FIFA Club World Cup 2022 – First Round

1 February 2023

Al Ahly – Auckland City
Referee: Ma Ning (CHN, photo)
Assistant Referee 1: Zhou Fei (CHN)
Assistant Referee 2: Zhang Cheng (CHN)
Fourth Official: Istvan Kovacs (ROU)
Reserve AR: Vasile Marinescu (ROU)  
VAR: Juan Martinez Munuera (ESP)
AVAR: Fu Ming (CHN)
OVAR: Nicolas Taran (URU)
SVAR: Fernando Guerrero (MEX)

Umpierrez retired: "I do not feel respected as a professional or even as a person"

Claudia Umpierrez retired from refereeing after two decades of career. The 40-year-old referee, an international since 2010, recovered from a cruciate ligament injury and was ready to referee again, but she was not invited to the pre-season like the rest of her colleagues and interpreted the message: they did not want her anymore. In fact, she was ignored in the last year and a half. Today, 14 years after her international debut, Umpierrez wrote a letter on her Instagram account explaining her reasons and regretting that she was “not given the opportunity to retire on the field despite having trained hard to return. I do not feel respected as a professional or even as a person and I have stopped feeling part of this group, of which I knew how to feel proud some time ago," added Umpierrez, who was removed in March 2021 from the Women's Copa Libertadores due to a complaint that, months later, was dismissed by the Uruguayan Football Association (AUF).
The December 2020 elections in the Uruguayan Association of Football Referees (AUDAF) marked a break. Umpierrez lost by five votes to Yimmy Alvarez and by 2021 almost all those referees who made up the group opposing the current leadership were demoted. “The last three years have been hard, full of sad moments, personal and professional, but they have also been full of personal growth and professional development in other areas of my life. Today I decide to prioritize myself and continue in the places that make me happy, where I feel that I can progress and grow and, above all, where I can do that in a climate of respect and camaraderie”, she added. “That is why I have decided to step aside, put an end to my career, because I am no longer happy being part of the refereeing world and this is my limit. The events that have occurred in recent years have been demotivating for me and for many others who do not dare to say anything and choose to remain silent. I am aware of where I want to be, and that side of life today does not coincide with that of the current authorities of the AUF and the Referees Committee. It is no longer worth fighting for things that the refereeing group has resigned, accepted, and tolerated as normal. Incapacity, lack of work, and promotions not obtained on their own merits have been normalized. All of this is very far from the reality of the professionalism that I have always aspired to for refereeing in my country", she added, wishing good luck to her teammates "who are not part of the club of friends", as well as reminding others that "being indifferent in the face of injustices and staying silent makes them one of them”.


New UEFA referees given sound career advice

A group of 34 male and 12 female officials from across Europe, who have earned their international badges through their performances at domestic level, have been prepared for this challenging new stage of their fledgling refereeing journey at the latest UEFA introductory course in Rome. In addition to fitness training, practical sessions, discussion group work and learning the ropes about UEFA’s refereeing guidelines, the referees heard crystal clear words of wisdom from former international referees that were designed to give them the recipe for success and prime them for what UEFA expects from them as top match officials and representatives of European football both on and off the field.
‘Savour the honour’
In welcoming the new referees to their duties, UEFA chief refereeing officer Roberto Rosetti – who took charge of the UEFA Euro 2008 final between Spain and Germany in Vienna – encouraged them to savour the honour of joining the European refereeing family. “This is one of the moments in your refereeing career that you’ll never forget – you should be proud,” he said. “The facts prove that European referees are the best in the world. They’ve set very high standards. We must maintain these standards. You’re the best young referees in your country – now you’re starting afresh at UEFA level.” Rosetti urged the referees to show dedication and strive for the heights on their refereeing pathway. “Learn more, do more, become more from today,” he reflected. “Think of the top referees – you have to learn from them and take the best from them if you want to emulate them in a few years’ time. Aim for the highest peaks. But always remember that talent is not enough. You need strong motivation and dedication – you have to constantly ask yourself ‘do I want to get to the top?’ Work hard – when you see the referees who have reached the summit, you have to know that this is the result of the hard work that they’ve done.”
‘Believe in yourself’
Björn Kuipers is now a UEFA refereeing officer after a distinguished career that saw the Dutchman referee the 2014 UEFA Champions League final, two UEFA Europa League finals in 2013 and 2018, and the UEFA Euro 2020 final. “You can’t reach the top without belief and trust in yourself,” he said. “Be strong, be courageous when you take decisions and show personality. Be prepared in every single way - You can’t win if you’re not prepared – analyse the teams, playing systems, the key players. Learn to use body language as a skill. Look after your fitness – you’ll be respected if you look fit and strong. If you make a mistake, don’t dwell on it – move on and close the door on the mistake.” Kuipers emphasised that future success was in the referees’ hands. “You have to do your job with passion. You’re here because it’s your passion. Success is the result of hard work. Just do it… and if you do it, dreams really can come true.”
Ambassadors and diplomats
The course in Rome also gave UEFA the opportunity to remind the referees of their crucial role as both footballing ambassadors and diplomats, as well as the behaviour that is expected from refereeing teams on their assignments. Guest speaker David Elleray, a former international referee from England who took charge of important matches at home and abroad, explained to the referees that their responsibilities at international level were greater than in domestic football. “International refereeing for UEFA is more than just 90 minutes,” he said. “You play an important role. You’re representing a senior organisation and leading a team.” Elleray advised the referees about the need for exemplary conduct when on a UEFA mission. “Anything that you do can be photographed and quickly put on the Internet,” he reflected. “You don’t know who is watching you and listening to you. Be careful who you talk to – and how you talk. Watch your bearing and appearance, especially at airports, because you will be noticed. You’re expected to be someone with 100% honesty, someone who can be respected and trusted. Don’t tolerate anything that is dishonest, unethical, corrupt, or dubious. Report it to UEFA to help eradicate corruption within football. Your integrity as a referee must never be in doubt.”

Source: UEFA

New formats for UEFA men’s national team competitions

The UEFA Executive Committee met at the House of European Football in Nyon, Switzerland, and approved new formats for its men’s national team competitions that will come into effect in September 2024. Following an extensive consultation process with its national associations, it was decided to slightly modify the current formats of the UEFA Nations League and the European Qualifiers to provide more compelling and exciting competitions within existing dates, as well as to strengthen the resources of national associations and ensure a steady recovery from the impact of the pandemic. A new meaningful knock-out UEFA Nations League round combined with a more compact format of European Qualifiers results in more compelling ties without any increase in the overall number of matches.

UEFA Nations League
The UEFA Nations League will be expanded with a new knock-out round to be played in March, thereby creating continuity between the group phase ending in November and the Finals played in June. League A group winners and runners-up will participate in home-and-away quarter-finals, with the winners of these ties qualifying for the Final Four. The 3rd-ranked of League A and the runners-up of League B, as well as the 3rd-ranked of League B and the runners-up of League C will play a home-and-away promotion/relegation play-off. The expansion of the UEFA Nations League into the International Match Calendar window of March will only concern a selected number of teams and the remaining teams will already be available to start the European Qualifiers.

