Spanish referees still receive the "fixed" amount agreed with RFEF

A few weeks ago we found out that the First Division referees stopped receiving some payments as a result of the suspension of professional competition, amounts that have been modified once this situation was extended after April 26. We always talk about amounts derived from their work as a referee or activity as a VAR, but today we can confirm that the fixed amounts mentioned in the Professional Referee Payment Agreement, signed by the RFEF and LaLiga on 9 August 2018 will not be affected in any way. The agreement was signed for five seasons and sets the fees for the match officials who perform the role of referee, assistant referee, VAR and AVAR. In 2019-2020 season it amounts, in global terms, to 16,109,865 euros and will increase by 5% in each of the three remaining seasons: 2020-2021, 2021-2022 and 2022-2023.
In the First Division, the fixed amount paid monthly to the professional referees is 14,000 euros. The match fees are 4,100 euros as referee and 2,000 euro as VAR. During the first 5 weeks, Spanish professional referees in the First Division lost around 16,000 euros (3 matches as referee and 2 as VAR) or 14,000 euros (2 games as referee and 3 as VAR). These amounts will increase as the days go by, although they will recover if the competition is restarted and it ends-up being played. If the competition does not return until early June, it would be 10 weeks without refereeing. In economic terms, it would be around 35,000 euros (approximately 24,500 for 6 games as referee and 10,000 for 5 VAR appointments) or 32,000 euros for 5 five matches as referee and 6 games as VAR games. Travel allowances should be added to these amounts. In the Second Division, the referees are paid a fixed monthly amount of 7,861 euros that they will continue to receive. In this category, in the absence of competition, they will lose about 1,765 euros (or 900 euros as VAR) per game, in addition to the expenses for meals and general allowance.

Source: iusport

Yellow card for “unhygienic behaviour”?

Footballers could be on the receiving end of a booking from referees for spitting in games due to the potential spread of coronavirus from saliva, says FIFA's Medical Committee chairman. As well as numerous health concerns with the potential return of football, spitting may be punishable by a yellow card and banned outright, as saliva which stays on the pitch for hours risks spreading Covid-19.
With football nearing a comeback and with clubs slowly returning to training, Michel D'Hooghe has warned that footballers will have to change their mannerisms on the pitch for health and safety reasons. “This is a common practice in football and it is not very hygienic,” D'Hooge told The Telegraph. “So when we start football again I think we should have to avoid that at maximum. The question is whether that will be possible. Perhaps they can give a yellow card. It is unhygienic and a good way to spread the virus. This is one of the reasons why we have to be very careful before we start again. I am not pessimistic but I am rather skeptical at the moment.”
Scientific experts say that coronavirus could be spread from player to player if spitting was allowed to continue as normal, especially given players could be asymptomatic whilst competing. Virologist at the University of Cambridge, Dr. Ian Brierley, added: “If the person is infected but asymptomatic, or infected and symptomatic, the virus is present in the throat, and can be ejected into the environment by spitting. Players may have to develop new celebrations so that they are not in close contact with each other. Pre-match handshakes, huddles at the start of a game and shirt swapping at the end of the match would also send out a poor message.”

Source: Daily Mail

50th anniversary of yellow and red cards in football

It all started from a fracas which occurred during the 1966 World Cup quarter-final at Wembley between England and Argentina which resulted in the Argentinian captain Rattin being sent off... and after the match England footballing brothers Bobby and Jack Charlton finding out that they had been “booked” although they were not aware this had happened! “Word of mouth affirms that later that same evening, Ken Aston drove home from Wembley Stadium in his sports car, with Jackie Charlton's confusion and all the mouldering controversies at the forefront in his mind. As he was waiting for a red light to change at Kensington High Street, it suddenly dawned on Ken that a colour-coding scheme based on the same amber/yellow (steady) - red (stop) principle as used on traffic lights would traverse language barriers and make it obvious to players and spectators alike what disciplinary decision the referee had just taken. So the system whereby referees show a yellow card for a caution, and a red card for an expulsion, was processed by the authorities in time to be introduced for the 1970 World Cup tournament in Mexico. The best innovations always look so obvious in hindsight. It is a good job the lights were against him on that homeward journey.” It is said that the first prototype cards were made by Mr. Aston’s wife Hilda at their home, cut to fit into a pocket in his referee’s shirt. 
But it is not just in football that “yellow” and “red” cards became common place. They have been adopted for use in other sports and aspects of life away from sport. Regrettably, Mr. Aston has not been given the public acclamation for this innovation – nor some others in football. He was the first referee, in 1946, to wear what became the distinctive all black referee’s strip with white trim. It was Mr. Aston who, the following year, introduced bright yellow and red flags for linesmen instead of the colours of the home team as was previously the case. He also introduced, in 1974, the display boards for substitutions so that both players and spectators were aware of which players were involved. Another of his suggestions, however, was not successful. This was that to determine who had won a knock-out match which had ended with the scores level. He proposed that the side with the fewest “red” and “yellow” cards and fewest free kicks conceded should be declared the winner. Instead, football’s decision makers opted for a penalty shoot-out. 
Ken Aston qualified as a referee in 1936. He progressed through the leagues with highlights being refereeing the 1961 European Nations Final, at the 1962 World Cup in Chile and the FA Cup Final in 1963. He served on the FIFA Referees Committee for eight years, four of them as Chairman. He was made an MBE in 1997. The Referees’ Association honoured Ken Aston in 1969 with the Long and Meritorious Service Award, in 1986 with the 50 Years Membership Award, and in 1990 Life Membership. He spent the latter years of his life living in the USA where he contributed greatly to the development of football there. He died aged 86 in October 2001. 

Source: Daily Gazette

Referee Koroleva on the frontlines against pandemic

When Concacaf referee Ekaterina “Katja” Koroleva is not officiating some of the region’s most important women’s national team tournaments, she works as a Physician Assistant in the Emergency Room with Team Health at Regional Medical Center in San Jose, California. That means at present she is on the frontlines battling against the Covid-19 pandemic, working nights in hopes of bending the curve soon. “It is exhausting, fulfilling, challenging and exciting. This is all new medicine,” said Koroleva in an exclusive interview with “The virus is new in many ways. We are all finding new pathways on how to deal with this, learning from one another, trying to treat a large number of patients who are both anxious and worried about it. Many are ill, many are afraid of spreading the virus to their significant others, their families, so it is navigating new territory for everyone. But I think the community here in San Jose has done a great job of isolating, using social distancing and taking this seriously,” added Koroleva. Koroleva is quick to remind that most people sick with Covid-19 are able to recuperate by following the guidelines of doctors. “Everyone is worried about contracting the virus and we see a lot of death on TV, but the reality is that the majority of patients I see with Covid-19 are stable enough that they can go home and self-quarantine. They are able to take medications prescribed and treat for themselves at home and hopefully prevent the spread to other family members. Unfortunately, the really ill patients are usually of an upper age registry and have other comorbidities associated with them, but the majority of patients that I see are very stable to go home and treat this virus with supportive measures,” said Koroleva. 
Koroleva earned a Master’s Degree in Science for this medical provider role, in addition to being a FIFA referee in which she has officiated in both the 2018 Concacaf Women’s Championship and the 2020 Concacaf Women’s Olympic Qualifying Championship. Those two worlds may initially appear very different, but in fact Koroleva has found there are similarities in her work in both fields. “The biggest thing is that no two days are alike in my world. In the ER, I never know what patients I will see and what the circumstances will be. No matter how much I can prepare and how much my graduate school training can prepare me, every situation and every patient is different. That correlates exactly to the experience we have on the field in that the amount of knowledge we can have about players, about teams, about the circumstances of what we perceive will happen will be different every match. Adaptability is the biggest factor in both of my worlds. In addition, prioritizing. In the ER, most of the time I carry patient loads of five to eight to 10 depending on how busy we are, so prioritizing who needs immediate attention and who’s ill plays a factor. The same goes for refereeing. Prioritizing which contact, which foul selections during the match need to be called to continue creating a safe playing environment and a beautiful game for the fans and players to enjoy. Those are the two things that come to mind,” said Koroleva. When she reflects on one of her highlights on the field as a referee, Koroleva points to the 2020 CWOQ played earlier this year in which Koroleva officiated two matches. “It was a time when I felt most relaxed and I think it came from being comfortable in the environment, comfortable with my teammates, comfortable about the field, about my knowledge, about my capabilities as a referee and it led to good performances on the field. Players’ talents were able to be highlighted and referees including myself were not the speaking point of the media nor had negatively influenced the match,” said Koroleva. 

