Steinhaus ends her career with German Super Cup

Fans in more than 200 countries will watch the Super Cup between Bayern and Dortmund live on TV on Wednesday. And many will rub their eyes - for the first time, Bibiana Steinhaus (41), a woman whistles this game. The police inspector from Hanover has been refereeing in men's professional football since 2007, and in the first division since 2017. Wednesday it will be a triple premiere, because she has not yet refereed a game with BVB participation. In addition: it will be her first appearance as main referee this season. No question about it - for Bibi it is the biggest game of her career! Even if she has already whistled 3 World Cups and 3 European championships - they were all women's tournaments. But this milestone will be her last big appearance. The popular referee is ending her career, the “Bild” reports. Steinhaus has been refereeing in the Bundesliga since 2017 (23 games), and since 2007 in the 2nd Bundesliga (92 games). Now, after the Super Cup it will be over for “Bibi”. The reasons for this decision? Her private life. For four years she has been with ex-referee Howard Webb (49), who currently lives in New York. Due to the Corona crisis, the two only saw each other on screens for five months. Only a few weeks ago they were finally able to embrace each other again in London. (Source: Express
Bibiana Steinhaus ends her national and international referee career. The German Super Cup final between FC Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund in Munich will be her last appearance in a stadium. The 41-year-old Steinhaus explains the reasons for her retirement: "Like a lot of people during the time of the coronavirus pandemic, I got to thinking quite a bit and re-evaluating things. I had a very honest and constructive discussion with Lutz Michael Frohlich, who is the head of elite refereeing for the German Football Association (DFB), and after weighing up a lot of factors very carefully, I decided to bring an end to my career as a referee, nationally and internationally. This evening, I hope that my focus will be on the match and the match alone. And when the time is right, I will speak in a little more detail about the reasons for my retirement", said Steinhaus. (Source: DFB
Fritz Keller (DFB President): “I very much regret Bibiana Steinhaus' early retirement. In the future, German football will not only have to continue without an outstanding referee, it will also lose an extraordinary personality and a pioneer in a male domain. I still hope very much that many more women referees will enrich our professional as well as amateur football. Bibiana Steinhaus will continue to be a role model.”
Heike Ullrich (Deputy DFB General Secretary): "Bibiana Steinhaus is not only a great person, but also an extraordinary top referee, who has made it into the Bundesliga and internationally in many finals. She opened doors worldwide for numerous other female referees who are today in male professional football. Well beyond 90 minutes, rather for years, she has convinced on and off the pitch with her competence and professionalism. I would like to thank her very much for these invaluable achievements and I hope that she will continue to do more than just that in the refereeing area, but remains connected to the entire football family.”
Ronny Zimmermann (DFB Vice President for Referees and Qualification): “Bibiana Steinhaus is the German referee par excellence. She has had an incomparable career worldwide and has proven to all critics that she has what it takes to referee in the Bundesliga. For millions of female athletes - players and referees - from the grassroots to the top - she has become a role model with her success story and special personality and will leave deep marks. I take my hat off to this sporting life's achievement.”
Lutz Michael Fröhlich (DFB Director of the Elite Referees): “Bibiana Steinhaus ends her career as a referee on the pitch with today's game. She deserves the greatest recognition for what she has achieved, the greatest respect for her decision and a big thank you from my side for the absolutely trusting cooperation. An absolute enrichment for football, both in terms of the way she conducts the games and in personal contact. She really earned the nomination for this important game. That is the focus for today and I keep my fingers crossed for her and her team for the game management.” (Source: DFB)
Steinhaus was a familiar face on the international scene as well as in Germany. She was named on the FIFA referees list in 2005 and went on to officiate at a whole host of tournaments. She refereed not only at three FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cups (Chile 2008, Germany 2010 and Canada 2014), but also at the last three FIFA Women’s World Cups, at Germany 2011, Canada 2015 and France 2019. Unfortunately for Steinhaus, she pulled a muscle during her first match in France, in the group game between the host nation and Norway, and took no further part in the tournament. Steinhaus’ expertise was not limited to women’s football. At the FIFA U-17 World Cup Brazil 2019, Steinhaus was the first woman Video Assistant Referee (VAR) at a FIFA men's competition. "Bibi is a role model on the pitch for her qualities as an excellent referee, but also for her commitment, confidence and determination," said Kari Seitz, FIFA Head of Women Refereeing. "When you are the first of anything, especially as a woman in a traditional role for men, it takes incredible strength to believe in yourself despite all the obstacles and prejudice. Off the field, Bibi is no less of an incredible role model. She always has a kind and motivational word for others. She tries to build up the people around her, giving them confidence to also be their best. She is a truly generous and kind person and I am pleased to have been her colleague as a referee, and to have had her as part of the team for the project 'Road to the FIFA Women’s World Cup'." (Source: FIFA

Bibiana Steinhaus
Born: 24 March 1979
Profession: Policewoman
DFB referee: since 1999
Women’s Bundesliga referee: 1999-2017
FIFA referee: since 2005
Bundesliga 2 referee: since 2007
Bundesliga referee: since 2017
Women’s referee of the year: 2006-2007, 2007-2008, 2008-2009, 2009-2010, 2010-2011, 2016-2017, 2017-2018
First woman to referee a FIFA Women’s World Cup final (2011) and a Women’s Olympic Football Tournament final (2012)
UEFA Women's Champions League final (2017)

AFC Champions League 2020 – Quarter-finals (West Region)

Asian football history is making this week as the Video Assistant Referee (VAR) system marks its debut in the Asian Football Confederation’s (AFC) Club Competitions when Saudi Arabian giants Al Nassr and Al Ahli Saudi FC battle in the AFC Champions League Quarter-finals at the Jassim Bin Hamad Stadium in Doha, Qatar. Asian refereeing set new benchmarks earlier this year when the AFC U23 Championship Thailand 2020 became the first AFC competition to successfully implement VAR across all 32 matches. Now Asia’s premier club tournament will become the third AFC competition to embrace the latest in technology from the Quarter-finals after it was first introduced from the same stage of the AFC Asian Cup UAE 2019. As part of the AFC’s commitment to ensure Asia’s match officials are equipped with the latest in VAR developments, numerous seminars and courses have been organized with the first-ever online AFC VAR course held as recent as last month, which engaged a total of 104 AFC Elite Match Officials from 19 Member Associations. Additionally, to further enhance the AFC’s VAR capabilities, a virtual AFC VAR Information Officer (VIO) Workshop 2020 was organized on August 26 to ensure VIOs are well-versed with the technical requirements of the VAR system. The VAR system, which aims to provide minimum interference with maximum benefits, is limited to four game-changing decisions or incidents, specifically - goal or no goal, penalty-kicks, direct red cards and mistaken identity decisions. (Source: AFC)

Persepolis – Pakhtakor
Referee: Adham Makhadmeh (JOR, photo)
Assistant Referee 1: Ahmed Al Roalle (JOR)
Assistant Referee 2: Mohammad Al Kalaf (JOR)
Fourth Official: Hettikankanamge Perera (SRI)
Reserve AR: Palitha Hemathunga (SRI)
VAR: Ali Al-Qaysi (IRQ)
AVAR 1: Mohd Yaacob (MAS)
AVAR 2: Hanna Hattab (SYR)

Al Nassr – Al Ahli SFC
Referee: Sivakorn Pu-Udom (THA)
Assistant Referee 1: Ronnie Min Kiat (SIN)
Assistant Referee 2: Abdul Hasim (SIN)
Fourth Official: Nawaf Shukralla (BHR)
Reserve AR: Yoon Kwang-Yeol (KOR)
VAR: Muhammad Bin Jahari (SIN)
AVAR 1: Kim Dae-Yong (KOR)
AVAR 2: Kim Hee-Gon (KOR)

CONMEBOL Libertadores 2020 – Group Stage (Matchday 5)

29 September - 1 October 2020

Gremio – Universidad Catolica
Referee: Facundo Tello (ARG, photo)
Assistant Referee 1: Gabriel Chade (ARG)
Assistant Referee 2: Facundo Rodriguez (ARG)
Fourth Official: Leodan Gonzalez (URU)
Referee Assessor: Paulo Conceicao (BRA)

Penarol – Colo Colo
Referee: Juan Benitez (PAR)
Assistant Referee 1: Eduardo Cardozo (PAR)
Assistant Referee 2: Milciades Saldivar (PAR)
Fourth Official: Jose Mendez (PAR)
Referee Assessor: Dario Ubriaco (URU)

Boca Juniors – Libertad
Referee: Roberto Tobar (CHI)
Assistant Referee 1: Christian Schiemann (CHI)
Assistant Referee 2: Claudio Rios (CHI)
Fourth Official: Christian Garay (CHI)
Referee Assessor: Angel Sanchez (ARG)

Atletico Paranaense – Jorge Wilstermann
Referee: Patricio Loustau (ARG)
Assistant Referee 1: Diego Bonfa (ARG)
Assistant Referee 2: Ezequiel Brailovsky (ARG)
Fourth Official: Esteban Ostojich (URU)
Referee Assessor: Regildenia Moura (BRA)

America de Cali – Internacional
Referee: Guillermo Guerrero (ECU)
Assistant Referee 1: Byron Romero (ECU)
Assistant Referee 2: Luis Murillo (ECU)
Fourth Official: Jesus Valenzuela (VEN)
Referee Assessor: Wilson Lamoroux (COL)

Liga de Quito – Binacional
Referee: John Ospina (COL)
Assistant Referee 1: Miguel Roldan (COL)
Assistant Referee 2: Wilmar Navarro (COL)
Fourth Official: Wilmar Roldan (COL)
Referee Assessor: Juan Albarracin (ECU)

