Iturralde: "El Clasico eclipses everything"

"Iker Casillas came up to me and he said: 'Itu, I love you, but don't ever referee us again.'" Eduardo Iturralde Gonzalez would have been tempted to take him up on that offer. The former referee laughs. "You know what we used to say the best thing about clasico weekend was? To get another game, any other game. That weekend, if you were doing another game, you knew you could make the biggest c--k-up of your life and no one would notice it; whatever you did, you wouldn't be in the papers, no one would be talking about you. Because the clasico eclipses everything." A good time to bury bad news, you might say. Something like that, Iturralde agrees. "If you get the clasico, the media attention is intense, the pressure's amazing. They're ringing you from everywhere. 'Hello, it's the University of Mexico student newspaper.' It's this lot, that lot, everyone's on the phone." Of course, being a referee, you don't answer any of those calls and you never say a word. "Well, I did," Iturralde replies. "I was always a bit of a bit of a punk." 
He was also Spain's best referee for over a decade, spending 17 years at the top. And yes, he was a talker. He's also got his own band, by the way, so that punk thing is thing is not so far off. In that time, he took charge of three clasicos: 1999, 2005 and 2010. It might have been more. When referees were chosen by random draw (or supposedly so), he never got a chance. "'Curiously' enough," he says. And, yes, those speech marks are his. When it was chosen by the refereeing committee, with the best man selected for the job, he was chosen three times, but even then, there was no guarantee. He missed out on a Copa del Rey final clasico because Real Madrid vetoed him, leaving Alberto Undiano Mallenco to do the game instead. Madrid won 1-0; they were also within their rights, he says. "There was a system where they would choose a three-man list [of referees] and the clubs could say 'no, not that one.' I suppose they didn't like the way I refereed." No one does, in reality. No one is ever happy. And there was a headline once -- typical in Spain, where results are offered up as definitive proof of refereeing "bias" when what is really being shown in the bias of the media saying so -- that said: "Iturralde, good for Barcelona". "Yeah," he scoffs, "that's like going to the Premier League now and saying: 'Referee so-and-so, good for Liverpool.' Bah, what you gonna do? Of course you're 'good for Barcelona' if you're there refereeing them in the Guardiola era." That must make you angry though, right? "Nah, we're all so used to it." When it comes to clasicos, Iturralde's games were good for Barcelona, it's true. He took charge of a 3-1 win, a 3-0 win and a 5-0 win. All about the referee, then. Not exactly tight results: Barca outscored Real 11-1 overall, which is a particularly historic scoreline in this fixture: it's the result of an (in)famous match in 1943 which is a whole history in itself, still disputed even now. Iturralde has been in the public eye, judged and criticised, his decisions pawed over, television footage stopped and started and analysed over and over. But whatever they see on the screen, whatever any of us do, it's just not the same, he says. "I don't think you do enjoy it as such, no; you're too focused for that," he says. "When you get home, you see a load of things you didn't see during the game. But I tell you what: on the television there are loads and loads of things you don't see on the pitch. Above all, the speed is miles greater. It looks like slow motion on TV, but it's incredible how fast it is, the way they move. There's no television camera in the world that can transmit that or fully capture it. Seriously: the TV is not a true reflection of what's happening, which is one of the problems with the VAR, of course. Down there the speed is diabolical. Physically and mentally they are so, so fast." It means that referees have to be, too, and never is the scrutiny more intense than on a weekend like this one, with the two teams separated by just two points at the top of the table with 13 games remaining. 
"In the first clasico, I was only 28, I think, and I sent off Roberto Carlos. [Real Madrid defender Christian] Panucci ran across to me, swearing at me. 'You're too young for a game like this!'" Eleven years on, he took charge of that 5-0 at the Camp Nou. He was also the man in the middle when the Bernabeu stood to applaud Ronaldinho after he had put them to the sword. "That was special. I went silent for a moment and then you see the clapping. I said to him after a while 'come on then, let's get back to the middle, restart this game' and he laughed and said: 'eh, you liked that one, didn't you?' Ronaldinho was different, always grinning, always laughing. You'd look at him and think 'bloody hell, this guy is loving this.' Lionel Messi doesn't, though. You look at him and wonder if he is enjoying it. Maybe on the inside he is, he probably is. But he hardly ever smiles." Never talks, either? "Not a word. Never. A lot of the great players don't. Zinedine Zidane never used to say anything; [same with] Ronaldo. Weirdly, look at the ones I got on well with and they were the 'worst' -- [Valery] Karpin, [Aleksandr] Mostovoi, the ones who came straight at you. I liked them; at least it was to your face. I never had a problem with Mourinho. Xavi was one who never stopped talking, and he was right next to you because of his position. All game long. I would talk back though. I've said to players 'and what if I have a go at you for misplacing a pass?' Players don't protest because you got [a call] wrong; they protest so that you get it 'right' next time -- in their favour, in other words. I talked a lot, but on the players' level. I talked on their terms, in their way, not from a position of superiority. People say [Antonio] Mateu Lahoz is a referee who likes dialogue with players, for example, but he's not: he likes to talk, but he doesn't let players talk. That's not dialogue. Dialogue is both [sides] talking." Nor is it dialogue when they ignore you. "Messi doesn't say anything and there's no point in talking to him the way I did with some. I remember one time he scored this brilliant goal. And I said to him: 'Eh, don't get cocky: I've scored loads like that. He looked at me and he's probably thinking 'what's this d---head going on about?' But he didn't say a word. Didn't even smile." Nor did Sergio Ramos when Iturralde sent him off for booting Messi in the air at the end of the 2010 clasico, which Barcelona won 5-0 at the Camp Nou. There was nothing he could say; he knew it was right, so he walked. Iturralde, meanwhile, knew it was coming. "It was one of those you can 'smell.' I saw him running towards Messi and I thought: 'he's going to whack him.' It's important to know players, systems and movements, to understand [them]. You can't just know the rules, you have to know the game. If I hadn't 'smelt' that I wouldn't have been in the right place to see it. Then there was this melee. Ramos confronts [Barcelona defender Carles] Puyol, Xavi is there, the two goalkeepers come over. Everyone's confronting each other. I tried to get in the middle of it, tried break it all up, but it was impossible: there were arms everywhere. The only one that's not in the middle of it all is [Andres] Iniesta. I say to him: 'bloody hell, what are you lot like?' And he says: 'Ah, you love it.'" 

Source: ESPN

FIFA Elite Referee Seminar (CONMEBOL & CONCACAF)

Asuncion, 20-24 April 2020


Referees (Men)
1. Fernando Rapallini (ARG, 1978, photo)
2. Facundo Tello (ARG, 1982)
3. Gery Vargas (BOL, 1981)
4. Raphael Claus (BRA, 1979)
5. Wilton Sampaio (BRA, 1981)
6. Roberto Tobar (CHI, 1978)
7. Andres Rojas (COL, 1984)
8. Guillermo Guerrero (ECU, 1985)
9. Mario Diaz de Vivar (PAR, 1983)
10. Jose Mendez (PAR, 1983)
11. Kevin Ortega (PER, 1992)
12. Leodan Gonzalez (URU, 1983)
13. Alexis Herrera (VEN, 1989)

Referees (Women)
1. Adriana Farfan (BOL, 1995)
2. Maria Daza (COL, 1988)
3. Susana Corella (ECU, 1983)
4. Zulma Quinonez (PAR, 1987)
5. Elizabeth Tintaya (PER, 1989)
6. Emikar Calderas (VEN, 1990)


Referees (Men)
1. Ricardo Montero (CRC, 1986)
2. Mario Escobar (GUA, 1986)
3. Said Martinez (HON, 1991)
4. Adonai Escobedo (MEX, 1987)
5. Cesar Ramos (MEX, 1983)
6. Ivan Barton (SLV, 1991)
7. Ismail Elfath (USA, 1982)
8. Jair Marrufo (USA, 1977)

Referees (Women)
1. Myriam Marcotte (CAN, 1992)
2. Odette Hamilton (JAM, 1979)
3. Katia Garcia (MEX, 1992)
4. Francia Gonzalez (MEX, 1986)
5. Priscilla Perez (MEX, 1986)
6. Tatiana Guzman (NCA, 1987)

Concacaf U-20 Women’s Championship 2020

Dominican Republic, 22 February – 8 March 2020

1. Myriam Marcotte (CAN)
2. Suleimy Linares (CUB)
3. Astrid Gramajo (GUA)
4. Melissa Borjas (HON, photo)
5. Karitza Guerra (HON)
6. Odette Hamilton (JAM)
7. Priscila Perez (MEX)
8. Tatiana Guzman (NCA)
9. Marjorie Ponce (NCA)
10. Sandra Benitez (SLV)
11. Crystal Sobers (TRI)
12. Karen Abt (USA)