European Qualifiers
The new format of the European Qualifiers for UEFA EURO or the FIFA World Cup will be more consolidated, with teams being drawn in 12 groups of four and five teams, consequently revitalising the competition by making it less predictable and more dynamic. With the traditional home-and-away matches and “all play all” principles retained, this simple format will offer more competitive groups at all levels. Teams drawn in groups of five will kick off the qualifiers in March, or in June if they are still competing in the UEFA Nations League quarter-finals or are involved in promotion/relegation matches. Teams drawn in groups of four will start their campaigns in September. The group-winners of the European Qualifiers will qualify directly for the UEFA EURO or the FIFA World Cup, whereas the second-placed teams will either qualify directly or participate in play-off matches (together with UEFA Nations League teams for qualification to the UEFA EURO). A visual description of the qualification modus can be found here. No change has been proposed for the UEFA EURO final tournament, which will still feature 24 teams. The new format will be implemented after UEFA EURO 2024.

UEFA Super Cup
The UEFA Executive Committee decided to relocate the 2023 UEFA Super Cup from Kazan, Russia, to Athens, Greece. The game will be played at the Georgios Karaiskakis Stadium in Piraeus on Wednesday 16 August at 21:00 CET (22:00 local time).

UEFA U-21 Championship 2025
The Slovak Football Association (SFZ) was appointed to host the 16-team final tournament of the 2025 UEFA European Under-21 Championship. The matches will be played in eight venues in eight different cities across the country in the summer of 2025.

UEFA Return to Play Protocol
Following the evolution of the COVID-19 pandemic and the current overall developments around Europe, including the removal of previous measures in place in most domestic competitions, the UEFA Executive Committee has decided to discontinue the application of the UEFA Return to Play Protocol. In line with the discontinuation of the Protocol, it was further decided to no longer continue to introduce the relevant Annexes related to special rules applicable due to COVID-19, which were included in the UEFA competition regulations, as these rules were linked to the application of the Protocol. UEFA will nonetheless continue to closely monitor the evolution of the pandemic, and, in case of a significant change in circumstance, will propose appropriate measures in order to ensure the safety of all those concerned and the smooth running of its competitions, including if necessary, re-implementing any relevant obligations and hygiene measures.

Competition regulations
The UEFA Executive Committee approved the regulations of the UEFA European U-21 Championship 2023–25 and the regulations of the 2023–25 UEFA European Women's Championship.

Source: UEFA

Bright future for European assistant referees

UEFA’s latest course for European assistant referees, held in Rome, provided the perfect opportunity to emphasise the value of the men and women with the flag as a source of vital support not only to referees, but also to the video assistant referees (VARs) introduced in recent years as an important enhancement of the on-field decision-making process. In discussions at the course, UEFA’s senior refereeing officials and the top assistant referees present were in 100% agreement that the assistant referee has a full part to play in the future of the game, especially through their involvement in game management and control, providing ‘extra eyes’ for incidents and situations, sharing pressures and improving the overall refereeing performance in a match.
Cooperation and support
UEFA’s chief refereeing officer Roberto Rosetti responded to the doubts expressed in some quarters about the future worth of assistant referees, given the ongoing development of the VAR system. “We’ve no doubts about the role of the assistant referees and will continue to promote their development,” Rosetti said. “First of all, they’re still extremely important for all the offside situations during the match, and a crucial source in terms of cooperation and support for the referee. The assistant referee often has a different perspective than a referee on the field,” Rosetti added. “They can sometimes be very important in situations where, for example, the referee is surrounded by players and is focusing on the technical decision to be made. The assistant referee is ‘outside’ these situations – they have a ‘colder’ perspective and can give backing and advice to referees on how to act and react, what to say and not to say.”
‘Colleague and friend’ to referees
The assistant referees themselves gave important feedback to UEFA on how they perceive their role, especially in lending mental support to referees in stress situations – one work group spoke of the need to be ‘a colleague… and a friend’ in working together with a referee. The officials who run the line also underlined their value in, among others, sharing responsibility, having an additional vision of game-changing situations, reinforcing the image of the refereeing team through their presence and actions, and providing clear and calm communication to the referee and – when on duty – VAR team. “Assistant referees are major actors on the field,” said Rosetti. “We listen to them and take the good points they make with a view to implementing them in the future. The courses help them to compare ideas and give each other advice. They have great dedication and a lot of passion and are adapting and adjusting well to new developments.”
When to raise the flag – and when to keep it down
The course not only looked to the future, but also reviewed how the assistant referees’ role has developed recently, especially as a result of the implementation of the VAR system. One particular aspect where the assistants’ job has changed through the advent of VAR is timing when raising the flag for offside. “We need the assistant referees to show their traditional abilities from the past,” Rosetti reflected. “Accuracy, precision in offside evaluation. But timing is now an essential element of the job – they must know when to raise the flag. If they raise the flag at the wrong moment, problems can arise as far as the final decision is concerned. We’ve worked hard on the ‘flag delay’ concept at the course.” When the VAR system is in place for a match, assistant referees are being advised not to raise the flag if in doubt about a potential offside situation. Other key differences for assistants officiating with the VAR system include the need for clear and short communication; even greater alertness in anticipating situations and reading the game; and personal mental strength after a VAR intervention – reacting in a positive manner if VAR overturns a decision.
Consistency and preparation
The assistant referees, who also undertook a stringent fitness test in Rome, were given a clear message of encouragement by Roberto Rosetti as they look forward to a challenging spring in UEFA’s club and national team competitions. Decision-making consistency, he said, was a key weapon in an assistant referee’s armoury. “Consistency is more important than perfection,” Rosetti explained. “It’s impossible to be perfect, but it is possible to be consistent. We believe in you. Work hard on your fitness, as well as your technical, psychological, and tactical preparation. That’s the key to success. You’re very lucky to be working in football,” he concluded. “We’re privileged people, because we have the possibility to do something that we love and is our passion.”

Source: UEFA

FIFA referee Pinheiro witness in the Benfica emails case

The trial of the Benfica emails continued with another session, marked by the presence in the Court of the referee Joao Pinheiro as a witness in a case where Francisco Marques, Diogo Faria and Julio Magalhaes are defendants. During the morning session, Joao Pinheiro confirmed that he was the author of several emails sent to the League delegate Nuno Cabral, which later reached Paulo Goncalves, Benfica's legal advisor. In the previous session, on 25 October 2022, Nuno Cabral stated that he had not intervened in the email exchange with Pinheiro, something that the Court wanted to clarify.
"This email is mine", confirmed Joao Pinheiro. As recalled by Porto Canal, through which the emails were made public by Francisco Marques, "the referee would have contacted Nuno Cabral in order to obtain the assistance of Paulo Goncalves, the legal director of Benfica, to review the report of a game between Moreirense and Belenenses". Joao Pinheiro said that “it was normal to send game reports” but stressed that he never did so "so that they forward them to someone else". "When I send [reports], I don't expect feedback. I also send them to district referees. Nuno Cabral never asked me for a particular report, and I didn't expect him to forward it," he added. The rankings of the referees at the end of the season are relevant because - as Pinheiro also pointed out - going down in category has a "very big" impact on the financial side of refereeing. Following this case, Joao Pinheiro, initially appointed to the CONMEBOL U-20 Championship 2023 in Colombia, was replaced with Antonio Nobre.