Palmeiras – Bolivar
Referee: Leodan Gonzalez (URU)
Assistant Referee 1: Nicolas Taran (URU)
Assistant Referee 2: Richard Trinidad (URU)
Fourth Official: Esteban Ostojich (URU)
Referee Assessor: Emerson De Carvalho (BRA)

Nacional – Racing
Referee: Ivo Mendez (BOL)
Assistant Referee 1: Milciades Saldivar (PAR)
Assistant Referee 2: Eduardo Cardozo (PAR)
Fourth Official: Juan Benitez (PAR)
Referee Assessor: Roberto Silvera (URU)

Caracas – Independiente Medellin
Referee: Carlos Orbe (ECU)
Assistant Referee 1: Christian Lescano (ECU)
Assistant Referee 2: Ricardo Baren (ECU)
Fourth Official: Augusto Aragon (ECU)
Referee Assessor: Miguel Buitrago (VEN)

Junior – Barcelona
Referee: Alexis Herrera (VEN)
Assistant Referee 1: Jorge Urrego (VEN)
Assistant Referee 2: Francheskoly Chacon (VEN)
Fourth Official: Jose Argote (VEN)
Referee Assessor: Abraham Gonzalez (COL)

Alianza Lima – Estudiantes de Merida
Referee: Gery Vargas (BOL)
Assistant Referee 1: Jose Antelo (BOL)
Assistant Referee 2: Edward Saavedra (BOL)
Fourth Official: Ivo Mendez (BOL)
Referee Assessor: Cesar Escano (PER)

River Plate – Sao Paulo
Referee: Christian Garay (CHI)
Assistant Referee 1: Christian Schiemann (CHI)
Assistant Referee 2: Claudio Rios (CHI)
Fourth Official: Roberto Tobar (CHI)
Referee Assessor: Ricardo Casas (ARG)

Flamengo – Independiente Del Valle
Referee: Fernando Rapallini (ARG)
Assistant Referee 1: Juan Belatti (ARG)
Assistant Referee 2: Pablo Gonzalez (ARG)
Fourth Official: Facundo Tello (ARG)
Referee Assessor: Sergio Cristiano (BRA)

Olimpia – Santos
Referee: Nestor Pitana (ARG)
Assistant Referee 1: Martin Soppi (URU)
Assistant Referee 2: Carlos Barreiro (URU)
Fourth Official: Gustavo Tejera (URU)
Referee Assessor: Carlos Torres (PAR)

Tigre – Guarani
Referee: Roberto Tobar (CHI)
Assistant Referee 1: Christian Schiemann (CHI)
Assistant Referee 2: Claudio Rios (CHI)
Fourth Official: Christian Garay (CHI)
Referee Assessor: Sabrina Lois (ARG)

Delfin – Defensa y Justicia
Referee: Diego Haro (PER)
Assistant Referee 1: Jonny Bossio (PER)
Assistant Referee 2: Michael Orue (PER)
Fourth Official: Kevin Ortega (PER)
Referee Assessor: Wilson Avila (ECU)

UEFA Champions League 2020/2021 – Play-offs (Second Leg)

29 September 2020
Ferencvarosi TC – Molde FC
Referee: Björn Kuipers (NED, photo)
Assistant Referee 1: Sander van Roekel (NED)
Assistant Referee 2: Erwin Zeinstra (NED)
Fourth Official: Serdar Gözübüyük (NED)
VAR: Pol van Boekel (NED)
AVAR: Dennis Higler (NED)
Referee Observer: Lucilio Batista (POR)

Omonia – Olympiacos
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: Alain Hamer (LUX)

Dynamo Kyiv – KAA Gent
Referee: Szymon Marciniak (POL)
Assistant Referee 1: Pawel Sokolnicki (POL)
Assistant Referee 2: Tomasz Listkiewicz (POL)
Fourth Official: Pawel Raczkowski (POL)
VAR: Pawel Gil (POL)
AVAR: Tomasz Kwiatkowski (POL)
Referee Observer: Karen Nalbandyan (ARM)

30 September 2020
FC Midtjylland – Slavia Praha
Referee: Damir Skomina (SVN)
Assistant Referee 1: Jure Praprotnik (SVN)
Assistant Referee 2: Tomaž Klančnik (SVN)
Fourth Official: Rade Obrenovič (SVN)
VAR: Massimiliano Irrati (ITA)
AVAR: Ciro Carbone (ITA)
Referee Observer: Markus Nobs (SUI)

FC Salzburg – Maccabi Tel Aviv
Referee: Felix Brych (GER)
Assistant Referee 1: Mark Borsch (GER)
Assistant Referee 2: Stefan Lupp (GER)
Fourth Official: Daniel Siebert (GER)
VAR: Bastian Dankert (GER)
AVAR: Marco Fritz (GER)
Referee Observer: Murat Ilgaz (TUR)

PAOK – Krasnodar
Referee: Daniele Orsato (ITA)
Assistant Referee 1: Alessandro Giallatini (ITA)
Assistant Referee 2: Fabiano Preti (ITA)
Fourth Official: Daniele Doveri (ITA)
VAR: Marco Guida (ITA)
AVAR: Filippo Meli (ITA)
Referee Observer: Pascal Garibian (FRA)

Brych refereed most UEFA Champions League matches

It is the very best teams, the champions, the best who, according to the anthem, compete against each other in the UEFA Champions League. DFB referee Dr. Felix Brych was able to hear the musical masterpiece more often than any other referee. In the interview, the 45-year-old referee talks to editor Arthur Ril about his special record in the premier class competition, the eventful 2019/2020 season and the upcoming Bundesliga start. Mr. Brych, how would you describe last season in a few words? 
Dr. Felix Brych: The 2019/2020 season was extraordinary and demanding - on and off the pitch. Due to the circumstances that we faced with the Corona break, but also personally. I had a lot of close games that were competitive until the very end. I had to evaluate a lot of tricky situations. I don't think I've ever given as many red cards as I did last season. It really demanded a lot from me, but it also brought something beautiful to light, for example my record in the Champions League. You have been a DFB referee since 1999, in the Bundesliga since 2004 and internationally since 2007. What new experiences did you have in the 2019/2020 season? 
Brych: Of course, the closed games were a new experience. That was something new for me too, which I had to adjust to. After the pre-season, which hadn't gone so well for me with the World Cup, I wanted to fight my way back completely. I had hoped that I would reach my performance limits again in 2019/2020. I did that in many games, and that's why I'm very satisfied with the 2019/2020 season from a sporting perspective. And what experience would you have liked to have done without in retrospect? 
Brych: Games in an empty stadium are different than in front of a sold out house. The atmosphere pushes me too, but it also motivated me that I had to prepare for an empty stadium because it was something new for me. I noticed that I was really looking forward to the first game after the Corona break. Another special feature was that the regional association neutrality was lifted, so that I was allowed to whistle in Bavaria. That released new strength somewhere and with it, in turn, new motivation in me. That's why I don't want to completely miss out on this experience, but of course I'm happy when the stands are full again at some point. Among the currently active DFB referees, you have by far the most matches in the Bundesliga with 283 appearances,. And in the UEFA Champions League you also rose to the record of most matches refereed, after the game between SSC Napoli and FC Barcelona. Have you always had this goal in mind? 
Brych: It was never my goal, but recently I had noticed that this record was possible - and then it became my goal. So this game in Naples was a really special game. In the history of the Champions League, with 57 appearances, you directed the most games of all referees. What does this record mean to you? 
Brych: A lot. Of course, it's not just this record game that is special, but rather the entire way there - and that I persevered for so long. Every now and then we each walk through a valley, sometimes things don't work the way we want, we have to face setbacks or defeats. But I've always been able to fight my way back and motivate - for every game, every year. Then when I saw the record in sight, I really started counting the games and in the end I am proud that it worked out. In the second leg of the match between Manchester City and Real Madrid, you even managed to increase your own record to 58 appearances in the premier class of European football. Do you still get goose bumps when you hear the Champions League anthem? 
Brych: The anthem is very special to me and I get goose bumps every time I hear it, but not just before the game. I'm so focused that I almost don't notice the surrounding area anymore. I did everything I could to be allowed to whistle in this league. Every Champions League appearance is still a highlight for me. That's why my goal is to be able to hear the anthem a few more times. In the UEFA Europa League you were appointed to lead the semi-final between FC Sevilla and Manchester United in Cologne. Whistling a European Cup game on German soil, this experience has only been granted to a few DFB referees so far. How was it for you to be able to referee an international game in Germany? 
Brych: I was really looking forward to this mission, although it can also be dangerous. If the anticipation is too great, you may lose your tension, but that didn't happen to me. To be able to whistle a European Cup game at home is an opportunity only given to very few referees. After the Corona-related restart of the Bundesliga, the DFB referees were also grateful and happy to be back on the pitch so that they could pursue their passion again. How do you feel about the upcoming Bundesliga start? 
Brych: With the same feeling as after the restart, with a certain joy and gratitude that we can return to the field. But certainly also with a question mark: How does it go next? How is the health situation developing nationally and internationally? The focus is clearly on the sport, but the view also goes around us. 36 appearances in national and international competitions. How do you actually recover from such an exhausting season? Were you able to enjoy the summer break and switch off? At the beginning of September the training camp of the DFB referees in Grassau and the preparation for the new season were already on the agenda. 
Brych: A correct and deeper recovery was not possible between the seasons, but we all had the 8-week Corona break, which I used accordingly - both mentally and physically. In the course of my career I have learned to switch off as quickly and intensively as possible in a very short time. Even during the season, when there are three games a week, I have to process one and prepare for the next. I'm fit and looking forward to the new season – ready to start. 