Assistant Referees
1. Krystal Evans (BAH)
2. Tonia Deane (BRB)
3. Marie-Han Gagnon (CAN)
4. Stephanie Fortin (CAN)
5. Melissa Snedden (CAN)
6. Nereyda Diaz (CUB)
7. Ivett Santiago (CUB)
8. Lesbia Tzul (GUA)
9. Iris Vail (GUA)
10. Falone Dieurisma (HAI)
11. Anne-Marie Joseph (HAI)
12. Lesly Gutierrez (HON)
13. Lourdes Noriega (HON)
14. Jassett Kerr (JAM)
15. Stephanie Yee Sing (JAM)
16. Yudilia Briones (MEX)
17. Mayra Mora (MEX)
18. Sandra Ramirez (MEX)
19. Mayling Chavarria (NCA)
20. Rosa Garcia (NCA)
21. Lidia Ayala (SLV)
22. Carissa Douglas-Jacob (TRI)
23. Jennifer Garner (USA)
24. Alicia Messer (USA)

Referee Assessors
1. Ronald Gutierrez (CRC)
2. Sandra Serafini (USA)

UEFA Europa League 2019/2020 – Round of 32 (Second Leg)

26-27 February 2020

SC Braga – Rangers FC

Referee: Andreas Ekberg (SWE, photo)
Assistant Referee 1: Mehmet Culum (SWE)
Assistant Referee 2: Stefan Hallberg (SWE)
Fourth Official: Glenn Nyberg (SWE)
VAR: Danny Makkelie (NED)
AVAR: Kevin Blom (NED)
Referee Observer: Fritz Stuchlik (AUT)

RCD Espanyol – Wolverhampton Wanderers
Referee: Marco Guida (ITA)
Assistant Referee 1: Matteo Passeri (ITA)
Assistant Referee 2: Giorgio Peretti (ITA)
Fourth Official: Fabio Maresca (ITA)
VAR: Paolo Valeri (ITA)
AVAR: Maurizio Mariani (ITA)
Referee Observer: Costas Kapitanis (CYP)

İstanbul Başakşehir – Sporting Clube de Portugal
Referee: Antonio Mateu Lahoz (ESP)
Assistant Referee 1: Pau Cebrian Devis (ESP)
Assistant Referee 2: Roberto Diaz Perez (ESP)
Fourth Official: Jose Munuera Montero (ESP)
VAR: Alejandro Hernandez Hernandez (ESP)
AVAR: Inigo Prieto Lopez (ESP)
Referee Observer: Terje Hauge (NOR)

FC Porto – Bayer Leverkusen
Referee: Istvan Kovacs (ROU)
Assistant Referee 1: Vasile Marinescu (ROU)
Assistant Referee 2: Mihai Artene (ROU)
Fourth Official: Marius Avram (ROU)
VAR: Marco Di Bello (ITA)
AVAR: Ovidiu Hategan (ROU)
Referee Observer: Luciano Luci (ITA)

FC Basel – Apoel FC
Referee: Pavel Kralovec (CZE)
Assistant Referee 1: Ivo Nadvornik (CZE)
Assistant Referee 2: Tomas Mokrusch (CZE)
Fourth Official: Miroslav Zelinka (CZE)
VAR: Pawel Gil (POL)
AVAR: Bartosz Frankowski (POL)
Referee Observer: Alain Hamer (LUX)

LASK – AZ Alkmaar
Referee: Srdjan Jovanović (SRB)
Assistant Referee 1: Uroš Stojković (SRB)
Assistant Referee 2: Milan Mihajlović (SRB)
Fourth Official: Novak Simović (SRB)
VAR: Joao Pinheiro (POR)
AVAR: Luis Godinho (POR)
Referee Observer: Matteo Trefoloni (ITA)

Malmö FF – VfL Wolfsburg
Referee: William Collum (SCO)
Assistant Referee 1: Francis Connor (SCO)
Assistant Referee 2: David McGeachie (SCO)
Fourth Official: Kevin Clancy (SCO)
VAR: Christopher Kavanagh (ENG)
AVAR: Robert Madden (SCO)
Referee Observer: Miroslav Liba (CZE)

KAA Gent – AS Roma
Referee: Jose Sanchez Martinez (ESP)
Assistant Referee 1: Raul Cabanero Martinez (ESP)
Assistant Referee 2: Roberto Alonso Fernandez (ESP)
Fourth Official: Pablo Gonzalez Fuertes (ESP)
VAR: Carlos Del Cerro Grande (ESP)
AVAR: Javier Estrada Fernandez (ESP)
Referee Observer: Emil Bozhinovski (MKD)

Sevilla FC – CFR Cluj
Referee: Andris Treimanis (LVA)
Assistant Referee 1: Haralds Gudermanis (LVA)
Assistant Referee 2: Aleksejs Spasjonnikovs (LVA)
Fourth Official: Aleksandrs Golubevs (LVA)
VAR: Stuart Attwell (ENG)
AVAR: Lee Betts (ENG)
Referee Observer: Jaap Uilenberg (NED)

Celtic FC – FC Copenhagen
Referee: Artur Soares Dias (POR)
Assistant Referee 1: Rui Barbosa (POR)
Assistant Referee 2: Paulo Santos (POR)
Fourth Official: Hugo Ferreira (POR)
VAR: Tiago Martins (POR)
AVAR: Bruno Rodrigues (POR)
Referee Observer: Haim Jakov (ISR)

AFC Ajax – Getafe CF
Referee: Anastasios Sidiropoulos (GRE)
Assistant Referee 1: Polychronis Kostaras (GRE)
Assistant Referee 2: Lazaros Dimitriadis (GRE)
Fourth Official: Ioannis Papadopoulos (GRE)
VAR: Felix Zwayer (GER)
AVAR: Anastasios Papapetrou (GRE)
Referee Observer: Martin Ingvarsson (SWE)

Arsenal – Olympiacos
Referee: Davide Massa (ITA)
Assistant Referee 1: Filippo Meli (ITA)
Assistant Referee 2: Alberto Tegoni (ITA)
Fourth Official: Piero Giacomelli (ITA)
VAR: Michael Fabbri (ITA)
AVAR: Stefano Alassio (ITA)
Referee Observer: Eugen Strigel (GER)

Manchester United – Club Brugge
Referee: Serdar Gözübüyük (NED)
Assistant Referee 1: Charles Schaap (NED)
Assistant Referee 2: Jan de Vries (NED)
Fourth Official: Allard Lindhout (NED)
VAR: Jochem Kamphuis (NED)
AVAR: Bas Nijhuis (NED)
Referee Observer: Lutz Fröhlich (GER)

Internazionale Milano – PFC Ludogorets
Referee: Daniel Siebert (GER)
Assistant Referee 1: Jan Seidel (GER)
Assistant Referee 2: Rafael Foltyn (GER)
Fourth Official: Sascha Stegemann (GER)
VAR: Bastian Dankert (GER)
AVAR: Christian Gittelmann (GER)
Referee Observer: Erol Ersoy (TUR)

FC Salzburg – Eintracht Frankfurt
Referee: Benoît Bastien (FRA)
Assistant Referee 1: Hicham Zakrani (FRA)
Assistant Referee 2: Frédéric Haquette (FRA)
Fourth Official: Karim Abed (FRA)
VAR: Benoît Millot (FRA)
AVAR: Jerôme Brisard (FRA)
Referee Observer: Darko Čeferin (SVN)

SL Benfica – Shakhtar Donetsk
Referee: Björn Kuipers (NED)
Assistant Referee 1: Sander van Roekel (NED)
Assistant Referee 2: Erwin Zeinstra (NED)
Fourth Official: Jeroen Manschot (NED)
VAR: Pol van Boekel (NED)
AVAR: Dennis Higler (NED)
Referee Observer: Alexandru Deaconu (ROU)

Concacaf Champions League 2020 – Round of 16 (Second Leg)

25-27 February 2020

Atlanta – Motagua
Referee: Keylor Herrera (CRC, photo)
Assistant Referee 1: Juan Mora (CRC)
Assistant Referee 2: Keytzel Corrales (NCA)
Fourth Official: Walter Lopez (GUA)

Cruz Azul – Portmore United
Referee: Drew Fischer (CAN)
Assistant Referee 1: Christopher Wattam (CAN)
Assistant Referee 2: Philippe Briere (CAN)
Fourth Official: David Gantar (CAN)

New York City – AD San Carlos
Referee: John Pitti (PAN)
Assistant Referee 1: Christian Ramirez (HON)
Assistant Referee 2: Ronald Bruna (PAN)
Fourth Official: Ariel Sanchez (PAN)

Tigres UANL – Alianza FC
Referee: Said Martinez (HON)
Assistant Referee 1: Walter Lopez (HON)
Assistant Referee 2: Henri Pupiro (NCA)
Fourth Official: Nelson Salgado (HON)

Montreal Impact – Deportivo Saprissa
Referee: Fernando Guerrero (MEX)
Assistant Referee 1: Michel Morales (MEX)
Assistant Referee 2: Andres Hernandez (MEX)
Fourth Official: Marco Ortiz (MEX)
Referee Assessor: Malcolm Ramsey (SKN)

Club America – Comunicaciones FC
Referee: Henry Bejarano (CRC)
Assistant Referee 1: Carlos Fernandez (CRC)
Assistant Referee 2: Jairo Morales (PUR)
Fourth Official: German Martinez (SLV)

Seattle Sounders – CD Olimpia
Referee: Ivan Barton (SLV)
Assistant Referee 1: David Moran (SLV)
Assistant Referee 2: Zachari Zeegelaar (SUR)
Fourth Official: Jaime Herrera (SLV)