Source: Concacaf

Vautrot: from heart problems to the Legion of Honour

Michel Vautrot was born on 23 October 1945 in Saint-Vit, France. The son of a family of farmers, as a child he was weak and sickly, to the point that heart problems kept him away from school for a year. Overcoming these health problems, Vautrot decided to become referee at the age of 14. The following year, he already refereed matches in local tournaments. In 1963 he was already a federal referee, at the same time when he was working as a sports journalist for a local newspaper in Besançon. Ten years later he debuted in the first division and in 1975 he became a FIFA referee. In 1979 he whistled his first French Cup final. Then four more finals would follow.
Vautrot was well-known internationally. In 1982 he made his debut at the World Cup refereeing Italy - Poland (0-0) in Vigo (first phase) and Belgium - USSR (0-1) in Barcelona (second phase). The following year, he was assigned the Intercontinental Cup final between Hamburg and Gremio Porto Alegre (1-2). In 1984 he refereed a match in the Euro hosted by his country, precisely Spain - Portugal (1-1) in the group stage. That year, in the European Champions Cup, he lived one of the anecdotes for which he is most remembered. Although it only became known later, in the semi-finals of that year there was a scandal. It was involved AS Rome, who faced Dundee United. The Scots had won the first leg 2-0 and the Italians had to come back at home. Apparently, the president of Rome, Dino Viola, offered 10 million pesetas of the time to the French referee. The money never got to Vautrot, who cancelled two goals for Roma on that day. Despite everything, the Italians won 3-0 and advanced to the final, which they would lose to Liverpool on kicks from the penalty mark. Viola was severely punished.
Despite this brilliant start, Vautrot was not selected for the World Cup in Mexico ‘86. Before that, he had refereed the first leg of the 1985 UEFA Cup final, Videoton - Real Madrid (0-3) and the final of the 1986 European Champions Cup, Steaua - Barcelona (0-0, with the Romanians winning on kicks from the penalty mark). In 1988 he was also graced with the Euro final between the Netherlands and the Soviet Union (2-0). Earlier, in the same tournament, he referee Germany - Spain (2-0). That year, he ended up being chosen the best referee in the world. 
Another well-known anecdote about Vautrot, especially in Spain, came in 1989. Vautrot refereed the return of the first round match between Fiorentina and Atletico de Madrid. The mattress makers, who had won the first leg 1-0, fell on the return leg with the same result and were eliminated on penalties. At the end of the match, Jesus Gil, president of Atletico Madrid, declared on Radio Nacional that Vautrot was "a fagot" and the Italians offered him "a blond boy with blue eyes". Evidently, such an outrage was sanctioned with two years of disqualification. In 1990 Vautrot was selected to be one of the referees of the Italian World Cup. He refereed the surprising opening match in Milan, Argentina - Cameroon (0-1), then Ireland - Netherlands (1-1) in Palermo and the semi-final between Argentina and Italy in Naples. It is in this last match that we find another of the great anecdotes of his career. With 1-1 on the scoreboard, the game went into extra time. In the first half of the extra period, spectators and players were surprised to see how its duration was 23 minutes. Vautrot's explanation was no less surprising: he had forgotten to consult his chronometer. The following year, he hung up the whistle. After his retirement, Vautrot was the chairman of the Referees Committee in France until 2004. Since then and until recently, he has been UEFA referee observer. Nicolas Sarkozy, former President of the French Republic, decorated him in 2006 as a Knight of the Legion of Honour. 

Source: 20 minutos

Fernanda Colombo: “sexual proposal” that made her feel like garbage

The former Brazilian assistant referee Fernanda Colombo shared on her social networks an email that was sent to her in which a person offered her to work by selling her body to be with men who would pay her very well for "paid meetings with intelligent, educated and respectful men for a minimum of 7,000 reais". 
After reading this strong message, the former referee decided to show her feelings also on social networks, where she explained that she did not understand why she could receive such a proposal if she had only devoted her life and soul to football and excel on television. "I have just received this email containing an immoral proposal that made me feel trash. All I want is to be able to work with what I love, which is football and journalism, and that everyone can respect the path I chose for my life." After this message, she received other messages from many people, followers and collaborators on the television channel who encouraged her to continue in what really matter for her, soccer, discrediting the action of the person who sent her the proposal. 
Fernanda Colombo is currently off the field; she made this decision after she met her husband, Sandro Ricci, who refereed at the 2018 World Cup in Russia. Currently, Colombo works as an analyst in a sports program giving her point of view both of the match and of the refereeing work. 

Source: Debate

Tunisian referee shows cards for not respecting the safety distance

His name is Abdelhag Etlili, he lives in Nabeul, on the east coast of Tunisia, and he is a handball referee in his country. Although he is only 19 years old, he is very concerned about the images he is seeing daily on the streets of his city and decided to inform his neighbors of the importance of respecting social distancing in a graphic way: with his cards. 
So Etlili, dressed as a referee, took to the streets, showing yellow and red cards when people who were on the streets of his city did not respect the safety distance. As he explained to TRT, a way to help in the national effort that is being made in his country to stop the spread of covid-19. Abdelhag Etlili points out that he tried to apply the rules of his sport to those who do not respect the rules that require them to stay home and also to those who do not keep the required safety distance. He says that his intention was not to discuss with people who were on the streets, but to inform them of the rules that must be followed to fight the virus. That is why he launched this initiative, "using sanctions against people who did not respect the rules, taking out yellow, red and blue cards and with two-minute sanctions." A very graphic way of informing people about the dangers of covid-19 that has made Etlili the best-known referee inside and outside his country. 