Source: DFB

AFC Champions League 2020 – Round of 16 (West Region)

26-27 September 2020

Al Ahli SFC – Shabab Al Ahli
Referee: Nawaf Shukralla (BHR, photo)
Assistant Referee 1: Mohamed Salman (BHR)
Assistant Referee 2: Abdulla Al-Rowaimi (BHR)
Fourth Official: Adham Makhadmeh (JOR)

Pakhtakor – Esteghlal
Referee: Ahmed Al Kaf (OMA)
Assistant Referee 1: Abu Al Amri (OMA)
Assistant Referee 2: Rashid Al Ghaithi (OMA)
Fourth Official: Mohd Yaacob (MAS)

Persepolis – Al Sadd
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 Nassr – Al Taawoun
Referee: Ali Al-Qaysi (IRQ)
Assistant Referee 1: Ahmed Al Roalle (JOR)
Assistant Referee 2: Mohammad Al Kalaf (JOR)
Fourth Official: Sivakorn Pu-Udom (THA)

Matticoli: 300 Beach Soccer matches

Italian referee Gionni Matticoli celebrated his 300th beach soccer match when he refereed the final of the recent Euro Winners Cup. Mattocoli refereed 190 international and 110 national matches in his career and this was his 12th final, a long list of achievements that began to in 2013 at the very first edition of the Euro Winners Cup held in San Benedetto del Tronto. 
The Euro Winners Cup is a competition organized by Beach Soccer Worldwide and reserved for the winning clubs of their respective national championships and others of the best in Europe. The 7th edition was held this month in Nazaré, a Portuguese town which is now a consolidated venue for various beach soccer competitions, hosting 26 men's and 5 women's clubs from all over Europe. There were 18 referees appointed, including three Italians: Gionni Matticoli, Saverio Bottalico and Fiammetta Susanna. The refereeing team was led by another Italian, FIFA instructor Michele Conti, also a member of the National Committee of the Italian Referees Association. Bottalico, who in the days preceding the Tournament had directed the decisive match of the Euro Beach Soccer League between Portugal and Switzerland, was assigned the semi-final between the Spaniards of CD FP Marbella and the Russians of BSC Kristall, and then we was the third referee in the final, along with his compatriot Matticoli and German Torsten Gunther, played between the Russians of BSC Kristall and the Portuguese of SC Braga, currently holders of the title. Susanna led the referee team for the decisive match of the Euro Winners Cup Woman, made up of German colleague Annett Unterbeck and Hungarian Renata Foris. A "non-final final" as the five women's clubs that participated in the tournament faced each other in a single round and the match between the Russian WFC Zvezda and the Spanish CFP Caceres was decisive for assigning the women’s title. 

Source: AIA

Penalty kick awarded via VAR after full-time whistle

Manchester United sealed a dramatic victory against Brighton on Saturday following one of the most incredible finales in Premier League history at the Amex Arena. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side looked to have squandered two points when Solly March deservedly drew the home side level deep in stoppage time when he headed home at the far post. United, however, responded by mounting one last attack and earned a corner thanks to a surging run from summer signing Donny van de Beek. Bruno Fernandes’ subsequent cross located Harry Maguire at the far post and he powered a header towards goal. The flight of the ball was altered by the flailing arm of Neal Maupay but the full-time whistle had blown before the danger had been cleared by March, standing on his own goal line. 
Maguire led United’s appeals and referee Chris Kavanagh was persuaded to visit the pitch side monitor, despite having already signalled the end of a dramatic contest. The official quickly spotted Maupay’s offence and allowed Fernandes the opportunity to win a thrilling contest which, according to former Premier League official Peter Walton, was the correct decision. He said: “The referee has got it right. I haven’t seen that before. In the laws of the game the only thing that the referee can extend the game for after the final whistle is the taking of the penalty kick. In this instance the incident took place before he blew the final whistle so the VAR was going through his process of checking to make sure there was nothing untoward. ‘Chris Kavanagh blew his final whistle, however the incident happened just before the final whistle and was allowed within law, and as I’ve said because the penalty was yet to be taken the referee within law has to allow time for the kick to be taken.” 

Source: Metro

FIFA World Cup 2022 Qualifiers – CONMEBOL (Matchday 2)

13 October 2020

Peru – Brazil
Referee: Julio Bascunan (CHI, photo)
Assistant Referee 1: Jose Retamal (CHI)
Assistant Referee 2: Raul Orellana (CHI)
Fourth Official: Ivo Mendez (BOL)
VAR: Piero Maza (CHI)
AVAR: Gery Vargas (BOL)

Chile – Colombia
Referee: Dario Herrera (ARG)
Assistant Referee 1: Julio Fernandez (ARG)
Assistant Referee 2: Cristian Navarro (ARG)
Fourth Official: Fernando Echenique (ARG)
VAR: Mauro Vigliano (ARG)
AVAR: Fernando Espinoza (ARG)

Ecuador – Uruguay
Referee: Wilmar Roldan (COL)
Assistant Referee 1: Wilmar Navarro (COL)
Assistant Referee 2: Miguel Roldan (COL)
Fourth Official: Bismarks Santiago (COL)
VAR: John Ospina (COL)
AVAR: Carlos Betancour (COL)

Bolivia – Argentina
Referee: Diego Haro (PER)
Assistant Referee 1: Jonny Bossio (PER)
Assistant Referee 2: Victor Raez (PER)
Fourth Official: Michael Espinoza (PER)
VAR: Victor Carrillo (PER)
AVAR: Angelo Hermosilla (CHI)

Venezuela – Paraguay
Referee: Andres Rojas (COL)
Assistant Referee 1: Alexander Guzman (COL)
Assistant Referee 2: Dionisio Ruiz (COL)
Fourth Official: Carlos Herrera (COL)
VAR: Nicolas Gallo (COL)
AVAR: John Leon (COL)

FIFA World Cup 2022 Qualifiers – CONMEBOL (Matchday 1)

8 October 2020

Paraguay – Peru
Referee: Nestor Pitana (ARG, photo)
Assistant Referee 1: Martin Soppi (URU)
Assistant Referee 2: Carlos Barreiro (URU)
Fourth Official: Gustavo Tejera (URU)
VAR: Daniel Fedorczuk (URU)
AVAR: Andres Matonte (URU)

Argentina – Ecuador
Referee: Roberto Tobar (CHI)
Assistant Referee 1: Christian Schiemann (CHI)
Assistant Referee 2: Claudio Rios (CHI)
Fourth Official: Christian Ferreyra (URU)
VAR: Cristian Garay (CHI)
AVAR: Andres Cunha (URU)

Uruguay – Chile
Referee: Eber Aquino (PAR)
Assistant Referee 1: Eduardo Cardozo (PAR)
Assistant Referee 2: Milciades Saldivar (PAR)
Fourth Official: Arnaldo Samaniego (PAR)
VAR: Juan Benitez (PAR)
AVAR: Jose Mendez (PAR)

Colombia – Venezuela
Referee: Guillermo Guerrero (ECU)
Assistant Referee 1: Byron Romero (ECU)
Assistant Referee 2: Ricardo Baren (ECU)
Fourth Official: Augusto Aragon (ECU)
VAR: Carlos Orbe (ECU)
AVAR: Christian Lescano (ECU)

Brazil – Bolivia
Referee: Leodan Gonzalez (URU)
Assistant Referee 1: Nicolas Taran (URU)
Assistant Referee 2: Richard Trinidad (URU)
Fourth Official: Facundo Tello (ARG)
VAR: Esteban Ostojich (URU)
AVAR: Fernando Rapallini (ARG)