Los Angeles FC – Club Leon
Referee: Mario Escobar (GUA)
Assistant Referee 1: Humberto Panjoj (GUA)
Assistant Referee 2: Rene Ochoa (GUA)
Fourth Official: Melvin Matamoros (HON)

CONMEBOL Libertadores 2020 – Round 3 (Second Leg)

25-27 February 2020

Atletico Tucuman – Independiente Medellin
Referee: Alexis Herrera (VEN, photo)
Assistant Referee 1: Luis Murillo (VEN)
Assistant Referee 2: Lubin Torrealba (VEN)
Fourth Official: Juan Soto (VEN)
Referee Assessor: Dario Ubriaco (URU)

Cerro Porteno – Barcelona
Referee: Anderson Daronco (BRA)
Assistant Referee 1: Rodrigo Correa (BRA)
Assistant Referee 2: Kleber Gil (BRA)
Fourth Official: Rodolpho Toski (BRA)
Referee Assessor: Jorge Osorio (CHI)

Internacional – Deportes Tolima
Referee: Guillermo Guerrero (ECU)
Assistant Referee 1: Christian Lescano (ECU)
Assistant Referee 2: Ricardo Baren (ECU)
Fourth Official: Luis Quiroz (ECU)
Referee Assessor: Enrique Caceres (PAR)

Guarani – Palestino
Referee: Victor Carrillo (PER)
Assistant Referee 1: Jonny Bossio (PER)
Assistant Referee 2: Michael Orue (PER)
Fourth Official: Diego Haro (PER)
Referee Assessor: Sergio Viola (ARG)

CONMEBOL Sudamericana 2020 – Round 1 (Second Leg, II)

25-27 February 2020

Goias – Sol de America
Referee: Andres Cunha (URU, photo)
Assistant Referee 1: Nicolas Taran (URU)
Assistant Referee 2: Horacio Ferreiro (URU)
Fourth Official: Gustavo Tejera (URU)
Referee Assessor: Fredy Arellanos (PER)

River Plate – Atletico Grau
Referee: Jose Mendez (PAR)
Assistant Referee 1: Eduardo Cardozo (PAR)
Assistant Referee 2: Darío Gaona (PAR)
Fourth Official: Zulma Quinonez (PAR)
Referee Assessor: Olga Miranda (PAR)

Sport Huancayo – Argentinos Juniors
Referee: Daniel Fedorczuk (URU)
Assistant Referee 1: Richard Trinidad (URU)
Assistant Referee 2: Martin Soppi (URU)
Fourth Official: Andres Matonte (URU)
Referee Assessor: Pedro Saucedo (BOL)

River Plate – Deportivo Cali
Referee: Raphael Claus (BRA)
Assistant Referee 1: Danilo Manis (BRA)
Assistant Referee 2: Alessandro Rocha (BRA)
Fourth Official: Edina Alves (BRA)
Referee Assessor: Regidelnia Moura (BRA)

Nacional – Bahia
Referee: Patricio Loustau (ARG)
Assistant Referee 1: Massimiliano del Yesso (ARG)
Assistant Referee 2: Facundo Rodríguez (ARG)
Fourth Official: Nicolas Lamolina (ARG)
Referee Assessor: Roberto Silvera (URU)

Liverpool – Llaneros

Referee: Kevin Ortega (PER)
Assistant Referee 1: Coty Carrera (PER)
Assistant Referee 2: Raul Lopez (PER)
Fourth Official: Michael Espinoza (PER)
Referee Assessor: Henry Gambetta (PER)

Deportivo Pasto – Huachipato
Referee: Wilton Sampaio (BRA)
Assistant Referee 1: Marcelo van Gasse (BRA)
Assistant Referee 2: Bruno Pires (BRA)
Fourth Official: Flavio Souza (BRA)
Referee Assessor: Marlon Escalante (VEN)

Universidad Catolica – Lanus
Referee: Gery Vargas (BOL)
Assistant Referee 1: Jose Antelmo (BOL)
Assistant Referee 2: Edward Saavedra (BOL)
Fourth Official: Raul Orosco (BOL)
Referee Assessor: Hilton Moutinho (BRA)

Plaza Colonia – Zamora
Referee: Juan Benitez (PAR)
Assistant Referee 1: Milciades Saldivar (PAR)
Assistant Referee 2: Juan Zorrilla (PAR)
Fourth Official: Juan Lopez (PAR)
Referee Assessor: Paulo Silva (ARG)

Fortaleza – Independiente
Referee: Roberto Tobar (CHI)
Assistant Referee 1: Christian Schiemann (CHI)
Assistant Referee 2: Claudio Rios (CHI)
Fourth Official: Eduardo Gamboa (CHI)
Referee Assessor: Carlos Torres (PAR)

Audax Italiano – Cuzco
Referee: Augusto Aragon (ECU)
Assistant Referee 1: Byron Romero (ECU)
Assistant Referee 2: Dennys Guerrero (ECU)
Fourth Official: Carlos Orbe (ECU)
Referee Assessor: Hernan Maidana (ARG)

Prospective Referees for FIFA World Cup 2022

1. Christopher Beath (AUS, 1984, photo)
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. Abdulrahman Al-Jassim (QAT, 1987)
8. Mohammed Abdulla (UAE, 1978)

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 N’Diaye (SEN, 1986)

1. Ricardo Montero (CRC, 1986)
2. Mario Escobar (GUA, 1986)
3. Said Martinez (HON, 1991)
4. Adonai Escobedo (MEX, 1987)
5. Cesar Ramos (MEX, 1983)
6. Ivan Barton (SLV, 1991)
7. Ismail Elfath (USA, 1982)
8. Jair Marrufo (USA, 1977)

1. Fernando Rapallini (ARG, 1978)
2. Facundo Tello (ARG, 1982)
3. Gery Vargas (BOL, 1981)
4. Raphael Claus (BRA, 1979)
5. Wilton Sampaio (BRA, 1981)
6. Roberto Tobar (CHI, 1978)
7. Andres Rojas (COL, 1984)
8. Guillermo Guerrero (ECU, 1985)
9. Mario Diaz de Vivar (PAR, 1983)
10. Jose Mendez (PAR, 1983)
11. Kevin Ortega (PER, 1992)
12. Leodan Gonzalez (URU, 1983)
13. Alexis Herrera (VEN, 1989)

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

1. Georgi Kabakov (BUL, 1986)
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)

UEFA Champions League 2019/2020 – Round of 16 (First Leg, II)

25 February 2020
SSC Napoli – FC Barcelona
Referee: Felix Brych (GER, photo)
Assistant Referee 1: Mark Borsch (GER)
Assistant Referee 2: Stefan Lupp (GER)
Fourth Official: Harm Osmers (GER)
VAR: Bastian Dankert (GER)
AVAR: Marco Fritz (GER)
Referee Observer: Levan Paniashvili (GEO)

Chelsea FC – Bayern München
Referee: Clement Turpin (FRA)
Assistant Referee 1: Nicolas Danos (FRA)
Assistant Referee 2: Cyril Gringore (FRA)
Fourth Official: Frank Schneider (FRA)
VAR: François Letexier (FRA)
AVAR: Jerôme Brisard (FRA)
Referee Observer: Stefan Messner (AUT)

26 February 2020
Olympique Lyonnais – Juventus
Referee: Jesus Gil Manzano (ESP)
Assistant Referee 1: Diego Barbero Sevilla (ESP)
Assistant Referee 2: Angel Nevado Rodriguez (ESP)
Fourth Official: Guillermo Cuadra Fernandez (ESP)
VAR: Juan Martinez Munuera (ESP)
AVAR: Ricardo de Burgos Bengoetxea (ESP)
Referee Observer: Hugh Dallas (SCO)

Real Madrid – Manchester City
Referee: Daniele Orsato (ITA)
Assistant Referee 1: Lorenzo Manganelli (ITA)
Assistant Referee 2: Alessandro Giallatini (ITA)
Fourth Official: Daniele Doveri (ITA)
VAR: Massimiliano Irrati (ITA)
AVAR: Ciro Carbone (ITA)
Referee Observer: Bo Karlsson (SWE)

Italy ready to test VAR challenges

Italy's governing body (FIGC) has asked FIFA if football's rule-makers, the International Football Association Board (IFAB), can introduce a system whereby Serie A teams can challenge refereeing decisions and ask for technology to intervene.
The Italian top flight introduced the Video Assistant Referee (VAR) system in 2017-18 but it has been criticised by Serie A managers who feel technology should take a second look at controversial decisions made by on-field referees. Napoli and Parma fumed over VAR last weekend for wrong calls made by the referee after they were not awarded penalties and FIGC believes managers should be allowed to challenge decisions, much like tennis players do with close line calls. The FIGC said it received requests from a number of Serie A clubs and they informally took up the matter with soccer's world governing body FIFA, telling it they were ready to experiment with the use of challenges within a timeframe and process specified. IFAB, which presides over the Laws of the Game, will hold its Annual General Meeting in Belfast on February 29 where subjects such as possible future developments on VAR use and concussion protocols will be discussed. FIGC president Gabriele Gravina has also asked Serie A's head of referees Nicola Rizzoli to instruct referees to make more use of on-field reviews for controversial calls as the title race heats up in Italy.