Source: O Jogo

Rapallini: “After the final whistle, I took off my referee shirt and ran up to the stands to hug my family”

Fernando Rapallini was one of the two Argentine referees selected by FIFA and recounted his experience in the three matches he led at the World Cup 2022 in Qatar. “The only thing I can relate to refereeing a World Cup match, speaking from a sporting point of view, is the birth of a child. They tell you what it is to be a father, but only when you really become father, you get an idea of what it means. Everything they told you; you live it. This is the same, a World Cup cannot be compared to anything. Entering a field, seeing those historic signs, being with those players, listening to the hymns. Something magical and indescribable is produced, which cannot be counted with words”, said Rapallini.
He surely dreamed of it more than once, back in his native La Plata and throughout his life. When the desire to be a referee took shape and he began to climb the ranks, until reaching the first division, that desire was more latent than ever and finally came true in 2022, with his selection to be part of a World Cup, which will be unforgettable for all Argentines. And Fernando Rapallini was there and clearly at the level of the highest competition. “I have the best memories of having refereed in a World Cup. I had talked a lot with Hector Baldassi, Horacio Elinzondo, Francisco Lamolina and Angel Sanchez and they told me something that I was able to confirm: the experience of a World Cup match is unique. Regardless of all our team’s previous experience with very important matches in Qualifiers, the U-20 in Poland, the Euro, the Club World Cup, the Copa America, which are wonderful tournaments, this is different from everything else. When my first game ended, which was Morocco against Croatia, as soon as I whistled the end, I went to the locker room, took off my referee shirt, put on a training shirt and ran up to the stands to hug my wife Veronica and my daughter Martina. We kissed each other and we began to cry, because it had been a peak moment for the three of us, due to the entire process lived up to that moment”.
The appointments in the most important tournaments on the continent, and in the world, including Euro 2020, where he set the record of being the first non-European referee at that competition, accompanied as always by assistants Juan Pablo Belatti and Diego Bonfa, predicted that he would be in Qatar 2022. The assumptions became certainties in a very special way. “I remember the moment of the World Cup appointment as if it were today. I was in Colombia for a Copa Libertadores match and upon arriving at the airport, moments before returning to the country, I received the news. I have it very fresh, because it came at the moment when we took the suitcases from the car at the airport. The emotion and joy were immense, in the midst of a mixture of sensations, because I would have liked to be able to teleport and be with my wife and daughter, but at the same time, I was with Juampi Belatti and Turco Bonfa, who were also appointed, so we hugged each other very excited. I called Vero crying and I don't even remember what I told her (laughs). After a while I saw the complete list, and there was Facundo Tello, who is a friend and a particular situation arose, because he was in Brazil, also for the Libertadores. I called him and we couldn't say anything to each other, because we both cried for a minute and a half. We had to cut it because of the emotion we had”.
An appointment of such level requires intense preparation, which is not only limited to the previous months, but has come a long time before. “There are four years of a strict process, from a physical point of view, but even stronger from a mental one. I was lucky to work with Marcelo Roffe, a great sports psychologist, whom I thank for the hand he gave me, especially in the final stretch, where you have to be better in your head to face this type of challenge. He is part of an excellent interdisciplinary group, where I have a field instructor, a gym teacher, and a small injury recovery specialist. I also want to mention the kinesiologist, the massage therapist, the osteopath, the English teacher, the podiatrist, the personal psychologist. I refer to each one of them, because they were the ones who made it possible for me to get to where I am. And, of course, the family, which is the great support, understanding what goes through the head of a person who is facing a similar moment, trying to achieve a maximum objective”.
The World Cup experience began on November 23 with the goalless draw between Morocco and Croatia and later continued with the vibrant Switzerland - Serbia 3-2, followed by the Round of 16 match, when the surprising Morocco withstood the attacks of Spain to reach the penalties, producing one of the big impacts of the tournament by eliminating it. On that match, Rapallini had the opportunity to share the field with great players, among whom Luka Modric, Sergio Busquets and Sofyan Amrabat stood out for their quality. A contest that he also enjoyed because of what was happening with his Argentine colleague: “We are friends with Facundo Tello, we went through the selection process together, sharing many things and with significant generosity. We spent $10,000 there, because he was also accompanied by his father and his brother. His presence makes me very happy, because he is a very good referee and a great person. There was no selfishness between us."
The World Cup Qatar 2022 had an interesting start with significant VAR interference, especially in the early rounds. Beyond being a subject that will continue to be controversial in the world of football, there is an interesting background to learn about, as Rapallini tells it: “The line they gave us was very clear, both for field and VAR referees: calling only clear and obvious errors; otherwise, no intervention. I think that in general there were very good decisions from both parties, because the tool helped on the field of play as well. And semi-automated offside technology greatly speeds up revision times. With respect to the additional time, there was a specific message in preparation regarding recovering the necessary time, giving back to football what was being taken from it, with the help of the fifth referee who acted as timekeeper, advising the fourth official about the minutes lost on the field due to goal celebrations, expulsions or admission of the stretcher, events that the VAR does not record. Then it was the VAR who informed us of the number of minutes used in review. We gathered that information which provided enough accuracy in the time recovery, to make the net playing time effective”.
Rapallini is very happy with his tournament. “We are very satisfied with our performance and they confirmed it. When we refereed Spain-Morocco in the Round of 16, we knew it could be our last presence in the tournament, beyond our performance, due to the regulations, and that's what happened: when Argentina advanced, they told us we had to go back home. But luckily, that game not only went to extra time, but also to penalties, so we ended up staying on the field for about 150 minutes, enjoying ourselves, although with the latent feeling that it could be good-bye. At the end we remained there, contemplating the celebrations of some and the sadness of others. We wanted that journey to never end." For them the job was over, but not for the national team of Argentina, which continued its march towards glory: “We watched the first three games of Argentina from the hotel due to schedule issues. There were four matches each day in the group phase: at 1:00 p.m., 4:00 p.m., 7:00 p.m. and 10:00 p.m., but we could only attend the third, because during the first match we were returning from training for lunch, during the second game we had meetings and during the last one it was already very late and we had to rest, because the activity started very early every day. The one we did go to at the stadium was the quarter-final against the Netherlands, with the detail that we were accompanied by our colleagues from that country. We sat close together and, of course, each one shouted for the goals of their country. It was a heart-stopping game and when Lautaro scored the last penalty, we went crazy”.
Both Facundo Tello and Fernando Rapallini himself sat at a small table of just four members. Angel Coerezza and Carlos Esposito were imaginarily located there, the Argentine referees who had refereed at the World Cup in 1978 and 1986, respectively, the previous unforgettable feats of the Albiceleste: “Before the World Cup, I was asked whether I would prefer to referee the final or for Argentina to get there. My answer was always the same: if I am there, 50 people, who are my friends and family, will be happy, but if the National Team plays the decisive match, it will be celebrated by 50 million. How not to be happy to see Messi lift the World Cup? And how can we not celebrate that, in this tournament, which will go down in history, we were there. We watched the semi-final with Croatia at the airport, we even changed our tickets, because otherwise it would catch us on the return flight. I was able to watch the final at home with my family, where we all cried together with emotion. For Veronica, Martina, and I, it was very important, because we had never witnessed a World Cup. What I like the most is seeing my two-and-a-half-year-old daughter being a Messi fan and singing all the songs. All Argentines are going to need a little time to realize what we are living through”.