Tafesse: from basketball to top level football refereeing

Starting off as a professional basketball player, not many thought Lidya Tafesse Abebe would trade the rims and bounces for the whistle, and not in basketball, but football. The 40-year old has been on a 20-year journey of refereeing, becoming the first ever woman to officiate a men’s top flight game in Ethiopia. She was also the first ever woman FIFA referee in the East African nation. 
“I started off in Jimma, while still playing basketball. I played football in school, but basketball was my first sport. I was interested when I met one of the instructors doing some courses and some of us from the basketball team were invited. I liked how he was teaching and I got interested more,” Tafesse says. The seed planted in her soul by the FIFA/CAF instructor Shiferaw Eshetu continued to germinate and grow as the days went on. When she moved to the capital Addis Ababa to continue her basketball career and pursue a course in Pharmacy, the interest continued and soon she started building on with more courses and when it became apparent that she had found some new love, dumped the old one; basketball. “I was part of the female referees’ project and I started off by doing the U-15, 17 games, the local tournaments as well as some Federation tournaments. I got more certification and I started doing the Men’s Premier League as an assistant referee and, in 2005, I became a centre referee,” narrates Tafesse. The journey, though satisfying hasn’t been easy for the mother of one. When she started, there were no women referees and when she officiated men’s games, there was even more difficulty. But her resilience and desire to make a mark in Ethiopian football drover her passion. “It was very difficult when I started because sometimes, some people would ask why I decided to go into refereeing as a woman when there were no any other women doing the same. But my family supported me and I am grateful for them. Also, I came from a sports background and the fact that while playing basketball we trained and played against some men teams gave me confidence and it wasn’t so difficult for me at times, even when I did men’s games,” explains Tafesse. She also remains grateful to the Ethiopian Football Federation who gave her and her colleagues confidence to continue and even handed them Premier League matches to boost their confidence. He vividly remembers the influence former vice-president Tihaye Egziaber had on her. “He would talk to us as women referees and really encouraged us. He gave us so much support,” she states. 
Her impressive performances earned her a first ever international assignment in 2006 when she officiated a U-20 Africa Cup of Nations qualifier between Nigeria and Liberia in Abuja and that opened the floodgates for her to grow. “I will not forget that match because it was so different. The stadium was bigger than what we are used to here in Ethiopia, the crowd was amazing and the level was definitely good,” Tafesse remembers. She has gone on to progress, doing the All Africa Games in 2007 and 2011, before going on to do the Africa Women’s Cup of Nations (AWCON) four times in a row in 2012, 2014, 2016 and 2018. On top of that, she has officiated at the FIFA Women’s World Cup in 2015 and 2019, did the FIFA U-17 World Cup in 2016 as well as the U-20 in 2018. But in between all those wonderful assignments, she faced a challenge that nearly slowed down her sailing career. In 2013, she conceived her first born child who will be turning seven years old in October. But, the aftermath of her return seven months later was full of challenges. “Physiologically, as women, we have so many body changes after pregnancy and I was not different. I gained so much weight and I had to work very hard to get back in shape. I worked a lot and eventually I was better and in 2014, I got a chance to go for the Cup of Nations. But while training there, I got injured and in my mind, it was all over for me. I tried to do some tests and see whether I could go on but I had decided I would go home. However, the director came and told me ‘Lydia you are not going. Just try and see whether you can recover’. I started treating the sprain on my ankle every day and, ultimately, I got better. I did a match in the semi-final, Cameroon vs Côte d'Ivoire, which went up to extra time. Surprisingly, I was stronger and fitter than both teams when the game went to 120 minutes. I was so pleased,” Tafesse remembers. This is one of her most memorable matches. The other one was in 2012 when she officiated another semi-final pitting Nigeria and South Africa, a match that the Banyana Banyana won 1-0. “It was such a great game to officiate because both of them are brilliant teams. Also, it was very hot and I remembered hoping it would not go to extra time,” jokes Tafesse. She hopes to continue getting high profile games moving forward and is even more excited that she will get a chance to officiate at a CAF men’s tournament for the first time as she is among those picked for the African Nations Championship (CHAN) in Cameroon next year. 
Despite the stoppages caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, Tafesse has continued to train on her own and has also use the time off competitions to give back to the community. She is using her background as a pharmacist and knowledge in medicine to raise awareness on the virus and help the community keep themselves safe from contracting and spreading the virus. “I have been doing education on social media and on radio and TV stations just trying to tell people on the dangers of the virus. I also go to the communities and teach them how to wash hands and keep hygiene. Also, I have been giving back to the community by helping the vulnerable who have not had a chance to get food and basic commodities,” she states. On her training, Tafesse admits that it has been tough but notes she has not had a reason to put the feet off the gas. “I train outside three times a week and also indoors, where I have tried to put up my own small gym. We have a system where we have to make reports daily as well as GPS trackers to ensure we are training.” As a woman, Tafesse says it has been great balancing between her family and refereeing, a career she has given her full attention to. The support from her husband and the motivation of her seven-year old keeps her going, Tafesse says. And now, she hopes she can influence the next generation of women referees in Ethiopia and the continent at large to take up the career. She hopes that after her active years, apart from continuing with her profession as a pharmacist, she will switch to become an instructor as she looks to get more and more referees following her path. 

Source: CAF

UEFA Europa League 2020/2021 – Play-offs

1 October 2020

Ararat Armenia – Crvena Zvezda
Referee: Anastasios Sidiropoulos (GRE, photo)
Assistant Referee 1: Polychronis Kostaras (GRE)
Assistant Referee 2: Lazaros Dimitriadis (GRE)
Fourth Official: Ioannis Papadopoulos (GRE)
Referee Observer: Ichko Lozev (BUL)

CFR Cluj – KuPS Kuopio
Referee: Ivan Bebek (CRO)
Assistant Referee 1: Goran Pataki (CRO)
Assistant Referee 2: Bojan Zobenica (CRO)
Fourth Official: Mario Zebec (CRO)
Referee Observer: Miroslav Tulinger (CZE)

GNK Dinamo – Flora Tallinn
Referee: Ali Palabiyik (TUR)
Assistant Referee 1: Serkan Olguncan (TUR)
Assistant Referee 2: Cem Satman (TUR)
Fourth Official: Arda Kardeşler (TUR)
Referee Observer: Martin Ingvarsson (SWE)

Slovan Liberec – Apoel FC
Referee: Andreas Ekberg (SWE)
Assistant Referee 1: Mehmet Culum /(SWE)
Assistant Referee 2: Stefan Hallberg (SWE)
Fourth Official: Kristoffer Karlsson (SWE)
Referee Observer: Haim Jakov (ISR)

Malmö FF – Granada CF
Referee: Istvan Kovacs (ROU)
Assistant Referee 1: Vasile Marinescu (ROU)
Assistant Referee 2: Mihai Artene (ROU)
Fourth Official: Marius Avram (ROU)
Referee Observer: Tomasz Mikulski (POL)

Charleroi SC – Lech Poznan
Referee: Felix Zwayer (GER)
Assistant Referee 1: Thorsten Schiffner (GER)
Assistant Referee 2: Marco Achmüller (GER)
Fourth Official: Bejmain Cortus (GER)
Referee Observer: Jouni Hyytiä (FIN)

Rosenborg BK – PSV Eindhoven
Referee: Davide Massa (ITA)
Assistant Referee 1: Alberto Tegoni (ITA)
Assistant Referee 2: Stefano Alassio (ITA)
Fourth Official: Fabio Maresca (ITA)
Referee Observer: Uno Tutk (EST)

Hapoel Beer Sheva – Viktoria Plzen
Referee: Srdjan Jovanović (SRB)
Assistant Referee 1: Uroš Stojković (SRB)
Assistant Referee 2: Milan Mihajlović (SRB)
Fourth Official: Novak Simović (SRB)
Referee Observer: Alexandru Deaconu (ROU)

Legia Warszawa – Qarabag FK
Referee: Tobias Stieler (GER)
Assistant Referee 1: Christian Gittelmann (GER)
Assistant Referee 2: Rafael Foltyn (GER)
Fourth Official: Daniel Schlager (GER)
Referee Observer: Emil Bozhinovski (MKD)

FK Sarajevo – Celtic FC
Referee: Benoît Bastien (FRA)
Assistant Referee 1: Hicham Zakrani (FRA)
Assistant Referee 2: Frederic Haquette (FRA)
Fourth Official: Benoît Millot (FRA)
Referee Observer: Volodymyr Petrov (UKR)

Dynamo Brest – PFC Ludogorets
Referee: Slavko Vinčić (SVN)
Assistant Referee 1: Andraž Kovacić (SVN)
Assistant Referee 2: Grega Kordež (SVN)
Fourth Official: Nejć Kajtazović (SVN)
Referee Observer: Costas Kapitanis (CYP)

Standard de Liege - Fehervar FC
Referee: William Collum (SCO)
Assistant Referee 1: David McGeachie (SCO)
Assistant Referee 2: Francis Connor (SCO)
Fourth Official: Kevin Clancy (SCO)
Referee Observer: Stefan Messner (AUT)

FC Copenhagen – HNK Rijeka
Referee: Christopher Kavanagh (ENG)
Assistant Referee 1: Daniel Cook (ENG)
Assistant Referee 2: Sian Massey-Ellis (ENG)
Fourth Official: Peter Bankes (ENG)
Referee Observer: Peter Sippel (GER)

Dundalk FC – KI Klaksvik
Referee: Maurizio Mariani (ITA)
Assistant Referee 1: Matteo Passeri (ITA)
Assistant Referee 2: Daniele Bindoni (ITA)
Fourth Official: Michael Fabbri (ITA)
Referee Observer: Stavros Tritsonis (GRE)

BSC Young Boys – KF Tirana
Referee: Sergei Karasev (RUS)
Assistant Referee 1: Igor Demeshko (RUS)
Assistant Referee 2: Maksim Gavrilin (RUS)
Fourth Official: Mikhail Vilkov (RUS)
Referee Observer: Bernardino Gonzalez Vazquez (ESP)

FC Basel – CSKA Sofia
Referee: Ivan Kruzliak (SVK)
Assistant Referee 1: Tomas Somolani (SVK)
Assistant Referee 2: Branislav Hancko (SVK)
Fourth Official: Peter Kralovic (SVK)
Referee Observer: Darko Čeferin (SVN)

Rangers FC – Galatasaray AS
Referee: Andris Treimanis (LVA)
Assistant Referee 1: Haralds Gudermanis (LVA)
Assistant Referee 2: Aleksejs Spasjonnikovs (LVA)
Fourth Official: Aleksandrs Golubevs (LVA)
Referee Observer: Alfredo Trentalange (ITA)

AEK Athens – VfL Wolfsburg
Referee: Artur Soares Dias (POR)
Assistant Referee 1: Rui Tavares (POR)
Assistant Referee 2: Paulo Santos (POR)
Fourth Official: Joao Pinheiro (POR)
Referee Observer: Laurent Duhamel (FRA)

Tottenham Hotspur – Maccabi Haifa
Referee: Ruddy Buquet (FRA)
Assistant Referee 1: Guillaume Debart (FRA)
Assistant Referee 2: Cyril Gringore (FRA)
Fourth Official: Amaury Delerue (FRA)
Referee Observer: Rune Pedersen (NOR)

