enjoy his performances in the Premier League - that includes you trolls out there. There really is only one Mike Dean. By Mark Clattenburg.


AFC U-23 Championship 2020 – Semi-finals

22 January 2020

Australia – Korea Republic
Referee: Nawaf Shukralla (BHR, photo)
Assistant Referee 1: Mohamed Salman (BHR)
Assistant Referee 2: Abdulla Al-Rowaimi (BHR)
Fourth Official: Adham Makhadmeh (JOR)
VAR: Mohammed Abdulla (UAE)
AVAR 1: Omar Al-Ali (UAE)
AVAR 2: Sivakorn Pu-Udom (THA)

Saudi Arabia – Uzbekistan
Referee: Ryuji Sato (JPN)
Assistant Referee 1: Hiroshi Yamauchi (JPN)
Assistant Referee 2: Jun Mihara (JPN)
Fourth Official: Minoru Tojo (JPN)
VAR: Hiroyuki Kimura (JPN)
AVAR 1: Jumpei Iida (JPN)
AVAR 2: Ma Ning (CHN)

AFC U-23 Championship 2020 – Quarter-finals

18-19 January 2020

Australia – Syria
Referee: Ryuji Sato (JPN, photo)
Assistant Referee 1: Hiroshi Yamauchi (JPN)
Assistant Referee 2: Jun Mihara (JPN)
Fourth Official: Nawaf Shukralla (BHR)
VAR: Hiroyuki Kimura (JPN)
AVAR 1: Jumpei Iida (JPN)
AVAR 2: Minoru Tojo (JPN)

Saudi Arabia – Thailand
Referee: Ahmed Al Kaf (OMA)
Assistant Referee 1: Abu Al-Amri (OMA)
Assistant Referee 2: Rashid Al Ghaithi (OMA)
Fourth Official: Ali Sabah (IRQ)
VAR: Christopher Beath (AUS)
AVAR 1: Shaun Evans (AUS)
AVAR 2: Ko Hyung Jin (KOR)

Korea Republic – Jordan
Referee: Abdulrahman Al-Jassim (QAT)
Assistant Referee 1: Taleb Al-Marri (QAT)
Assistant Referee 2: Saoud Al-Maqaleh (QAT)
Fourth Official: Khamis Al-Kuwari (QAT)
VAR: Abdulla Al-Marri (QAT)
AVAR 1: Khamis Al-Kuwari (QAT)
AVAR 2: Sivakorn Pu-Udom (THA)

UAE – Uzbekistan
Referee: Fu Ming (CHN)
Assistant Referee 1: Shi Xiang (CHN)
Assistant Referee 2: Cao Yi (CHN)
Fourth Official: Ma Ning (CHN)
VAR: Shaun Evans (AUS)
AVAR 1: Christopher Beath (AUS)
AVAR 2: Adham Makhadmeh (JOR)

UEFA Advanced Course for Top Referees (Winter 2020)

UEFA has selected Mallorca to host the 28th Advanced Course for Top Referees in January 2020. The annual course will see the top male and female referees from across Europe perform physical and theoretical tests for five days of intensive training. Held at the end of January, the event takes place just weeks before the playoffs for the Champions and Europa League. During the new edition of the advanced course, there will be a strong focus on Video Assistant Referee (VAR) technology, which aims to assist referees in their determination on whether there is an infringement in goals scored. Encouraging referees to maintain their consistently high standards, the course also serves as an introduction for those that have recently obtained their international accreditation. Representatives of UEFA have also revealed their intentions to hold the course at the Ciudad Deportiva Antonio Asensio, the training ground and academy base of Real Mallorca football club. This is the second time in recent years that UEFA has chosen Spain as the destination for the annual course, which was hosted in Malaga in 2017. “It’s a very important season for our referees, especially in view of the run-up to the Euro 2020”, explained UEFA Referees Chairman, Roberto Rosetti, adding that the course is “centred on ensuring that there is consistency and uniformity in referees’ decision-making in UEFA’s competitions”. (Source: EuroWeeklyNews)

Men Elite
Aleksei Kulbakov (BLR), Pavel Kralovec (CZE), Michael Oliver (ENG), Anthony Taylor (ENG), Orel Grinfeeld (ISR), Carlos Del Cerro Grande (ESP), Jesus Gil Manzano (ESP), Antonio Mateu Lahoz (ESP), Benoit Bastien (FRA), Clement Turpin (FRA), Deniz Aytekin (GER), Felix Brych (GER), Felix Zwayer (GER), Anastasios Sidiropoulos (GRE), Daniele Orsato (ITA), Björn Kuipers (NED), Danny Makkelie (NED), Szymon Marciniak (POL), Artur Soares Dias (POR), Ovidiu Hategan (ROU), Istvan Kovacs (ROU), Sergei Karasev (RUS), William Collum (SCO), Ivan Kruzliak (SVK), Damir Skomina (SVN), Slavko Vincic (SVN), Cüneyt Cakir (TUR).

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

Men First Category
Georgi Kabakov (BUL), Xavier Estrada Fernández (ESP), José Sánchez Martínez (ESP), Mattias Gestranius (FIN), Ruddy Buquet (FRA), Daniel Siebert (GER), Tobias Stieler (GER), Marco Guida (ITA), Davide Massa (ITA), Gediminas Mažeika (ITA), Andris Treimanis (ITA), Serdar Gözübüyük (NED), Robert Madden (SCO), Srdjan Jovanović (SRB), Andreas Ekberg (SWE), Ali Palabiyik (TUR).