Codesal: “Maradona was swearing profusely during the national anthem”

Diego Maradona could have been shown a red card before the 1990 World Cup final after swearing 'profusely' during the national anthems – according to the referee in charge, who he later called a 'thief'. Maradona and Argentina managed to reach the final against West Germany at that edition of the tournament but went on to lose the clash 1-0, having two men sent off in the process. Pedro Monzon and Gustavo Dezotti were both dismissed by referee Edgardo Codesal. And Codesal has now suggested Maradona might have been lucky himself that he was in charge, as another official would have had enough reason to send him off. 
“I could have sent him off before the game started as he was swearing profusely during the national anthem”, Codesal told Uruguayan outlet Tirando Paredes when he was asked about dealing with Maradona. “Later when I decided to send off Monzon, Maradona approached me and claimed I was a thief and on the FIFA payroll. I saw Maradona do some remarkable things on the pitch and also saw that his knee had ballooned from aggressive tackling. As a player he was the best but as a person he was an unpleasant person and one of the worst I've gotten to know in my life.” 
Maradona was quoted at the time as suggesting Codesal did not want Argentina to win the game, having seen West Germany win the game through a controversial 85th-minute penalty. “Our players ran hard, but then came this man who ruined everything for us,' Maradona said in 1990. This man was scared that we would get to penalties. He wanted to make the Italian people happy. The black hand of this man expelled Monzon for a normal action, and later he called a penalty against us from his imagination. I have been crying for a long time. Football has been my life and I wasn't crying because we got second place, but because of the way we lost. This man didn't have any right to call that penalty.” (Source: Daily Mail)
Codesal wrote on Twitter that following the interview he had received negative messages, but didn't back down from his classification of Maradona. "Following the wave of comments, insults [going back 30 years] and yearnings that my children and my grandchildren die of COVID[-19] to see me suffer because I said Maradona is despicable, see the definition: not worthy of appreciation and esteem", wrote Codesal. "For me he is not [worthy of appreciation]. I said he was a brilliant player, but as a person he's despicable." Maradona has never forgotten the match, regularly mentioning Codesal, including in 2018 in Queretaro as manager of Mexican side Dorados de Sinaloa. When he was told that the former referee lives in Queretaro, the Argentine replied: "This is the land of thieves?" (Source: ESPN)

Futebol 7 hires World Cup referees

Futebol 7 Brazil announced the launch of the University of Futbol 7, with the aim of training professionals to work in the modality in different areas of Futbol 7, UNI7, which will officially begin operating from May 25. An initial investment of approximately R$500,000 is estimated in the launch of the entire platform, with investment in the hiring of renowned professionals, courses, conferences and workshops for various areas of specialization. The training of the referees will be carried out by the University of Futbol 7 in collaboration with the Brazilian Association of Futbol 7, the only entity in Brazil affiliated to the International Federation of Futbol 7 (FIF7). The work will start from scratch and will provide equal opportunities and conditions for all Futbol 7 referees in Brazil. The course is exclusively for referees who will act on the field. Starting in 2020, the referees will have three levels: License 3 (state level), License 2 (national level) and License 1 (international level). Futebol 7 Brasil will start to with a payment of R$70 per game in the adult category for referees in official municipal/state competitions. This value is 40% higher than the current national average that is currently R$50 per game. In municipal/state competitions, Level 2 referees will receive a bonus of 10% per game, while Level 1 referees will receive a bonus of 20% per game. In national competitions, in the adult category, the fee paid will be R$120 per game, while in international competitions the payment is reported to each competition by FIF7. The Level 1 referees will be able to receive appointments in the international 2020/2021 calendar competitions scheduled in Cancun (Mexico), Moscow (Russia), Porto Alegre (Brazil), Montevideo (Uruguay), Buenos Aires (Argentina), Orlando (USA), Barcelona (Spain), Santiago (Chile), Bogota (Colombia), Paris (France), Kashima (Japan) and Dubai (United Arab Emirates). 
The list of instructors: 
Anderson Daronco, FIFA referee, chosen the best Brazilian referee in 2019. 
Heber Lopes, 16 years FIFA referee, Copa America final. 
Carlos Simon, Three-time World Cup referee: 2002, 2006, 2010. 
Marivan Feitosa, voted the best Futbol 7 referee in the world by FIF7. 
Edson Resende de Oliveira, former chairman of the CBF Referees Committee. 
Marcelo de Lima, 7 years FIFA referee and more than 25 state finals. 
Fernanda Colombo, 8 years assistant referee with FIFA aspirations. 
Sandro Ricci, two-time World Cup referee: 2014 and 2018. 
Pericles Bassols, former FIFA referee and first VAR in Brazilian soccer. 

Mexican referees are economically disadvantaged

As a result of the suspension of Liga MX, Mexican referees have been the most affected in terms of income since they have stopped receiving up to 154,000 pesos a month, which is the maximum amount they can reach if they manage to be appointed to all the four matchdays that are regularly played in one month.
All referees, assistants and VARs receive a fixed salary regardless of whether they are appointed or not to any league game. In addition, they earn 38,500 pesos per match, in the case of referees. The assistant referees receive for each match 22,500 pesos and the fourth referees 14,000 pesos, while the VAR receives 14,000 pesos and the AVAR 7,000 pesos. "Unlike the players, who are employees of a team, the referee is not an employee of the Federation. The body in charge of the economic issues divides the fees in two ways. One is a fixed fee that they receive monthly and the other is per match. They are receiving that fixed fee without any reduction”, explained Arturo Brizio, president of the Mexican Referees Commission. Regarding fixed wages, the FIFA A referees receive 27,000 pesos per month, followed by the FIFA B referees with a salary of 25,000. Meanwhile, a referee who does not have an international badge receives 23,000 (Group A) and 21,000 pesos (Group B). Assistant referees also have a similar classification. The assistant referees FIFA A receive 22,000, and FIFA B get 20,000, while those who are not internationals receive between 18,000 and 16,000 pesos.

Source: Mediotiempo

Return to Play plan accepted in Poland

Polish Prime Minister gave the green light to the return of Polski Ekstraklasa players to the football fields. They will be able to resume training on prepared facilities in accordance with the government's return to competition program. It was developed by a crisis staff appointed by the board of Ekstraklasa in cooperation with the Polish Football Association. “That's great news. The government's consent to resume training gives us a chance to implement the plan we have been working on for the last 4 weeks together with experts within the crisis staff. Unless unexpected adversities arise and the health situation in the country allows it, after passing the preparation period the league could start on May 29”, announces Marcin Animucki, President of Ekstraklasa. “In parallel, we received confirmation of information from UEFA about the possibility of completing the season by July 20. Thus, the necessary conditions that I mentioned two weeks ago came true and we have the chance not only to resume, but also to finish the competition”, adds Animucki. According to UEFA guidelines, each federation is to do everything to finish the season on the pitch in the current formula of the competition. Polski Ekstraklasa can play until July 20, while federations from places 1-15 in the UEFA ranking up to August 3.
According to the plan's assumptions, players and training staff (50 people from each club) will undergo rigorous training on medical procedures until the end of the season (or as required by the health situation in the country), enabling safe ending of the competition. From the beginning of the week, these groups will begin 14-day sports isolation and daily reporting according to a detailed - and uniform for the entire league - medical survey, aimed at early detection of possible symptoms of disease. The next stages of restarting the Polski Ekstraklasa games according to the plan approved by the government:
3-4 May: tests of players and staff members
4 May: training in groups of players
10 May: team training
27-28 May: tests of players, staff members and referees
29-31 May: resuming competition (matchday 27)
18-19 July: end of the season, this allowing the participation of Polish teams in the qualifying rounds for European cups.
Each time point of the plan depends on the epidemic situation in the country and the recommendations of the Ministry of Sport and the Ministry of Health and GIS. Matches will be played without the participation of the public until cancellation of restrictions imposed by the government. The necessary minimum group of people will be indicated for the match service. Ekstraklasa has already begun work on the procedure specifying organizational details that will be guidelines for clubs and media partners of the games.