Source: ESPN

Minister Ross slated over Europa League refereeing trip

Tory minister Douglas Ross has been blasted after he refused a TV debate on his government’s derided immigration plans but still managed to find time to referee a football match in Ukraine. The MP – who has much been criticised in recent years for his part-time job as a globe-trotting assistant referee – was promoted by Boris Johnson last week, and made the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State at the Scotland Office. But he took a break from the new job on Thursday night to run the line at the Shakhtar Donetsk vs Benfica match in Kharkiv. Meanwhile, the Scotland Office were refusing to put anyone up to defend Boris Johnson’s immigration plans. That was despite desperate pleas from the BBC. Now it turns out Ross – whose own Moray constituency will be hit hard by the changes – was travelling to Ukraine for the match. While the new junior minister put out a written statement welcoming the plans, neither he, nor Secretary of State Alister Jack have answered questions from media on the proposals – despite worries over what the new points-based system could mean for Scotland’s economy.
An SNP spokesperson said: “First, Douglas Ross enthusiastically backed an out-of-touch immigration system that will be absolutely catastrophic for industry and economy in Moray. “Now he’s camera shy – choosing to gallivant around Europe chasing a football, rather than explain his government’s widely condemned immigration plan. Douglas Ross has always treated his parliamentary duties as a part-time job – but now he’s also picking up a ministerial salary it’s simply staggering that he is still choosing to pursue a career outside of politics.” A Scotland Office spokesman said Ross has held a number of well attended local surgeries in Moray this week and as a minister had “engaged with a number of stakeholders across various sectors about the new immigration plans”. They went on to say that Ross “no longer receives an income for these matches since he became a Minister last year.”

Source: The National

Venegas: referee and union leader

The refereeing career of Lucila Venegas (Mexico) began out of necessity. Chila, as she is nicknamed by her friends, played in the university women's team when she began to referee on weekends in order to be able to pay for her studies toward a degree in physical education at the University of Guadalajara.
“I spent my weekends on the football fields, where I taught myself to referee. Those were long days: starting at 7 in the morning and arriving back home after 10 at night”, she said. At the end of her playing career it was time to decide between seeking a professional opportunity in football or refereeing, a decision on which her friend Soraya had a great influence by inviting Lucila to a professional referee course, experience that made her choice for that profession. In 2017, Venegas was the first female to referee a Women's MX League final and then represented Mexico at the 2019 Women's World Cup in France. Her participation in the World Cup was the culmination of her broad experience from the amateur level to becoming a FIFA referee in 2008. In order to obtain the best physical condition, she prepared with her personal trainers Noe Lorenzo Aude and Ivan Ruiz Munoz. Noe's work focused on complementing the daily exercises she uses as a routine with specific work-based objectives and nutritional aspects, while Ivan has worked as her fitness trainer since the beginning of her professional career. In her personal life, Venegas has been a member of the Democratic Workers Union of DIF Guadalajara (SIDEDIF) for more than 12 years, focusing on supporting workers' interests. Chila considers SIDEDIF as a “family”, because when they organize marches or protests, they are always carried out in the company of all the families of the people who are part of the union.

Source: El Economista

Shorter referees issue more cards

It looks like short man syndrome is something that affects English football with shorter referees more likely to give out yellow and red cards than their taller colleagues. Footballers across the top four tiers in England will be making sure they eye up the referee before kick off to work out how likely they are to get a booking after the study by Northumbria University. The study, reported in BMC Psychology, monitored the behaviour of 61 male referees in Premier League, Championship, League One and League Two and showed that refs under 6ft give out 20% more yellows than taller officials. The university's Dr. Nick Neave said "Shorter referees issued more yellow cards and, in lower leagues, more reds and penalties. This reflects referees overcompensating for a lack of perceived dominance." Based on the data from the 2017/18 season referees at the Premier League average of 5"10 gave an average of three bookings a game whilst Jon Moss and Mike Jones, 5"7 and 5"8 respectively, showed an average of 3.7 and 3.6 bookings a game. Shorter referees in League One and League Two were most likely to give out red cards, there was less difference in the Championship but the pattern still remained the same. However in the Premier League it seems that taller referees are actually more likely to give out red cards than their shorter counterparts, does anyone know how tall Mike Dean is? Taller officials in the top two divisions are also more likely to award penalties whilst spot kicks in the lower divisions are more likely to be awarded by short refs. The study goes on to discuss why their may be a difference in refereeing by taller and shorter officials, saying, "It is possible that the more punitive behaviour by shorter referees in the lower leagues reflects greater incidence of punishable behaviour by the players (who may be less likely to view shorter referees as an authority figure). "Indeed, researchers have proposed that taller football referees are subject to less challenging behaviour from the players, which would reduce their need to mete out punishments. Another possible explanation is that because shorter males may lack the social dominance naturally afforded to taller males, they have to 'stamp' their authority and behave more punitively than would otherwise be expected." The morale of this story is make sure you know how tall the referee is before making a 50/50 challenge or talking back to the man in black.

Source: SportBible

Sacked Premier League referee Madley to return to English football

Bobby Madley will return to refereeing professional football in England next season, two years after the Professional Game Match Officials Limited (PGMOL) sacked him for sending a video in which he mocked a disabled person. Madley left his role in August 2018, with a PGMOL statement at the time saying he had "decided to relocate due to a change in personal circumstances". The 34-year-old went on to explain in a blog post on New Year's Eve last year that his dismissal related to a Snapchat video he sent to a friend that was subsequently passed to his employers. He captioned a clip of a person with a walking impairment: "F*** me, I have a chance of winning the parents race this year" – something he later conceded was a "badly misjudged... private joke". Madley moved to Norway after his dismissal and continued refereeing under the auspices of the Norwegian Football Federation.
In a blog post entitled "A New Chapter", the 34-year-old explained he would resume work in English Football at League One and League Two level – the third and fourth tiers of the country's professional structure. "I've been away from the Premier League for what will be two years come the new season so a return to that level was never a possibility," he wrote. "With the introduction of VAR and the many hours of training missed it would not have been reasonable to expect that. I was offered, and accepted, the opportunity to start next season as a National List Referee. This group of referees officiate in League One and League Two. Like any referee I have the desire to perform at my best and to achieve the best I can. I know how hard that road is to referee at the top but I have the desire and passion to work hard to achieve my potential whatever that may be. I still have dreams that I thought were dead but for me they are now very much alive." For the remainder of this season, Madley will officiate at games lower down the pyramid to reintegrate into the English game. He has also agreed to attend a Football Association discrimination workshop.

Source: Yahoo Sport

UEFA Europa League 2019/2020 – Round of 32 (First Leg)

20 February 2020

Club Brugge – Manchester United
Referee: Aleksei Kulbakov (BLR, photo)
Assistant Referee 1: Dzmitry Zhuk (BLR)
Assistant Referee 2: Aleh Maslianka (BLR)
Fourth Official: Dzianis Shcharbakou (BLR)
VAR: Marco Guida (ITA)
AVAR: Michael Fabbri (ITA)
Referee Observer: Gylfi Orrason (ISL)

Shakhtar Donetsk – SL Benfica
Referee: Robert Madden (SCO)
Assistant Referee 1: Douglas Ross (SCO)
Assistant Referee 2: David Roome (SCO)
Fourth Official: Donald Robertson (SCO)
VAR: Paul Tierney (ENG)
AVAR: William Collum (SCO)
Referee Observer: Shmuel Shteif (ISR)

Eintracht Frankfurt – FC Salzburg
Referee: Ali Palabiyik (TUR)
Assistant Referee 1: Ceyhun Sesigüzel (TUR)
Assistant Referee 2: Serkan Olguncan (TUR)
Fourth Official: Hüseyin Göçek (TUR)
VAR: Massimiliano Irrati (ITA)
AVAR: Halis Özkahya (TUR)
Referee Observer: Nicola Rizzoli (ITA)

PFC Ludogorets – Internazionale Milano
Referee: Carlos del Cerro Grande (ESP)
Assistant Referee 1: Juan Yuste Jiménez (ESP)
Assistant Referee 2: Roberto Alonso Fernández (ESP)
Fourth Official: Guillermo Cuadra Fernández (ESP)
VAR: Juan Martínez Munuera (ESP)
AVAR: Diego Barbero Sevilla (ESP)
Referee Observer: Volodymyr Petrov (UKR)

CFR Cluj – Sevilla FC
Referee: Deniz Aytekin (GER)
Assistant Referee 1: Eduard Beitinger (GER)
Assistant Referee 2: Dominik Schaal (GER)
Fourth Official: Patrick Ittrich (GER)
VAR: Daniel Siebert (GER)
AVAR: Bibiana Steinhaus (GER)
Referee Observer: Jon Skjervold (NOR)

FC Copenhagen – Celtic FC
Referee: Sergei Karasev (RUS)
Assistant Referee 1: Igor Demeshko (RUS)
Assistant Referee 2: Maksim Gavrilin (RUS)
Fourth Official: Sergei Lapochkin (RUS)
VAR: Vitali Meshkov (RUS)
AVAR: Sergei Ivanov (RUS)
Referee Observer: Murat Ilgaz (TUR)

Getafe CF – AFC Ajax
Referee: Ruddy Buquet (FRA)
Assistant Referee 1: Guillaume Debart (FRA)
Assistant Referee 2: Julien Pacelli (FRA)
Fourth Official: Amaury Delerue (FRA)
VAR: Benoît Millot (FRA)
AVAR: Jérôme Brisard (FRA)
Referee Observer: Vlado Svilokos (CRO)