Source: Infobae

FIFA Women’s World Cup 2023 referees fine tune preparations

“A rigorous and focused preparation” - those were the words of FIFA Referees Committee Chairman Pierluigi Collina earlier this month when announcing the 33 female referees, 55 female assistant referees and 19 video match officials (VMO) selected to form 'FIFA Team One' for the 2023 FIFA Women's World Cup Australia & New Zealand. This week, the Qatari capital of Doha has been the setting for European match officials, the first of three preparatory seminars. On the opening evening, the FIFA President Gianni Infantino visited the group to look ahead to the showpiece event later this year. The elite match officials from Asia (AFC), Africa (CAF) and Oceania (OFC) will also travel to Doha next week, with those from the Concacaf and CONMEBOL confederations concluding the seminars in Montevideo, at the end of February.
“I think these seminars are brilliant because you get to come together as a group. You come here and you get the exposure to work with VAR, being on the training field in the morning, practicing things, learning from other referees,” said Rebecca Welch. The English official – a relative late starter to refereeing after qualifying at the age of 27 - became the first woman to referee a men's Championship match on Saturday. 21 January, and is now preparing for her first FIFA World Cup. “Every minute you’re here, you’re learning” continued Welch. “They’re long days but that’s what we’re here for. We’ve got a physio team; we’ve got technical instructors. So, it’s a big opportunity to come and learn. Although it’s intense for the four days, as referees, we love it and that’s why we’re doing it.”
The "Road to Australia and New Zealand" project initially kicked off in 2020 with 170 candidate match officials. The road saw some unforeseen bumps when the Covid-19 pandemic struck, but FIFA’s women’s refereeing programme was able to pivot, maintaining a high-level of preparation, as Kari Seitz, FIFA’s Head of Women Refereeing, explained pre-seminar. “With critical time lost due to the pandemic, we developed some new programmes to accelerate our referee development, such as our very effective Tracking & Support programme, where each referee candidate was assigned a FIFA coach who provided feedback on their matches each month. This programme will continue to be critical in the final phase of preparation for the FIFA Women’s World Cup.”
Kateryna Monzul from Ukraine began her career in refereeing in 2002, experiencing a number of career highlights to date. Her personal preparations for Australia and New Zealand at one stage saw her leave home due to the onset of war, and she was quick to pay tribute to her colleagues around the world. “Now I have two families: I have my family at home, and also my refereeing family. I remember when the war started in Ukraine, it was a huge shock for me. I didn’t know what I would do. But, when I travelled from Ukraine, I received huge support from the refereeing family – and I would like to thank everyone that helped me. It came at the most crucial moment for me.” Looking ahead to this year’s FIFA Women’s World Cup, Kateryna likened her preparation to that of a machine. “Your system has to work. If a single detail doesn't work, you need to re-work the whole system. You have to be physically, mentally and psychologically prepared.”
For those in Doha, the programme has included practical training sessions, strength and agility tests, VAR simulations and theory sessions. In addition, real match scenes are analysed with the help of video recordings, with no stone left unturned in the preparations. Away from Doha, the officials will continue to showcase their skills and use those matches to prepare themselves mentally, physically, and technically. Anticipation for the FIFA Women's World Cup, which will feature 32 teams for the first time, and has already seen over 500,000 tickets sold, is growing daily. Not only for the players and teams that have already qualified, but also for the match officials. 

Source: FIFA

Collina unrecognisable in rare photo

Pierluigi Collina is one of the most recognisable referees in football, largely thanks to his bald bonce. He may be long retired, but the Italian still holds a special place in the hearts of football fans around the world. Collina was one of the most feared officials in the world in his day, commanding respect from players and managers alike before hanging up his whistle in 2005. Now the Chairman of the FIFA Referees Committee, Collina, 62, still boasts his trademark chrome-dome, brought on by severe alopecia when he was younger. But an old picture has emerged of the iconic whistler before his hair-loss condition set in.
The blurry image shows a young Collina of indeterminable age wearing an all-black strip with a turned down white collar. Supposedly taken before he made his Serie A debut in 1991, Collina has thick, wavy black hair that almost obscures his face. It's a far cry from the image of Collina fans are used to, caused by the onset of alopecia.
Former English top referee Graham Poll reckons the affliction came as a gift to the Italian as it made him more recognisable to the public. "Pierluigi was given a gift at the age of 26 when he got alopecia," Poll exclaimed. "He says this himself. He showed us photos of him when he was young when he had loads of hair and no one could recognise him. He said see I’m just normal here with hair. He said once he went bald, he became very recognisable and it gave him this image. He used to say 90% of his job was done before he even stepped on the pitch which to me is incredible. Reputation counts for so much. And if he made a mistake he was still a good referee who made a mistake, not a bad referee."

Source: Daily Star

German referee Gräfe wins compensation for age discrimination

A former top referee in Germany was awarded 48,500 euros ($52,800) in compensation after a court found he was discriminated against when he was no longer considered for games because of his age. The court in Frankfurt found the 49-year-old Manuel Gräfe, who officiated 289 Bundesliga games from 2004 through 2021, had been disadvantaged by the German federation’s practice of not considering referees over the age of 47. The court said the federation, known as the DFB, was not justified in imposing a blanket restriction on older referees at the elite level without scientific evidence or using more individual measures like performance tests. However, the court rejected a claim for damages including lost earnings, ruling that Gräfe had not provided evidence to show that he would still have been selected for games if the age limit had not been in place.
FIFA decided in 2014 to abolish its age limit for referees in international games. However, FIFA rules say referees over 45 can still be subject to “additional technical assessments as well as specific medical examinations and fitness testing on a case-by-case basis.” (Source: AP)
Gräfe was forced to end his Bundesliga career last year after 289 appearances due to age restrictions. He had sued the DFB, which he had publicly criticized several times in recent months, for damages of 190,000 euros. However, the primary goal of the lawsuit was “to confirm that age was the reason used by DFB to get rid of me,” Gräfe emphasized during the hearing on November 16. Although the DFB denied it, there is “enough evidence” to assume an age limit, said the judge. The court did not accept the demand for the amount called by Gräfe (190,000 euros) because the referee would have had “no guarantee of a certain number of match appointments” even if he had continued to referee on the Bundesliga list. “The amount is in reasonable proportion to the damage suffered,” said Judge Wolf. Even if there is no official age limit in the DFB rules, there are “enough indications” that this is practiced in reality, the reasoning for the judgment said: “The age of the defendant was a contributing factor. It does not have to have been the sole cause, but it is one of several.”
One day before the court ruling, former World Cup referee Felix Brych announced that he would like to continue refereeing in the Bundesliga at the age of 48, after this summer. The age limit is not stipulated in the DFB statutes but has been common practice for many years in Germany. DFB referee chief Fröhlich recently brought up a softening of the conversation, saying that the 47 years should only be a point of reference. (Source: SZ)

Clattenburg steps down as head of Egyptian referees

Clattenburg, 47, was appointed on 5 August 2022 to improve the level of Egyptian referees who have come under fire for below-par performances during the previous seasons. Local reports have referred, however, to disagreements between the Englishman and officials in the EFA which led to his ouster. The board of directors of EFA will hold an urgent meeting on Wednesday to decide on Clattenburg's resignation. The EFA has reaffirmed its confidence in the Referees Committee, which will continue to operate normally under the leadership of Vice-President Mohamed Farouk. (Source: Ahram)
Former Premier League referee Mark Clattenburg has been forced to flee Egypt where he was in charge of the country’s whistlers. The Englishman has suffered harsh criticism and personal attacks from Mortada Mansour, the president of Zamalek Sporting Club. Mansour has been critical of Clattenburg’s role in Egyptian football and has incorrectly claimed that the ex-ref has left his wife to start a gay relationship. Clattenburg, 47, has decided to leave Egypt as he feared for his safety following threats from the supporters of Zamalek. Once considered one of Europe’s top officials, Clattenburg was also having his referee appointments changed by the League. It is also understood Clattenburg felt he was being misled, while he was concerned by the number of dodgy decisions made by some officials. For big games in Egypt, overseas referees are flown in but Clattenburg was having problems in persuading top officials to go to the country. Also, Clattenburg, who arrived in August, had not been paid for two months. He has been on about £32,000 a month. Clattenburg left the English top flight in February 2017 to take over as the head of refereeing in Saudi Arabia and he also had stints working in China and Greece. (Source: The Sun)

