UEFA U-21 Euro 2021 (Group Stage)

Hungary & Slovenia, 24-31 March 2021

Referee: Lawrence Visser (BEL, 1989, photo)
Assistant Referee 1: Thibaud Nijssen (BEL)
Assistant Referee 2: Rien Vanyzere (BEL)

Referee: Irfan Peljto (BIH, 1984)
Assistant Referee 1: Senad Ibrisimbegović (BIH)
Assistant Referee 2: Davor Beljo (BIH)

Referee: François Letexier (FRA, 1989)
Assistant Referee 1: Cyril Mugnier (FRA)
Assistant Referee 2: Mehdi Rahmouni (FRA)

Referee: Giorgi Kruashvili (GEO, 1986)
Assistant Referee 1: Levan Varamishvili (GEO)
Assistant Referee 2: Zaza Pipia (GEO)

Referee: Harm Osmers (GER, 1985)
Assistant Referee 1: Eduard Beitinger (GER)
Assistant Referee 2: Dominik Schaal (GER)

Referee: Maurizio Mariani (ITA, 1982)
Assistant Referee 1: Alberto Tegoni (ITA)
Assistant Referee 2: Daniele Bindoni (ITA)

Referee: Dennis Higler (NED, 1985)
Assistant Referee 1: Johan Balder (NED)
Assistant Referee 2: Joost van Zuilen (NED)

Referee: Bartosz Frankowski (POL, 1986)
Assistant Referee 1: Jakub Winkler (POL)
Assistant Referee 2: Dawid Golis (POL)

Referee: Ricardo De Burgos Bengoetxea (ESP, 1986)
Assistant Referee 1: Jose Naranjo Perez (ESP)
Assistant Referee 2: Inigo Prieto Lopez (ESP)

Referee: Sandro Schärer (SUI, 1988)
Assistant Referee 1: Stephane De Almeida (SUI)
Assistant Referee 2: Bekim Zogaj (SUI)

Referee: Glenn Nyberg (SWE, 1988)
Assistant Referee 1: Mahbod Beigi (SWE)
Assistant Referee 2: Andreas Söderqvist (SWE)

Referee: Halil Meler (TUR, 1986)
Assistant Referee 1: Emre Eyisoy (TUR)
Assistant Referee 2: Ibrahim Uyarcan (TUR)

Fourth Officials
1. Adam Farkas (HUN, 1982)
2. Espen Eskas (NOR, 1988)
3. Horatiu Fesnic (ROU, 1989)
4. Rade Obrenovic (SVN, 1990)

Referee Observers
1. Roberto Rosetti (ITA) 
2. Marc Batta (FRA)
3. Hugh Dallas (SCO)
4. Vladimir Sajn (SVN)

First ever all-female referee team in Colombian professional football

Maria Daza, Mary Blanco, Nataly Arteaga and Vanessa Ceballos made history in Colombian refereeing since they are the first all-female referee team to have directed a men's professional football match in Colombia.
It happened last week, in the First Category B match between Barranquilla and Atletico Huila, at the Romelio Martinez Olympic Stadium. Before the game, both teams celebrated them by giving them a bouquet of flowers.


Orsato admits Pjanic mistake

Daniele Orsato admitted he was wrong not to show Miralem Pjanic a second yellow card during Inter-Juventus in 2018 and revealed what Cristiano Ronaldo told him when he checked his watch in Juve-Roma earlier in February. Orsato was a guest on Italian television, after he had refereed Spezia-Parma during the weekend. It was his 240th game in Serie A, just as many as Pierluigi Collina.
"The AIA President gave us and the media a great opportunity, and we all must make the most of it," he told Novantesimo Minuto. "This must be seen as an opportunity and not a space to create controversy. Otherwise, we'll go nowhere. We all make mistakes, and we've always admitted it. We can only improve by working on them," he added. "I don't think there are more fouls in Italy than in other countries,” Orsato, who was named world's best referee in 2020, continued. "I always use the same style. Whether I officiate a game in Italy or Europe, I don't find much difference. I don't think that's the reason why our clubs are struggling [in European competitions].” How do referees feel when they return home after a mistake? "We are not happy and we always watch what happened. We are the first ones to be self-critical. We want to improve and we look at mistakes more than positive things."
Orsato was asked why he didn’t show Miralem Pjanic a second yellow card during an Inter-Juventus clash in 2018. "It was a mistake. I was close to it, and I didn't notice what I saw on TV. For me, it was a typical aerial challenge. VAR couldn't intervene,” Orsato admitted. "VAR is helpful. When referees go on the pitch, we don't think about VAR. We try to do our best, and if we make mistakes, we are lucky because we can rely on VAR. "Spezia had a goal disallowed after a VAR check yesterday. It was ruled out for an offside that was impossible to spot live for my assistant. VAR is working well, I don't think it can improve as is now, but if something is changed, it will be for the game's good.”
Cristiano Ronaldo checked Orsato’s watch during Juventus-Roma earlier in February to make sure his shot hadn’t crossed the line. "There wasn't a lack of respect. He asked me if the ball crossed the line,” Orsato said. “He asked me how the system is working. There was nothing strange. He only wanted to know how the watch works. The relationship between referees, players and coaches has improved. It's right to have dialogue, but a referee must always be strict.” When will women referee be appointed for Serie A and Serie B games? "Women referee have already reached the same level as men. Frappart is already at men's level, there's not much pyhsical gap between men and women referees and it won't take long before we see a women referee in Serie A or Serie B."

How an analytical chemist became one of the world's top officials

Kathryn Nesbitt became the first woman to referee a championship match in professional men's sports in North America in December, when she took the field for the MLS Cup between Columbus Crew and Seattle Sounders. But for anyone who had been paying attention, Nesbitt's inclusion was anything but a surprise. The recognition was preceded by her assignment to the MLS is Back Tournament final earlier that year, where she became the first woman named to a league final officiating crew. The voting results, made public by MLS, also vindicate her winning of the award. But why become a referee in the first place? "Everyone has their own path," Nesbitt told FIFA.com. "I started as a kid as a summer job, and that kept me involved in soccer and eventually kept me involved in sports. I really liked staying active. It can be competitive in its own sense as well, so to have those opportunities to strive to be the best at something in kind of an athletic form was great for me, so that’s really what pushed me to keep moving forward with it."
Nesbitt's passion outside of football is in analytical chemistry and teaching. They may sound as far away and unrelated to football as one can get, but the reality is the two are intertwined. “I was a professor of chemistry up until two weeks before the Women’s World Cup in 2019. I spent ten years doing my own research and starting my own lab at the university (Towson University in Baltimore). My background in research is on figuring out better ways to analyse brain chemicals, and our lab focused on developing, improving and optimising the techniques for sampling brain chemicals and then analysing them." Her analytical personality has been with her from the beginning, but how has that trait helped her progress as an assistant referee? “Specifically for me, you’re constantly making decisions and they’re not always black and white," Nesbitt said. "It’s about being able to take in a lot of data at one time – how a tackle actually happens, the player’s reaction, what’s going on in the game – and make the best decisions. Referees are also incredibly dedicated to their role as well. We take games just as seriously as the players. Our preparation is actually quite similar to what they’re doing. There are black and white decisions. One defender pulling down the attacker who’s five feet from goal is always going to be denying a goal-scoring opportunity, but that’s never actually how those things play out. And one soccer scenario isn’t going to happen exactly the same way again. The game’s always changing. My main role as an assistant referee is the offside rule, and that isn’t always as black and white as it looks sometimes."
Nesbitt's professional debut was in 2013, in the inaugural match of the National Women's Soccer League (NWSL) in front of a large crowd. Contrary to what one would assume, she says the larger the crowd, the more focused she becomes. Due to the global pandemic, Nesbitt has had to adjust to the job in near silence for the past year. She spent seven weeks living inside "the bubble" as part of the officiating staff for the MLS is Back Tournament, which ran from 8 July to 11 August 2020. "The first couple of days everyone was a little shaky on how it would all work, but we were able to ease in and feel fairly comfortable and safe within a few days," she said. "I really give a lot of credit to MLS for helping us with that. We were very much in a bubble. We could not leave at all. What that atmosphere does, at least for referees, is you are so honed in and focused on soccer and what your job is that when it comes to doing those games, you are more prepared than normal. You’re basically living, eating, breathing soccer all day long." But referees are human beings, so how mentally draining can tournaments like that be? "The part about being away from your family is for sure draining," she said. "That’s probably the hardest piece. The hotel we were in had some great facilities for us. We had a great group of motivated officials. Even on those hard days, where you referee the 9 a.m. game in the Orlando heat and you’re exhausted the rest of the day, you still could sit down and have dinner with your friends and get through those hard times. Thank God for video chatting now. We all sent flowers home to our significant others to keep them happy.”
Nesbitt is acutely aware of the perception of referees from fans and players and coaches. "We understand we will be the bad guy," she said. "When there are mistakes, it's always a human feature of us. Referees try to be the best for the game and we want to be the best in what we do. We are just upset as anyone when a mistake is made." How has refereeing changed her and how can she see that she's a different person today than she was yesterday? "The biggest thing it has taught me is how to take away positives out of a situation and apply that in a lot of areas. I perform my best when I’m happier and more positive and taking advantage of incredible opportunities and not taking anything for granted. That's a huge aspect that I'm able to apply in life with family and at home." Nesbitt is a fan of the game just like the rest of us. She's professionally trained in video assistant refereeing and she insisted that "no-one wants to slow the game down." Being an assistant referee involves a lot more than getting offside calls correct. They have to catch any touchline ball going out or not, assist the head referee on any fouls or off-the-ball incidents closer to them, assist in penalty decisions and the list goes on. They also have to deal with confrontation on a regular basis. "Everyone develops their own style in dealing with moments, some are strict and stern and some are calm. It's a skill set. I’m pretty direct with players and proactive, and I try to prevent things from exploding." Just as youngsters look up to their favourite players, there's no doubt that Nesbitt has inspired aspiring female referees across the globe to be their best and reach the top. "It has been an absolute honour to have people say that I’ve become a role model for women," she concluded.