Sporting Clube de Portugal – İstanbul Başakşehir
Referee: Anthony Taylor (ENG)
Assistant Referee 1: Gary Beswick (ENG)
Assistant Referee 2: Adam Nunn (ENG)
Fourth Official: Peter Bankes (ENG)
VAR: Stuart Attwell (ENG)
AVAR: Lee Betts (ENG)
Referee Observer: Vladimir Medved (SVK)

Rangers FC – SC Braga
Referee: Javier Estrada Fernández (ESP)
Assistant Referee 1: Teodoro Sobrino Magán (ESP)
Assistant Referee 2: Iñigo Prieto López (ESP)
Fourth Official: Pablo González Fuertes (ESP)
VAR: José Sánchez Martínez (ESP)
AVAR: Raúl Cabañero Martínez (ESP)
Referee Observer: Markus Nobs (SUI)

AS Roma – KAA Gent
Referee: Georgi Kabakov (BUL)
Assistant Referee 1: Martin Margaritov (BUL)
Assistant Referee 2: Diyan Valkov (BUL)
Fourth Official: Ivaylo Stoyanov (BUL)
VAR: Jochem Kamphuis (NED)
AVAR: Bas Nijhuis (NED)
Referee Observer: Stavros Tritsonis (GRE)

VfL Wolfsburg – Malmö FF
Referee: Gediminas Mažeika (LTU)
Assistant Referee 1: Vytautas Simkus (LTU)
Assistant Referee 2: Vytenis Kazlauskas (LTU)
Fourth Official: Donatas Rumsas (LTU)
VAR: Pawel Gil (POL)
AVAR: Andris Treimanis (LVA)
Referee Observer: William Young (SCO)

AZ Alkmaar – LASK
Referee: Mattias Gestranius (FIN)
Assistant Referee 1: Jan-Peter Aravirta (FIN)
Assistant Referee 2: Mikko Alakare (FIN)
Fourth Official: Ville Nevalainen (FIN)
VAR: Alejandro Hernández Hernández (ESP)
AVAR: Andreas Ekberg (SWE)
Referee Observer: Leslie Irvine (NIR)

Olympiacos – Arsenal
Referee: Felix Zwayer (GER)
Assistant Referee 1: Thorsten Schiffner (GER)
Assistant Referee 2: Marco Achmüller (GER)
Fourth Official: Harm Osmers (GER)
VAR: Sascha Stegemann (GER)
AVAR: Jan Seidel (GER)
Referee Observer: Nikolai Levnikov (RUS)

Apoel – Basel
Referee: Orel Grinfeeld (ISR)
Assistant Referee 1: Roy Hassan (ISR)
Assistant Referee 2: Idan Yarkoni (ISR)
Fourth Official: Eitan Shmuelevitz (ISR)
VAR: João Pinheiro (POR)
AVAR: Roi Reinshreiber (ISR)
Referee Observer: Marc Batta (FRA)

Bayer Leverkusen – FC Porto
Referee: Slavko Vinčić (SVN)
Assistant Referee 1: Tomaz Klancnik (SVN)
Assistant Referee 2: Andraž Kovačič (SVN)
Fourth Official: Rade Obrenović (SVN)
VAR: Pol van Boekel (NED)
AVAR: Jure Praprotnik (SVN)
Referee Observer: David Fernández Borbalán (ESP)

Wolverhampton Wanderers – RCD Espanyol
Referee: Tobias Stieler (GER)
Assistant Referee 1: Mike Pickel (GER)
Assistant Referee 2: Christian Gittelmann (GER)
Fourth Official: Sören Storks (GER)
VAR: Bastian Dankert (GER)
AVAR: Marco Fritz (GER)
Referee Observer: Francesco Bianchi (SUI)

Concacaf Champions League 2020 – Round of 16 (First Leg)

18-20 February 2020

FC Motagua – Atlanta United
Referee: Adonai Escobedo (MEX, photo)
Assistant Referee 1: William Arrieta (CRC)
Assistant Referee 2: Jose Martinez (MEX)
Fourth Official: Fernando Hernandez (MEX)

Portmore United – Cruz Azul
Referee: Reon Radix (GRN)
Assistant Referee 1: Michael Barwegen (CAN)
Assistant Referee 2: Ainsley Rochard (TRI)
Fourth Official: Armando Villarreal (USA)

Club Leon – Los Angeles FC
Referee: Ismael Cornejo (SLV)
Assistant Referee 1: Juan Zumba (SLV)
Assistant Referee 2: Caleb Gales (TRI)
Fourth Official: Raul Castro (HON)

Deportivo Saprissa – Montreal Impact
Referee: Kimbell Ward (SKN)
Assistant Referee 1: Graeme Browne (SKN)
Assistant Referee 2: Mario Parry (SKN)
Fourth Official: Trevester Richards (SKN)

Alianza FC – Tigres UANL
Referee: Daneon Parchment (JAM)
Assistant Referee 1: Nicholas Anderson (JAM)
Assistant Referee 2: Ojay Duhaney (JAM)
Fourth Official: Kevin Morrison (JAM)

Comunicaciones FC – Club America
Referee: Jair Marrufo (USA)
Assistant Referee 1: Frank Anderson (USA)
Assistant Referee 2: Corey Rockwell (USA)
Fourth Official: Theodore Unkel (USA)

AD San Carlos – New York City FC
Referee: Cesar Ramos (MEX)
Assistant Referee 1: Alberto Morin (MEX)
Assistant Referee 2: Miguel Hernandez (MEX)
Fourth Official: Oscar Macias (MEX)

CD Olimpia – Seattle Sounders
Referee: Juan Calderon (CRC)
Assistant Referee 1: Octavio Jara (CRC)
Assistant Referee 2: Geovany Garcia (SLV)
Fourth Official: Benjamin Pineda (CRC)

AFC Champions League 2020 – Group Stage (Matchday 2)

17-19 February 2020

Shabab Al Ahli – Al Hilal SFC
Referee: Hiroyuki Kimura (JPN, photo)
Assistant Referee 1: Shinji Ochi (JPN)
Assistant Referee 2: Isao Nishihashi (JPN)
Fourth Official: Yusuke Araki (JPN)

Pakhtakor – Shahr Khodro
Referee: Hettikankanamge Perera (SRI)
Assistant Referee 1: Palitha Hemathunga (SRI
Assistant Referee 2: Sanjeewa Wellabada (SRI)
Fourth Official: Nivon Gamini (SRI)

Al Shorta – Al Wahda
Referee: Muhammad Nasaruddin (MAS)
Assistant Referee 1: Mohd Muhamad (MAS)
Assistant Referee 2: Mohamad Zainal (MAS)
Fourth Official: Mohd Yaacob (MAS)

Al Ahli Saudi – Esteghlal FC
Referee: Ko Hyung-Jin (KOR)
Assistant Referee 1: Yoon Kwang-Yeol (KOR)
Assistant Referee 2: Park Sang-Jun (KOR)
Fourth Official: Kim Dae-Yong (KOR)

Al Taawoun – Al Duhail
Referee: Adham Makhadmeh (JOR)
Assistant Referee 1: Ahmed Al-Roalle (JOR)
Assistant Referee 2: Mohammad Al-Kalaf (JOR)
Fourth Official: Ahmed Al-Ali (JOR)

Sharjah – Persepolis
Referee: Christopher Beath (AUS)
Assistant Referee 1: Anton Schetinin (AUS)
Assistant Referee 2: Ashley Beecham (AUS)
Fourth Official: Jonathan Barreiro (AUS)

Al Sadd – Sepahan FC
Referee: Aziz Asimov (UZB)
Assistant Referee 1: Ruslan Serazitdinov (UZB)
Assistant Referee 2: Alisher Usmanov (UZB)
Fourth Official: Akhrol Riskullaev (UZB)

Al Ain – Al Nassr
Referee: Nawaf Shukralla (BHR)
Assistant Referee 1: Mohamed Salman (BHR)
Assistant Referee 2: Abdulla Al-Rowaimi (BHR)
Fourth Official: Ammar Mahfoodh (BHR)

Chiangrai United – Beijing FC
Referee: Hanna Hattab (SYR)
Assistant Referee 1: Ali Ahmad (SYR)
Assistant Referee 2: Mazen Zazfoun (SYR)
Fourth Official: Ilgiz Tantashev (UZB)

FC Seoul – Melbourne Victory
Referee: Abdulrahman Al Jassim (QAT)
Assistant Referee 1: Abdulla Al Marri (QAT)
Assistant Referee 2: Saoud Al-Maqaleh (QAT)
Fourth Official: Khamis Al Kuwari (QAT)

FC Tokyo – Perth Glory
Referee: Yaqoob Abdul Baki (OMA)
Assistant Referee 1: Abdullah Al Jardani (OMA)
Assistant Referee 2: Saif Al Ghafri (OMA)
Fourth Official: Khalid Al Shaqsi (OMA)

Suwon Blue Wings – Vissel Kobe
Referee: Mohanad Sarray (IRQ)
Assistant Referee 1: Obaid Al-Swaiedi (IRQ)
Assistant Referee 2: Maytham Al-Gburi (IRQ)
Fourth Official: Zaid Mohammed (IRQ)