First ever “white card” in football

Football history was made on Saturday when a white card, which recognises fair-play, was shown for the first time during a match in Portugal. Red and yellow cards for fouls and misdemeanours have been an integral part of the sport for decades, but Portugal has introduced a white one as part of a series of new initiatives in the country.
Referee Catarina Campos brandished the white card, shown to recognise and encourage fair-play, during a women's cup clash between Sporting Lisbon and Benfica in Lisbon at the weekend in a first for the game. Shortly before half-time in the Taca de Portugal Feminina match, the official showed the card as she would have a red or yellow, and received a good reception from the crowd at the Estadio da Luz. Someone on a bench in the dugout had fallen ill, with medical staff from both teams quickly going to their aid. The referee took out the card and showed it to members of both sides' medical teams, prompting a warm reception from fans. The card can be shown to recognise and encourage fair-play and is designed to 'improve ethical value in the sport'. The move is part of a new initiative in Portugal to encourage sides to act in a sporting manner and receive instant recognition for their positive actions.
Previously, former UEFA president Michel Platini had called for the introduction of a white card as a punishment for dissent, that would leave guilty players in a 10-minute sin-bin. Platini suggested the white card to help combat the 'craze of contesting the referee', which he branded 'a veritable epidemic in football'. The Frenchman's ideas went no further – and Portugal's white card appears to be a Portuguese-led initiative rather than anything led by the International Football Association Board.

Source: Daily Mail

UEFA Youth League 2022/2023 – Play-offs

7-8 February 2023

BSC Young Boys – FC Salzburg
Referee: Joey Kooij (NED, photo)
Assistant Referee 1: Patrick Inia (NED)
Assistant Referee 2: Dyon Fikkert (NED)
Fourth Official: Luca Piccolo (SUI)
Referee Observer: Peter Sippel (GER)

Hibernian FC – Borussia Dortmund
Referee: Henrik Nalbandyan (ARM)
Assistant Referee 1: Mesrop Ghazaryan (ARM)
Assistant Referee 2: Khachatur Hovhannisyan (ARM)
Fourth Official: Daniel McFarlane (SCO)
Referee Observer: Calum Murray (SCO)

FK Rukh Lviv – Internazionale Milano
Referee: Elcin Masiyev (AZE)
Assistant Referee 1: Rahman Imami (AZE)
Assistant Referee 2: Vusal Mammadov (AZE)
Fourth Official: Jacek Malyszek (POL)
Referee Observer: Zbigniew Przesmycki (POL)

KRC Genk – Juventus
Referee: Miloš Milanović (SRB)
Assistant Referee 1: Milan Šutulović (SRB)
Assistant Referee 2: Aleksandar Marjanović (SRB)
Fourth Official: Simon Bourdeaud’hui (BEL)
Referee Observer: Rene Temmink (NED)

AZ Alkmaar – Eintracht Frankfurt
Referee: Igor Pajač (CRO)
Assistant Referee 1: Ivan Mihalj (CRO)
Assistant Referee 2: Ivan Starčević (CRO)
Fourth Official: Erwin Blank (NED)
Referee Observer: Guy Goethals (BEL)

Hajduk Split – Shakhtar Donetsk
Referee: Damian Sylwestrzak (POL)
Assistant Referee 1: Adam Karasewicz (POL)
Assistant Referee 2: Bartosz Kaszynski (POL)
Fourth Official: Ante Terzić (CRO)
Referee Observer: Ognjen Valjić (BIH)

MTK Budapest – AFC Ajax
Referee: Joonas Jaanovits (EST)
Assistant Referee 1: Aron Harsing (EST)
Assistant Referee 2: Jaan Roos (EST)
Fourth Official: Bence Csonka (HUN)
Referee Observer: Thomas Einwaller (AUT)

Panathinaikos – FC Porto
Referee: Amine Kourgheli (BLR)
Assistant Referee 1: Juryj Chomcanka (BLR)
Assistant Referee 2: Viktar Hiecikau (BLR)
Fourth Official: Lazaros Rendifis (GRE)
Referee Observer: Michail Argyrou (CYP)

Collina remembers Kuffuor moment in the Champions League final

Legendary Italian referee Pierluigi Collina has explained the moment he walked to a visible broken Bayern Munich defender Sammy Kuffuor to console him after the 1999 UEFA Champions League final against Manchester United. The Germany giants were minutes away from winning the competition when the Red Devils staged the most famous comeback in football history to win the UEFA Champions League. With few seconds remaining, former Ghana defender Kuffuor was in uncontrollable tears as he broke down in agony staring at defeat.
According to Collina, he wanted to inspire Kuffuor to fight on, but it was a little too late for the Bavarians: “It was the last two minutes of the Champions League final. I saw the Bayern players on the bench getting ready to celebrate the title. The Bayern fans in the stadium were happy that their team was crowned with the Champions League title. Suddenly, Manchester scored two goals in two minutes and overturned the result. I will never forget how the English stands were filled with great noise as if they were roaring lions, while there was a funeral silence in the Bayern stands. The Manchester United players were celebrating their second goal hysterically when I saw one of the Bayern players falling to the ground completely desperate and feeling great disappointment. I approached him and found nothing to say to him except “Get up and fight, you still have 50 seconds! At that moment, I saw the true face of football, death and life in one stadium, people celebrating madly and desperate people to death."

Source: GhanaWeb

Referees to explain VAR decisions to stadium and TV audiences

Referees will explain VAR decisions to stadium crowds and television audiences in a 12-month trial starting at next month's FIFA Club World Cup in Morocco, soccer's law-making body said on Wednesday. The International Football Association Board (IFAB) failed to agree, however, on trialling rugby-style temporary concussion substitutes. The players' union FIFPRO had lobbied for such a trial in the English Premier League, France's Ligue 1 and Major League Soccer in the United States. IFAB said in a statement after a meeting at London's Wembley Stadium that it also discussed clarifications relating to the laws of the game, including the guidelines on 'deliberate play' in offside situations.
FIFA has invested heavily in VAR technology since it was introduced at the 2018 World Cup in Russia, but controversy remains. Japan's victory over Spain in the 2022 World Cup in Qatar triggered a heated debate, with the ball initially judged to have gone out of play but the decision then reversed after a lengthy VAR consultation. English Football Association (FA) chief executive Mark Bullingham, who chaired the meeting, told reporters conversations between the referee and the VAR official would remain private. Referees would, however, have a microphone to explain the outcome. "There will be a trial where in FIFA tournaments over the next 12 months there is the ability for the referee, after a VAR decision has been made, to announce to the stadium and the broadcast audience what has happened and to clarify that decision," he said. "We think that is important in terms of transparency, and also for the crowd in the stadium who we think at the moment do not get enough information." The experiment could also be extended to this year's Women's World Cup in Australia and New Zealand.
IFAB said no consensus was reached on carrying out a trial with temporary substitutions for actual or suspected concussion but the subject remained under active review. A trial of permanent concussion substitutions was extended indefinitely.
IFAB also looked at measures to create fairer conditions and the amount of time played but decided against introducing a 'countdown clock' to limit time-wasting. "The approach taken during the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 was received positively, and possible measures included the stricter and more accurate calculation of additional time and a more consistent application of the Laws of the Game," it said.