Source: FIFA

CAF Champions League 2021 – Group Stage (Matchday 2)

24-28 February 2021

Simba – Al Ahly
Referee: Alioum Alioum (CMR, photo)
Assistant Referee 1: Elvis Noupue (CMR)
Assistant Referee 2: Carine Atezambong (CMR)
Fourth Official: Franck Bito (CMR)

El Merreikh – Vita Club
Referee: Mustapha Ghorbal (ALG)
Assistant Referee 1: Abdelhak Etchiali (ALG)
Assistant Referee 2: Mokrane Gourari (ALG)
Fourth Official: Nabil Boukhalfa (ALG)

Atletico de Luanda – Wydad AC
Referee: Jean Ndala (COD)
Assistant Referee 1: Olivier Safari (COD)
Assistant Referee 2: Mohammed Ibrahim (SDN)
Fourth Official: Yannick Kabanga (COD)

Kaizer Chiefs – Horoya AC
Referee: Joshua Bondo (BOT)
Assistant Referee 1: Souru Phatsoane (LES)
Assistant Referee 2: Mogomotsi Morakile (BOT)
Fourth Official: Tshepo Gobagoba (BOT)

Teungueth – Zamalek
Referee: Daniel Laryea (GHA)
Assistant Referee 1: Paul Atimaka (GHA)
Assistant Referee 2: Patrick Papala (GHA)
Fourth Official: Abdul Latif (GHA)

MC Alger – ES Tunis
Referee: Redouane Jiyed (MAR)
Assistant Referee 1: Lahcen Azgaou (MAR)
Assistant Referee 2: Mustapha Akerkad (MAR)
Fourth Official: Karim Sabry (MAR)

Al Hilal – TP Mazembe
Referee: Samir Guezzaz (MAR)
Assistant Referee 1: Hicham Ait (MAR)
Assistant Referee 2: Yahya Nouali (MAR)
Fourth Official: Mustapha Kech (MAR)

Belouizdad – Mamelodi Sundowns
Referee: Boubou Traore (MLI)
Assistant Referee 1: Habib Sanou (BFA)
Assistant Referee 2: Abdoul Moctar (NIG)
Fourth Official: Gaoussou Kane (MLI)

Mexican FIFA referee Macias accidentally prevented a goal

Cruz Azul seventh day showdown with Toluca at the Azteca stadium proved to be more dramatic than first thought. Cruz Azul were deprived of a goal against their rivals on Sunday after the referee, Oscar Macias, got in the way of a goal-bound effort. The hosts did, however, achieve their fifth consecutive victory in the Clausura 2021 after finishing the game 3-2.
The incident took place after Luis Romo hit the post despite beating the goalkeeper, Luis Garcia, and having a clear shot on goal. As a result, the ball rebounded to Jonathan Rodriguez who had no goalkeeper and only one defender on the line. However, referee Macias crossed the penalty area and unintentionally blocked Rodriguez’s shot - sending the ball out of play. Despite severe criticism, the referee resumed the game with a goal kick to the visitors.
The home side were left furious as the incident saw them deprived of a third goal in the 36th minute of the game. However, Guillermo Pol Fernandez provided the winning goals to see Juan Reynoso's men triumph. As a result, Cruz Azul won the game to take the lead of the Clausura 2021, sitting on 15 points while Toluca remain on 13.

Source: Daily Mail

Women referees urged to show their Euro potential

Jenny Palmqvist, the former Swedish referee who officiated at the highest FIFA and UEFA levels – attending two FIFA Women’s World Cups, three Olympic tournaments and two UEFA Women’s Euros, as well as refereeing the 2012 UEFA Women’s Champions League final and 2009 UEFA Women’s Cup final second leg – has been leading the latest generation of European female referees through their recent online UEFA winter course. To mark an important milestone – 500 Days to the Women’s Euro – Palmqvist, now a UEFA referee development panel member, spoke to UEFA.com about women’s refereeing, how the referees are keeping pace with the rapid development of women’s football and the challenges that the referees must meet to book a place at a tournament that will take centre stage on the football landscape next summer.
UEFA.com: What were the key issues you discussed with the referees at their UEFA winter course?
Jenny Palmqvist: Our objective is to develop consistency in decision-making. We’ve been focusing on ensuring that the referee teams make the correct decisions in crucial match situations.
- What technical instructions and guidelines did you give the referees for the second half of the season?
- The focal point at the course was on emphasizing to the referees that they should be prepared and ready to have the best angle and view to take correct decisions in the penalty area. Our objective is to develop decision-making consistency in various aspects of the game – handball, holding, denial of a goal-scoring opportunity and challenges.
- The course was another important step on the road towards the Women’s Euro. The hard work and focus on the tournament in England is under way…
- Absolutely! Now, more than ever before, we have a strong list of elite and category 1 referees – and now is the time for them to show their skill, passion, decision-making and management abilities to secure a place in the Euro team.
- As we move towards the Women’s Euro, is it fair to say that the potential and quality of European female referees has never been higher?
- Europe’s referees are among the best in the world in terms of potential and quality, and we’ve told them to prove to us through their performances on the field that they deserve a place in the Euro team. We’d like to have a situation where our selection process for the Euro is as difficult as possible...
- You’ve taken part yourself in major tournaments as a referee – how do you remember those experiences?
- Tournaments are the highlights of a referee’s career, especially because we spend countless hours of training and preparation to get there. When you’re chosen to referee at a tournament such as the Euro, it makes all the sacrifices worthwhile when you walk out onto the field with the teams and hear the anthems played… and the memories you collect and the friendships you make are for life.
- What impresses you most about Europe’s female referees today?
- They’re making sacrifices and showing great dedication and commitment. They love refereeing, and they love football. The modern women’s game is changing rapidly, and they’re continually showing us how adaptable they are, especially in taking on new instructions, listening to and giving feedback, and learning about technical elements of the game, which enables them to deliver high-calibre performances.
- Several female referees have begun to make their mark in the men’s game, for example, Stéphanie Frappart, who has taken charge of a UEFA Super Cup match, as well as games in the UEFA men’s club competitions. Several of her colleagues are also refereeing top-flight domestic men’s matches in their countries. How do you feel about this, and can their progress act as motivation to all female referees?
- I believe all referees want to be judged just as referees; their gender shouldn’t come into it. The female referees who officiate in men’s leagues have the outstanding fitness, football understanding and game management skills that are the hallmark of all top referees – and they show that there is equal opportunity if their performances merit it.
- You enjoyed a distinguished career in refereeing. What has changed for female referees since your refereeing days? What’s the difference between now and then?
- Over the last ten years, players have developed in terms of speed, and their skill sets have increased. In addition, it’s clear that TV, media and sponsors have strengthened the awareness of women’s football. Coaching levels and standards are higher, and sports science aspects have come to the fore. I also feel that the gap in quality between teams in each league and tournament has become smaller, and we’re seeing a greater number of competitive football matches.
- And with women’s football having made giant strides in recent years, technically and tactically, referees have had to keep pace with those developments. Are you happy with what you see in terms of their progress alongside the overall progress of the women’s game?
- UEFA is very happy with the progress of refereeing in recent years. We’ve introduced the Centre of Refereeing Excellence (CORE) program, in which promising referees – male and female – are given an insight into the requirements and training needed to become top-level referees. The program has produced excellent results – a number of CORE graduates have become established top referees and, very importantly, they’re continuing to improve their tactical knowledge. These referees have benefitted from the investment made by UEFA and their national associations, and especially through the coaching and advice we give them at UEFA seminars.
- Video assistant referees (VAR) have been introduced in the men’s game in the past couple of years. Where are we in terms of VAR in the UEFA women’s competitions?
- VAR was already used at last season’s UEFA Women’s Champions League final, and will be used at this season’s final, as well as at the Women’s Euro in England. The recent UEFA VAR course saw female officials given VAR training as part of the preparation process.
- After having reached the highest levels as a referee yourself, it must give you great satisfaction to be able to work with referees now and give them the benefit of your experience.
- Yes, football has always been a passion of mine, and giving back my experience to referees who are breaking barriers now is proving to be very rewarding.
- It’s been a tough time for all referees amid the restrictions and difficulties caused by the pandemic. Are you impressed with how UEFA – and the referees – have handled the situation?
- The referees have been flexible and ready to take on assignments at short notice, even if they’ve had to contend with complicated travel issues and spend time away from home. I must say they’ve shown great professionalism to adapt to the situation and ensure a successful outcome to the matches.
- What would be your message to Europe’s female referees going forward – in particular to those who are candidates for a place in the team for the Euro in 2022?
- The competition is now less than 500 days away… and now is the time for each referee to show that they want to make the final selection. Every game is an opportunity to showcase their level of fitness, football understanding, game management and decision-making skills. We’re looking for referees to challenge themselves to be better than their last game. It’s essential that they stay open and humble on and off the field. Our Euro referees should be high-quality ambassadors for football, as well as role models who strive for the highest standards.
- Finally, what would be your advice to a girl who might wish to take up refereeing?
- If you love football, don’t hesitate to become a referee. Refereeing develops leadership qualities, the ability to take quick decisions, teamwork and communication. There’s another extremely important element to being a referee as well – you’ll have the opportunity to make lifelong friends and enjoy wonderful life experiences alongside being involved in a sport that you love.