Yokohama Marinos – Sydney FC
Referee: Mooud Bonyadifard (IRN)
Assistant Referee 1: Saeid Alinezhadian (IRN)
Assistant Referee 2: Ali Mirzabeigi (IRN)
Fourth Official: Bijan Heydari (IRN)

CONMEBOL Libertadores 2020 – Round 3 (First Leg)

18-20 February 2020

Independiente Medellín – Atletico Tucuman
Referee: Bruno Arleu (BRA, photo)
Assistant Referee 1: Marcelo Van Gasse (BRA)
Assistant Referee 2: Fabricio Vilarinho (BRA)
Fourth Official: Flavio Souza (BRA)
Referee Assessor: Nilson Moncao (BRA)

Barcelona – Cerro Porteno
Referee: Gustavo Tejera (URU)
Assistant Referee 1: Carlos Barreiro (URU)
Assistant Referee 2: Marcelo Soppi (URU)
Fourth Official: Andres Matonte (URU)
Referee Assessor: Carlos Pastorino (URU)

Deportes Tolima – Internacional
Referee: Roberto Tobar (CHI)
Assistant Referee 1: Alejandro Molina (CHI)
Assistant Referee 2: Claudio Urrutia (CHI)
Fourth Official: Cristian Garay (CHI)
Referee Assessor: Gustavo Rossi (ARG)

Palestino – Guarani
Referee: Facundo Tello (ARG)
Assistant Referee 1: Ezequiel Brailovsky (ARG)
Assistant Referee 2: Diego Bonfa (ARG)
Fourth Official: Fernando Echenique (ARG)
Referee Assessor: Wilson Lamouroux (COL)

CONMEBOL Sudamericana 2020 – Round 1 (Second Leg, I)

18-20 February 2020

Aucas – Velez
Referee: Rodolpho Toski (BRA, photo)
Assistant Referee 1: Alessandro Rocha (BRA)
Assistant Referee 2: Bruno Pires (BRA)
Fourth Official: Wagner Magalhaes (BRA)
Referee Assessor: Hilton Moutinho (BRA)

Melgar – Real Potosi
Referee: Luis Quiroz (ECU)
Assistant Referee 1: Ricardo Baren (ECU)
Assistant Referee 2: Juan Aguiar (ECU)
Fourth Official: Juan Lopez (PAR)
Referee Assessor: Jose Buitrago (COL)

Union La Calera – Fluminense
Referee: Jose Mendez (PAR)
Assistant Referee 1: Dario Gaona (PAR)
Assistant Referee 2: Eduardo Cardozo (PAR)
Fourth Official: Juan Benítez (PAR)
Referee Assessor: Juan Cardellino (URU)

Aragua – Coquimbo Unido
Referee: Ivo Mendez (BOL)
Assistant Referee 1: Ariel Guizada (BOL)
Assistant Referee 2: Ruben Flores (BOL)
Fourth Official: Dilio Rodríguez (PAR)
Referee Assessor: Henry Gambetta (PER)

Sportivo Luqueno – Mineros de Guyana
Referee: Michael Espinoza (PER)
Assistant Referee 1: Jonny Bossio (PER)
Assistant Referee 2: Jesus Sanchez (PER)
Fourth Official: Joel Alarcon (PER)
Referee Assessor: Juan Albarracin (ECU)

Huracan – Atletico Nacional
Referee: Julio Bascunan (CHI)
Assistant Referee 1: Christian Schiemann (CHI)
Assistant Referee 2: Edson Cisternas (CHI)
Fourth Official: Angelo Hermosilla (CHI)
Referee Assessor: Jairo Romero (VEN)

Oriente Petrolero – Vasco da Gama
Referee: Jose Argote (VEN)
Assistant Referee 1: Jorge Urrego (VEN)
Assistant Referee 2: Luis Murillo (VEN)
Fourth Official: Angel Arteaga (VEN)
Referee Assessor: Ana Perez (PER)

Always Ready – Millonarios
Referee: Franklyn Congo (ECU)
Assistant Referee 1: Byron Romero (ECU)
Assistant Referee 2: Christian Lescano (ECU)
Fourth Official: Marlon Vera (ECU)
Referee Assessor: Omar Ponce (ECU)

El Nacional – Fenix
Referee: Nicolas Lamolina (ARG)
Assistant Referee 1: Lucas Germanotta (ARG)
Assistant Referee 2: Cristian Navarro (ARG)
Fourth Official: Fernando Espinoza (ARG)
Referee Assessor: Amelio Andino (PAR)

Emelec – Blooming
Referee: John Ospina (COL)
Assistant Referee 1: Dionisio Ruiz (COL)
Assistant Referee 2: Miguel Roldan (COL)
Fourth Official: Juan Soto (VEN)
Referee Assessor: Manuel Bernal (PAR)

Atletico Mineiro – Union
Referee: Nicolas Gallo (COL)
Assistant Referee 1: Sebastian Vela (COL)
Assistant Referee 2: Wilmar Navarro (COL)
Fourth Official: Juan Garcia (BOL)
Referee Assessor: Marlon Escalante (VEN)

UEFA Champions League 2019/2020 – Round of 16 (First Leg, I)

18 February 2020
Atletico de Madrid – Liverpool FC
Referee: Szymon Marciniak (POL, photo)
Assistant Referee 1: Pawel Sokolnicki (POL)
Assistant Referee 2: Tomasz Listkiewicz (POL)
Fourth Official: Tomasz Musial (POL)
VAR: Pawel Gil (POL)
AVAR: Tomasz Kwiatkowski (POL)
Referee Observer: Roberto Rosetti (ITA)

Borussia Dortmund – Paris Saint Germain
Referee: Antonio Mateu Lahoz (ESP)
Assistant Referee 1: Pau Cebrian Devis (ESP)
Assistant Referee 2: Roberto Diaz Perez (ESP)
Fourth Official: Jose Munuera Montero (ESP)
VAR: Alejandro Hernandez Hernandez (ESP)
AVAR: Ricardo de Burgos Bengoetxea (ESP)
Referee Observer: Karen Nalbandyan (ARM)

19 February 2020
Atalanta Calcio – Valencia CF
Referee: Michael Oliver (ENG)
Assistant Referee 1: Stuart Burt (ENG)
Assistant Referee 2: Simon Bennett (ENG)
Fourth Official: Martin Atkinson (ENG)
VAR: Christopher Kavanagh (ENG)
AVAR: Craig Pawson (ENG)
Referee Observer: Kyros Vassaras (GRE)

Tottenham Hotspur – RB Leipzig
Referee: Cüneyt Çakir (TUR)
Assistant Referee 1: Bahattin Duran (TUR)
Assistant Referee 2: Tarik Ongun (TUR)
Fourth Official: Halil Umut Meler (TUR)
VAR: Mete Kalkavan (TUR)
AVAR: Abdulkadir Bitigen (TUR)
Referee Observer: Domenico Messina (ITA)

English referees Madley and Coote failed FIFA fitness test

Premier League referees Andy Madley and David Coote have failed the fitness test to become members of the FIFA international list. In an embarrassing episode for the PGMOL and referees' chief Mike Riley, Sportsmail can reveal the pair attended a training camp in Majorca recently but did not meet the physical standard required to proceed.
Madley and Coote will now be given the chance to retake the test and sources have indicated they were suffering from 'cold and flu' symptoms and 'not operating at their peak' during the exam. The duo were the only male referees put forward by PGMOL to represent England in this year's intake. But their induction was cut short after they failed to complete what is the equivalent of a strenuous 'beep test'. It is understood Coote came within a couple of sprints of finishing the test but had been served several warnings and was pulled out. Madley was some way short. It does not reflect well on the PGMOL, who did not have a representative at the last World Cup. Being a member of the FIFA list allows officials to preside over Champions League and Europa League games, as well as international fixtures. England have six referees on the list, with Michael Oliver considered by far the best. Riley will be hoping his latest recommendations can prove their fitness when given a second chance by FIFA. Coote took charge of his first Premier League match in 2018 having started at the Notts FA. Madley began refereeing top-flight games in the same year after starting in West Yorkshire's local leagues. He is the older brother of former Premier League referee Bobby, who was sacked in 2018 after recording a video joking about a disabled person.