Sporting Clube de Portugal – LASK
Referee: Alexey Kulbakov (BLR)
Assistant Referee 1: Dzimitry Zhuk (BLR)
Assistant Referee 2: Aleh Maslianka (BLR)
Fourth Official: Viktar Shymusik (BLR)
Referee Observer: Vlado Svilokos (CRO)

Rio Ave FC – AC Milan
Referee: Jesus Gil Manzano (ESP)
Assistant Referee 1: Diego Barbero Sevilla (ESP)
Assistant Referee 2: Angel Nevado Rodriguez (ESP)
Fourth Official: Javier Alberola Rojas (ESP)
Referee Observer: Nikolai Levnikov (RUS)

Spanish referees have to wait to be considered as “professional athletes”

Recently, CTA-RFEF made an important announcement for the future of the First and Second Division referees and assistants regarding the change of their status as professional athletes in their contracts. On 25 March 2020, the RFEF Delegate Committee gave the green light to this change in the General Regulations relating to the refereeing body. The most important and key aspect lies in their change of name, becoming considered as "professional referee, assistant referee and video assistant referee", also disappearing the age limit for retirement that until last season was set in the Regulations of the RFEF at 45 years. It is exactly the terminology "professional" that will have to wait for now. 
The Board of Directors of the Consejo Superior de Deportes (CSD) released an unfavorable report regarding the modification of article 167 of the RFEF Regulation, included within those modifications approved by the aforementioned Delegate Committee of the RFEF. In section 1, the referees are attributed the status of professional athlete, a consideration that the report considers "It is not justified, since it is not included in the Royal Decree 1006 that regulates the employment relationship of professional athletes, nor is this situation recognized by jurisprudence". This negative report ended up being imposed and for the moment denying this condition to the refereeing body. Accepting it would mean modifying the aforementioned Royal Decree 1006 and allowing both the football refereeing establishment and the rest of sports to benefit from this condition. Something that should be like that, but legally has enormous complexity. Hence, at the moment the referee and assistant of First and Second Divisions are to be considered as "professionalized", not “professional”. This small setback, which Luis Rubiales himself recognized in his recent re-election as president and said that they will continue to fight because the referees are professionals, does not affect their recent job change because on 1 September 2020 all referees, assistants and referees signed their first contract, which is 14 pages long and ties them with the RFEF for one season. Specifically from this first day of September until 30 June 2021. Furthermore, this new employment regulation scenario implies that professional football refereeing becomes dependent on the Social Security regime. This season, this contract also gives them the possibility of being able to combine their refereeing activities with other work, but from next season it will mean an exclusive dedication. In the cases where it will not be possible, the referee must waive 10% of the amount received from the refereeing body. The employer will fully pays all the amounts that the refereeing body is entitled to receive as a result of the signing of the professional refereeing agreement by Javier Tebas and Luis Rubiales in August 2018, exceeding 16 million euros in terms of salaries of the referees, assistants and VARs. Then there are other items in terms of travel, courses, etc. In addition, and under this new labour regime, it is also the Professional League itself that assumes the expenses of Social Security, which amounts to 2 million euros. 

Source: Sport

AFC Champions League 2020 – Group Stage (West Region, Matchday 6)

23-24 September 2020

Esteghlal FC – Al Ahli SFC 
Referee: Adham Makhadmeh (JOR, photo) 
Assistant Referee 1: Ahmed Al-Roalle (JOR) 
Assistant Referee 2: Mohammad Al-Kalaf (JOR) 
Fourth Official: Ahmed Al-Ali (JOR) 

Al Hilal – Shabab Al Ahli 
Referee: Ahmed Al Kaf (OMA) 
Assistant Referee 1: Abu Al Amri (OMA) 
Assistant Referee 2: Rashid Al Ghaithi (OMA) 
Fourth Official: Yaqoob Abdul Baqi (OMA) 

Shahr Khodro – Pakhtakor 
Referee: Hanna Hattab (SYR) 
Assistant Referee 1: Ali Ahmad (IRQ) 
Assistant Referee 2: Ronnie Min Kiat (SIN) 
Fourth Official: Masoud Tufayelieh (SYR)

Al Duhail – Al Taawoun 
Referee: Mohd Yaacob (MAS) 
Assistant Referee 1: Mohd Muhamad (MAS) 
Assistant Referee 2: Abdul Hasim (SIN) 
Fourth Official: Muhammad Bin Jahari (SIN) 

Persepolis – Sharjah 
Referee: Ilgiz Tantashev (UZB) 
Assistant Referee 1: Andrei Tsapenko (UZB) 
Assistant Referee 2: Timur Gaynulin (UZB) 
Fourth Official: Sherzod Kasimov (UZB) 

Sepahan – Al Sadd 
Referee: Sivakorn Pu-Udom (THA) 
Assistant Referee 1: Nakarit Rawut (THA) 
Assistant Referee 2: Tanate Chuchuen (THA) 
Fourth Official: Hettikankanamge Perera (SRI) 

Al Nassr – Al Ain 
Referee: Hussein Abo Yehia (LIB) 
Assistant Referee 1: Mohamed Salman (BHR) 
Assistant Referee 2: Abdulla Al-Rowaimi (BHR) 
Fourth Official: Nawaf Shukralla (BHR)

Honesty and humility is the key for Super Cup referee Taylor

Referees become referees for a variety of different reasons – in UEFA Super Cup referee Anthony Taylor’s case, it was a few succinct words of close family advice that set him on his way to an outstanding career among the refereeing elite. The 41-year-old married father of two from the north-western English county of Cheshire is relishing his latest assignment – Thursday’s UEFA Super Cup match between Bayern München and Sevilla in Budapest – and remembers that, as a young football fan on the terraces, referees were not always necessarily at the top of his Christmas card list. “I used to watch my local team as a youngster, and I’d come home from matches always complaining about the referee,” he says. “My mother basically told me to give refereeing a try…or shut up! I went to a local course, and it all started from there…” With the Super Cup encounter, Taylor, a prison officer by profession, continues a distinguished set of major appointments at UEFA level, having previously officiated as an additional assistant referee in the 2014 Super Cup, 2015 UEFA Europa League final and the UEFA Euro and UEFA Champions’ League finals in 2016. 
“I felt a mixture of surprise and delight when [UEFA Referees’ Committee chairman] Roberto Rosetti called to tell me that I’d got the Super Cup match appointment,” he reflects. Above all, however, Taylor considers the call-up as recognition for the entire refereeing team that will take the field at the Puskás Aréna on Thursday. He will be accompanied by fellow Englishmen, assistant referees Gary Beswick and Adam Nunn, and video assistant referees Stuart Atwell and Paul Tierney, with Israel’s Orel Grinfeeld completing the team as fourth official. “It’s a reward for the preparation, dedication and hard work that we’ve all put in over a long period,” he says. “This appointment is not just about me – I wouldn’t be able to do my job properly without the team.” Taylor’s rise through the refereeing ranks, starting in adult football as a teenager, saw him promoted to the English Football League list in 2006, followed by his first English Premier League outing in 2010. The FIFA international badge arrived in 2013. He has taken charge of two English FA Cup finals – the first match official to do so since the start of the last century. “You take every move upwards as a challenge, because each time is really a major step,” he explains. “There’s a lot of people I have to thank for helping me on the way.” One of these is another Cheshire referee of note, Joe Worrall, who enjoyed a splendid domestic and international career, including the 1992 UEFA Cup final first leg between Torino and Ajax. “Joe regularly gets in touch after matches,” says Taylor. “As a former Premier League and international referee, he has great understanding of what it means to be an elite match official, and it’s humbling that he takes the time to give me advice and encouragement.” 
In addition to the requisite man-management skills, mental strength and supreme fitness that top referees need to prosper in the modern game, Taylor emphasises that honesty and humility are key elements on his refereeing journey. “I think you’ve got to be true to yourself, and accept the highs and lows,” he says. “It’s important to always bear in mind that you’re only as good as your last game – and the real key to it all is constantly striving to get better.” Thursday in Budapest will be ‘business as usual’ as far as the referee team’s match preparation is concerned. “We’ll have music in the dressing-room, with everyone contributing to the playlist!” says Taylor. “It’s important to create a relaxed atmosphere to get the team in the right frame of mind to produce the best possible performance that we can. Then, full concentration kicks in when we walk out onto the field.” Away from the action, Taylor savours quality time with his family. “It’s been particularly important in recent times, when football had to take a back seat owing to the Covid pandemic,” he says. “My two teenage daughters have been taking important exams, so it was good that I was free to be able to help them prepare and study, in addition to getting rest and relaxation for the time when football would restart.” Handling matches without spectators in these Covid times has brought its own special challenges for referees. “It’s been hard for everyone – referees, players and coaches,” Taylor explains. “It’s hard for referees because you can hear everything when a stadium is empty. You can hear every contact, every noise [when players challenge each other or go into tackles], but this doesn’t necessarily mean that they’re committing a foul! We’ve had to get accustomed to this. It means that you’re changing the dynamic in how you take decisions.” Focus, concentration – and a good deal of adrenalin and anticipation will come to the fore when Anthony Taylor and his close-knit team leave their dressing-room on Thursday. After all, they join millions in loving the game, and they especially enjoy their crucial role. “Refereeing is the next best thing to playing,” he says. “I’d encourage anyone to give it a go, to understand in particular what it means and what it takes to be a referee. It would be wonderful if you could bottle that feeling when you’re waiting in the tunnel with the players before a big match – it’s something that I’d like everyone to experience.” 