Source: Ekstraklasa

Shocking revelations: "With Hamburg, I carried the suitcase myself!"

Today, April 25, marks the 36th anniversary of Dinamo - Liverpool, the return of the European Champions Cup semi-final from the 1983-1984 season. Cornel Dinu, who assisted head coach Nicolae Nicușor in '84, makes several shocking revelations about that European campaign of Dinamo Bucharest. He claims, in an exclusive GSP interview, that the successes on the continent of the “red-whites” were well "prepared" in advance. 
- Mister, it's been 36 years since Dinamo - Liverpool. What do you remember from that game in which you missed the qualification in the final of the European Champions Cup? 
- There are many stories, I wrote some of them in my second book. Are you interested only in the match with Liverpool or do you want to understand the whole context of that campaign? 
- It's interesting to hear about anything related to the semi-finals. You were the assistant of Dumitru Nicolae Nicușor. 
- Okay, I was following the opponents and working on the tactical part, Nicușor was in charge of the physical training. And that was exactly the problem, that the opponents were much stronger. Postelnicu had sent me for the first time to see Aston Villa, in '81, then I also went to Liverpool to watch their game with Everton. This is how I created a relationship with Anghelache, who was the head of Romanian espionage in England. I had a very good relationship with Postelnicu until about '84 -'85, when Vasile Anghel "worked" me by saying false things about me. 

Referee guarded by the KGB 
- Could Dinamo have qualified or were the English too good? 
- There were several problems. First: we could no longer go to the referees, as we had done in previous European games. It didn't work because there was no room for puppies! It was the semi-finals of the Champions Cup, there was not much room for Dinamo of the East! 
- Go with money? 
- Yeah, sure! Before Liverpool, we played with Dinamo Minsk. I carried the bags with money to Tbilisi, where the first leg was played, and to Bucharest. In the USSR it was more complicated, because referee Castillo was guarded by the KGB, but I succeeded. In Bucharest, there were times when the Soviets dominated us so badly that the referee came to the sidelines and said to me: "Keep them on their feet for a while, because I can't do more than that!" 
- But... 
- They couldn't stand up after Nicusor's training. It was towards the end of the match, Augustin had scored a goal with his shoulder. We managed to win 1-0. With Hamburg, too, I carried the bag of money. But everyone did that! Dinamo reached that level on the value of the team, this practice with the suitcases for referees was general, only that the Romanians cared then about the image of the country; it mattered! And the Soviets were known to drink super-energizing, so-called “bear tea”. 

Dinu: "I opened the suitcase: there were all kinds of European money" 
- And with Hamburg? At 3-0?! 
- Yes! Keiser, a school inspector, was the referee at the time. I gave him the money, he gave me presents, a tie and a silver ring. 
- What were the amounts paid to the referees in such situations? Approximately, if you don't remember exactly. 
- I opened the bag before handing it over to Mr. Keiser. I wanted to see, out of curiosity, about how much money it was. They were all European banknotes: French francs, Swiss francs, German marks. The Security had given me the money as they had managed to collect it; it was not the whole amount in the same kind of money. 
- You said that the referees were the first problem in the return match with Liverpool. What was the second? 
- The second issue was that the English had their tactical meeting before the match during the walk through the city, not in a room. The Security recorded all the meetings of our opponents, because the security guards of that time were people defending the country. Before Liverpool, only Gothenburg in 1980 had done the same, with the meeting held during a walk. Both the Swedes and the English were afraid of being listened to, which was the case. And the third problem: after a strong sun in the first part of the day, it started to rain before the game. 
- Did the weather matter? 
- Why not? Who plays better in the rain than the English play? There were also two big mistakes of Alexandru Nicolae, a defender that Postelnicu had brought from Buzău, where he had been first secretary. At Rush's second goal, Nicolae wanted to head the ball at the grass level, but he hit the ground with his head. And we made another mistake. Postelnicu had told us before the first leg in Liverpool to play Augustin forward, "that he is "Bulgarian" and fights with them", and with Dragnea withdrawn in the middle, since Merry is more technical, he can still pass". On the second leg, after Souness had broken Movila's jaw in Liverpool, I suggested to withdraw Augustine to fight with the English and I used Turcu as forward. He had speed, we thought he was going to use the space. He went to hell, he didn't go anywhere!

The suitcase with $25,000 
- You said that there were various banknotes in the bag for the referee of the match with Hamburg, difficult to assess exactly, but could you still trying to approximate what the dollar amount was? 
- To answer your question, I can refer to another episode. In the following season, '84 -'85, we played with Bordeaux and we were refereed by a Scot, McGinlay. Anghelache had approached him early, before he left Scotland, and the Security had prepared a suitcase with $25,000. A bag that Vasile Anghel took over and did not gave it to the referee. We had about 16 chances, but the Scot "chopped" us. It ended 1-1 in Bucharest and Bordeaux qualified, by equalizing us in extra time. (Source: GSP)

Dinu: "Real Madrid gave gold watches to referees"
After the wave of reactions in the Romanian football, "Mister" detailed the practices of that period. "Many people comment without having read the full interview or have read it and did not understand because they have no idea about the situation in those times. The episodes I recounted were common practices in European cups. When Dinamo played against Real Madrid in the 1960s, the Spaniards gave the referees, in the locker room, a gold watch with the club's emblem. Because everyone did that, the gifts for referees were like a method of defense, to give you a chance in Europe. The details about our match with Bordeaux I found out when I met, after '90, Claude Bez, the former president of the French club. He confirmed to me that our money had not reached the Scottish referee and told me “What was the amount you had prepared? $25,000? Anyway, you wouldn't have had any chance, because we went with 35,000 dollars»", Cornel Dinu told

Jan Keizer, 79, the Dutch referee accused by Cornel Dinu of giving him a suitcase full of money in October 1983, before the famous Dinamo - Hamburg match, is currently at home. He lives near Volendam, a town 20 kilometers away from Amsterdam. Keizer was contacted by the newspaper Gazeta Sporturilor: “He answered the phone and, when he found out that I was a Romanian journalist, he asked me "Why are you looking for me?" I told him what Dinu said about the suitcase and, after listening to me, he had only one reaction. He started laughing. In a roar. Then he hung up. A few minutes later, I tried again. His wife answered the phone, but she hung up as she heard my English. Later, the Dutch journalists called him as well, but nobody answered the phone.” (Source: GSP

Champions League could resume without VAR

The president of the Spanish referees, Carlos Velasco Carballo, assessed the recommendations that the referees are following in the face of the COVID-19 crisis. "We have a strategy that follows the recommendation of the Ministry of Health. We are sharing those procedures". Regarding the tests to detect the coronavirus, Velasco Carballo commented that "we are talking about a large number in each match. In a League matchday we displace about 200 people, which is equivalent to eight soccer teams. There are no dates for the first tests. In our group we have not yet mentioned the word test." The CTA president acknowledged that "no First or Second Division referee has had coronavirus. Only one case that is not verified because it has not taken the test." Velasco Carballo has stated that "the refereeing will not change" with the new situation. "In my career, I have refereed twice behind closed doors. The biggest difference is the mood and that the contacts are heard more. During my time, refereeing without spectators was very rare". 
The Champions League could resume without VAR. Velasco Carballo indicated that "for the use of VAR you have to move people between countries and now it is not allowed. We are going to take measures so that fewer people go and will control the social distance in the control room, minimize the number of operators and install some screens that separate and isolate". Lastly, the former international referee pointed out that "every day when the referees get up, they have to weigh themselves, measure their heart rate and count the hours of sleep. It is mandatory." And he pointed out that "FIFA recommends the referee to go to the monitor to see the subjective plays", among the regulations for next season. 