Women First Category
Rebecca Welch (ENG), Eleni Antoniou (GRE), Eszter Urbán (HUN), Elvira Nurmustafina (KAZ), Ivana Projkovska (MKD), Ewa Augustyn (POL), Monika Mularczyk (POL), Silvia Rosa Domingos (POR), Petra Pavlikova (SVK), Marta Frias Acedo (ESP), Marta Huerta de Aza (ESP), Tess Olofsson (SWE), Melis Özçiğdem (TUR), Cheryl Foster (WAL).

Video Assistant Referees
Stuart Attwell (ENG), Christopher Kavanagh (ENG), Craig Pawson (ENG), Paul Tierney (ENG), Ricardo de Burgos Bengoechea (ESP), Alejandro Hernández Hernández (ESP), Juan Martínez Munuera (ESP), Jérôme Brisard (FRA), François Letexier (FRA), Benoît Millot (FRA), Bastian Dankert (GER), Christian Dingert (GER), Sascha Stegemann (GER), Anastasios Papapetrou (GRE), Roi Reinshreiber (ISR), Marco Di Bello (ITA), Michael Fabbri (ITA), Massimiliano Irrati (ITA), Paolo Valeri (ITA), Dennis Higler (NED), Kevin Blom (NED, former FIFA), Bas Nijhuis (NED), Pol van Boekel (NED, former FIFA), Bartosz Frankowski (POL), Pawel Gil (POL), Luis Godinho (POR), Tiago Martins (POR), Joao Pinheiro (POR), Vitali Meshkov (RUS), Mete Kalkavan (TUR).

Top futsal referee retired early to become Concacaf Manager of Refereeing

Lance VanHaitsma had the fastest-ever path in futsal refereeing at the highest level. After being a national soccer referee between 2012-2015, he switched his focus to futsal and was promoted onto the FIFA List at the beginning of 2016. That year proved to be very successful for VanHaitsma, who managed to reach the FIFA Futsal World Cup after only 10 months on the international list. 
In 2016, Lance VanHaitsma (photo) was appointed to UNCAF Futsal Finals, Concacaf Futsal Championship and FIFA Futsal World Cup in Colombia. His career at the high level continued with the Concacaf Futsal Club Championship in 2017 and the Youth Olympics in 2018, which brought him amongst the Top 10 futsal referees in the world. VanHaitsma would have been very likely considered for his second World Cup in 2020, but he stopped his career at the end of last year, at only 38, when he was appointed as the new Concacaf Manager of Refereeing.

AFC U-23 Championship 2020 – Group Stage (Matches 19-24)

15 January 2020
Qatar – Japan
Referee: Muhammad Bin Jahari (SIN)
Assistant Referee 1: Koh Min Kiat (SIN)
Assistant Referee 2: Shi Xiang (CHN)
Fourth Official: Ko Hyung Jin (KOR)
VAR: Ma Ning (CHN)
AVAR 1: Alireza Faghani (IRN)
AVAR 2: Mohd Bin Yaacob (MAS)

Saudi Arabia – Syria
Referee: Hettikankanamge Perera (SRI)
Assistant Referee 1: Andrei Tsapenko (UZB)
Assistant Referee 2: Timur Gaynullin (UZB)
Fourth Official: Ilgiz Tantashev (UZB)
VAR: Fu Ming (CHN)
AVAR 1: Adham Makhadmeh (JOR)
AVAR 2: Ahmed Al-Ali (JOR)

Uzbekistan – Korea Republic
Referee: Hiroyuki Kimura (JPN)
Assistant Referee 1: Hiroshi Yamauchi (JPN)
Assistant Referee 2: Jun Mihara (JPN)
Fourth Official: Minoru Tojo (JPN)
VAR: Jumpei Iida (JPN)
AVAR 1: Ryuji Sato (JPN)
AVAR 2: Ahmed Al Kaf (OMA)

China – Iran
Referee: Hanna Hattab (SYR)
Assistant Referee 1: Taleb Al-Marri (QAT)
Assistant Referee 2: Saoud Al-Maqaleh (QAT)
Fourth Official: Khamis Al-Kuwari (QAT)
VAR: Abdulrahman Al-Jassim (QAT)
AVAR 1: Khamis Al-Marri (QAT)
AVAR 2: Abdulla Al-Marri (QAT)

16 January 2020
Vietnam – Korea DPR
Referee: Mohanad Sarray (IRQ)
Assistant Referee 1: Abu Al-Amri (OMA)
Assistant Referee 2: Rashid Al-Ghaiti (OMA)
Fourth Official: Sivakorn Pu-Udom (THA)
VAR: Christopher Beath (AUS)
AVAR 1: Muhammad Bin Jahari (SIN)
AVAR 2: Ahmed Al Kaf (OMA)

Jordan – UAE
Referee: Nawaf Shukralla (BHR)
Assistant Referee 1: Mohamed Salman (BHR)
Assistant Referee 2: Abdulla Al-Rowaimi (BHR)
Fourth Official: Ali Sabah (IRQ)
VAR: Shaun Evans (AUS)
AVAR 1: Kim Jong Hyeok (KOR)
AVAR 2: Liu Kwok Man (HKG)