Source: UEFA

Italian uniforms celebrate World Cup Final referees Gonella, Collina, Rizzoli

The Italian referee uniforms adopted new colours: the traditional black and fluorescent yellow are flanked by 'coral red' and, for the first time in the history of the AIA, 'intense green'. Colors that, in addition to being a clear reference to the national flag, symbolize passion, strong personality and the desire to overcome adversity, but also perseverance, harmony and hope for the future. A chromatic range, therefore, that wants to highlight a strong reference to the country's feeling of unity and resilience, put to the test by a particularly delicate historical period linked to the Covid emergency. 
The unmistakable Legea style, the innovations introduced respecting the tradition of the Federation and the AIA, find a clear and evident synthesis in the layout of the new uniforms. The body of the sweaters, in all its chromatic shades, on the front and on the back, is strongly characterized by a plot of perpendicular lines that intersect creating a series of angles facing downwards, with different thicknesses to create a psychedelic effect. The nuance makes the shirt particularly dynamic, symbolizing the stubbornness and will of those who never give up. Along the sides there are bands that reproduce the Legea sail, the company's historic logo. The front pockets in the "hidden pocket" structure, equipped with velcro stripes to facilitate opening during the match, are highlighted by the monochrome border at the top. Between them, in a central position, is the high definition logo of the FIGC - Italian Referees Association; on the right pocket, three stylized gold and black whistles celebrate the Italian referees who directed World Cup finals: Sergio Gonella (1978), Pierluigi Collina (2002) and Nicola Rizzoli (2014). The innovative graphic and stylistic aspects are combined with a high technicality of the product. The jerseys were made in Tree - Tech - Legea, an ultralight fabric with breathable micro-mesh inserts placed in the key areas of the shoulders and along the hips up to the underarm area. This technological solution, combined with the particular elasticity of the fabric and the slim - fit cut, favors perspiration and the evaporation of sweat towards the outside, thus ensuring extraordinary comfort and full freedom of movement. The competition uniforms are completed by black shorts and socks, which recall the colors of the jerseys.
"The prestige of the Italian refereeing is recognized nationally and internationally", comments the President of the AIA, Marcello Nicchi. "In the last four years, between the Champions League, the Europa League and the UUEFA Super Cup, the Italian refereeing team has been entrusted with three finals in 11v11 football, in addition to the important achievements in Futsal and Beach Soccer. A sign that our refereeing school is at the top of the world and our winning image. The new collection of match uniforms, which Legea has prepared for us - he concludes - pays us homage and will accompany us throughout the season ". “New look, same quality. This is the prerogative of Italian referees - says the President of the FIGC, Gabriele Gravina - appreciated all over the world: knowing how to renew themselves, adapting to new rules and new styles of refereeing, while remaining faithful to an extraordinary school characterized by extremely high performance on the pitch. The new Legea kits celebrate the start of a new season, which we hope will soon be a great party for everyone, with the referees always protagonists". 

Source: AIA

Referee De Santis stabbed at home

Italian referee Daniele De Santis and his fiance Eleonora Manta have been stabbed to death at their home in Lecce. Police have launched an investigation into the double murder that occurred on Monday. Cops raided the property after reports of screams, with La Repubblica stating that De Santis' body was found on the second-floor staircase of their apartment complex, while Manta's was discovered inside their home. Initial reports suggest that witnesses saw a man leaving the scene with a knife and a backpack. Police have not yet formally identified a suspect. The area around the apartment shared by De Santis, 33, and Manta, 30, is covered by CCTV, which will provide key evidence for police, although early witness statements suggest that the perpetrator concealed their face. 
De Santis (photo) began refereeing professionally in 2017, making his Serie B debut as fourth official for a clash between Pisa and Benevento that same year. The head of the Italian Referee Association Marcello Nicchi has offered an early statement on De Santis' tragic passing: "I am shocked by this tragedy. We still know very little about the case. The thing I can say is that we are in close contact with the family and with all the people in the AIA section." 

Source: The Sun

UEFA Champions League 2020/2021 – Play-offs (First Leg)

22 September 2020 
Slavia Praha – FC Midtjylland
Referee: Cüneyt Çakir (TUR, photo)
Assistant Referee 1: Bahattin Duran (TUR)
Assistant Referee 2: Tarik Ongun (TUR)
Fourth Official: Mete Kalkavan (TUR)
VAR: Abdulkadir Bitigen (TUR)
AVAR: Hüseyin Göçek (TUR)
Referee Observer: Konrad Plautz (AUT)

Maccabi Tel Aviv – FC Salzburg
Referee: Michael Oliver (ENG)
Assistant Referee 1: Stuart Burt (ENG)
Assistant Referee 2: Simon Bennett (ENG)
Fourth Official: David Coote (ENG)
VAR: Christopher Kavanagh (ENG)
AVAR: Andrew Madley (ENG)
Referee Observer: Juan Fernandez Marin (ESP)

FC Krasnodar – PAOK FC
Referee: Clement Turpin (FRA)
Assistant Referee 1: Nicolas Danos (FRA)
Assistant Referee 2: Frederic Haquette (FRA)
Fourth Official: Frank Schneider (FRA)
VAR: Willy Delajod (FRA)
AVAR: Jeremie Pignard (FRA)
Referee Observer: Uno Tutk (EST)

23 September 2020
Olympiacos – Omonia
Referee: Danny Makkelie (NED)
Assistant Referee 1: Mario Diks (NED)
Assistant Referee 2: Hessel Steegstra (NED)
Fourth Official: Allard Lindhout (NED)
VAR: Jochem Kamphuis (NED)
AVAR: Kevin Blom (NED)
Referee Observer: Charles Schaack (LUX)

Molde FK – Ferencvarosi TC
Referee: Carlos Del Cerro Grande (ESP)
Assistant Referee 1: Roberto Alonso Fernandez (ESP)
Assistant Referee 2: Pau Cebrian Devis (ESP)
Fourth Official: Guillermo Cuadra Fernandez (ESP)
VAR: Juan Martinez Munuera (ESP)
AVAR: Ricardo de Burgos Bengoechea (ESP)
Referee Observer: Cyril Zimmermann (SUI)

KAA Gent – Dynamo Kyiv
Referee: Ovidiu Haţegan (ROU)
Assistant Referee 1: Octavian Șovre (ROU)
Assistant Referee 2: Sebastian Gheorghe (ROU)
Fourth Official: Sebastian Colţescu (ROU)
VAR: Massimiliano Irrati (ITA)
AVAR: Ciro Carbone (ITA)
Referee Observer: Nicola Rizzoli (ITA)

AFC Champions League 2020 – Group Stage (West Region, Matchday 5)

20-21 September 2020

Al Taawoun – Sharjah
Referee: Kim Dae-Yong (KOR, photo)
Assistant Referee 1: Song Bong-Keun (KOR)
Assistant Referee 2: Park Kyun-Yong (KOR)
Fourth Official: Zaid Mohammed (IRQ)

Shahr Khodro – Al Hilal SFC
Referee: Ahmed Al-Ali (JOR)
Assistant Referee 1: Ahmed Al Roalle (JOR)
Assistant Referee 2: Mohammad Al Kalaf (JOR)
Fourth Official: Hussein Abo Yehia (LIB)

Shabab Al Ahli – Pakhtakor
Referee: Muhammad Bin Jahari (SIN)
Assistant Referee 1: Ronnie Min Kiat (SIN)
Assistant Referee 2: Abdul Hasim (SIN)
Fourth Official: Mohd Yaacob (MAS)

Persepolis – Al Duhail
Referee: Hettikamkanamge Perera (SRI)
Assistant Referee 1: Palitha Hemathunga (SRI)
Assistant Referee 2: Sanjeewa Wellabada (SRI)
Fourth Official: Rowan Arumughan (IND)

Esteghlal FC – Al Shorta
Referee: Ko Hyung-Jin (KOR)
Assistant Referee 1: Yoon Kwang-Yeol (KOR)
Assistant Referee 2: Park Sang-Jun (KOR)
Fourth Official: Kim Hee-Gon (KOR)

Al Sadd – Al Nassr
Referee: Masoud Tufayelieh (SYR)
Assistant Referee 1: Ali Ahmad (IRQ)
Assistant Referee 2: Watheq Al-Swaiedi (IRQ)
Fourth Official: Hanna Hattab (SYR)

Sepahan – Al Ain
Referee: Ali Shaban (KUW)
Assistant Referee 1: Rashid Al Ghaithi (OMA)
Assistant Referee 2: Mohd Muhamad (MAS)
Fourth Official: Ahmed Al Kaf (OMA)

CONMEBOL Libertadores 2020 – Group Stage (Matchday 4)

22-24 September 2020

Tigre – Bolivar
Referee: Roberto Tobar (CHI, photo)
Assistant Referee 1: Christian Schiemann (CHI)
Assistant Referee 2: Claudio Rios (CHI)
Fourth Official: Christian Garay (CHI)
Referee Assessor: Angel Sanchez (ARG)

Barcelona – Flamengo
Referee: Diego Haro (PER)
Assistant Referee 1: Jonny Bossio (PER)
Assistant Referee 2: Michael Orue (PER)
Fourth Official: Kevin Ortega (PER)
Referee Assessor: Juan Corozo (ECU)

Estudiantes de Merida – Nacional
Referee: Andres Rojas (COL)
Assistant Referee 1: Alexander Guzman (COL)
Assistant Referee 2: John Leon (COL)
Fourth Official: Nicolas Gallo (COL)
Referee Assessor: Marlon Escalante (VEN)