Oliver issues 11 red cards as he re-referees 1970 FA Cup final

With the coronavirus pandemic decimating the football calendar, all those involved within the sport are constantly thinking of ways to keep themselves occupied. And for the Premier League's top referee, Oliver, he has been keeping busy in a very unique way by providing a very modern take on Chelsea's 2-1 FA Cup final triumph over Leeds 50 years ago in the more than feisty replay at Old Trafford. The 120-minute encounter on April 29, 1970, was notorious for its full-blooded, old-school, crunching tackles, in which Chelsea ran out triumphant thanks to Peter Osgood and David Webb's extra-time winner. 
'It's amazing to watch them – not a single player ever appeals to the referee,' Oliver told the Telegraph as Webb, who should have already received his marching orders, crunches into another challenge. 'Eddie Gray just gets up. You didn't get the reaction then that you do now. And what you also don't get is 20 more players running into the situation in the aftermath. Which [nowadays] means you invariably end up with more hassle and more cards anyway.' After watching on as the crunching tackles continue to land, Oliver - who viewed the fixture back on Youtube - admits: 'For want of a better explanation... it's almost "proper football".' 
On the day, referee Eric Jennings remarkably only handed out one yellow card for Chelsea's Ian Hutchinson. Jennings allowed rough play by both sides throughout, playing advantage to the full extent to let the match run smoothly. Tommy Baldwin and Terry Cooper kicked lumps out of each other as the battle began while not much longer into the game, Chelsea's Ron Harris caught winger Eddie Gray with a kick to the back of the knee. Norman Hunter and Hutchinson traded punches while Eddie McCreadie, in his own box, produced a flying kick to Billy Bremner's head. Jack Charlton also lunged at Osgood while Chelsea's late goalkeeper Peter Bonetti was injured after being bundled into his own net by Mick Jones, who would go on to put Leeds 1-0 ahead in the 35th minute. The ill-tempered affair has previously been re-refereed by David Elleray in 1997 - then considered England's most senior referee. And he had dished out six red cards and 20 yellow cards to the 23 players who featured at Old Trafford 50 years ago. But Oliver had gone one step further by handing out 11 reds, two of which were for Chelsea's left back McCreadie. The Premier League referee jotted down 16 bookings overall, three apiece for Webb, Hutchinson and Charlie Cooke. Meanwhile, seven of the reds were awarded to Chelsea players, as well as Hunter, Gray, Charlton and skipper Bremner. 

Source: Daily Mail

Maradona and the “Hand of God”

'The Hand of God' is footballing history. Diego Maradona again recalled that goal that went around the world and admitted that he went to see the referee of that match between Argentina and England. 
In a video for AFA Play, Diego Maradona looked back to what has been one of the most talked-about goals of his sporting career and which has become one of the most historic passages of play in world football. What happened is already well-known and Maradona told it again with some nuances. "I was looking for a one-two because the English were a rock. Valdano doesn't give me the pass and anticipates Sansom. In that team there was no such thing as playing it backwards, but giving it to the goalkeeper so that he could keep it going. When I saw that it was going up, I said 'I'll never reach it, please come down' and an idea came to me: put your hand in and stick your head in," Maradona started. The Argentine didn't know where the ball fell until he saw it in the net, when he went to celebrate it as if it were the most legal of them all. "I didn't know where the ball was. I see it's inside the net and I start celebrating. And Checho asks me if I did it with my hand and I told him to shut up and hug me, like Valdano," he continued. Maradona admitted that he went to see the match referee, Ali Bennaceur, on various occasions: "I visited him several times when I was in Dubai. He told me that the linesmen signalled for the goal and they didn't see the hand, but there were 80,000 people who didn't notice either. I just wasn't the wrong one, the whole ground was wrong". 

Source: BeSoccer

Spanish referees honoured at the RFEF Museum

Spain has had, from the very beginning of football, some excellent referees who have left their mark in our country and in the world. For this reason, the RFEF Museum reserves a large showcase dedicated to the Technical Committee of Referees where treasures such as old shirts, boots, chronometers, signed cards and a mural with the pictures of all Spanish international referees from 1925 until the present day. 
Visitors can find a space that pays tribute to athletes without whom football would be unthinkable: the referees. A story that began with Luis Colina, in the mid-1920s, and that included Pedro Escartin, the first Spanish to attend, as an assistant, a World Cup, in Italy in 1934. The first to referee a game was Ramon Azon, in Brazil’50. Juan Gardeazabal is the Spanish referee who had been to most World Cups. He refereed in Sweden'58, Chile'62 and England'66. In the second of them he managed the clash for third place between Chile and Yugoslavia (1-0). Mateu Lahoz became the 15th Spanish official to referee a World Cup match in 2018. In addition, the RFEF Museum keeps the cards, the equipment and even the boots, by the way still with remains of the lawn of the former Soccer City, of Howard Webb, the referee who did the 2010 World Cup final, in which Spain won the World Cup. The English referee transferred this material to the Museum of the Spanish Federation. This is just a small tribute that the Museum pays to a group that, due to its prestigious history and its professionalism and dedication in the present, also embodies the "Spain brand" throughout the world. 