PRO: Fletcher works again with Geiger

Joe Fletcher, former MLS Assistant Referee of the Year, has been appointed Manager of Senior Assistant Referees by the Professional Referee Organization (PRO). Fletcher's role will focus on the training and development of MLS-level assistant referees. He will report to PRO Director of Senior Match Officials Mark Geiger. The 43-year-old will coordinate and supervise an assistant referee coaching program in MLS.
“I have lived what many of our referees are trying to accomplish and have always taken great pride in the effort that I put into matches,” Fletcher said in a statement. “Now it’s my job to take an already elite group of Assistant Referees and push them all to be even better. The resources and training programs at PRO have infinitely improved over the years, and it is our goal to make these officials better versions of who they are today." Fletcher worked as a PRO performance consultant last year, as well as working as an instructor for Canada Soccer. He worked with Geiger at both the 2014 and 2018 World Cups. Fletcher has also worked two MLS Cups (2014 and 2016), two Concacaf Champions League Finals (2008 and 2017), the 2012 Olympic Games in London and much more over his refereeing career. “We are delighted to add the quality and expertise that Joe Fletcher brings to our team as we prepare for another exciting year,” PRO General Manager Howard Webb said. “Joe was not only one of Major League Soccer’s most talented assistant referees, but he was also extremely successful on the international stage. His experience at the very highest level, combined with his energy and passion for the game, will greatly benefit our current group of MLS and international assistant referees, and those aspiring to walk in Joe’s footsteps. We are privileged to have him on board.”

Source: MLS

First VAR training for Concacaf referees

Concacaf referees, consisting of 19 men and three women, are attending VAR training at the IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida. They are beginning the process of certification to utilize VAR as an on-field referee and to be the video assistant referee to assist on-field referees on “clear and obvious errors.”
“We are excited because we are taking the first steps as a confederation to be able to provide world class VAR to fans and teams in select competitions,” said Concacaf Director of Refereeing Brian Hall. “It is important to understand that implementation of VAR is more than a replay booth and the referee communicating. There are FIFA and IFAB requirements and procedures that must be met before implementation, so we are making sure our referees will be fully certified and prepared to provide the best possible product,” added Hall. “The idea is that the referees will watch clips from games and then role play. The second part of the training is doing it live during a match, with a referee on the field communicating with two VARs in the booth,” said Hall. The training is being led by two experienced FIFA instructors: Mark Geiger and Greg Barkey. Geiger has officiated in two FIFA World Cups, while Barkey was one of the key people responsible for the implementation of VAR in Major League Soccer. Also attending the VAR training is Project Manager Mark Cahen, who is managing the training logistics. “This is an enormous task that crosses multiple organizations and third parties. We will have to make sure stadiums are certified, that we coordinate with broadcast partners, and that the software works so when it is live, no stone has been unturned. There is so much at stake in football, so this is a welcomed tool for the good of the game. It gives our match officials a second chance to rectify the ‘clear and obvious error’, concluded Hall.

Source: Concacaf

AFC U-23 Championship 2020 – Group Stage (Matches 17-18)

14 January 2020

Thailand – Iraq
Referee: Adham Makhadmeh (JOR, photo)
Assistant Referee 1: Ahmad Al-Roalle (JOR)
Assistant Referee 2: Mohammad Al-Kalaf (JOR)
Fourth Official: Hettikankanamge Perera (SRI)
VAR: Muhammad Bin Jahari (SIN)
AVAR 1: Valentin Kovalenko (UZB)
AVAR 2: Ko Hyung Jin (KOR)

Australia – Bahrain
Referee: Mohammed Abdulla (UAE)
Assistant Referee 1: Mohamed Al-Hammadi (UAE)
Assistant Referee 2: Hasan Al-Mahri (UAE)
Fourth Official: Kim Jong Hyeok (KOR)
VAR: Ammar Al-Jneibi (UAE)
AVAR 1: Omar Al-Ali (UAE)
AVAR 2: Liu Kwok Man (HKG)