Source: UEFA

AR Covid breach in Scotland

The Scottish FA has apologised to Hibernian and Hamilton Academical after it emerged that one of the assistant referees for their game on Saturday should have been self-isolating. Bobby Madden, along with David Roome and Graeme Stewart, oversaw Panathinaikos - Olympiakos in Greece last weekend. Roome has since tested positive for Covid-19 and, although Stewart and Madden have returned two negative tests since returning, it was belatedly discovered that they should have been considered close contacts. Madden was subsequently withdrawn from Ross County's game with Celtic on Sunday, but Stewart had already officiated at Easter Road. Both clubs were made aware of the issue on Sunday but, while all three officials are now self-isolating, no players or staff of either Hibs or Hamilton have been identified as close contacts.
The Scottish FA says chief executive Ian Maxwell has begun an investigation to "seek clarity on the breakdown in internal process. While the circumstances are complex, the reality is that under Scottish Government guidelines all match officials involved in the trip should be considered close contacts," Maxwell said. "I have apologised to Hibernian and Hamilton Academical for the unnecessary risk of having an assistant referee at a match when he should have been self-isolating, however much it is mitigated by two negative tests in the build-up to the match." Madden, Stewart and Roome were taking charge of the Greek Super League game at the request of UEFA and were tested before leaving Scotland.

Source: BBC

UEFA Europa League 2020/2021 – Round of 32 (Second Leg)

24-25 February 2021

Tottenham Hotspur – Wolfsberger AC
Referee: Matej Jug (SVN, photo)
Assistant Referee 1: Matej Žunič (SVN)
Assistant Referee 2: Robert Vukan (SVN)
Fourth Official: Slavko Vinčić (SVN)
VAR: Marco Di Bello (ITA)
AVAR: Jure Praprotnik (SVN)
Referee Observer: William Young (SCO)

AFC Ajax – LOSC Lille
Referee: William Collum (SCO)
Assistant Referee 1: Francis Connor (SCO)
Assistant Referee 2: David McGeachie (SCO)
Fourth Official: Mattias Gestranius (FIN)
VAR: Christopher Kavanagh (ENG)
AVAR: Craig Pawson (ENG)
Referee Observer: Nikolai Levnikov (RUS)

Shakhtar Donetsk – Maccabi Tel Aviv
Referee: Jose Sanchez Martínez (ESP)
Assistant Referee 1: Raul Cabanero Martinez (ESP)
Assistant Referee 2: Inigo Prieto Lopez (ESP)
Fourth Official: Jose Munuera Montero (ESP)
VAR: Ricardo De Burgos Bengoechea (ESP)
AVAR: Guillermo Cuadra Fernandez (ESP)
Referee Observer: Tomasz Mikulski (POL)

SSC Napoli – Granada CF
Referee: Daniel Siebert (GER)
Assistant Referee 1: Jan Seidel (GER)
Assistant Referee 2: Dominik Schaal (GER)
Fourth Official: Daniel Schlager (GER)
VAR: Christian Dingert (GER)
AVAR: Bibiana Steinhaus (GER)
Referee Observer: Martin Hansson (SWE)

TSG Hoffenheim – Molde FK
Referee: Aleksei Kulbakov (BLR)
Assistant Referee 1: Dzmitry Zhuk (BLR)
Assistant Referee 2: Aleh Maslianka (BLR)
Fourth Official: Vladimir Moskalev (RUS)
VAR: Vitali Meshkov (RUS)
AVAR: Sergei Ivanov (RUS)
Referee Observer: Stefan Messner (AUT)

Villarreal CF – FC Salzburg
Referee: Felix Zwayer (GER)
Assistant Referee 1: Marco Achmüller (GER)
Assistant Referee 2: Rafael Foltyn (GER)
Fourth Official: Sören Storks (GER)
VAR: Marco Fritz (GER)
AVAR: Mark Borsch (GER)
Referee Observer: Fredy Fautrel (FRA)

Rangers FC – Royal Antwerp
Referee: Pawel Raczkowski (POL)
Assistant Referee 1: Radoslaw Siejka (POL)
Assistant Referee 2: Adam Kupsik (POL)
Fourth Official: Piotr Lasyk (POL)
VAR: Pawel Gil (POL)
AVAR: Tomasz Kwiatkowski (POL)
Referee Observer: Michael Riley (ENG)

Arsenal FC – SL Benfica
Referee: Björn Kuipers (NED)
Assistant Referee 1: Sander van Roekel (NED)
Assistant Referee 2: Erwin Zeinstra (NED)
Fourth Official: Danny Makkelie (NED)
VAR: Pol van Boekel (NED)
AVAR: Rob Dieperink (NED)
Referee Observer: Georgios Bikas (GRE)

PSV Eindhoven – Olympiacos FC
Referee: Clément Turpin (FRA)
Assistant Referee 1: Nicolas Danos (FRA)
Assistant Referee 2: Cyril Gringore (FRA)
Fourth Official: Frank Schneider (FRA)
VAR: Jerôme Brisard (FRA)
AVAR: Willy Delajod (FRA)
Referee Observer: Darko Čeferin (SVN)

Bayer Leverkusen – BSC Young Boys
Referee: Davide Massa (ITA)
Assistant Referee 1: Filippo Meli (ITA)
Assistant Referee 2: Stefano Alassio (ITA)
Fourth Official: Daniele Doveri (ITA)
VAR: Paolo Valeri (ITA)
AVAR: Michael Fabbri (ITA)
Referee Observer: Juan Fernandez Marin (ESP)

GNK Dinamo – FC Krasnodar
Referee: Halil Umut Meler (TUR)
Assistant Referee 1: Mustafa Eyisoy (TUR)
Assistant Referee 2: Cevdet Komurcuoglu (TUR)
Fourth Official: Arda Kardeşler (TUR)
VAR: Abdulkadir Bitigen (TUR)
AVAR: Ali Palabiyik (TUR)
Referee Observer: Rusmir Mrković (BIH)