Concacaf: PORE Generation IV

As the Program of Referee Excellence (PORE) continues to positively impact the refereeing landscape in Concacaf, those with direct survey over it are very excited with the initiative. Leading the program is Concacaf’s Director of Refereeing Brian Hall, whose take on the growing success of the initiative boasts impressive statistics and glowing true stories on the human side. PORE, designed and executed to develop referees in Concacaf’s cross-regional setup, aims to equip match officials to the elite level and on to their FIFA badges. The broad-based program is in the first phase of its Generation IV execution, with the Introductory Course completed in Toluca, Mexico, last February. The 14 participants will now move on to the Certification Course later this year in Bradenton, Florida. 
“One of the [overall] tangible results we have had is the number of participants, and we have had 41 in the first three years, and another 14 that went through the first course this year. Because of the in depth, intensive, refereeing focused six-week total training with these individuals who come from all regions in Concacaf – Caribbean, Central America, North America – when they return home they come with a different understanding of what the role of the referee is on the field of play,” Hall told In the first three generations of PORE, the Concacaf refereeing head says the figure of individuals matriculating to the FIFA level is a particular source of pride. “Of the total from three generations, we have had a total of 12 FIFA referees, male and female, from a total of 41 graduates, who have now moved on to reach the highest level of refereeing in the world, and they are working in Concacaf competitions. “What an opportunity for these individuals to give back to their member associations to help them to grow, and to represent their countries and Concacaf at the highest level,” Hall stated. “When you look at 12 FIFA referees out of 41, that’s a great number,” he emphasized. Hall said with 14 in the current program and others waiting in the wings, soon Concacaf will have an “influx” of elite referees going all the way to the FIFA level. “We have participants in the PORE program who are not eligible yet for their FIFA badges, either by age or their experience at the professional level in their country, so we are going to have an influx of FIFA referees coming up once these referees become eligible, and although that number of 12 out 41 is pretty good, it’s probably closer to 12 out of 30 who are actually eligible,” Hall explained. For the Generation IV activation, Hall says all the fundamentals point to growth in PORE up and across. “This year we had 30 nominees that were submitted, 14 participants were selected, and from that 14, we had 11 member associations represented which is a record. And out of those 14 participants, we had a record four women participating,” he said. Candidates, Hall points out, for PORE are selected following a thorough and highly thought out process of transparency. “What we do is send application forms to all 41 member associations, and those members send back their nominees to us, we have some requirements that we send to the member associations, then our staff analyzes those applications, and then we send those applications to Concacaf’s Referees Technical Advisory Team, which is made of 14 cross-regional refereeing experts. They then analyze these applications and then select the candidates who best meet the standards of the program… we then send that to our Referees Committee for the recommendation for the final stamp of approval,” Hall explained. He said while PORE is open in concept in the main, its purpose and curricula are anchored on the principles of grassroots development. At the end of PORE and the consequent internships, Concacaf’s long-term hope is to become the leading Confederation in producing a constant stream of elite referees. “Our job is to prepare our match officials physically, mentally and psychologically to get every decision correct, 100 percent of the time. Our goal is to develop excellent referees and that strive for excellence is noticed by FIFA and has resulted in our appointments to finals and semi-finals at FIFA World championships at all levels - men and women. I have to say we have made strides in the past three or four years,” he concluded. 

Source: Concacaf

Mateu Lahoz: "We cannot say that we are going to win when there are so many deceased"

Spanish referee Mateu Lahoz makes a tremendously human assessment of the confinement derived from COVID-19: "We cannot say that we are going to win. We have already lost because there are many deceased. Now we have to stop this virus responsibly and as experts say. We have only been asked to stay home". In this sense, Mateu prefers to see the positive part that the coronavirus pandemic has brought: "What I miss the most is Algimia and my mother. This has helped us to value things more, the beauty of everyday life and normality. Hopefully, we will recover it soon, it will be good for everyone. We have to get as much energy as possible from what we have inside, because we have health and that is the most important", he proclaims in 'Memorias de Gaibiel'
Being an international referee, Mateu usually spends a lot of time traveling throughout Spain and half of Europe, which prevents him from enjoying much time with his loved ones. "My family conquers me every day. My children are helping Cris (his wife) and me. I did not get to spend much time with the little one, because of work reasons and it is amazing, for example, to see him clear the table, imitating his brother," he says. "We have to help and now we can do it by staying at home, preserving our elders. It is difficult to see positive things in all of this, but we must try to build a better society", proclaims Mateu Lahoz. The Valencian referee wants to highlight the daily applause at 8 pm or each show of solidarity that circulates in videos through social networks. "Those of us who fortunately have health should pull the car and move all in the same direction. We have technological tools to stay connected with family and friends, and all this can provide us with basic learning", concludes Mateu Lahoz. 

UEFA Competitions Update

The UEFA Executive Committee met via videoconference. It received updates on the Working Groups established in partnership with the European Club Association (ECA), European Leagues (EL) and FIFPRO Europe. Of the two scenarios being examined by the Calendar Working Group, both envisage domestic football starting before UEFA club competitions, with one seeking to run the competitions in parallel and the other to complete domestic matches before re-starting UEFA matches in August.
As a result of representations made by the football authorities in Belgium and Scotland, the Committee recognizes the issues raised and approved the Guidelines on eligibility principles for 2020/21 UEFA club competitions. The Guidelines reflect the principle that admission to UEFA club competitions is always based on sporting merit. Therefore, UEFA urges National Associations and Leagues to explore all possible options to play all top domestic competitions giving access to UEFA club competitions to their natural conclusion. However, UEFA stresses that the health of players, spectators and all those involved in football as well as the public at large must remain the primary concern at this time. The ideal scenario, should the pandemic situation permit it, is to have the currently suspended domestic competitions completed enabling football clubs to qualify for UEFA club competitions on sporting merit in their original format. Should this outcome not be possible, in particular due to calendar issues, it would be preferable that suspended domestic competitions would restart with a different format in a manner which would still facilitate clubs to qualify on sporting merit. While using best efforts to complete the domestic competitions, National Associations and/or Leagues might have legitimate reasons to prematurely terminate their domestic competitions, in particular in the following cases:
• existence of an official order prohibiting sports events so that the domestic competitions cannot be completed before a date that would make it possible to complete the current season in good time before the next season to start;
• insurmountable economic problems which make finishing the season impossible because it would put at risk the long-term financial stability of the domestic competition and/or clubs.
If a domestic competition is prematurely terminated for legitimate reasons in accordance with the above conditions, UEFA would require the National Association concerned to select clubs for the UEFA club competitions 2020/21 based on sporting merit in the 2019/20 domestic competitions:
• the procedure for selecting clubs should be based on objective, transparent and non-discriminatory principles. National Associations and Leagues, should otherwise have the ability to decide the final positions in their domestic competitions, having regard to the specific circumstances of each competition;
• the final determination of eligible places for the UEFA club competitions should be confirmed by the relevant competent bodies at domestic level.
UEFA reserves the right to refuse or evaluate the admission to any club proposed by a National Association from a prematurely terminated domestic competition in particular where:
• the domestic competitions have not been prematurely terminated based on the reasons given in these UEFA guidelines or on the basis of any other legitimate public health reasons;
• the clubs were selected pursuant to a procedure which was not objective, transparent and non-discriminatory so that the selected clubs could not be considered as having been qualified on sporting merit;
• there is a public perception of unfairness in the qualification of the club.

UEFA Euro 2020
Following the postponement of UEFA Euro 2020 to the summer of 2021 and after a thorough internal review as well as several discussions with partners, the Executive Committee has decided that the tournament will still be known as UEFA Euro 2020. This decision allows UEFA to keep the original vision of the tournament to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the European Football Championships (1960 – 2020). This choice is in line with UEFA's commitment to make UEFA Euro 2020 sustainable and not to generate additional amounts of waste. A lot of branded material had already been produced by the time of the tournament's postponement. A change to the name of the event would have meant the destruction and reproduction of such items.

UEFA Euro U-21 Championship
The Committee heard that options for rearrangement or postponement of the tournament will be presented and analyzed by the National Team Competitions Committee on 11 May, with a final decision being taken at the Executive Committee on 27 May 2020.

UEFA Women's Euro 2021
The UEFA Executive Committee has confirmed that the postponed UEFA Women’s Euro 2021 will be played in England from 6 to 31 July 2022. It is planned to use the same venues that were originally proposed to host the event.

Source: UEFA

Most bizarre red cards in history

Although most fans don’t like them, red cards are part and parcel of football and have been for decades. We’ve seen bad fouls, diving, violent conduct, and the usual fare, and while some have been questioned by fans, none were too bizarre. However, that’s not always the case. Sometimes, for a number of reasons, referees choose to show players the red card for truly bizarre reasons. Here are 10 of the most bizarre red cards in football history. 