Source: Reuters

Spanish referees ask for SAOT help after VAR mistake

Spanish referees are calling for VAR to be boosted by semi-automated offside technology after a video-review mistake in a league match between Cadiz and Elche. The referee’s technical committee made a request to the Spanish league in a statement released on Tuesday by the Spanish soccer federation. The move came after the Video Assistant Referee failed to spot an Elche player was clearly in an offside position in the buildup to Elche’s 81st-minute equalizer at Cadiz on Monday. The 1-1 draw could prove to be significant with both clubs in the relegation zone. The Spanish league said it is up to the federation itself to implement the new technology, as the league has no control over refereeing decisions. The league said the referees and the federation, “instead of assuming responsibility or apologizing, are trying to transfer the blame to an organization that is not responsible for making refereeing decisions.” Cadiz officially challenged the result of the game and said it wants it to be replayed from the 81st minute before Elche scored. It said it does not rule out legal actions in the future depending on what happens at the end of the season. The club said in a statement that what happened “cannot be called a mere human error.” It said it was a “serious” refereeing mistake “motivated by the negligent and non-excusable action” of the VAR refereeing crew. Cadiz coach Sergio González said referee Carlos del Cerro Grande talked to him after the game and apologized for the mistake. Cadiz president Manuel Vizcaíno told Radio Marca on Tuesday that the apology did little for his club. “It was hard to sleep last night,” he said. “There is nothing that can be done for my club now, I just hope it doesn’t happen to someone else.” Cadiz sits in 18th place, one point from safety after 17 league rounds. The semi-automated offside technology was used by the Spanish federation in the Spanish Super Cup tournament that Barcelona won on Sunday in a final against Real Madrid. (Source: AP)
Open letter from VAR Ignacio Iglesias Villanueva: “After what happened in the Cadiz-Elche match on matchday 17 of the First Division and the subsequent avalanche of comments, criticisms, and speculations on this subject, I have felt the need, with the support of the CTA, to write this open letter to express my feelings. It is simple and difficult at the same time to pronounce these words, but they are obvious and painful: I was wrong. I don't feel like using an automatic speech to say things like we all make mistakes, the players also fail, the coaches... I prefer to write sincerely of what I feel and without falling into victimhood since it is something I hate. What I feel is anger, pain, and annoyance with myself for the mistake I made. I also feel that such a mistake will tarnish the work carried out by the CTA and all my fellow referees where professionalism, honesty, and self-criticism are part of our profession. I am sorry that a bad decision of mine has harmed Cadiz CF and I apologize for this to the club and its fans, where they have always treated me with great respect. I feel that the honesty and independence of the referees and their decisions are questioned every weekend, almost daily. Since I dedicated myself to this profession, I have never received the slightest suggestion or interference of any kind in this regard. Doubting the honesty and independence of referees generates a climate of mistrust and tension that makes impossible the development of our work, which I believe no one in Spanish football deserves. I'm sorry and I don't understand why this situation has been used to talk about and criticize other issues related to the RFEF that have nothing to do with my mistake. I dedicate myself to refereeing and my only interest is to improve and try to do my job well, like any employee in any company. I am an athlete and I accept when I fail: it was my mistake, no one else’s. The CTA provides us with the necessary means to carry out our work in the best possible way and we have to make decisions. I was wrong, there is no doubt about that. Finally, I am not in favor of referees talking about plays or explaining mistakes, but due to the exceptionality of this situation, the fans and football needed it. The one who has lost the most in this situation is me, but no one should question the honesty of the Spanish referees, including myself, after so many years of involvement and professionalism.” (Source: RFEF)

FIFA Club World Cup 2022

Morocco, 1-11 February 2023

Referee: Ma Ning (CHN, 1979, photo)
Assistant Referee 1: Zhou Fei (CHN, 1986)
Assistant Referee 2: Zhang Cheng (CHN, 1989)
VAR: Fu Ming (CHN, 1983)

Referee: Mustapha Ghorbal (ALG, 1985)
Assistant Referee 1: Mokrane Gourari (ALG, 1983)
Assistant Referee 2: Khalil Hassani (TUN, 1989)
VAR: Redouane Jiyed (MAR, 1979)

Referee: Ivan Barton (SLV, 1991)
Assistant Referee 1: David Moran (SLV, 1985)
Assistant Referee 2: Kathryn Nesbitt (USA, 1988)
VAR: Fernando Guerrero (MEX, 1981)

Referee: Andres Matonte (URU, 1988)
Assistant Referee 1: Nicolas Taran (URU, 1980)
Assistant Referee 2: Martin Soppi (URU, 1987)

Video Assistant Referees
1. Nicolas Gallo (COL, 1986)
2. Juan Soto (VEN, 1977)

Referee: Anthony Taylor (ENG, 1978)
Assistant Referee 1: Gary Beswick (ENG, 1978)
Assistant Referee 2: Adam Nunn (ENG, 1985)

Referee: Istvan Kovacs (ROU, 1984)
Assistant Referee 1: Vasile Marinescu (ROU, 1976)
Assistant Referee 2: Mihai Artene (ROU, 1977)

Video Assistant Referees
1. Jerome Brisard (FRA, 1986)
2. Massimiliano Irrati (ITA, 1979) 
3. Juan Martinez Munuera (ESP, 1982)

Chile: Tobar started his new role by firing 14 referees

Roberto Tobar started as the new president of the Chilean Referees Committee with big decisions: he fired 14 referees and announced a new appointment system for matches.
Tobar announced greater transparency in the use of VAR and in conversations between the referees on the field and in the VOR. "Everything will be open, all the records that we have will be presented to journalists, to the teams, to the players and managers; we want to be a very transparent committee", indicated Tobar. "There is an established protocol for both the referees and the VARs, they are not an island or a separate entity, but all have the same guidelines and the same understanding of the game, which is the most important thing for the benefit of our football," he said. On the other hand, Tobar did not talk about the referees who will be dismissed: "I can't tell you the 14 referees specifically, but it is a matter of fact that they have already completed a stage in their career, many have already turned 45, and we will hire 25 new referees hired. We are working with all these referees this month, with new values, a lot of desire and potential, and you will soon see them on the field of play". Meanwhile, the former referee announced that the way of assigning matches will be changed. There will be no more lottery, but they will be appointed by the Referees Committee made up of Roberto Tobar, Carlos Ulloa, Julio Bascunan, Christian Schiemann, Claudio Rios, Barbra Bastias, and Julio Diaz.