Elleray accused of fat-shaming referees

The chairman of the Football Association’s referees committee has been accused of fat-shaming after telling aspiring officials: “There are too many beards, tattoos and beer bellies in this room”. David Elleray, the former Premier League and FIFA referee and one of the chief architects of Video Assistant Referees, was said to have made the potentially-offensive remark at a meeting of semi-professional officials.
News of it was revealed by Ref Support, a charity committed to the support of referees. Its chief executive, Martin Cassidy, told The Telegraph it had been approached by officials upset by the comment from Elleray, who in 2014 held on to his roles in the game despite allegedly asking a black referee coaching manager: “Have you been down a coal mine?” Cassidy, a former referee who worked under Elleray at the FA for seven years, said: “With the mental pressures on referees that are already in place, the last thing that they need is to be told that they’re fat. “We are worried as a charity that pressure that the FA put on some referees might encourage eating disorders because some of them get really obsessed by their fitness.” Cassidy accused the governing body of double-standards, highlighting its commercial partnerships with fast food companies such as McDonald’s and beer firms like Budweiser. Alluding to the crisis to have engulfed it over its ongoing links with bookmakers, he added: “If they want to talk about fitness, do partnerships with the brilliant gyms out there, instead of betting companies.” Elleray did not deny making the comment, writing in an email: “It is quite possible/likely that in the past when talking to young aspiring referees, I have commented on the importance of appearance as there is a general expectation that referees look smart, athletic etc…” The former housemaster at Harrow School said the remark had possibly been made the summer before last after Cassidy claimed to have been told it was made more recently.
The FA is said to disapprove of referees being tattooed, with Mark Clattenburg reportedly wearing long-sleeve shirts to cover up one he got to commemorate taking charge of the final of the 2012 men’s Olympic football tournament. He later got two more to celebrate being chosen to officiate the finals of the 2016 European Championship and Champions League, the same year he was selected to oversee the FA Cup final after years of being overlooked. In 2018, Clattenburg accused Elleray of “a form of bullying” after claiming the latter had said he did not want the official to be one of England’s representatives at Euro 2016. As technical director of the International Football Association Board, Elleray has been at the forefront of the advent of VAR in the game, as well as to recent changes to its laws. He was previously one of the country’s most well-known referees but is no stranger to controversy and there were calls for him to resign over the racism scandal. He escaped serious punishment by the FA but was reprimanded and asked to undertake an equality and diversity training course. The decision prompted outrage from equality campaigners, who accused it of sweeping the matter under the carpet. The then chairman of Kick It Out, Lord Ouseley, said: “With David Elleray, there’s been very little information and only a slap on the wrists. If he was guilty of discrimination, he should stand down. You can’t have highly intelligent people in responsible positions going on training courses. It just doesn’t add up.”

Source: The Telegraph

AFC U-23 Championship 2020 – Group Stage (Matches 15-16)

13 January 2020

UAE – Korea DPR
Referee: Ahmed Al Kaf (OMA, photo)
Assistant Referee 1: Abu Al-Amri (OMA)
Assistant Referee 2: Rashid Al Ghaithi (OMA)
Fourth Official: Mohd Bin Yaacob (MAS)
VAR: Sivakorn Pu-Udom (THA)
AVAR 1: Turki Al-Khudhayr (KSA)
AVAR 2: Ilgiz Tantashev (UZB)

Jordan – Vietnam
Referee: Ryuji Sato (JPN)
Assistant Referee 1: Hiroshi Yamauchi (JPN)
Assistant Referee 2: Jun Mihara (JPN)
Fourth Official: Minoru Tojo (JPN)
VAR: Hiroyuki Kimura (JPN)
AVAR 1: Jumpei Iida (JPN)
AVAR 2: Kim Hee Gon (KOR)

IFAB: “We are not VAR police”

Football’s rule-making-body IFAB will not police the way VAR (video assistant referees) is implemented in different leagues, despite continued controversy over the use of the technology in the Premier League. Speaking to Reuters, IFAB secretary Lukas Brud said the organization is working on current or future VAR usage with over 100 competitions and is not focused on the Premier League. However, Brud repeated his view that VAR should only be used in cases where a “clear and obvious” error has been identified and should not “try to find something that might not be there”. Brud also said the organization has no plans to change the offside law, a change which some pundits have called for in response to the controversy over marginal offside decisions which have been a feature in the first season of VAR use in the Premier League. 
Zurich-based IFAB, the International Football Association Board, is made up of five members: the four British football associations: England, Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales, as well as FIFA, which represents other federations. IFAB will hold its Annual General Meeting in Belfast on Feb. 29 which has led to speculation that it may act over the use of VAR in the Premier League. But Brud said the body was constantly working with different competitions through its Implementation Assistance and Approval Programme (IAAP) and was not in the business of “punishing” bodies. IFAB can withdraw permission to use the system, but Brud said that there was leeway for competitions to have different interpretations of the guidelines over the use of VARs. “Of course it is a requirement to follow the laws of the game and the VAR protocol. Competitions may apply some elements of it in a slightly different way but still within the Laws and protocol framework. We work together to try to make it work better,” Brud said. “We are not the police, we cannot be the police. We will be issuing guidelines on the use of VAR as we do on a regular basis. That has nothing to do with the Premier League. In cooperation with FIFA, we are currently working with around 90 countries, over 100 competitions around the globe, our focus is certainly not on the Premier League, just because there are some media debates about VAR in the Premier League.” While acknowledging that the technology used to determine offside decisions by VAR is not accurate enough to identify millimetre calls, Brud said that did not mean the offside law needed to be changed. “We don’t think it is time (to change the law). What we need to do is focus on the training and education and ensure that the consistency and application of the VAR/offside law is being done properly,” he said, rejecting the suggestions for the law to reflect ‘clear daylight’ or other changes. “We cannot make it subjective. With offside, the problem we have is that you are either offside or you are not. We need to remind people of principles. If the original decision cannot be overturned with 100 percent certainty – leave it as it is.” He added that VAR officials were not supposed to spend a long time examining on-field decisions. “VARs should not be spending a lot of time looking at an incident that on the first or second sight doesn’t show clear and obvious evidence that the original decision was wrong,” he said. The IFAB official said other leagues who adopted VAR prior to the Premier League had overcome their initial issues. “With more experience and more understanding, those decisions are not being questioned anymore”, he said. 