Edin Dzeko – Bosnia vs Greece, 2016 
Bosnian striker Edin Dzeko is perhaps most well-known for his stints at Wolfsburg and Manchester City, where he won league titles. However, in 2016, he was sent off while playing for the Bosnia national team after a truly bizarre incident. Faced with Greece in a World Cup 2018 qualifying match, Bosnia were leading 1-0 as the game headed into its final 10 minutes. Dzeko went down under a challenge from current Arsenal defender Sokratis, and seemed angered when the Greek attempted to wrestle the ball from his grasp. The striker’s retort? He decided to pull Sokratis’ shorts down. The incident triggered a mass altercation, and the referee was not impressed, as he awarded Dzeko a red card for his actions. To make matters worse for Bosnia’s captain, Greece went onto find an injury time equaliser. After the match, Dzeko was incensed, stating that he was shown the red card for “no reason”. While that wasn’t truly the case, it’s hard to dispute the fact that this was a bizarre dismissal by anyone’s standards. 

Jamie Carragher – Liverpool vs Arsenal, 2002 
Liverpool defender Jamie Carragher would probably be remembered as one of the most dependable, and professional, players of his generation, but even he wasn’t immune to a strange red card in 2002. The incident happened during an FA Cup tie that saw the Reds facing Arsenal at Highbury. Gunners fans were already angry with referee Mike Riley for awarding Martin Keown a red card – and when he sent off Dennis Bergkamp for a two-footed lunge, they completely lost their heads. Debris began to rain down onto the pitch, and Carragher was struck by a coin thrown by a Gunners fan. The Liverpool defender angrily threw the coin back into the crowd, and was subsequently sent off by Riley. Carragher ended up being widely condemned for his actions, although the blame was also laid at the feet of the fans who threw the debris. The defender ended up publicly apologising – avoiding a charge of misconduct by the FA in the process, but was slapped with a formal warning by the police instead. 

Eden Hazard – Chelsea vs Swansea, 2013 
Current Real Madrid star Eden Hazard is not a player renowned for his temper, but an EFL Cup semi-final that pitted Swansea in 2013, saw him lose his cool, receiving a bizarre red card in the process. The game was tied at 0-0 in the 80th minute, and with Swansea holding a 2 goal lead from the first leg, the Blues needed to score, and quickly. The ball went out for a goal kick, and when Hazard jogged over to hurry things up, he found a ball boy had got there first. What happened next was astonishing. The Belgian attempted to snatch the ball away, only for the teenager to seemingly dive onto the ground, holding onto it. In his attempt to get the ball, Hazard lost his temper and appeared to kick the ball boy in the stomach, forcing him to free it. A replay confirmed the act of villainy, and moments later, the referee showed the Belgian a red card. After the match, Hazard tried to claim that he’d attempted to kick the ball, and then apologised, but it didn’t make this incident any less bizarre, nor to be frank, any less shameful. 

Javier Mascherano – Argentina vs Ecuador, 2013 
A genuinely bizarre incident in 2013 saw Barcelona veteran Javier Mascherano sent off in action for Argentina during a 1-1 draw in World Cup qualification against Ecuador. With the game tied going into the final minutes, La Albiceleste were pushing for a winner, when Mascherano went down after taking a knock. It was decided that he needed to go off the pitch for treatment, and so medics placed him onto a cart and began to wheel him away, only for someone to apparently throw water at the Barcelona man. Mascherano then saw red, and decided to lash out at the medic who was steering the cart, kicking him in the shoulder with his left foot. Referee Enrique Caceres immediately sent him off, much to his disgust, and he had to be led away by teammate Ezequiel Lavezzi, preventing him from confronting the official. Mascherano later claimed that he’d made a mistake in kicking the medic. According to the player, he was merely trying to warn the driver that the stretcher was going too fast and he was about to fall off. Whether that was the case, we’ll never know, but there’s no disputing that this was a very strange dismissal indeed. 

Neymar – Santos vs Colo Colo, 2011 
Brazilian superstar Neymar is no stranger to controversy, but back in his days playing for Santos, he was the victim of a red card that was surely unfair. Faced with Chilean side Colo-Colo in a Copa Libertadores match, the then 19-year-old forward scored a brilliant solo effort, giving his side a 3-0 lead. He then chose to celebrate in a somewhat unusual way – being handed a mask of his own face by a fan, and pulling it on upside-down. Somehow, the referee decided this was an infringement of the rules, and showed the forward his second yellow card, sending him off. Neymar naturally protested, but the referee was having none of it. Thankfully, Santos held on for a win although Colo Colo did score twice and somehow, both sides had 2 more players sent off each. After the game, Santos manager Marcelo Martelotte seemingly had no sympathy for Neymar – stating that he was sent off for “not knowing the rules” – which felt a little harsh to say the least. 

Kieran Gibbs – Arsenal vs Chelsea, 2014 
Arsenal’s 2014 defeat at the hands of Chelsea was embarrassing enough – the game finished 6-0 to the Blues – but one of the most bizarre red cards of all time only made matters worse. This strange incident saw defender Kieran Gibbs sent off for literally doing nothing wrong at all. So what happened? Essentially, it was a case of mistaken identity. A shot from Eden Hazard was tipped around the post by the hand of midfielder Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, and referee Andre Marriner quite rightly awarded the Blues a penalty. A red card was the obvious punishment for Chamberlain, but somehow, Marriner decided to show it to his teammate Gibbs. Arsenal’s players were absolutely baffled, but despite Chamberlain seemingly admitting his guilt, the official was having none of it and forced Gibbs off the field. Marriner did apologise for his actions after the match – but despite Gibbs’ red card being rescinded, the official wasn’t off the hook with some observers. Former referee Clive Thomas stated that it was “the most disgusting, shocking decision” he’d ever seen – and suggested Marriner be banned for the rest of the season. 

Robin Van Persie – Arsenal vs Barcelona, 2011 
Plenty of opponents have accused Barcelona of somehow being favoured by officials during Champions League action, and in 2011, Arsenal may well have had a point. After defeating La Blaugrana 2-1 at the Emirates, they simply needed to avoid defeat at the Nou Camp to qualify for the quarter-finals. With just over half an hour remaining, the game was tied at 1-1 and the Gunners looked relatively comfortable. That was until striker Robin Van Persie found himself through on goal, only to be flagged offside. Failing to hear the referee’s whistle, the Dutchman shot wide, and moments later, was shown a second yellow card for apparently kicking the ball away. To say the decision was ludicrous would be an understatement, especially when a replay showed there had been one second between the referee’s whistle and Van Persie’s shot. With the Dutchman dismissed, Arsenal’s remaining 10 men capitulated – conceding 2 goals in 3 minutes – and Barcelona headed through into the next round. Van Persie went onto describe the decision as “a joke” and to be honest, it was hard to disagree with him. 