Source: Daily Mail

Collina 60: “Even positive criticism was annoying me”

- Pierluigi Collina, how did you live your 60 years?
- Too fast, as it happen when you are happy with what you do.
- How did you feel as number one in refereeing?
- I felt very good, but expectations were always high. I could not take any single day of rest. I mean, I could not say "If today I will engage myself less than yesterday, it will be the same result". On Wednesday, I did Real Madrid - Manchester United in Champions League and then a Serie B game on Sunday. It happened and for me both were very important games, like finals. But yes, there is something I have some regrets about...
- What is it?
- If you consider all your games on the same level of importance, you live all of them in a too normal way. Therefore, the memories about a World Cup final, for example, are less distinct.
- When did you say to yourself "I will become a referee"?
- Maybe the day when someone said to me "You are good!". When I was 17 years old, it was something made without a real belief. After that I perceived that I had some skills. It became a challenge.
- Who said "you are good"?
- Many people. The first of them, the president of AIA section in Bologna, Piani.
- You also played football.
- Yes and, if I would had been a good player, I would have continued without doubts that career. However, I enjoyed those years.
- One day, a “small-big drama” happened: you lost all your hair. Did the world fall on you?
- No, because at that time one of my best friends went through chemotherapy and lost his hair as well. We were similar. Unluckily, he did not manage to win that battle. This has helped me to understand the real value of life.
- Do you think your look helped you to become more popular?
- If there hadn't been qualities, people would have underlined negative aspects. Instead, it rather worked on the contrary...
- What about the "perfect referee". Once you said: "A referee cannot be too wise, but a bit mad".
- A referee cannot be too wise on the field means that he cannot take a too long time to make a decision; sometimes he must be very quick. What we call "being impulsive" in normal life it is surely a skill for a referee. However, looking back at my career, I think a bit of madness was surely needed.
- Can VAR help in deciding faster?
- Referee must decide without thinking about VAR. He should enter the field of play as it was before the introduction of technology. The main target regarding VAR is to avoid its use. For this reason, we work very hard and we prepare referees. Then, of course, once a mistake has happened, referees know that VAR is there. However, if fans and journalists can forget about the mistake made, this is not the case for us. We remember it and we assess referees as it was before.
- You officiated without VAR. Do you regret that?
- When I was referee, there were no HQ - HD - 4K and 5K cameras, to be honest.
- Would you describe yourself as perfectionist?
- Someone even said that I am maniacal. Before a game, for example, I needed the maximum of positive tension.
- And of course also much study.
- I always thought that a referee must know everything about a game. Videos for analyzing teams and players, their way of playing, tactics and so on. When I was referee, this was already made, but not so deeply like today. I think nowadays this is the key for success.
- What about your relation with God?
- A very private affair. And surely a game cannot justify certain things.
- Did the criticism bother you?
- Yes. It was really bothering.
- Also the fair one?
- Positive criticism can become motivation for doing better, but I must be honest and admit that also positive criticism was annoying me.
- How much importance had your family in your career as referee?
- It is not trivial to say: "Very important, vital". For being at the top during the whole 90 minutes of a game, under spotlights, you must live a good life. All people you have around are crucial for that. I will always be grateful to my wife, because my children grew up thank to her. When my second child was born, I was officiating a game...
- Now you are a grandfather.
- Yes and my daughter is now waiting for a second child. We are really eager to know the gender.
- Football or basketball?
- For me, football is work and basketball is entertainment. I was born and lived in Bologna, a city where having a passion for basketball is common. Last Sunday, while my daughter was watching Milan's derby, at the same time I was watching basketball on my phone. When Fortitudo Bologna plays, it becomes a bit stressful.
- What would you do in case of two very important finals played at the same time: football or basketball?
- I would watch football live and I would record basketball. First the work, then the pleasure.
- What referees inspired you?
- Agnolin has been one of the best models for my generation: his way of being on the field, his "scenic" presence. But of course there were also other ones, for example the Swedish Erik Fredriksson, I was impressed by him during 1990 World Cup in Italy. Before that time, we were told to avoid to use our finger to show the direction of a free kick, then I watched him doing that and I started to do it as well. Nowadays, it is normal.
- And after your retirement?
- Many referees were good after my retirement. It was not important that they had to be similar to me. You can find quality in the diversity.
- The most and the least polite player?
- I do not want to mention names. At the age of 60, it is a pleasure for me to meet them again and to perceive that respect is not a formal thing, but something really felt.
- Is there anything you would not do it again?
- I would do again everything that I did in my career. Yes, I made mistakes, for sure, but none of those mistakes happened because I didn't give my best. As long as you don't have regrets, you can be satisfied about everything you did.
- Are you a Lazio fan?
- I grew up in Bologna; when I was a child it was common to be Bologna's fan. When I was 14, I used to play football and was inspired by Pino Wilson (Lazio player), then Lazio won the title, I liked that team. However, at that time, I had no interest in refereeing. It is impossible to think that a referee, a journalist or a player cannot be a fan of a certain team. But then after that you must realize that you become professional, so you become fan only of yourself. I officiated the play-out for demotion Bologna - Parma, in my city. Bologna lost and they were demoted. And Lazio never won in the early nine games I officiated with them. However, there is a question that I still do not understand.
- What?
- When people ask: "Do you prefer to see your national team in final or you to referee such game?" Of course, my answer, I am honest, would be "Me to officiate that game". You work all your life to get this success and so I think this must come before other considerations. But let me clarify: I am proud to be Italian, no doubts.
- Referee or Head of Refereeing: which job is more difficult than the other one?
- As referee, you are directly "owner" of your future; as head of refereeing, your success depends on other people.
- You also received some threats.
- Yes, let me say, whoever thinks that living under police escort is a status-symbol, should reflect on that. I spent the worst 7 years of my life under such circumstances.
- What about your political ideas?
- I am oriented toward "La Destra". Giorgia Meloni could be a very good leader.
- 1999 UEFA Champions League final. Manchester United with a fantastic comeback in last minutes against Bayern. Your thoughts?
- When 1-1 was scored, I said to myself: "Well, now we will have another 30 minutes...". And I was afraid because it could have turned difficult for me, after a good performance during the 90 minutes. But then, immediately 2-1 was scored and game ended without extra times.
- What would you expect in the next 10 years?
- I would really like to go on with what I like: continuing to work for referees on the road to WC 2022 for men and 2023 for women. I would like to do even better than 2018 and 2019. And, of course, to live these years with people I love.

Source: La Gazzetta dello Sport

Referee exchange between UEFA and CONMEBOL

The UEFA Executive Committee and the CONMEBOL Council today met at the House of European Football in Nyon and signed a renewed Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to replace the agreement that was signed in 2012. This new MoU forms the basis for an enhanced collaboration in a variety of domains to foster the development and growth of football on both continents. The MoU aims to provide assistance and support between UEFA and CONMEBOL and their respective member associations in establishing and implementing projects and activities relating to:
•Education, training, technical development and refereeing
•Promotion and development of grassroots, youth and women's football
•Organisation of men's, women's and youth football competitions, as well as futsal
•Marketing, legal and social responsibility matters
•Safety and security
•Promotion of ethical and good governance principles in football
In order to advance cooperation on such projects, both governing bodies decided to create four joint committees to specifically focus on the following matters: competitions, development, women’s football and refereeing. Ad hoc commissions could also be formed to discuss other areas of cooperation when necessary.

UEFA and CONMEBOL agreed to implement a referee exchange programme under which match officials from both organisations will be appointed to oversee international matches on each other's continent with a view to providing further experience for referees. This exchange programme could possibly see a team of UEFA match officials appointed for the group stage of the Copa America and a team of CONMEBOL match officials appointed for the group stage of UEFA Euro 2020. In addition, there will also be similar exchanges between the UEFA Champions League/Copa Libertadores and the UEFA Europa League/Copa Sudamericana.

Intercontinental matches
The possibility of staging European/South American intercontinental matches, for both women's and men's football and across a variety of age groups, was discussed and will be further examined by a joint UEFA/CONMEBOL committee in the coming months.

Source: UEFA

CAF Super Cup 2020

14 February 2020

ES Tunis – Zamalek
Referee: Victor Gomes (RSA, photo)
Assistant Referee 1: Zakhele Siwela (RSA)
Assistant Referee 2: Souru Phatsoane (LES)
Fourth Official: Maguette N’Diaye (SEN)
VAR: Janny Sikazwe (ZAM)
AVAR 1: Mustapha Ghorbal (ALG)
AVAR 2: Gerson Dos Santos (ANG)

AFC Champions League 2020 – Group Stage (Matchday 1)

10-12 February 2020

Al Wahda – Al Ahli Saudi
Referee: Ahmed Al Kaf (OMA, photo)
Assistant Referee 1: Abu Al Amri (OMA)
Assistant Referee 2: Rashid Al Ghaithi (OMA)
Fourth Official: Yaqoob Abdul Baki (OMA)

Al Shorta – Esteghlal FC
Referee: Ahmed Al-Ali (JOR)
Assistant Referee 1: Mahmoud Abu-Thaher (JOR)
Assistant Referee 2: Abel Aqel (JOR)
Fourth Official: Ali Reda (LIB)

Pakhtakor – Shabab Al Ahli
Referee: Adham Makhadmeh (JOR)
Assistant Referee 1: Ahmed Al Roalle (JOR)
Assistant Referee 2: Mohammad Al Kalaf (JOR)
Fourth Official: Sayyodjon Zayniddinov (TJK)

Al Hilal – Shahr Khodro
Referee: Ko Hyung-Jin (KOR)
Assistant Referee 1: Yoon Kwang-Yeol (KOR)
Assistant Referee 2: Park Sang-Jun (KOR)
Fourth Official: Kim Dae-Yong (KOR)

Al Duhail – Persepolis FC
Referee: Aziz Asimov (UZB)
Assistant Referee 1: Ruslan Serazitdinov (UZB)
Assistant Referee 2: Alisher Usmanov (UZB)
Fourth Official: Ilgiz Tantashev (UBZ)

Sharjah – Al Taawoun
Referee: Ryuji Sato (JPN)
Assistant Referee 1: Hiroshi Yamauchi (JPN)
Assistant Referee 2: Jun Mihara (JPN)
Fourth Official: Yudai Yamamoto (JPN)