AS Roma – SC Braga
Referee: Andreas Ekberg (SWE)
Assistant Referee 1: Mehmet Culum (SWE)
Assistant Referee 2: Stefan Hallberg (SWE)
Fourth Official: John Beaton (SCO)
VAR: Stuart Attwell (ENG)
AVAR: Paul Tierney (ENG)
Referee Observer: Frank De Bleeckere (BEL)

Leicester City – Slavia Praha
Referee: Serdar Gözübüyük (NED)
Assistant Referee 1: Joost Van Zuilen (NED)
Assistant Referee 2: Johan Balder (NED)
Fourth Official: Jeroen Manschot (NED)
VAR: Dennis Higler (NED)
AVAR: Bas Nijhuis (NED)
Referee Observer: Alain Hamer (LUX)

AC Milan – Crvena Zvezda
Referee: Jesus Gil Manzano (ESP)
Assistant Referee 1: Diego Barbero Sevilla (ESP)
Assistant Referee 2: Angel Nevado Rodriguez (ESP)
Fourth Official: Santiago Jaime Latre (ESP)
VAR: Alejandro Hernandez Hernandez (ESP)
AVAR: Javier Estrada Fernandez (ESP)
Referee Observer: Francesco Bianchi (SUI)

Manchester United – Real Sociedad de Futbol
Referee: Lawrence Visser (BEL)
Assistant Referee 1: Thibaud Nijssen (BEL)
Assistant Referee 2: Rien Vanyzere (BEL)
Fourth Official: Allard Lindhout (NED)
VAR: Kevin Blom (NED)
AVAR: Jochem Kamphuis (NED)
Referee Observer: Ray Ellingham (WAL)

Club Brugge – Dynamo Kyiv
Referee: Srdjan Jovanović (SRB)
Assistant Referee 1: Uroš Stojković (SRB)
Assistant Referee 2: Milan Mihajlović (SRB)
Fourth Official: Fran Jović (CRO)
VAR: Sascha Stegemann (GER)
AVAR: Luis Godinho (POR)
Referee Observer: Lutz-Michael Fröhlich (GER)

UEFA Champions League 2020/2021 – Round of 16 (First Leg, II)

23 February 2021

Atletico de Madrid – Chelsea FC
Referee: Felix Brych (GER, photo)
Assistant Referee 1: Mark Borsch (GER)
Assistant Referee 2: Stefan Lupp (GER)
Fourth Official: Christian Dingert (GER)
VAR: Marco Fritz (GER)
AVAR: Sascha Stegemann (GER)
Referee Observer: Kyros Vassaras (GRE)

Lazio – Bayern München
Referee: Orel Grinfeld (ISR)
Assistant Referee 1: Roy Hassan (ISR)
Assistant Referee 2: Idan Yarkoni (ISR)
Fourth Official: Gal Leibovitz (ISR)
VAR: Juan Martinez Munuera (ESP)
AVAR: Roi Reinshreiber (ISR)
Referee Observer: Carlos Velasco Carballo (ESP)

24 February 2021
Atalanta BC – Real Madrid
Referee: Tobias Stieler (GER)
Assistant Referee 1: Christian Gittelmann (GER)
Assistant Referee 2: Eduard Beitinger (GER)
Fourth Official: Sandro Schärer (SUI)
VAR: Bastian Dankert (GER)
AVAR: Harm Osmers (GER)
Referee Observer: Martin Ingvarsson (SWE)

Borussia Mönchengladbach – Manchester City
Referee: Artur Soares Dias (POR)
Assistant Referee 1: Rui Tavares (POR)
Assistant Referee 2: Bruno Rodrigues (POR)
Fourth Official: Hugo Miguel (POR)
VAR: Joao Pinheiro (POR)
AVAR: Massimiliano Irrati (ITA)
Referee Observer: Alfredo Trentalange (ITA)

Marciniak: “I was running away from the coronavirus, but I was too slow!”

2020 was not an easy time for anyone. The coronavirus pandemic at some point stopped the whole world - including the sports one, which has not yet returned to normal. Szymon Marciniak, an international referee, who got Covid-19, summed it up in an interview with us. "I'm going back to myself all the time," he said. “The silence of the stadium increased the panic and fear that were around us then. While traveling to different stadiums at the beginning of the pandemic, I saw how this atmosphere affects us. It's bad to play without spectators”. Interestingly, the cheers of fans, although often against the referees, are - as it turns out - necessary even for them. “All these stadium chants, shouts of joy, whistles, it all ties together”, said Marciniak. “In competitions with public, you simply participate better. Such matches are also better refereed. From my perspective, when there are fans, you feel the pressure and the level of concentration increases”. Sport is slowly waking up from the Covid sleep. For now, however, there is no question of full stadiums. The players therefore had to get used to the sight of empty stands - at least for a while.
“In April 2020, we all experienced a shock - that's a fact. It was a time for reflection, also for me. However, in football on a certain level you have to forget about the problems. Clear your mind when you step onto the pitch. It is a pity that there is no one in the stands, because it could be a nice football celebration - I heard that many times”. Despite this, Szymon Marciniak describes 2020 as "professionally successful". "I have nothing to complain about. The year was successful for me, and when it comes to the Polish league, even very much. I even look at it from the perspective of not using VAR. Because if the referee does not do it, it must be a good match” - he laughs. Among his most important events of the past year, Marciniak lists the largest events in which he had the opportunity to take part. After all, he got Europa League semi-final and also refereed Champions League matches. “My referee team had the opportunity to take part in the quarter-finals of this tournament, we also went to the Europa League semi-final with the Inter-Shakhtar match. It was a very good year for me, so I entered 2021 with hope. Unfortunately, life changed my plans a bit, due to be the coronavirus”. Marciniak fell ill with Covid-19 in December last year. “I ran away from Covid as much as I could, but I think I was too slow”, he mocked the situation. “Covid caught me in December and I really had to fight this disease a bit. It is true that there was no drama, but I have not yet returned to full capability”, he revealed after a while. This is the reason for a professional pause in the life of Szymon Marciniak, a pause that is supposed to be temporary. "My heart rate is too high at the moment", the referee explained. “The choking cough I struggled with at the turn of the year has wreaked little havoc on my body. I can see that from my heartbeat, which is too high. For this reason, I will start the European competition a bit later. To work at that level, a referee has to be perfectly recovered. I have to bring my lungs to full capacity - with training and matches in the Polish league”, added Marciniak. However, Szymon Marciniak should return to European stadiums soon. “I think that in March I will be 100 percent ready”, he concluded.

Source: Portal Plock

Former World Cup Final AR Cann wins “Pointless”

Former 2010 World Cup Final and current Premier League assistant referee Darren Cann has appeared on the TV show Pointless and won the jackpot!
The program was recorded pre-Covid and Cann said he wanted to take his children to Florida or Disneyland. Darren, who came up with what proved to be the winning answer of Shirley Robertson (parasailing), and his friend Dave will share £1,500. The money prize on the show is incremental and had been won very recently (the day before it was £12,500), so the prize fund wasn't huge this time, but still good to win.