Liga de Quito – Sao Paulo
Referee: Wilmar Roldan (COL)
Assistant Referee 1: Wilmar Navarro (COL)
Assistant Referee 2: Miguel Roldan (COL)
Fourth Official: John Ospina (COL)
Referee Assessor: Juan Albarracin (ECU)

Junior – Independiente Del Valle
Referee: Jose Argote (VEN)
Assistant Referee 1: Francheskoly Chacon (VEN)
Assistant Referee 2: Jorge Urrego (VEN)
Fourth Official: Alexis Herrera (VEN)
Referee Assessor: Abraham Gonzalez (COL)

Binacional – River Plate
Referee: Gery Vargas (BOL)
Assistant Referee 1: Jose Antelo (BOL)
Assistant Referee 2: Edward Saavedra (BOL)
Fourth Official: Ivo Mendez (BOL)
Referee Assessor: Henry Gambetta (PER)

Caracas – Libertad
Referee: Braulio Machado (BRA)
Assistant Referee 1: Marcelo Van Gasse (BRA)
Assistant Referee 2: Bruno Pires (BRA)
Fourth Official: Flavio Souza (BRA)
Referee Assessor: Miguel Buitrago (VEN)

Atletico Paranaense – Colo Colo
Referee: Fernando Rapallini (ARG)
Assistant Referee 1: Juan Belatti (ARG)
Assistant Referee 2: Pablo Gonzalez (ARG)
Fourth Official: Esteban Ostojich (URU)
Referee Assessor: Emerson De Carvalho (BRA)

Defensa y Justicia – Olimpia
Referee: Christian Garay (CHI)
Assistant Referee 1: Christian Schiemann (CHI)
Assistant Referee 2: Claudio Rios (CHI)
Fourth Official: Roberto Tobar (CHI)
Referee Assessor: Sergio Viola (ARG)

Guarani – Palmeiras
Referee: Nestor Pitana (ARG)
Assistant Referee 1: Carlos Barreiro (URU)
Assistant Referee 2: Martin Soppi (URU)
Fourth Official: Gustavo Tejera (URU)
Referee Assessor: Oscar Viera (PAR)

America de Cali – Universidad Catolica
Referee: Jesus Valenzuela (VEN)
Assistant Referee 1: Luis Murillo (VEN)
Assistant Referee 2: Byron Romero (ECU)
Fourth Official: Guillermo Guerrero (ECU)
Referee Assessor: Wilson Lamoroux (COL)

Internacional – Gremio
Referee: Patricio Loustau (ARG)
Assistant Referee 1: Ezequiel Brailovsky (ARG)
Assistant Referee 2: Diego Bonfa (ARG)
Fourth Official: Facundo Tello (ARG)
Referee Assessor: Paulo Conceicao (BRA)

Alianza Lima – Racing
Referee: Ivo Mendez (BOL)
Assistant Referee 1: Jose Antelo (BOL)
Assistant Referee 2: Edward Saavedra (BOL)
Fourth Official: Gery Vargas (BOL)
Referee Assessor: Jorge Jaimes (PER)

Jorge Wilstermann – Penarol
Referee: Piero Maza (CHI)
Assistant Referee 1: Jose Retamal (CHI)
Assistant Referee 2: Edson Cisternas (CHI)
Fourth Official: Raul Orosco (BOL)
Referee Assessor: Oscar Maldonado (BOL)

Independiente Medellin – Boca Juniors
Referee: Augusto Aragon (ECU)
Assistant Referee 1: Ricardo Baren (ECU)
Assistant Referee 2: Christian Lescano (ECU)
Fourth Official: Carlos Orbe (ECU)
Referee Assessor: Jose Buitrago (COL)

Delfin – Santos
Referee: Kevin Ortega (PER)
Assistant Referee 1: Michael Orue (PER)
Assistant Referee 2: Jonny Bossio (PER)
Fourth Official: Diego Haro (PER)
Referee Assessor: Wilson Avila (ECU)

UEFA Europa League 2020/2021 – Third Qualifying Round

23-24 September 2020

Apollon Limassol – Lech Poznan
Referee: Mattias Gestranius (FIN, photo)
Assistant Referee 1: Jan Peter Aravirta (FIN)
Assistant Referee 2: Mika Lamppu (FIN)
Fourth Official: Petri Viljanen (FIN)
Referee Observer: Vadims Direktorenko (LVA)

Ararat Armenia – NK Celje
Referee: John Beaton (SCO)
Assistant Referee 1: Daniel McFarlane (SCO)
Assistant Referee 2: Douglas Potter (SCO)
Fourth Official: Gavin Duncan (SCO)
Referee Observer: Luc Wouters (BEL)

KuPS Kuopio – FK Suduva
Referee: Manuel Schüttengruber (AUT)
Assistant Referee 1: Roland Brandner (AUT)
Assistant Referee 2: Robert Steinacher (AUT)
Fourth Official: Rene Eisner (AUT)
Referee Observer: Lassin Isaksen (FRO)

Viktoria Plzen – Sonderjyske
Referee: Roi Reinshreiber (ISR)
Assistant Referee 1: David Bitton (ISR)
Assistant Referee 2: Dvir Shimon (ISR)
Fourth Official: Daniel Natan (ISR)
Referee Observer: Domagoj Vuckov (CRO)

Fehervar FC – Stade de Reims
Referee: Matej Jug (SVN)
Assistant Referee 1: Matej Žunič (SVN)
Assistant Referee 2: Grega Kordež (SVN)
Fourth Official: Dragoslav Perič (SVN)
Referee Observer: Draženko Kovačić (CRO)

FC Rostov – Maccabi Haifa
Referee: Petr Ardeleanu (CZE)
Assistant Referee 1: Ivo Nadvornik (CZE)
Assistant Referee 2: Petr Caletka (CZE)
Fourth Official: Karel Hrubes (CZE)
Referee Observer: Asim Khudiyev (AZE)

Djurgardens IF – CFR Cluj
Referee: Bartosz Frankowski (POL)
Assistant Referee 1: Jakub Winkler (POL)
Assistant Referee 2: Bartosz Heinig (POL)
Fourth Official: Krzysztof Jakubik (POL)
Referee Observer: Laurent Duhamel (FRA)

Riga FC – Celtic FC
Referee: Fabio Veríssimo (POR)
Assistant Referee 1: Luis Campos (POR)
Assistant Referee 2: Pedro Martins (POR)
Fourth Official: Antonio Nobre (POR)
Referee Observer: Edward Foley (IRL)

CSKA Sofia – B36 Torshavn
Referee: Tamas Bognar (HUN)
Assistant Referee 1: Buzas Balazs (HUN)
Assistant Referee 2: Peter Kobor (HUN)
Fourth Official: Ferenc Karako (HUN)
Referee Observer: Albano Janku (ALB)

Beşiktaş JK – Rio Ave FC
Referee: Daniel Siebert (GER)
Assistant Referee 1: Jan Seidel (GER)
Assistant Referee 2: Rafael Foltyn (GER)
Fourth Official: Florian Badstübner (GER)
Referee Observer: Thomas Einwaller (AUT)

Willem II – Rangers FC
Referee: Maurizio Mariani (ITA)
Assistant Referee 1: Alberto Tegoni (ITA)
Assistant Referee 2: Daniele Bindoni (ITA)
Fourth Official: Gianpaolo Calvarese (ITA)
Referee Observer: Kyros Vassaras (GRE)

Rosenborg – Alanyaspor
Referee: Kristo Tohver (EST)
Assistant Referee 1: Silver Koiv (EST)
Assistant Referee 2: Sten Klaasen (EST)
Fourth Official: Joonas Jaanovits (EST)
Referee Observer: Alfredo Trentalange (ITA)

Charleroi SC – FK Partizan
Referee: Robert Madden (SCO)
Assistant Referee 1: David Roome (SCO)
Assistant Referee 2: Graeme Stewart (SCO)
Fourth Official: Donald Robertson (SCO)
Referee Observer: Marinus Koopman (NED)

Malmö FF – Lokomotiva Zagreb
Referee: François Letexier (FRA)
Assistant Referee 1: Cyril Mugnier (FRA)
Assistant Referee 2: Mehdi Rahmouni (FRA)
Fourth Official: Amaury Delerue (FRA)
Referee Observer: Haim Jakov (ISR)

NS Mura – PSV Eindhoven
Referee Sandro Schärer (SUI)
Assistant Referee 1: Bekim Zogaj (SUI)
Assistant Referee 2: Jonas Erni (SUI)
Fourth Official: Fedayi San (SUI)
Referee Observer: David Fernandez Borbalan (ESP)

Hapoel Beer Sheva – Motherwell FC
Referee: Sergii Boiko (UKR)
Assistant Referee 1: Volodymyr Volodin (UKR)
Assistant Referee 2: Oleksandr Voytyuk (UKR)
Fourth Official: Anatoliy Abdula (UKR)
Referee Observer: Michalis Argyrou (CYP)

KI Klaksvik – Dinamo Tbilisi
Referee: Thorvaldur Árnason (ISL)
Assistant Referee 1: Johann Gudmundsson (ISL)
Assistant Referee 2: Andri Vigfusson (ISL)
Fourth Official: Petur Gudmundsson (ISL)
Referee Observer: Georgi Yordanov (BUL)

Sheriff Tiraspol – Dundalk FC
Referee: Aleksandar Stavrev (MKD)
Assistant Referee 1: Dejan Kostadinov (MKD)
Assistant Referee 2: Dejan Nedelkoski (MKD)
Fourth Official: Dimitar Mechkarovski (MKD)
Referee Observer: Andrejs Sipailo (LVA)