CONMEBOL U-20 Championship 2023

Colombia, 19 January – 12 February 2023

Referee: Nicolas Lamolina (ARG, photo)
Assistant Referee 1: Maximiliano Del Yesso (ARG)
Assistant Referee 2: Facundo Rodriguez (ARG)

Referee: Ivo Mendez (BOL)
Assistant Referee 1: Ariel Guizada (BOL)
Assistant Referee 2: Carlos Tapia (BOL)

Referee: Braulio Machado (BRA)
Assistant Referee 1: Fabricio Vilarinho (BRA)
Assistant Referee 2: Rafael Alves (BRA)

Referee: Cristian Garay (CHI)
Assistant Referee 1: Claudio Urrutia (CHI)
Assistant Referee 2: Alejandro Molina (CHI)

Referee: Carlos Ortega (COL)
Assistant Referee 1: John Leon (COL)
Assistant Referee 2: John Gallego (COL)

Referee: Guillermo Guerrero (ECU)
Assistant Referee 1: Ricardo Baren (ECU)
Assistant Referee 2: Dennys Guerrero (ECU)

Referee: Derlis Lopez (PAR)
Assistant Referee 1: Roberto Canete (PAR)
Assistant Referee 2: Luis Onieva (PAR)

Referee: Augusto Menendez (PER)
Assistant Referee 1: Stephen Atoche (PER)
Assistant Referee 2: Leonar Soto (PER)

Referee: Gustavo Tejera (URU)
Assistant Referee 1: Andres Nievas (URU)
Assistant Referee 2: Horacio Ferreira (URU)

Referee: Yender Herrera (VEN)
Assistant Referee 1: Lubin Torrealba (VEN)
Assistant Referee 2: Alberto Ponte (VEN)

UEFA Referee Exchange
Referee: Antonio Nobre (POR)
Assistant Referee 1: Bruno Alves (POR)
Assistant Referee 2: Luciano Maia (POR)

Referee Assessors
1. Angel Sanchez (ARG)
2. Jose Buitrago (COL)
3. Fredy Arellanos (PER)

Arabian Gulf Cup Final 2023: Kovacs (ROU)

19 January 2023

Iraq – Oman
Referee: Istvan Kovacs (ROU, photo)
Assistant Referee 1: Vasile Marinescu (ROU)
Assistant Referee 2: Mihai Artene (ROU)
Fourth Official: Salman Falahi (QAT)
Reserve AR: Zahi Al-Shammari (QAT)
VAR: Jeremie Pignard (FRA)
AVAR 1: Redouane Jiyed (MAR)
AVAR 2: Abdullah Al-Shahri (KSA)

UEFA Referee Categories - second half of the season 2022/2023


Elite (30)
Aleksei Kulbakov (BLR), Michael Oliver (ENG), Anthony Taylor (ENG), Carlos Del Cerro Grande (ESP), Jesus Gil Manzano (ESP), Antonio Mateu Lahoz (ESP), Jose Sanchez Martinez (ESP), Benoit Bastien (FRA), Francois Letexier (FRA), Clement Turpin (FRA), Daniel Siebert (GER), Tobias Stieler (GER), Felix Zwayer (GER), Anastasios Sidiropoulos (GRE), Orel Grinfeeld (ISR), Davide Massa (ITA), Daniele Orsato (ITA), Serdar Gözübüyük (NED), Danny Makkelie (NED), Szymon Marciniak (POL), Artur Soares Dias (POR), Ovidiu Hategan (ROU), Istvan Kovacs (ROU), Sergei Karasev (RUS), William Collum (SCO), Srdjan Jovanovic (SRB), Sandro Schärer (SUI), Ivan Kruzliak (SVK), Slavko Vincic (SVN), Halil Meler (TUR).

First Category (52)
Enea Jorgji (ALB), Harald Lechner (AUT), Manuel Schüttengruber (AUT), Julian Weinberger (AUT), Aliyar Aghayev (AZE), Erik Lambrechts (BEL), Lawrence Visser (BEL), Irfan Peljto (BIH), Georgi Kabakov (BUL), Fran Jovic (CRO), Duje Strukan (CRO), Jakob Kehlet (DEN), Christopher Kavanagh (ENG), Craig Pawson (ENG), Ricardo De Burgos Bengoechea (ESP), Alejandro Hernandez Hernandez (ESP), Kristo Tohver (EST), Jerome Brisard (FRA), Ruddy Buquet (FRA), Stephanie Frappart (FRA), Giorgi Kruashvili (GEO), Harm Osmers (GER), Sascha Stegemann (GER), Tamas Bognar (HUN), Istvan Vad (HUN), Roi Reinshreiber (ISR), Marco Di Bello (ITA), Marco Guida (ITA), Maurizio Mariani (ITA), Donatas Rumsas (LTU), Andris Treimanis (LVA), Aleksandar Stavrev (MKD), Nikola Dabanovic (MNE), Espen Eskas (NOR), Bartosz Frankowski (POL), Pawel Raczkowski (POL), Daniel Stefanski (POL), Tiago Martins (POR), Joao Pinheiro (POR), Fabio Verissimo (POR), Horatiu Fesnic (ROU), Radu Petrescu (ROU), Sergei Ivanov (RUS), John Beaton (SCO), Nicholas Walsh (SCO), Filip Glova (SVK), Matej Jug (SVN), Rade Obrenovic (SVN), Mohammed Al-Hakim (SWE), Andreas Ekberg (SWE), Glenn Nyberg (SWE), Ali Palabiyik (TUR).