Source: Twitter

CONMEBOL Women’s Libertadores 2021

Argentina, 5-21 March 2021

Referee: Laura Fortunato (photo)
Assistant Referee 1: Gisela Trucco
Assistant Referee 2: Daiana Milone

Referee: Adriana Farfan
Assistant Referee 1: Elizabeth Blanco
Assistant Referee 2: Maricela Urapuca

Referee: Charly Deretti
Assistant Referee 1: Barbara Da Costa
Assistant Referee 2: Fernanda Antunez

Referee: Maria Carvajal
Assistant Referee 1: Cindy Nahuelcoy
Assistant Referee 2: Marcia Castillo

Referee: Maria Daza
Assistant Referee 1: Eliana Ortiz
Assistant Referee 2: Jenny Torres

Referee: Maria Cornejo
Assistant Referee 1: Joselyn Romero
Assistant Referee 2: Viviana Segura

Referee: Helena Cantero
Assistant Referee 1: Laura Miranda
Assistant Referee 2: Nancy Fernandez

Referee: Elizabeth Tintaya
Assistant Referee 1: Mariana Aquino
Assistant Referee 2: Gabriela Moreno

Referee: Anahi Fernandez
Assistant Referee 1: Luciana Mascarana
Assistant Referee 2: Belen Clavijo

Referee: Emikar Calderas
Assistant Referee 1: Migdalia Rodriguez
Assistant Referee 2: Yoly Garcia

Support Referees
1. Gabriela Coronel (ARG)
2. Salome Di Iorio (ARG)
3. Roberta Echeverria (ARG)

UEFA Youth League 20/21 cancelled

The UEFA Executive Committee has decided to cancel the 2020/21 edition of the UEFA Youth League due to the Covid-19 pandemic and its effects on the staging of competitions.
The committee had initially decided last year to amend the format of the competition and to delay its start, but the various measures imposed by health authorities around Europe have continued to evolve since then. The travelling restrictions affecting participating clubs create major difficulties for organising their matches and two clubs have already withdrawn from the competition. The UEFA Executive Committee stressed that there is no possibility to further postpone the start of the competition and that the health and safety of youth players must be given highest possible priority. Regrettably, the conditions to restart this international youth competition are not met in the current circumstances and both the UEFA Club Competitions Committee and the European Club Association were consulted and supported the idea to exceptionally cancel this season’s UEFA Youth League.

Source: UEFA

UEFA Elite referee Kružliak suspended in Slovakia

The Referees Committee of the Slovak Football Association (KR SFZ) decided to punish Ivan Kružliak, who will not referee any Fortuna League (first division) matches until the end of the season. Due to his mistakes in last Sunday's match of the 19th round between AS Trenčín and Dunajska Streda, the committee suspended the FIFA referee for six matches, and then he will referee in the second division until the end of the season. The information was confirmed to RTVS by Marian Ružbarsky, the chairman of KR SFZ.
Kružliak incorrectly awarded a penalty kick in favor of Dunajska Streda during the added time of the match. The penalty kick was scored by Eric Ramirez and the match ended in a draw 3-3. "He will not be appointed for any match in the next six rounds of the first division and then will be re-assigned to the second division, in which he will work until the end of the spring season. He will be able to return to the top competition next season, if his performances will confirm his status. The referees Smolak and Očenaš have already received similar punishments for their mistakes in the past”, Ružbarsky told the futbalsfz.sk portal. Kružliak was appointed by the European Football Union (UEFA) to referee the first leg of the Round of 16 Europa League match between OSC Lille and Ajax Amsterdam. His suspension in Slovakia does not affect his ability to referee matches on the international scene in the current year. "We were simply notified by UEFA, which is autonomous in these matters”, explained Ružbarsky.

Source: Sport

CONMEBOL Libertadores 2021 – Round 1 (Second Leg)

2-3 March 2021

Universidad Catolica – Liverpool
Referee: Alexis Herrera (VEN, photo)
Assistant Referee 1: Carlos Lopez (VEN)
Assistant Referee 2: Alberto Ponte (VEN)
Fourth Official: Juan Soto (VEN)
Referee Assessor: Juan Albarracin (ECU)
Supervisor: Hernan Maidana (ARG)

Caracas – Cesar Vallejo
Referee: Gery Vargas (BOL)
Assistant Referee 1: Edward Saavedra (BOL)
Assistant Referee 2: Jose Antelo (BOL)
Fourth Official: Christian Aleman (BOL)
Referee Assessor: Jairo Romero (VEN)
Supervisor: Olga Miranda (PAR)

Guarani – Royal Pari
Referee: Rodolpho Toski (BRA)
Assistant Referee 1: Kleber Gil (BRA)
Assistant Referee 2: Bruno Boschilia (BRA)
Fourth Official: Rafael Traci (BRA)
Referee Assessor: Cynthia Franco (PAR)
Supervisor: Hector Baldassi (ARG)

UEFA Women's Euro 2022 – Qualifying Round (Matchday 18)

23-24 February 2021

Azerbaijan – Moldova
Referee: Iuliana Demetrescu (ROU, photo)
Assistant Referee 1: Petruta Iugulescu (ROU)
Assistant Referee 2: Mihaela Tepusa (ROU)
Fourth Official: Cristina Trandafir (ROU)

Croatia – Romania
Referee: Ewa Augustyn (POL)
Assistant Referee 1: Paulina Baranowska (POL)
Assistant Referee 2: Katarzyna Wasiak (POL)
Fourth Official: Michalina Diakow (POL)

Scotland – Portugal
Referee: Sara Persson (SWE)
Assistant Referee 1: Josefin Aronsson (SWE)
Assistant Referee 2: Jilan Taher (SWE)
Fourth Official: Pernilla Larsson (SWE)

Estonia – Slovenia
Referee: Eszter Urban (HUN)
Assistant Referee 1: Anita Vad (HUN)
Assistant Referee 2: Noemi Barath (HUN)
Fourth Official: Katalin Sipos (HUN)

Cyprus – Finland
Referee: Rebecca Welch (ENG)
Assistant Referee 1: Sian Massey (ENG)
Assistant Referee 2: Lisa Rashid (ENG)
Fourth Official: Abigail Marriott (ENG)

Spain – Poland
Referee: Anastasia Pustovoitova (RUS)
Assistant Referee 1: Ekaterina Kurochkina (RUS)
Assistant Referee 2: Iulia Petrova (RUS)
Fourth Official: Nadezhda Gorinova (RUS)

Italy – Israel
Referee: Ivana Martinčić (CRO)
Assistant Referee 1: Sanja Rodjak-Karšić (CRO)
Assistant Referee 2: Maja Petravić (CRO)
Fourth Official: Sabina Bolić (CRO)

UEFA Futsal Champions League 2020/2021 – Round of 16

18-20 February 2021

Aktobe – Dobovec
Referee 1: Angelo Galante (ITA, photo)
Referee 2: Dario Pezzuto (ITA)
Third Referee: Nurbol Abbassov (KAZ)
Timekeeper: Einadin Idrissov (KAZ)

Inter FS – Kherson
Referee 1: Ondřej Černy (CZE)
Referee 2: Gabor Kovacs (HUN)
Third Referee: Juan Cordero Gallardo (ESP)
Timekeeper: Ana Sanchez Bombin (ESP)

Barca – ACCS
Referee 1: Nikola Jelić (CRO)
Referee 2: Borislav Kolev (BUL)
Third Referee: David Urdanoz Apezteguia (ESP)
Timekeeper: Irene Martinez Fernandez (ESP)

Ugra Yugorsk – Vytis
Referee 1: Admir Zahovič (SVN)
Referee 2: Aleš Mocnik Peric (SVN)
Third Referee: Iuri Neverov (RUS)
Timekeeper: Andrei Shelekhov (RUS)

Kairat Almaty – United Galati
Referee 1: Vladimir Kadykov (RUS)
Referee 2: Ivan Shabanov (RUS)
Third Referee: Nurbol Abbassov (KAZ)
Timekeeper: Einadin Idrissov (KAZ)

Sporting CP – Chrudim
Referee 1: Alejandro Martinez Flores (ESP)
Referee 2: Javier Moreno Reina (ESP)
Third Referee: Miguel Castilho (POR)
Timekeeper: Pedro Paixao Costa (POR)

MNK Olmissum – KPRF
Referee 1: Cristiano Cardoso Santos (POR)
Referee 2: Ruben Cardoso Santos (POR)
Third Referee: Vedran Babic (CRO)
Timekeeper: Mario Budimir (CRO)

Benfica – Berettyoujfalu
Referee 1: Cedric Pelissier (FRA)
Referee 2: Victor Berg-Audic (FRA)
Third Referee: Eduardo Fernandes Coelho (POR)
Timekeeper: Filipe Santos Duarte (POR)

UEFA Women's Euro 2022 – Qualifying Round (Matchday 17)

18-19 February 2021

Azerbaijan – Spain
Referee: Maria Marotta (ITA, photo)
Assistant Referee 1: Francesca Di Monte (ITA)
Assistant Referee 2: Veronica Vettorel (ITA)
Fourth Official: Valentina Finzi (ITA)

Cyprus – Scotland
Referee: Riem Hussein (GER)
Assistant Referee 1: Sina Diekmann (GER)
Assistant Referee 2: Melissa Joos (GER)
Fourth Official: Franziska Wildfeuer (GER)

Finland – Portugal
Referee: Kateryna Monzul (UKR)
Assistant Referee 1: Maryna Striletska (UKR)
Assistant Referee 2: Svitlana Grushko (UKR)
Fourth Official: Anastasia Romanyuk (UKR)