FK Sarajevo – Buducnost Podgorica
Referee: Jose Sanchez Martinez (ESP)
Assistant Referee 1: Inigo Prieto Lopez (ESP)
Assistant Referee 2: Jose Gallego Garcia (ESP)
Fourth Official: Pablo Gonzalez Fuertes (ESP)
Referee Observer: Joao Ferreira (POR)

Apoel FC – HSK Zrinjski
Referee: Daniel Stefanski (POL)
Assistant Referee 1: Marcin Boniek (POL)
Assistant Referee 2: Dawid Golis (POL)
Fourth Official: Damian Sylwestrzak (POL)
Referee Observer: Levan Paniashvili (GEO)

Galatasaray – Hajduk Split
Referee: Craig Pawson (ENG)
Assistant Referee 1: Lee Betts (ENG)
Assistant Referee 2: Ian Hussin (ENG)
Fourth Official: Robert Jones (ENG)
Referee Observer: Aleh Chykun (BLR)

FC Copenhagen – Piast Gliwice
Referee: Donatas Rumsas (LTU)
Assistant Referee 1: Aleksandr Radius (LTU)
Assistant Referee 2: Dovydas Suziedelis (LTU)
Fourth Official: Donatas Simenas (LTU)
Referee Observer: Costas Kapitanis (CYP)

Standard de Liege – FK Vojvodina
Referee: Harald Lechner (AUT)
Assistant Referee 1: Andreas Heidenreich (AUT)
Assistant Referee 2: Maximilian Kolbitsch (AUT)
Fourth Official: Christian Ciochirca (AUT)
Referee Observer: Mika Peltola (FIN)

KF Skendija – Tottenham Hotspur
Referee: Ali Palabiyik (TUR)
Assistant Referee 1: Serkan Olguncan (TUR)
Assistant Referee 2: Cem Satman (TUR)
Fourth Official: Arda Kardeşler (TUR)
Referee Observer: Bertrand Layec (FRA)

Granada CF – Lokomotiv Tbilisi
Referee: Serdar Gozubuyuk (NED)
Assistant Referee 1: Joost Van Zuilen (NED)
Assistant Referee 2: Rogier Honig (NED)
Fourth Official: Edwin van de Graaf (NED)
Referee Observer: Karel Vidlak (CZE)

VfL Wolfsburg – Desna Chernihiv
Referee: Lawrence Visser (BEL)
Assistant Referee 1: Thibaud Nijssen (BEL)
Assistant Referee 2: Rien Vanyzere (BEL)
Fourth Official: Bram Van Driessche (BEL)
Referee Observer: Jon Skjervold (NOR)

Floriana FC – Flora Tallinn
Referee: Irfan Peljto (BIH)
Assistant Referee 1: Senad Ibrisimbegović (BIH)
Assistant Referee 2: Davor Beljo (BIH)
Fourth Official: Admir Sehović (BIH)
Referee Observer: Are Habicht (EST)

Legia Warszawa – KF Drita
Referee: Halis Ozkahya (TUR)
Assistant Referee 1: Ceyhun Sesiguzel (TUR)
Assistant Referee 2: Kerem Ersoy ((TUR)
Fourth Official: Alper Ulusoy (TUR)
Referee Observer: Viktor Shvetsov (UKR)

FC Basel – Anorthosis Famagusta
Referee: Radu Petrescu (ROU)
Assistant Referee 1: Radu Ghinguleac (ROU)
Assistant Referee 2: Mircea Grigoriu (ROU)
Fourth Official: Marcel Birsan (ROU)
Referee Observer: Jouni Hyytia (FIN)

AC Milan – Bodo Glimt
Referee: Fran Jović (CRO)
Assistant Referee 1: Ivica Modrić (CRO)
Assistant Referee 2: Hrvoje Radić (CRO)
Fourth Official: Mario Zebec (CRO)
Referee Observer: Francesco Bianchi (SUI)

LASK – Dunajska Streda
Referee: Jérôme Brisard (FRA)
Assistant Referee 1: Bejnamin Pages (FRA)
Assistant Referee 2: Guillaume Debart (FRA)
Fourth Official: Mikael Lesage (FRA)
Referee Observer: Markus Strömbergsson (SWE)

FC St. Gallen – AEK Athens
Referee: Alejandro Hernandez Hernandez (ESP)
Assistant Referee 1: Jose Naranjo Perez (ESP)
Assistant Referee 2: Jose Alcoba Rodriguez (ESP)
Fourth Official: Javier Alberola Rojas (ESP)
Referee Observer: Herbert Fandel (GER)

HNK Rijeka – Kolos Kovalivka
Referee: Tiago Martins (POR)
Assistant Referee 1: Bruno Alves (POR)
Assistant Referee 2: Pedro Almeida (POR)
Fourth Official: Helder Malheiro (POR)
Referee Observer: Michael Riley (ENG)

Sporting Clube de Portugal – Aberdeen FC
Referee: Nikola Dabanović (MNE)
Assistant Referee 1: Vladan Todorović (MNE)
Assistant Referee 2: Srdjan Jovanović (MNE)
Fourth Official: Radoje Pajović (MNE)
Referee Observer: Elmir Pilav (BIH)

Gomes: “Refereeing is not my job, but my passion and lifetime commitment”

He is the kind of guy who would run around the field with a smile on his face and it is no coincidence. “For me, this is not a job, but it’s a passion and I am very passionate about it. I love refereeing and it makes it very easy for me. It is a life time commitment,” Gomes says, speaking to CAF Online. The 37-year old has been a FIFA/CAF Elite Referee for the last nine years, and it has been a journey of resilience, hard work and commitment, seeing him officiate slightly more than 250 top flight matches. 
Just like every budding young man growing up, Gomes, who was born to Portuguese parents in South Africa was an ardent football lover. His brothers played football while his father who comes from the football mad Portuguese island of Madeira absolutely loved the beautiful game. “I used to play football for a local team in the regional FA as a right back but to be honest, I wasn’t really a good player. I used to love refereeing and at times, I would beg my coach to let me referee and that’s when I realized refereeing was in my blood,” Gomes narrates. The passion was catalyzed in 1998 as he watched the FIFA World Cup in France. While everyone else concentrated on seeing the players showcase their magnificent talent, Gomes was looking elsewhere; it was the men in the middle and those running the lines that excited him the most. “I was really excited by that and I contacted the local FA to ask how I could get involved and that’s how I started. I did level one and two as a start then I was given some games as an assistant referee. As I progressed, I did more games and courses and progressed over the years,” Gomes says. He kept his eyes on the prize, working hard and impressing at every match and at the age of 28 in 2011, he was handed the top most recognition, the FIFA badge. Gomes has gone on to officiate numerous CAF Champions League and CAF Confederation Cup matches, the Africa Cup of Nations in Equatorial Guinea 2015 and Egypt 2019, the U-17 Africa Cup of Nations Gabon 2017 and the 2019 FIFA U-17 World Cup in Brazil. This is in addition of many other matches in the South African top flight as well as AFCON and World Cup qualifiers in the continent. “It has been a very interesting journey and I am really happy with how things have gone for me. I am grateful for the people who have supported me to be here today,” Gomes says. 
The father of two admits it has not been a bed of roses trying to balance everything around his life. Apart from being a top African referee and a family man, Gomes also runs businesses in South Africa. He owns a plastic manufacturing company as well as a water processing plant. All this he says takes so much of his time and most often, counts himself lucky if he finds some bit of time to rest and have a social life. “It is definitely not easy but I am happy because I am blessed with a very good support structure. I have family, friends and workmates who play an important role in supporting me. If you are to succeed you must have a very good foundation,” he explains. “In my business, I have a partner who does things when I am not around and also thanks to technology, you can always make things move when you are not around. With refereeing comes a lot of travelling and you are away for so much time, but having people to support you is important,” further ads Gomes. He says what has stood for him in striking a neat balance between all three is discipline and proper time management. He explains that he has had to train at night sometimes just to ensure everything around him runs seamlessly. His wife, he says, has been a core part of his career. “I would not be where I am today if it was not for the support of my family. My wife has been my pillar of strength and my best critic. She watches all my matches and if I falter, she is always the first to tell me ‘hey my friend, you need to pick up your socks’. She has been supportive,” notes Gomes. 
The 37-year old was for some weeks away from his family, when he remained in the Premier Soccer League (PSL) bio-secure bubble as the South African top tier run its final lap after the four-month stoppage caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Gomes says he is relieved to finally get back on the pitch and hopes life in the norm will return soonest possible. “It has been a tough period for everyone who loves football. I am pleased that we can finally get back but under very strict protocols to finish the season. It is a new experience but loving it so far. The only thing is we need to unite as a people and ensure we defeat this invincible enemy,” he notes. Gomes who has been selected into the wider pool of referees ahead of the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar, hopes he can earn final selection and fulfil one of the dreams he had as a kid, back in 1998 when he watched the fiesta in France. “Everyone aspires to get to the top and the senior World Cup is the ultimate target. Just like players and coaches, playing at the World Cup is the dream and it is the same for us referees. That’s what I aspire to do and I will keep working hard, keep the focus and my feet on the ground,” Gomes notes. He expects even more African referees to grace the world stage, noting there has been massive improvement over the years because of the investment put in by CAF to uplift the level and knowledge among African match officials. “We have very good refereeing structures and I am grateful to CAF for investing time, effort and money into refereeing. CAF has really invested in us and our director Eddy Maillet has assisted to transform refereeing in Africa. We have improved a lot and the elite referees being produced out of the continent are doing very well,” he states. 

Source: CAF