Source: Reuters

AFC U-23 Championship 2020 – Group Stage (Matches 11-14)

12 January 2020

Saudi Arabia – Qatar
Referee: Ma Ning (CHN, photo)
Assistant Referee 1: Shi Xiang (CHN)
Assistant Referee 2: Cao Yi (CHN)
Fourth Official: Sivakorn Pu-Udom (THA)
VAR: Fu Ming (CHN)
AVAR 1: Liu Kwok Man (HKG)
AVAR 2: Muhammad Bin Jahari (SIN)

Iran – Korea Republic
Referee: Adham Makhadmeh (JOR)
Assistant Referee 1: Ahmad Al-Roalle (JOR)
Assistant Referee 2: Mohammad Al-Kalaf (JOR)
Fourth Official: Ahmed Al-Ali (JOR)
VAR: Khamis Al-Marri (QAT)
AVAR 1: Hanna Hattab (SYR)
AVAR 2: Nawaf Shukralla (BHR)

Syria – Japan
Referee: Ali Sabah (IRQ)
Assistant Referee 1: Anton Shchetinin (AUS)
Assistant Referee 2: Ashley Beecham (AUS)
Fourth Official: Hettikankanamge Perera (SRI)
VAR: Christopher Beath (AUS)
AVAR 1: Shaun Evans (AUS)
AVAR 2: Mohanad Sarray (IRQ)

China – Uzbekistan
Referee: Abdulrahman Al-Jassim (QAT)
Assistant Referee 1: Taleb Al-Marri (QAT)
Assistant Referee 2: Saoud Al-Maqaleh (QAT)
Fourth Official: Khamis Al-Kuwari (QAT)
VAR: Abdulla Al-Marri (QAT)
AVAR 1: Omar Al-Ali (UAE)
AVAR 2: Mohammed Abdulla (UAE)

Research into “Makkelie webshop” is ongoing

The almost 37-year-old South Hollander presented the arrival of the “Makkelie Scheidsrechterslijn” in social media in October and already advertised it. The KNVB investigates whether the potential European Championships goer with his personal webshop is breaking the rules.
According to referee coordinator Dick van Egmond, that investigation is still ongoing. Van Egmond does not want to respond substantively during the investigation. The union checks whether Makkelie adheres to the rules. For example, the KNVB has a clothing contract with Nike, while Makkelie offers clothing from Macron that has a contract with the European football association UEFA. The products that the referee wants to offer, such as clothing and numerous attributes, bear his self-designed logo consisting of the letters DM. The KNVB has its own webshop, in which items for referees can also be purchased.

Source: MBS

Kassai is the new Head of Russian referees

The Russian state-owned TASS news agency, citing a news release from the Russian Federation, reported that Viktor Kassai had succeeded Alexander Egorov as the Head of Russian referees. György Ring, a former assistant referee of Kassai, who also gave up his role on the field, was given a position in the referee administration.
Kassai's appointment was reported on the official website of the Russian Federation and, after a brief presentation of his professional biography, he spoke to the Hungarian sports magazine: "I would like to thank the leaders of the Russian Federation for selecting me to this position with important responsibilities. I recently ended my refereeing career and this new assignment promises to be a very interesting challenge. I am confident that as a result of our joint efforts we will be able to put the Russian refereeing on a new development. During the training camp in February, I will meet with the Russian referees and begin to develop our new strategy”. It is not uncommon in football to call on prominent foreign referees for important positions, relying not only on their experience, but mainly on their independence with domestic interests. Hungarian-speaking Polish Michal Listkiewicz previously worked in the Czech Republic, Italian Pierluigi Collina in Ukraine, Howard Webb in the United States, Mark Clattenburg in Saudi Arabia and Roberto Rosetti in Russia filled the position now offered to Kassai, according to information from Sport-Express, for a fabulous salary of almost one million euros a year. The high salaries that even forced some of these referees to retire are no accident: those who appointed them (especially in Eastern Europe) see this as a guarantee that they will be able to be independent of any attempts to influence by local lobby groups. The Russian press is currently speculating whether Kassai's partner, also internationally renowned referee Katalin Kulcsar, will move to Moscow.
“Viktor Kassai is one of the best known and most respected referees in the world. I am confident that he will be able to provide our referees with the latest preparation techniques and present them with the latest international trends”, commented Alexander Gyukov, president of the Russian Federation. “Viktor Kassai has extensive international experience and is keen to build the most up-to-date referee community in Russia. We have found a professional and independent expert for the task, for whom the successful management of change is an ambitious challenge”, added Asot Hacsaturjan, chairman of the Russian Referees Committee. Hacsaturjan also listed what would fall under Kassai's competence: managing Russian referees, achieving uniform interpretation and application of the Laws of the Game, improving the quality of game management; participation in the assigning process, and establishing of a uniform system of referee training from the regional up to the national level. 