CAF U-20 Africa Cup of Nations 2021

Mauritania, 14 February – 6 March 2021

1. Blaise Ngwa (CMR, photo)
2. Abdelaziz Bouh (MTN)
3. Jean Ouattara (BFA)
4. Samuel Uwikunda (RWA)
5. Omar Artan (SOM)
6. Ibrahim Traore (CIV)
7. Messie Mvoutou (COD)
8. Celso Alvacao (MOZ)
9. Mutaz Al-Shalmani (LBY)
10. Pierre Atcho (GAB)
11. Mahmood Ismail (SDN)
12. Mohamed Moussa (NIG)
13. Souleiman Djama (DJI)
14. Adalbert Diouf (SEN)
15. Alhadj Mahamat (CHA)
16. Akhona Makalima (RSA)
17. Mehrez Melki (TUN)

Assistant Referees
1. Hamedine Diba (MTN)
2. Meriem Chedad (MTN)
3. Samuel Kuria (KEN)
4. Abbes Zerhouni (ALG)
5. Michael Conteh (SLE)
6. Modibo Samake (MLI)
7. Tigle Belachew (ETH)
8. Thomas Kusosa (ZIM)
9. Rodrigue Mpele (CMR)
10. Jospin Malonga (CTA)
11. Abdoulaye Sylla (GUI)
12. Clemence Kanduku (MWI)
13. Kwasi Brobbey (GHA)
14. Frank Komba (TAN)
15. Aymen Ismail (TUN)
16. Eric Ayimavo (BEN)
17. Youssef El-Bosaty (EGY)
18. Adia Cisse (SEN)

UEFA Europa League 2020/2021 – Round of 32 (First Leg)

18 February 2021

Real Sociedad de Futbol – Manchester United
Referee: Sandro Schärer (SUI, photo)
Assistant Referee 1: Stephane de Almeida (SUI)
Assistant Referee 2: Bekim Zogaj (SUI)
Fourth Official: Alain Bieri (SUI)
VAR: Paolo Valeri (ITA)
AVAR: Fedayi San (SUI)
Referee Observer: Roberto Rosetti (ITA)

Olympiacos FC – PSV Eindhoven
Referee: Andreas Ekberg (SWE)
Assistant Referee 1: Mehmet Culum (SWE)
Assistant Referee 2: Stefan Hallberg (SWE)
Fourth Official: Glenn Nyberg (SWE)
VAR: Christian Dingert (GER)
AVAR: Harm Osmers (GER)
Referee Observer: Vladimir Sajn (SVN)

BSC Young Boys – Bayer Leverkusen
Referee: Antonio Mateu Lahoz (ESP)
Assistant Referee 1: Pau Cebrian Devis (ESP)
Assistant Referee 2: Roberto Diaz Perez (ESP)
Fourth Official: Hugo Miguel (POR)
VAR: Jesus Gil Manzano (ESP)
AVAR: Luis Godinho (POR)
Referee Observer: Vlado Svilokos (CRO)

FC Krasnodar – GNK Dinamo
Referee: Bartosz Frankowski (POL)
Assistant Referee 1: Marcin Boniek (POL)
Assistant Referee 2: Jakub Winkler (POL)
Fourth Official: Krzysztof Jakubik (POL)
VAR: Pawel Gil (POL)
AVAR: Tomasz Kwiatkowski (POL)
Referee Observer: Karen Nalbandyan (ARM)

SC Braga – AS Roma
Referee: Istvan Kovacs (ROU)
Assistant Referee 1: Vasile Marinescu (ROU)
Assistant Referee 2: Ovidiu Artene (ROU)
Fourth Official: Ovidiu Haţegan (ROU)
VAR: Juan Martínez Munuera (ESP)
AVAR: Guillermo Cuadra Fernandez (ESP)
Referee Observer: Markus Nobs (SUI)

Slavia Praha – Leicester City
Referee: Marco Guida (ITA)
Assistant Referee 1: Ciro Carbone (ITA)
Assistant Referee 2: Giorgio Peretti (ITA)
Fourth Official: Fabio Maresca (ITA)
VAR: Marco Di Bello (ITA)
AVAR: Maurizio Mariani (ITA)
Referee Observer: Vladimir Medved (SVK)

Crvena Zvezda – AC Milan
Referee: Anastasios Sidiropoulos (GRE)
Assistant Referee 1: Polychronis Kostaras (GRE)
Assistant Referee 2: Lazaros Dimitriadis (GRE)
Fourth Official: Ioannis Papadopoulos (GRE)
VAR: Bastian Dankert (GER)
AVAR: Bibiana Steinhaus (GER)
Referee Observer: Thomas Einwaller (AUT)

Dynamo Kyiv – Club Brugge
Referee: Mattias Gestranius (FIN)
Assistant Referee 1: Jan-Peter Aravirta (FIN)
Assistant Referee 2: Mikko Alakare (FIN)
Fourth Official: Daniele Doveri (ITA)
VAR: Stuart Attwell (ENG)
AVAR: Paul Tierney (ENG)
Referee Observer: Igor Satkii (MDA)

Wolfsberger AC – Tottenham Hotspur
Referee: Ali Palabiyik (TUR)
Assistant Referee 1: Ceyhun Sesigüzel (TUR)
Assistant Referee 2: Serkan Olguncan (TUR)
Fourth Official: Alper Ulusoy (TUR)
VAR: Abdulkadir Bitigen (TUR)
AVAR: Mete Kalkavan (TUR)
Referee Observer: David Fernandez Borbalan (ESP)

LOSC Lille – AFC Ajax
Referee: Ivan Kružliak (SVK)
Assistant Referee 1: Tomaš Somolani (SVK)
Assistant Referee 2: Branislav Hancko (SVK)
Fourth Official: Filip Glova (SVK)
VAR: Marco Fritz (GER)
AVAR: Tobias Stieler (GER)
Referee Observer: Stefano Podeschi (SMR)

Maccabi Tel Aviv – Shakhtar Donetsk
Referee: François Letexier (FRA)
Assistant Referee 1: Cyril Mugnier (FRA)
Assistant Referee 2: Mehdi Rahmouni (FRA)
Fourth Official: Karim Abed (FRA)
VAR: Clement Turpin (FRA)
AVAR: Jerôme Brisard (FRA)
Referee Observer: Alexandru Deaconu (ROU)

Granada CF – SSC Napoli
Referee: Sergei Karasev (RUS)
Assistant Referee 1: Igor Demeshko (RUS)
Assistant Referee 2: Maksim Gavrilin (RUS)
Fourth Official: Vladimir Moskalev (RUS)
VAR: Vitali Meshkov (RUS)
AVAR: Sergei Ivanov (RUS)
Referee Observer: Miroslav Tulinger (CZE)

Molde FK – TSG Hoffenheim
Referee: Stephanie Frappart (FRA)
Assistant Referee 1: Benjamin Pages (FRA)
Assistant Referee 2: Mikael Berchebru (FRA)
Fourth Official: Jeremie Pignard (FRA)
VAR: Benoît Millot (FRA)
AVAR: Willy Delajod (FRA )
Referee Observer: Manuel Lopez Fernandez (ESP)

FC Salzburg – Villarreal CF
Referee: Andris Treimanis (LVA)
Assistant Referee 1: Haralds Gudermanis (LVA)
Assistant Referee 2: Aleksejs Spasjonnikovs (LVA)
Fourth Official: Aleksei Kulbakov (BLR)
VAR: Pol van Boekel (NED)
AVAR: Dennis Higler (NED)
Referee Observer: Bertrand Layec (FRA)

Royal Antwerp – Rangers FC

Referee: Georgi Kabakov (BUL)
Assistant Referee 1: Martin Margaritov (BUL)
Assistant Referee 2: Diyan Valkov (BUL)
Fourth Official: Ivan Bebek (CRO)
VAR: Felix Zwayer (GER)
AVAR: Mark Borsch (GER)
Referee Observer: Jon Skjervold (NOR)

SL Benfica – Arsenal FC
Referee: Cüneyt Çakir (TUR)
Assistant Referee 1: Bahattin Duran (TUR)
Assistant Referee 2: Tarik Ongun (TUR)
Fourth Official: Halis Özkahya (TUR)
VAR: Massimiliano Irrati (ITA)
AVAR: Michael Fabbri (ITA)
Referee Observer: Elmir Pilav (BIH)