Adam Lindin Ljungkvist – Pershagen vs Jarna, 2016 
Swedish defender Adam Lindin Ljungkvist is hardly a household name in the world of football, but his name went viral in 2016, for all the wrong reasons. Playing for Pershagen SK, a bottom-tier club in Sweden, against their local rivals Jarna SK, he was shown two yellow cards. The reason? Apparently, Ljungkvist broke wind, loudly, and offended the referee to the point where he booked the left-back twice and dismissed him. Ljungkvist was understandably baffled by the decision – stating that he had a bad stomach, and simply “let go”. For his part, the referee claimed he’d sent Ljungkvist off for “deliberate provocation and unsportsmanlike behaviour”, while opposition striker Kristoffer Linde claimed he’d heard the flatulence from quite a distance away. The incident stands out as perhaps the strangest red card in football history, although the referee, Danny Kako, later claimed he’d experienced a similar incident when a player urinated on the pitch, and was shown a yellow card too. 

Edinson Cavani – PSG vs Lens, 2014 
Plenty of players have a trademark celebration, and Uruguayan striker Edinson Cavani is no different. Like many players before him, Cavani’s celebration involves mimicking the shooting of a gun. Unfortunately, that celebration got him into hot water during a 2014 match between Paris St-Germain and Lens. With PSG 1-2 up early in the second half, Cavani was brought down in the box by Lens defender Jean-Philippe Gbamin, and the referee awarded a penalty, sending Gbamin off in the process. The Uruguayan promptly scored the spot-kick, and then performed his trademark sniper-rifle celebration. Evidently unimpressed, the referee booked him, and then when Cavani attempted to remonstrate with him, he showed him a second yellow and dismissed him. Thankfully for PSG, the referee then sent off Lens midfielder Jerome Le Moigne, making the game 10 men against 9. Still, that didn’t let the official off the hook with PSG’s president Nasser Al Khelaifi after the game. He quite rightfully questioned the red card, unable to understand why, if the celebration was so bad, Cavani had never landed himself in trouble before. 

David Abraham – Frankfurt vs Freiburg, 2019 
In the most recent incident on this list, Frankfurt captain David Abraham was not only sent off in bizarre fashion, but the red card also led to him being banned for 7 weeks. The defender’s crime? With Frankfurt trailing 1-0 and the game deep into added time, he bowled Freiburg’s coach Christian Streich over in an attempt to retrieve the ball from him, triggering scenes of absolute chaos. Freiburg’s players, and coaches, chased Abraham across the pitch, and when cooler heads finally prevailed, the defender was sent off. Also red-carded was Freiburg’s Vincenzo Grifo – who had already been substituted, as VAR spotted him targeting Abraham in the brawl, while Streich’s assistant Florian Bruns was also shown a yellow card. For his part though, Streich didn’t seem too bothered about the incident. Despite Abraham clearly shoulder-barging him purposely, he stated “Football is a contact sport. At 54 you can be run over by a young buffalo, you can’t hold yourself against it any more”. 

Source: Ghana Soccer

Robinson – FIFA Referee at only 25

"There's an incredible amount of mental resilience required to block abuse out but it shouldn't be that way." The abuse? The pressure? The criticism? Why would anyone want to be a referee? From friendships and goals to FIFA and Pep - it turns out it is pretty rewarding, according to Northern Irish official Jamie Robinson. "A career in refereeing isn't an obvious choice because it's unconventional," said Robinson, 25. "The old saying that referees are failed footballers is largely true and it most certainly applies to me. I played football for a few years until I was 13, then I decided an 18-0 drubbing was the end of my playing career. I had lost the love of playing, so my uncle and a few others suggested taking a referee course but it was something I had never considered doing. It was a good way to stay involved in a sport that I love while keeping fit with the potential of reaching a higher level than I ever would have playing the game." 
An email to Alan Snoddy, the former referee chief at the Irish Football Association, sparked a journey through the ranks for the Portadown native. Two weeks after qualifying from an intensive course at Banbridge Town Football Club, the then 14-year-old took charge of his first game. "I was appointed to Loughgall and Cookstown Youth in the Mid-Ulster Youth League," he recalled. "It was an under-12s game and it's funny to think about how nervous I was before it." Robinson was in his 12th season as a referee before the coronavirus outbreak halted the Irish Premiership season and he says he is enjoying the sport more than ever. "I have met an incredible amount of people and have made lifelong friendships with people all over the world," he added. "I've been extremely fortunate to have travelled to so many countries and it's not something I take for granted. Whether you're at Mallusk playing fields on a Saturday morning or if you're working in the Premier League, refereeing allows you to develop skills to a level which would struggle to be matched by many other activities in life." His progress up the order has been rapid and Robinson was named as a FIFA referee in December, something he says is his "biggest achievement". "It is the referee equivalent of playing for your national team as a player so it's a huge honour to have been nominated by the Irish Football Association," he added. "The minimum age requirement to make the list is 25, so it wasn't something I was expecting to achieve when I had only just became eligible. I was due to travel to Russia for my first appointment at the end of March but Covid-19 put an end to that." 
Abuse from the stands is one of the reasons why referee retention is such a problem worldwide and why so many new officials move on from the game. Robinson feels that the issue is no different in Northern Ireland and says there is "definitely a line" to what is acceptable. "People say officials take the most abuse on a pitch, but in certain cases I would argue otherwise because some of things I hear being said by fans towards opposition players is hard to believe," he said. "The onus must be on the supporters behaving in an acceptable manner rather than the player or referee simply trying their best to ignore what's said." He adds that while he is now able to block out abuse, it doesn't end once the final whistle has blown. "There's so much coverage of the league now on TV, radio, social media, forums and podcasts," Robinson said. "The fact is we do make mistakes because we're human and not robots, just like a player might miss an open net or a manager get their tactics wrong. There's a misconception that we go home after a match, open a bottle of bubbly and dance around the kitchen regardless of our performance because we don't care. The truth is we do care, we are accountable and we do understand the consequences that our decisions can have on the game. It's sometimes very difficult to clear your mind of a mistake but we need to act quickly because you can't bring them into your next game or you'll just mentally self-destruct." 
Despite only making his debut in the Irish Premiership in 2017, Robinson has officiated at Europa League level and had some incredible experiences. Starting a Europa League qualifying game between Universitatea Craiova and Budapest Honved as fourth official, he was called into action after referee Arnold Hunter was struck by an object thrown by the crowd. The match in Romania was suspended for 30 minutes before Robinson took charge for the remainder of the game, which is quite an ask in front of a crowd of 22,000. He also had the opportunity to stand on the touchline with Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola in the FA Cup after originally attending the game as a spectator in January 2019. "It was a total surprise since the only reason I was there in the first place was to watch a game that my friend was refereeing," he reflected on the third round tie against Rotherham United. I was tapped on the shoulder by a member of staff from City who said I needed to come down and replace the fourth official, and it was a swift move from my seat down to the changing rooms for a quick change of clothes and link up of the communication system. It was difficult to adjust myself from the mindset of casually watching a game to being completely focussed for 45 minutes of football." After being confirmed as a FIFA-standard referee, Robinson knows he will have to keep on improving and performing at the top level. "The biggest game in Northern Ireland is the Irish Cup Final so it would be fantastic to be involved in that in some capacity in the future," he added. "I want to maintain my place on the international list of referees for as long as possible and hopefully progress on it. There are an abundance of opportunities available, but nothing comes easily and you have to put in good performances on a regular basis, it's as simple as that. There's always someone else looking to take your position so nothing can ever be taken for granted". 

Source: BBC