Source: Nemzeti Sport

AFC U-23 Championship 2020 – Group Stage (Matches 7-10)

10 January 2020
Korea DPR – Jordan
Referee: Alireza Faghani (IRN, photo)
Assistant Referee 1: Mohammadreza Mansouri (IRN)
Assistant Referee 2: Mohammadreza Abolfazli (IRN)
Fourth Official: Hettikankanamge Perera (SRI)
VAR: Sivakorn Pu-Udom (THA)
AVAR 1: Ali Sabah (IRQ)
AVAR 2: Mohd Bin Yaacob (MAS)

Vietnam – UAE
Referee: Muhammad Bin Jahari (SIN)
Assistant Referee 1: Koh Min Kiat (SIN)
Assistant Referee 2: Hiroshi Yamauchi (JPN)
Fourth Official: Jumpei Iida (JPN)
VAR: Fu Ming (CHN)
AVAR 1: Ma Ning (CHN)
AVAR 2: Minoru Tojo (JPN)

11 January 2020
Bahrain – Iraq
Referee: Ko Hyung Jin (KOR)
Assistant Referee 1: Yoon Kwang-yeol (KOR)
Assistant Referee 2: Park Sang-jun (KOR)
Fourth Official: Turki Al-Khudhayr (KSA)
VAR: Hiroyuki Kimura (JPN)
AVAR 1: Kim Jong Hyeok (KOR)
AVAR 2: Kim Hee Gon (KOR)

Australia – Thailand
Referee: Ahmed Al Kaf (OMA)
Assistant Referee 1: Abu Al-Amri (OMA)
Assistant Referee 2: Rashid Al Ghaithi (OMA)
Fourth Official: Ryuji Sato (JPN)
VAR: Ilgiz Tantashev (UZB)
AVAR 1: Valentin Kovalenko (UZB)
AVAR 2: Liu Kwok Man (HKG)

Gardeazabal: anecdotes of a legendary Spanish referee

Zaragoza was playing an important game at home against Real Madrid and near the end Marcelino, the local hero, fell apathetically into the penalty area. The spectators demanded a penalty kick, while Marcelino stirred painfully on the grass. When he got up, the referee asked him to place the ball at the place where the foul was committed. Marcelino put the ball outside of the penalty area. That match was refereed by Juanito Gardeazabal Garai (Begoña, 1923), who acted this way because he did not know the exact place where the foul took place. This is one of many juicy anecdotes of the best referee in the history of Spanish football, who died half a century ago. Gardeazabal died just before he would have turned 46, on 21 December 1969. His retirement was close, as the rule forced referees to hang their whistle at age 47. His premature disappearance deprived him of attending the World Cup in Mexico, which would have been the fourth World Cup in his brilliant palmares, the finishing touch to a trajectory with more than 100 matches of international teams and continental tournaments.
"A friend told me that he was going to the Vizcaina Federation to try his luck with the whistle. I accompanied him, stung by curiosity and look". This is how Gardeazabal, who stopped playing football at a young age because of a meniscus problem, recounted its beginnings. That is why he always wore a protection on his right knee. A manager of Valencia asked him if he was injured and he responded with his natural grace no and that the kneepad was just a fad. In record time, Gardeazabal went from refereeing in the Third Regional to the First Division and two years later, in 1955, he would become international. He participated in three World Cups, in Sweden (58), Chile (62) and England (66), where he led the match USSR - Hungary. The Hungarians were the sensation of the moment, but they were off. Gardeazabal had the explanation: "If the Hungarians had had the goalkeeper of Iturrigorri, they would have been champions".
The prestige that the referee from Bilbao achieved did not deprive him of criticism, altercations and various challenges. There were times of a bronco football where the referees were usually crossed out as homemakers, and, therefore, influenced the results. It was not his case, according to this chronicle: "He could irritate the public of the home team, but the teams knew that with him, playing away, they could not find better refereeing. Gardeazabal abstracted himself from spectators, managers and players, let them play and was not afraid of being wrong". They asked him if immediate decision making was the most complex part of his task. He responded: "The most difficult thing is to maintain a personality and get hold of the player, show him that whoever has judged him is fair. Sending-off is easy. The beautiful thing is to bring the ship to fruition". However, he did not hesitate to send off Kubala in front of the Barca fans and, after a furious press campaign, Barça managed not to be refereed by him again in a year. Here is his soft reply: "The referee acts with the same good faith as the player. I do not ask for more than the same treatment that is given to the player when he fails a penalty kick and receives his teammates' encouragement".
A contemporary colleague defined Gardeazabal as follows: "He has a caste and temperament. His serenity prevents the public from knowing his true mood. He is formidable and above all sympathetic". Urizar Azpitarte nods and recalls his first conversation with him: "Kid, do you always whistle like that? Well, you will go far”. Urizar says he learned a lot from him: "He had an impressive personality on the field. What he decided was going to happen. His relationship with the players was unique, it was as if they were his children. He even managed to get Di Stefano and Kubala to shake hands. He was a cherished person, without enemies, his seriousness did not prevent him from being ironic, witty, even horny. With Francisco Franco in the VIP box, one of his ministers, Jose Solís, went down to the locker room to ask Gardeazabal to guarantee the normal development of the game so as not to bother the "Caudillo". Neither cut nor lazy, Gardeazabal snapped him to convey to Franco that the game would go smoothly, that he had everything under control and that he focused on his things. Solis, baffled by the firm reaction of his interlocutor, made it clear that he had got the message: "Don't worry, I will tell him so". Gardeazabal then told the episode smiling, but he would recognize that knowing that perhaps he did not measure his response well did not rule out his potential arrest as opposed to a happy ending. 
Juanito Gardeazabal, with a street in his name in Santutxu, left his mark on the Spanish refereeing. Thin, but plenty of energy, judgment and elegance in its mission. San Mames hosted a tribute in his memory in February 1971. Jack Taylor, an English colleague who refereed the 1974 World Cup final between Netherlands and Germany, declared that Gardeazabal was "a lord, the most respected referee" of all he had known.