UEFA Champions League 2020/2021 – Round of 16 (First Leg, I)

16 February 2021
FC Barcelona – Paris Saint Germain
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: Roberto Rosetti (ITA)

RB Leipzig – Liverpool FC
Referee: Slavko Vinčić (SVN)
Assistant Referee 1: Tomaž Klančnik (SVN)
Assistant Referee 2: Andraž Kovačič (SVN)
Fourth Official: Matej Jug (SVN)
VAR: Massimiliano Irrati (ITA)
AVAR: Jure Praprotnik (SVN)
Referee Observer: Sandor Piller (HUN)

17 February 2021
FC Porto – Juventus
Referee: Carlos Del Cerro Grande (ESP)
Assistant Referee 1: Juan Yuste Jimenez (ESP)
Assistant Referee 2: Roberto Alonso Fernandez (ESP)
Fourth Official: Jose Sanchez Martinez (ESP)
VAR: Alejandro Hernandez Hernandez (ESP)
AVAR: Ricardo De Burgos Bengoetxea (ESP)
Referee Observer: Terje Hauge (NOR)

Sevilla FC – Borussia Dortmund
Referee: Danny Makkelie (NED)
Assistant Referee 1: Hessel Steegstra (NED)
Assistant Referee 2: Mario Diks (NED)
Fourth Official: Allard Lindhout (NED)
VAR: Kevin Blom (NED)
AVAR: Jochem Kamphuis (NED)
Referee Observer: Murat Ilgaz (TUR)

Trentalange elected new AIA president

At the end of the AGM, broadcasted online and followed by over 2000 viewers, the results of the polls confirmed the election of Alfredo Trentalange as the new president of the Italian Referees Association (AIA). With 193 votes, he defeated the outgoing president Marcello Nicchi, totaling 60.31% of the votes. 
“A big thank you to all those who made my election possible, and a special thanks to Marcello Nicchi. He taught me a lot more than what was said. I owe it to him, because the path he followed was full of values, commitment, and what he gave to this association will remain forever in my heart”. These were the first words of Alfredo Trentalange, newly elected President of the Italian Referees Association. “Today let's try to team up - he added - you are my presidents, you are AIA, please call me President only if there are problems; otherwise call me Alfredo. We must confront each other as in a locker room and tell each other everything we have in our hearts. Outside we have to be models for the young referees. We have had other people in front of us who have been models and I believe that we must give back to young people what others have given us; it is not difficult, it can be done. We are like trees, we can lose the leaves but keep the roots. We can change ideas while keeping the principles intact”.

Source: AIA

CONMEBOL Libertadores 2021 – Round 1 (First Leg)

23-24 February 2021

Liverpool – Universidad Catolica
Referee: Nicolas Lamolina (ARG, photo)
Assistant Referee 1: Pablo Gonzalez (ARG)
Assistant Referee 2: Facundo Rodriguez (ARG)
Fourth Official: Andres Merlos (ARG)
Referee Assessor: Martin Vazquez (URU)
Supervisor: Enrique Caceres (PAR)

Cesar Vallejo – Caracas
Referee: Marlon Vera (ECU)
Assistant Referee 1: Byron Romero (ECU)
Assistant Referee 2: Dennis Guerrero (ECU)
Fourth Official: Luis Quiroz (ECU)
Referee Assessor: Henry Gambetta (PER)
Supervisor: Rodolfo Otero (ARG)

Royal Pari – Guarani
Referee: Kevin Ortega (PER)
Assistant Referee 1: Jesus Sanchez (PER)
Assistant Referee 2: Raul Lopez (PER)
Fourth Official: Michael Espinoza (PER)
Referee Assessor: Pedro Saucedo (BOL)
Supervisor: Hector Baldassi (ARG)

Croatian FA dismissed its entire Referees Committee

The Referees Committee of the Croatian Football Federation is being abolished and a new one will be formed is the epilogue of yesterday's HNS meeting, according to numerous Croatian media, including Sportske Novosti, Index.hr and HRT. The Referees Committee, consisting of Ante Kulušić (president), Domagoj Vučkov (member and head of VAR education), Draženko Kovačić, Ante Vučemilović-Šimunović Jr, Vlado Svilokos and Igor Pristovnik thus ceases to exist, and a new Committee will be formed later. Namely, five regional centers, Split, Rijeka, Varazdin, Zagreb, and Osijek will nominate candidates for the new Committee, and the Executive Board will appoint the new Committee probably in March. That is the plan at the moment.
The meeting was convened by the executive director of the HNS, Marijan Kustić, and the decision to dissolve the Committee was accepted by all present, except Ante Vučemilović-Šimunović, the first vice president of HNS, who demonstratively left the meeting, Sportske Novosti writes. "There's not much to say that you don't already know. The executive board has to confirm the decision by 3 pm, but there won't be any problems from that side. It's just proof that a lot is changing in the Federation and that we really want to have healthy football. This is just the beginning of the necessary changes," a source from HNS told Index. Ivan Novak will continue to delegate referees for First League matches, and from now on he will also appoint VAR referees, which was done by Ante Kulušić as the head of the Committee. It will be up to Kulušić to send controllers to the matches until further notice. Thus, for the second time in four years, the President of Rijeka, Damir Mišković, managed to overthrow the Referees' Committee. After the Rijeka-Šibenik match at Rujevica, which ended in a 2-2 draw thanks to a VAR debacle in the final minutes, Mišković called out the refereeing organization, attacking the VAR referee Goran Gabrilo from Split. The president of Rijeka announced changes and it seems that he succeeded.

Source: Total

CAF Champions League 2021 – Group Stage (Matchday 1)

12-16 February 2021

AS Vita Club – Simba SC
Referee: Bakary Gassama (GAM, photo)
Assistant Referee 1: Mustapha Bojang (GAM)
Assistant Referee 2: Abdoul Jawo (GAM)
Fourth Official: Maudo Jallow (GAM)

Zamalek Cairo – MC Alger
Referee: Bamlak Tessema (ETH)
Assistant Referee 1: Samuel Temesgin (ETH)
Assistant Referee 2: Kindie Mussie (ETH)
Fourth Official: Tewodros Mitiku (ETH)

TP Mazembe – CR Belouizdad
Referee: Eric Otogo Castane (GAB)
Assistant Referee 1: Urbain Ndong (GAB)
Assistant Referee 2: Boris Ditsoga (GAB)
Fourth Official: Gauthier Mbina (GAB)

Mamelodi Sundowns – Al Hilal
Referee: Ghead Grisha (EGY)
Assistant Referee 1: Mahmoud El-Regal (EGY)
Assistant Referee 2: Ahmed Taha (EGY)
Fourth Official: Mohamed El-Said (EGY)

Horoya AC – Petroleos Luanda
Referee: Beida Dahane (MTN)
Assistant Referee 1: Mahmoud Yahia (MTN)
Assistant Referee 2: Abderrahmane Warr (MTN)
Fourth Official: Babacar Sarr (MTN)

Esperance Tunis – Teungueth FC
Referee: Peter Waweru (KEN)
Assistant Referee 1: Gilbert Cheruiyot (KEN)
Assistant Referee 2: Tony Kidiya (KEN)
Fourth Official: Dickens Nyagrowa (KEN)

Al Ahly – Al Marraikh
Referee: Janny Sikazwe (ZAM)
Assistant Referee 1: Arsenio Marengula (MOZ)
Assistant Referee 2: Jerson Dos Santos (ANG)
Fourth Official: Derrick Kafuli (ZAM)

Wydad AC – Kaizer Chiefs
Referee: Sedok Selmi (TUN)
Assistant Referee 1: Khalil Hassani (TUN)
Assistant Referee 2: Youssef Jami (TUN)
Fourth Official: Mohamed Bouali (TUN)