Al Nassr – Al Sadd
Referee: Christopher Beath (AUS)
Assistant Referee 1: Anton Schetinin (AUS)
Assistant Referee 2: Ashley Beecham (AUS)
Fourth Official: Shaun Evans (AUS)

Al Ain – Sepahan FC
Referee: Hiroyuki Kimura (JPN)
Assistant Referee 1: Shinji Ochi (JPN)
Assistant Referee 2: Isao Nishihashi (JPN)
Fourth Official: Ahmad Yaacob (JOR)

Melbourne Victory – Chiangrai United
Referee: Turki Al-Khudair (KSA)
Assistant Referee 1: Mohammed Al-Abakry (KSA)
Assistant Referee 2: Khalaf Al-Shamari (KSA)
Fourth Official: Shukri Al-Hanfosh (KSA)

Ulsan Hyundai – FC Tokyo
Referee: Hettikankanamge Perera (SRI)
Assistant Referee 1: Palitha Hemathunga (SRI)
Assistant Referee 2: Sanjeewa Wellabada (SRI)
Fourth Official: Chuan Foo (SIN)

Vissel Kobe – Johor Darul Tazim
Referee: Alireza Faghani (IRN)
Assistant Referee 1: Mohammadreza Mansouri (IRN)
Assistant Referee 2: Mohammadreza Abolfazli (IRN)
Fourth Official: Hasan Akrami (IRN)

Jeonbuk Hyundai – Yokohama Marinos
Referee: Mohamed Abdulla (UAE)
Assistant Referee 1: Mohamed Al-Hammadi (UAE)
Assistant Referee 2: Hassan Al-Mahri (UAE)
Fourth Official: Omar Al-Ali (UAE)

CAF referees gear up for CHAN with preparatory course in Egypt

With barely two months to the start of the Total African Nations Championship Cameroon 2020, referees and assistant referees took part in a preparatory course from 4-8 February 2020 in Cairo, Egypt.
Twenty-two (22) referees and 20 assistant referees gathered in the Egyptian capital, Cairo, for the four-day intensive training program to fine-tune for the sixth edition of the tournament designed exclusively for footballers playing in their domestic leagues. A blend of youth and experience, the training program primarily focused on Video Assistant Referees (VAR), which will be applied at the quarter-final stage of the competition. It will be the first time in the history of the tournament that VAR will be used following successful mock tests during the previous edition in 2018 in Morocco.
Under the supervision of CAF Refereeing Director, Eddy Maillet and a team of experienced instructors including Jerome Damon (South Africa), Doue Noumandiez Desire (Cote d’Ivoire), Lim Kee Chong (Mauritius), Essam Abdel Fattah (Egypt), Mademba Mbacke and Mohamed Houssein Ali (Djibouti), the participants were taken through simulatory exercises to have a practical feel of the system which involves the use of technology. "The CHAN is a very important tournament and it is therefore important to have the referees in the best of conditions to give off their best. It is important that we have such a training course to give more experience to the referees regarding the usage of VAR,” Maillet said. “After the course and having observed the participants, we will draw up the final list of referees for the tournament.”
There were also theoretical sessions which centred on areas such as preparation for games, reading of the game amongst others critical to the decision making process in a game. The participant also took part in fitness exercise to check their physical preparedness for the competition.

Source: CAF

Concacaf Women’s Qlympic Qualifiers 2020 – Final

9 February 2020

USA – Canada
Referee: Tatiana Guzman (NCA, photo)
Assistant Referee 1: Enedina Caudillo (MEX)
Assistant Referee 2: Tonia Deane (BRB)
Fourth Official: Francia Gonzalez (MEX)

Referee observers - giving back to refereeing

While the fans in the stadium are glued to the exploits of the teams and players on the field at a UEFA match, the referee observer in the stands only has eyes for the referee team. The referee observer views the action from a totally different perspective. UEFA’s referee observers are carrying out their crucial role for European football’s governing body as assessors, advisors and coaches to the men and women who manage matters on the field of play.

Enhancing refereeing through experience
UEFA deploys 230 referee observers, including 47 female observers, to accompany and evaluate the referees at every UEFA competition match. Their endeavours help to nurture European football’s good health, because they are working in tandem with UEFA and the referees to enhance the overall quality of officiating – and to identify the next generation of match officials is also part of their mission. The observers who work with UEFA are all former international match officials – for a very sound reason, as UEFA’s deputy chief refereeing officer Hugh Dallas explains: “They understand what a referee or assistant is going through on the international stage,” he says. “Because they have been there and officiated at international level, referee observers are ideally placed to give important support, advice and guidance to the referee team on the various aspects of the job.”

Being there - offering help
The referee observer accompanies the referee team from when they arrive at a match venue until the debriefing session that takes place after the game. “The observer’s role,” Dallas says, “is to be there for the referees, to represent them at the UEFA organisational meeting on the morning of the match, and to make sure that the referees are focused and fully prepared for the tasks that lie ahead. When the match eventually comes around, referee observers take their place in the stand, and assess how the match officials perform,” Dallas explains. “They identify areas where there may be room for improvement – for example, positioning, management or possibly more accuracy in their decision-making.”

Assessing and advising
The observer assesses the overall performance. Anything that the observer wishes to highlight will be covered in the post-match debrief session. “The observer’s role is also to provide accurate feedback to UEFA and the national association on the officials’ performance,” Dallas stresses. “UEFA needs to know how the match officials have performed and if, in the opinion of the observer, they are ready for their next assignment, with clear guidelines set out for them on how they can improve in the future. Now, of course, the observer also has to assess the video assistant referee (VAR) and the assistant VAR, and to ensure that the correct protocol is followed, so another two officials are added to the observer’s assessment list.” From UEFA’s youth tournaments to the UEFA Champions League, the referee observers provide information on match officials that is essential for the UEFA Referees Committee to carry out its duties – especially in terms of placing the referees in the correct categories, which determines what level of competition they will officiate in.

Marking and checking
Various guidelines apply for the marking system of a match official – for instance, how a referee observer calculates the final mark. "But overall," adds Dallas, "referees are not promoted or reclassified based on a single performance, as they are all monitored through a period of time.” The marking that the observer gives to a referee for the performance also depends on the difficulty of the game. “The observer has various benchmarks which they follow,” Dallas emphasises. “If the match is more difficult, this could allow a higher mark – it depends how difficult the observer thinks that the match is.” The final whistle is blown, the teams and referees return to the dressing room – and the referee observers begin another phase of their assignment. “After the match, the observer enters the dressing room to make sure that everything is well,” Dallas explains. “They check the disciplinary sanctions to make sure everything is accurate before the important match information is sent to UEFA. The observer then receives a recording of the match from the host broadcaster, and while the referees are relaxing and showering after their exertions, the observer will begin to prepare any particular incident from the match that they wish to discuss during the debrief session.”

Managing people
Then comes the key moment, when the referee observer and the referee team settle down for the all-important debriefing. It is at this stage that observers must deploy the management skills that served them well during their international refereeing careers. “This is the reason why we have stipulated that observers must be former international match officials,” Dallas stresses. “In particular, top referees have developed strong people skills, so we’re asking them to carry these skills on from their careers into their new duties as observers. It could be that the referee has had a very difficult game – the skill of the observer is in delivering feedback during the debrief which, on some occasions, requires diplomacy!” It’s extremely important that the observer doesn’t intimidate the match officials – the observer is there as a coach, mentor and advisor… not as a fault-finder. We always ask our referee observers to be constructive, and to find positives. Normally, the referee will be asked to provide a self-analysis at the beginning of the session. Honest referees normally find the same issues that the observer has identified.” The observer then has 48 hours in which to submit his post-match report to UEFA. Every report is checked by UEFA’s referee officers, in particular to make sure that the text and mark given are accurate before the report is approved and sent to the referee and his/her national association.

Training skills
Training, further education and refresher courses are part and parcel of UEFA’s referee observer activities. UEFA holds training courses every two years for potential observers who are recommended by their association. One key item on these courses has been the role model test. The potential observers watch a recording of a full match and compile a report on the referee team’s performance. They then take part in a role-play scenario, in which a UEFA Referees Development Panel member acts as the match referee and is interviewed by the trainee observer in a 15-minute debrief. The observers are assessed to see if they have the skills to do the job that UEFA requires of them. Alongside this, the experienced observers are gathered by UEFA for refresher and further education meetings, in which they exchange ideas and experiences, and learn about any important law changes or updates to the UEFA Referees Committee guidelines.

Learning from each other
“By bringing them together," Dallas says, "they are actually learning from experience about developments in each other's national associations. The observers hear good ideas and worthwhile proposals that they may consider introducing in their own country. This networking aspect is very positive and extremely worthwhile.” In fulfilling their role, at both UEFA and domestic levels, referee observers are giving back to refereeing after their careers come to an end – an aspect that Hugh Dallas considers as vital in the drive to pinpoint and foster the potential top referees of tomorrow. “The observers have been steeped in refereeing since they entered the refereeing fraternity,” he reflects. “It’s essential for UEFA and the national associations that they focus on quality and keep their former top officials involved, so that they are available to educate and coach the younger referees. It means that their experience is being made use of – and that in the long term, it is refereeing that benefits.”

Source: UEFA