Source: Deia

AFC U-23 Championship 2020 – Group Stage (Matches 1-6)

8 January 2020
Thailand – Bahrain
Referee: Ryuji Sato (JPN, photo)
Assistant Referee 1: Hiroshi Yamauchi (JPN)
Assistant Referee 2: Jun Mihara (JPN)
Fourth Official: Ahmed Al Kaf (OMA)
VAR: Hiroyuki Kimura (JPN)
AVAR 1: Jumpei Iida (JPN)
AVAR 2: Minoru Tojo (JPN)

Iraq – Australia
Referee: Fu Ming (CHN)
Assistant Referee 1: Shi Xiang (CHN)
Assistant Referee 2: Cao Yi (CHN)
Fourth Official: Hettikankanamge Perera (SRI)
VAR: Ma Ning (CHN)
AVAR 1: Liu Kwok Man (HKG)
AVAR 2: Ko Hyung Jin (KOR)

9 January 2020
Qatar – Syria
Referee: Ilgiz Tantashev (UZB)
Assistant Referee 1: Andrei Tsapenko (UZB)
Assistant Referee 2: Timur Gaynullin (UZB)
Fourth Official: Mohanad Sarray (IRQ)
VAR: Kim Jong Hyeok (KOR)
AVAR 1: Ko Hyung Jin (KOR)
AVAR 2: Kim Hee Gon (KOR)

Uzbekistan – Iran
Referee: Khamis Al-Marri (QAT)
Assistant Referee 1: Taleb Al-Marri (QAT)
Assistant Referee 2: Saoud Al-Maqaleh (QAT)
Fourth Official: Abdulrahman Al-Jassim (QAT)
VAR: Abdulla Al-Marri (QAT)
AVAR 1: Khamis Al-Kuwari (QAT)
AVAR 2: Ahmed Al-Ali (JOR)

Japan – Saudi Arabia
Referee: Christopher Beath (AUS)
Assistant Referee 1: Anton Shchetinin (AUS)
Assistant Referee 2: Ashley Beecham (AUS)
Fourth Official: Ahmed Al Kaf (OMA)
VAR: Shaun Evans (AUS)
AVAR 1: Liu Kwok Man (HKG)
AVAR 2: Kim Hee Gon (KOR)

Korea Republic – China
Referee: Mohammed Abdulla (UAE)
Assistant Referee 1: Mohamed Al-Hammadi (UAE)
Assistant Referee 2: Hasan Al-Mahri (UAE)
Fourth Official: Adham Makhadmeh (JOR)
VAR: Ammar Al-Jneibi (UAE)
AVAR 1: Omar Al-Ali (UAE)
AVAR 2: Hanna Hattab (SYR)

AFC U-23 Championship 2020

Thailand, 8-26 January 2020

1. Christopher Beath (AUS, photo)
2. Shaun Evans (AUS)
3. Nawaf Shukralla (BHR)
4. Fu Ming (CHN)
5. Ma Ning (CHN)
6. Liu Kwok Man (HKG)
7. Alireza Faghani (IRN)
8. Ali Sabah (IRQ)
9. Mohanad Sarray (IRQ)
10. Ahmed Al-Ali (JOR)
11. Adham Makhadmeh (JOR)
12. Jumpei Iida (JPN )
13. Hiroyuki Kimura (JPN)
14. Minoru Tojo (JPN)
15. Ryuji Sato (JPN)
16. Ko Hyung Jin (KOR)
17. Kim Hee Gon (KOR)
18. Kim Jong Hyeok (KOR)
19. Turki A-Khudhayr (KSA)
20. Mohd Bin Yaacob (MAS)
21. Ahmed Al Kaf (OMA)
22. Abdulla Al-Marri (QAT)
23. Abdulrahman Al-Jassim (QAT)
24. Khamis Al-Kuwari (QAT)
25. Khamis Al-Marri (QAT)
26. Muhammad Bin Jahari (SIN)
27. Hettikankanamge Perera (SRI)
28. Hanna Hattab (SYR)
29. Sivakorn Pu-Udom (THA)
30. Ammar Al-Jneibi (UAE)
31. Mohammed Abdulla (UAE)
32. Omar Al-Ali (UAE)
33. Valentin Kovalenko (UZB)
34. Ilgiz Tantashev (UZB)

Assistant Referees
1. Anton Shchetinin (AUS)
2. Ashley Beecham (AUS)
3. Mohamed Salman (BHR)
4. Abdulla Al-Rowaimi (BHR)
5. Cao Yi (CHN)
6. Shi Xiang (CHN)
7. Mohammadreza Abolfazli (IRN)
8. Mohammadreza Mansouri (IRN)
9. Ahmad Al-Roalle (JOR)
10. Mohammad Al-Kalaf (JOR)
11. Jun Mihara (JPN)
12. Hiroshi Yamauchi (JPN)
13. Yoon Kwang-yeol (KOR)
14. Park Sang-jun (KOR)
15. Mohammed Al-Abakry (KSA)
16. Khalaf Al-Shammari (KSA)
17. Abu Al-Amri (OMA)
18. Rashid Al Ghaithi (OMA)
19. Saoud Al-Maqaleh (QAT)
20. Taleb Al-Marri (QAT)
21. Palitha Hemathunga (SRI)
22. Koh Min Kiat (SIN)
23. Hasan Al-Mahri (UAE)
24. Mohamed Al-Hammadi (UAE)
25. Timur Gaynullin (UZB)
26. Andrei Tsapenko (UZB)