FIFA referee Godinho received death threats in Portugal

Referee Luís Godinho received death threats after the Portuguese Cup semi-final match between Sporting de Braga and FC Porto. A source from the Refereeing Council (CA) indicated that Luís Godinho and his family "received death threats all last night, right after the game in Braga" and that the police authorities were immediately warned and monitored Godinho’s trip back home. The referee will now collaborate with the authorities to try to find the perpetrators of the threats, while the CA will continue to monitor the whole situation closely.
Sporting de Braga and FC Porto drew 1-1 on Wednesday night, in the first leg of the Portuguese Cup Cup semi-finals, in a game in which the 'dragons' ended up with nine players. The game was marked by the serious injury of David Carmo that led to the expulsion of Luís Díaz (70), in a controversial decision by Luís Godinho, after viewing the images, which resulted in strong protests from Porto players. An attack by Uribe on Esgaio led to the expulsion of Uribe (90 + 7), so Porto ended the game reduced to nine. After the match, FC Porto president, Pinto da Costa, produced harsh criticisms of the refereeing team, led by Luís Godinho. "Regarding the messages I received during the game, asking for our team to leave the field of play due to what was going on, I want to ask all the members of FC Porto to remain calm because nobody bends us this way, as it has been happening in relation of the referees with FC Porto, which worked against us", he said in a statement without allowing any questions in the press room of the Municipal Stadium of Braga. Pinto da Costa said he wanted to "just talk about facts, not intentions" and recalled that the video assistant referee (VAR) of the game, Hugo Miguel, was the same as in the match FC Porto – Benfica, "when Taremi was shown a yellow card and then he intervened to ask for a red. But all the aggressions that existed in that game, which we have already shown and we will show again, did not call anyone’s attention. Today [Wednesday], he called the referee’s attention to a casual foul [between Luís Díaz and David Carmo that led to Braga's player injury], but did not call for much more dangerous fouls".
The threats to referee Luís Godinho and his family members are being treated "as something extremely serious", the Refereeing Council (CA) of the Portuguese Football Federation (FPF) said. "The Arbitration Council was informed by the international referee Luís Godinho of the existence of threats, which were also made to family members, following the game this Wednesday night, in Braga", referring to the first leg of the semi-final of the Portuguese Cup Portugal, between Sporting de Braga and FC Porto (1-1). The CA also reveals that in the last few hours the telephone contacts of the referees have been made available on social networks again, considering that this is "an incitement to violence and an unbearable attack on the privacy and serenity of the referees". The organization condemns the threats and recalls that these "unfortunately, are not new to national football", leaving the desire for "the authorities to be able to intervene" and "bring those before them to justice. All clubs and sports agents must unite and repudiate, unequivocally and firmly, this type of threats. We are certain that this will happen", concludes the Refereeing Council.

Source: CMJornal

Haiti: Head of referees suspended by FIFA due to abuse allegations

FIFA has suspended the Haitian Football Federation’s (FHF) head of referees, Rosnick Grant, from all football-related activities for 90 days as it continues to investigate allegations of sexual abuse. Grant, a former international referee who is now president of the FHF’s referees’ commission (Cona) and a vice-president of the FHF, was contacted at the end of August by FIFA’s ethics committee and asked to provide a written statement as part of their investigation. A statement on Wednesday confirmed that he has now been suspended, with Grant having already been notified of the decision. The statement said: “In accordance with articles 84 and 85 of the FIFA code of ethics, the investigatory chamber of the independent ethics committee has provisionally banned Mr. Rosnick Grant, a member of the now-dissolved executive committee and the head of refereeing of the Haitian Football Association (FHF), from all football-related activities at both national and international level for a period of 90 days. This sanction has been imposed in connection with ongoing investigations concerning Mr. Grant.”
It is understood that several alleged victims have already provided evidence to FIFA about Grant, who spent 16 years as a referee before being appointed as Cona president in 2009 and becoming responsible for the appointment of referees in Haiti’s domestic leagues. They have claimed that he intimidated young officials by threatening to end their careers if they did not have sex with him. “He harassed us,” one alleged victim who did not want to be named told the Guardian in September. “If you want to have a career, to referee tournaments, the only person who can make that happen is Grant. He uses it as a leverage. To be selected, we have some tests, physical for example. Some girls passed the test but they’re not selected. We have some girls who didn’t go to the physical test but are still selected because they sleep with Grant. It’s very simple.” In September, Grant said he did not want to respond to questions from the Guardian detailing the allegations made against him. “Unfortunately, I cannot speak with you, because I am discussing with another institution on this subject,” he said. “Please understand that confidentiality is required. Sorry.”
Former FHF president Yves Jean-Bart was banned for life in November after FIFA’s ethics committee found him guilty of having abused his position and sexually harassed and abused female players, including minors. FIFA has also imposed temporary bans on the technical director Wilner Etienne and Nela Joseph, girls’ supervisor at the FHF’s Centre Technique National in Croix-des-Bouquets, pending an investigation into their alleged involvement in widespread sexual abuse. Haitian lawyer Jacques Letang has been appointed head of FIFA’s normalization committee, which has a mandate lasting until 30 November 2022 and will help to run the FHF and conduct new elections for a new executive committee. Michaëlle Jean - a former governor general of Canada - has also been appointed to chair an advisory panel that will provide support to the normalization committee.

Source: The Guardian

FIFA Club World Cup Final 2020: Ostojich (URU)

11 February 2021

Bayern München – Tigres UANL
Referee: Esteban Ostojich (URU, photo)
Assistant Referee 1: Nicolas Taran (URU)
Assistant Referee 2: Richard Trinidad (URU)
Fourth Official: Edina Alves (BRA)
Reserve AR: Neuza Back (BRA)
VAR: Julio Bascunan (CHI)
AVAR: Khamis Al Marri (QAT)

Match for Third Place
Palmeiras – Al Ahly
Referee: Maguette N'Diaye (SEN)
Assistant Referee 1: Djibril Camara (SEN)
Assistant Referee 2: El Hadji Samba (SEN)
Fourth Official: Mario Escobar (GUA)
Reserve AR: Humberto Panjoj (GUA)
VAR: Drew Fischer (CAN)
AVAR: Redouane Jiyed (MAR)

FIFA: “Alves was selected on merit. We want to break more barriers”

FIFA president Gianni Infantino sat down with beInSports for a wide-ranging conversation ahead of the Club World Cup final in Doha, Qatar. UEFA Champions League holders Bayern Munich will battle with Concacaf champions Tigres UANL for the honor of being crowned the winner of the first global tournament since the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic. Infantino discussed the importance of the tournament in the context of Covid-19 before touching on a number of other topics, including concussion protocols, women referees, and his thoughts about proposals to begin a European Super League.
Holding the Club World Cup during a pandemic
"Of course it is very difficult, but I am very proud that we were able to set up the new Club World Cup which is the first global tournament since the outbreak of the pandemic. It's important to send the message to the world that football is back to life... and this has only been possible thanks to the incredible work here in Qatar. Of course we wanted 100% capacity but with 30% the atmosphere has been great.”

FIFA's role in combatting Covid-19
"It is important that an organization takes its role in a very responsible way. We have been working with the World Health Organization (WHO) since 11 March 2020, when Covid-19 was declared a pandemic. We started a collaboration by putting football at the disposal of WHO to send out messages... we have run many campaigns with legends of the game. And here, at the Club World Cup, we have started the Act Together campaign which promotes fair access to the vaccine. It's important that we defeat the virus and get vaccinated, so football and football players are certainly an important interlocutor to communicate this message."

On testing positive for Covid-19
"I think I received more messages after it became know I had the virus than when I was elected FIFA president."

On introducing concussion protocols
"The additional substitution for concussions was decided at International Football Association Board (IFAB) meeting last year. This goes hand-in-hand with the introduction of five substitutions: the health of players. Players are the most important asset and we need to protect them."

Women officiating men's games [Context: Edina Alves became the first female referee to take charge of a men’s game at the Club World Cup]
"It was not just a symbolic gesture. Edina and her team of assistants did a fantastic job, and they are here on merit. Of course we want to break down more barriers and have more women referees because it sends an important message to the world."

The specter of a European Super League
"We have to look at how football is constituted at the different levels - national, international, global - and the evolution of the sport. 50 years ago, football was mainly national, and didn't even exist in some parts of the world. Then it developed at a continental level, and now there is a global dimension. From FIFA's point of view, we need to monitor the evolution and find the best scheduling solutions, all while respecting the structures that still exist: FIFA, as the governing body of the football world, [followed by] the confederations, national associations, leagues, and clubs. But all together. We have to develop football together. Football belongs to all the people of the world."

Preparations for the 2022 World Cup
"Everything has impressed me in Qatar. How this country has evolved [since I first came here 15 years ago] is astonishing. What has impressed me the most is the quality of delivery. When Qatar says it will do something, you can be sure it will get done. In spite of Covid-19, we have never been better prepared for a World Cup."

Source: BeInSports