Support Assistant Referees
1. Mohd Bin Muhamad (MAS)
2. Rawut Nakarit (THA)

World Cup referee Kassai has retired

Viktor Kassai started his refereeing career in 1990, when he was only 15 years old. He was promoted to the first division at the age of 24 and became a FIFA referee in 2003. His performances were quickly rewarded with an Olympic final in 2008 and a World Cup semi-final in 2010, the highest honour for a Hungarian referee since Puhl’s World Cup final in 1994. Kassai reached the pinnacle of his career in 2011, when he was the youngest referee appointed to the UEFA Champions League final. In the same year, Kassai was voted by IFFHS as the world’s best referee.
"I have decided to end my long referee career in order to face new challenges. I would like to thank everyone in the federation, the heads of refereeing and the colleagues who have helped me in this period, because without them I would not have been successful in my career. I have spent more than 30 years in the Hungarian football and international matches. I already got so much, almost everything I could ask for. This has been a very long time, so I have decided to start a new era in my life. I do not want to get away from football and lately I trained in sport management, hoping to be successful in this field as well". (Source: MLSZ)

FIFA Referee 2003-2019 
2005: UEFA U-19 Euro (Northern Ireland) 
2007: FIFA U-20 World Cup (Canada) 
2008: UEFA Euro (Austria & Switzerland, fourth official) 
2008: Olympic Games (Beijing): Argentina – Nigeria (final) 
2009: FIFA U-17 World Cup (Nigeria) 
2010: FIFA World Cup (South Africa): Brazil – Korea DPR, Uruguay – Mexico, Ghana – USA, Spain – Germany (semi-final) 
2011: UEFA Champions League final: Manchester United – FC Barcelona 
2012: UEFA Champions League semi-final 
2012: UEFA Euro (Poland & Ukraine): Spain – Italy, Ukraine – England 
2013: UEFA Champions League semi-final 
2013: FIFA U-20 World Cup (Turkey) 
2016: UEFA Europa League semi-final 
2016: UEFA Euro (France): France – Romania (opening match), Italy – Sweden, Germany – Italy (quarter-final), France – Portugal (final, fourth official) 
2016: FIFA Club World Cup semi-final 
2017: FIFA U-20 World Cup (Korea)

Globe Soccer Awards 2019: Frappart (FRA)

Frenchwoman Stephanie Frappart takes the Globe Soccer stage after a brilliant career in which she has reached the highest levels in her field: first woman referee in the French men’s top league, Ligue 1, as well as match referee of the final between the United States and the Netherlands at the Women’s World Cup of summer 2019. She was also the first female official in history to preside over a final of the men’s football UEFA Super Cup, the one between Liverpool and Chelsea played on 14 August 2019.
The Best Referee of the Year trophy was awarded by Pierluigi Collina. 

Referee Madley reveals “dark joke” that led to his Premier League sack

The former Premier League referee Bobby Madley has opened up about the “dark-humoured joke” that cost him his job. Madley ceased officiating at the highest level in England in August 2018, with the refereeing body Professional Game Match Officials Limited saying only that he was relocating due to a change in personal circumstances. 
Madley did move to Norway, where his partner is from, but only after he was sacked for sending a video to someone he “trusted” which apparently mocked a disabled person. In a long post on, Madley explained that he took the video as a response to ribbing about a parents’ race at his daughter’s school and a newspaper article written by former referee Mark Halsey claiming he was making mistakes because he was overweight. Madley wrote: “The full page and headline of ’Blobby Bobby’ may seem funny to some but, trust me, being fat shamed in a national newspaper is not a nice feeling. As I sat in my car with my phone in hand, a person walked past my car in front of me who had a walking impairment. The next part I am ashamed of. I took a six-second film, I said nothing. I did this in Snapchat, which is where I take all of my films that I intend to save to my phone. On the video I wrote, ‘F**k me I have a chance of winning the parents race this year.’ Out of context I accept this reads shamefully. I accept that. However, my intention was that the joke was aimed at myself. Had I have sent this to anyone on Snapchat, then I would accept the decision that later came as a result. I didn’t do that, though. I saved it to my phone. I sent it as a private text to somebody who I trusted. Somebody who understood the context of previous sports day comments and was aware of the fat shaming I had received. I regret taking the video, I regret sending that video and, whilst it was a dark-humoured joke, it was just that. A joke. It was not intended to shame anyone, it was not intended to be seen by anyone other than the person I sent it privately to in a text message on my own personal phone.” Madley claimed the recipient of the video sent it to his employers and a disciplinary hearing resulted in his immediate dismissal. “At that point my world fell apart,” said Madley. “Whilst I absolutely understand the importance of an employer taking discrimination seriously, as they did, the decision to this day still stuns me. I will never be able to accept that the decision taken was either necessary nor was it proportionate to the act.” Madley, who is 34, also detailed the threats and abuse he has received as a result of media stories surrounding his dismissal and the effect the whole episode has had on his life. “The last 18 months have been mental torture for me and, but for those close friends and family around me, as well as a strong partner, I dread to think what could have become,” he said. “I still struggle to sleep, I still suffer mentally day to day to try to find the person I am now rather than clinging to the person I once was.” 

Source: The Guardian