Second Category (206)
Eldorjan Hamiti (ALB), Juxhin Xhaja (ALB), Antoine Chiaramonti (AND), Luis Teixeira (AND), Ashot Ghaltakhchyan (ARM), Zaven Hovhannisyan (ARM), Henrik Nalbandyan (ARM), Walter Altmann (AUT), Christian Ciochirca (AUT), Stefan Ebner (AUT), Sebastian Gishamer (AUT), Rauf Jabarov (AZE), Elchin Masiyev (AZE), Lothar D’Hondt (BEL), Jonathan Lardot (BEL), Bram Van Driessche (BEL), Nathan Verboomen (BEL), Jasper Vergoote (BEL), Luka Bilbija (BIH), Milos Gigovic (BIH), Antoni Bandic (BIH), Dzmitry Dzmitryieu (BLR), Amine Kourgheli (BLR), Viktar Shymusik (BLR), Volen Chinkov (BUL), Georgi Davidov (BUL), Dragomir Draganov (BUL), Radoslav Gidzhenov (BUL), Nikola Popov (BUL), Dario Bel (CRO), Ante Culina (CRO), Patrik Kolaric (CRO), Ivana Martincic (CRO), Igor Pajac (CRO), Menelaos Antoniou (CYP), Andreas Argyrou (CYP), Kyriakos Athanasiou (CYP), Chrysovalantis Theouli (CYP), Ondrej Berka (CZE), Tomaš Klima (CZE), Jan Machalek (CZE), Pavel Orel (CZE), Jan Petrik (CZE), Marek Radina (CZE), Dominik Stary (CZE), Peter Kjaersgaard (DEN), Mads-Kristoffer Kristoffersen (DEN), Morten Krogh (DEN), Sandi Putros (DEN), Mikkel Redder (DEN), Jakob Sundberg (DEN), Stuart Attwell (ENG), John Brooks (ENG), Darren England (ENG), Jarred Gillett (ENG), Robert Jones (ENG), Andrew Madley (ENG), Guillermo Cuadra Fernandez (ESP), Juan Martinez Munuera (ESP), Jose Munuera Montero (ESP), Cesar Soto Grado (ESP), Juri Frischer (EST), Joonas Jaanovits (EST), Mohammed Al-Emara (FIN), Joni Hyytia (FIN), Antti Munukka (FIN), Oliver Reitala (FIN), Petri Viljanen (FIN), Karim Abed (FRA), Willy Delajod (FRA), Pierre Gaillouste (FRA), Benoît Millot (FRA), Jeremie Pignard (FRA), Kari a Hovdanum (FRO), Johan Ellefsen (FRO), Goga Kikacheishvili (GEO), Irakli Kvirikashvili (GEO), Bastian Dankert (GER), Christian Dingert (GER), Sven Jablonski (GER), Daniel Schlager (GER), Robert Schroder (GER), Jason Barcelo (GIB), Aristotelis Diamantopoulos (GRE), Vasileios Fotias (GRE), Stefanos Koumparakis (GRE), Evangelos Manouchos (GRE), Ioannis Papadopoulos (GRE), Anastasios Papapetrou (GRE), Balazs Berke (HUN), Gergo Bogar (HUN), Adam Farkas (HUN), Ferenc Karako (HUN), Neil Doyle (IRL), Robert Harvey (IRL), Robert Hennessy (IRL), Paul McLaughlin (IRL), Thorvaldur Arnason (ISL), Helgi Jonasson (ISL), Ivar Kristjansson (ISL), Vilhjalmur Thorarinsson (ISL), Yigal Frid (ISR), David Fuxman (ISR), Gal Leibovitz (ISR), Snir Levi (ISR), Daniele Chiffi (ITA), Michael Fabbri (ITA), Fabio Maresca (ITA), Luca Pairetto (ITA), Simone Sozza (ITA), Sayat Karabayev (KAZ), Artyom Kuchin (KAZ), Daniyar Sakhi (KAZ), Bulat Sariev (KAZ), Mervan Bejtullahu (KOS), Visar Kastrati (KOS), Genc Nuza (KOS), Manfredas Lukjancukas (LTU), Robertas Valikonis (LTU), Jeremy Muller (LUX), Jasmin Sabotic (LUX), Ivo Torres (LUX), Edgars Malcevs (LVA), Vitalijs Spasjonnikovs (LVA), Roman Jitari (MDA), Dumitru Muntean (MDA), Ion Orlic (MDA), Jovan Kachevski (MKD), Igor Stojčevski (MKD), Ishmael Barbara (MLT), Matthew De Gabriele (MLT), Philip Farrugia (MLT), Trustin Farrugia Cann (MLT), Miloš Bošković (MNE), Miloš Savovic (MNE), Dennis Higler (NED), Jochem Kamphuis (NED), Joey Kooij (NED), Allard Lindhout (NED), Sander van der Eijk (NED), Andrew Davey (NIR), Tim Marschall (NIR), Ian McNabb (NIR), Jamie Robinson (NIR), Sivert Amland (NOR), Mahammad Aslam (NOR), Kristoffer Hagenes (NOR), Sigurd Kringstad (NOR), Rohit Saggi (NOR), Kai Steen (NOR), Krzysztof Jakubik (POL), Tomasz Musial (POL), Damian Sylwestrzak (POL), Gustavo Correia (POR), Vitor Ferreira (POR), Luis Godinho (POR), Antonio Nobre (POR), Miguel Nogueira (POR), Marian Barbu (ROU), Marcel Bîrsan (ROU), Andrei Chivulete (ROU), Vladislav Bezborodov (RUS), Evgeni Kukuliak (RUS), Kirill Levnikov (RUS), Artem Liubimov (RUS), Vitali Meshkov (RUS), Vladimir Moskalev (RUS), Pavel Shadykhanov (RUS), Kevin Clancy (SCO), David Dickinson (SCO), David Munro (SCO), Donald Robertson (SCO), Lazar Lukic (SRB), Milos Milanovic (SRB), Nenad Minakovic (SRB), Novak Simovic (SRB), Milan Stefanovic (SRB), Luca Cibelli (SUI), Alessandro Dudic (SUI), Lukas Fähndrich (SUI), Fedayi San (SUI), Urs Schnyder (SUI), Lionel Tschudi (SUI), Martin Dohal (SVK), Peter Kralovic (SVK), Michal Ocenas (SVK), Nejc Kajtazovic (SVN), David Šmajc (SVN), Kristoffer Karlsson (SWE), Adam Ladeback (SWE), Bojan Pandzic (SWE), Kaspar Sjöberg (SWE), Abdulkadir Bitigen (TUR), Attila Karaoglan (TUR), Arda Kardesler (TUR), Erkan Ozdamar (TUR), Yasar Ugurlu (TUR), Mykola Balakin (UKR), Oleksiy Derevinskyi (UKR), Viktor Kopiievskyi (UKR), Kateryna Monzul (UKR), Vitaly Romanov (UKR), Denys Shurman (UKR), Cheryl Foster (WAL), Iwan Griffith (WAL), Robert Jenkins (WAL), Thomas Owen (WAL).


Elite (18)
Ivana Martincic (CRO), Jana Adamkova (CZE), Rebecca Welch (ENG), Marta Huerta De Aza (ESP), Lina Lehtovaara (FIN), Stephanie Frappart (FRA), Riem Hussein (GER), Katalin Kulcsar (HUN), Ivana Projkovska (MKD), Monika Mularczyk (POL), Sandra Braz Bastos (POR), Iuliana Demetrescu (ROU), Anastasia Pustovoitova (RUS), Lorraine Watson (SCO), Esther Staubli (SUI), Tess Olofsson (SWE), Kateryna Monzul (UKR), Cheryl Foster (WAL).

First Category (42)
Volha Blotskaya (BLR), Galiya Echeva (BUL), Hristiana Guteva (BUL), Sabina Bolic (CRO), Jelena Pejkovic (CRO), Veronika Kovarova (CZE), Lucie Sulcova (CZE), Frida Klarlund Nielsen (DEN), Abigail Byrne (ENG), Ainara Acevedo Dudley (ESP), Maria Martinez Madrona (ESP), Reelika Turi (EST), Victoria Beyer (FRA), Angelika Soeder (GER), Karoline Wacker (GER), Eleni Antoniou (GRE), Katalin Sipos (HUN), Eszter Urban (HUN), Maria Ferrieri Caputi (ITA), Maria Marotta (ITA), Elvira Nurmustafina (KAZ), Rasa Grigone (LTU), Justina Lavrenovaite-Perez (LTU), Viola Raudzina (LVA), Vivian Peeters (NED), Shona Shukrula (NED), Lizzy van der Helm (NED), Henrikke Nervik (NOR), Ewa Augustyn (POL), Katarzyna Lisiecka-Sek (POL), Catarina Campos (POR), Silvia Domingos (POR), Alina Pesu (ROU), Vera Opeikina (RUS), Jelena Cvetkovic (SRB), Jelena Medjedovic (SRB), Marina Živković (SRB), Simona Ghisletta (SUI), Desiree Grundbacher (SUI), Zuzana Valentova (SVK), Aleksandra Cesen (SVN), Melis Ozcigdem (TUR).

Second Category (78)
Mirela Cemeri (ALB), Emanuela Rusta (ALB), Araksya Saribekyan (ARM), Sofik Torosyan (ARM), Marina Aufschnaiter (AUS), Maria Ennsgraber (AUT), Olivia Tschon (AUT), Viki De Cremer (BEL), Caroline Lanssens (BEL), Jana Van Laere (BEL), Merima Celik (BIH), Tanja Racic (BIH), Maryia Buiko (BLR), Kristina Georgieva (BUL), Jelena Kumer (CRO), Ioanna Allaylotou (CYP), Zoe Stavrou (CYP), Michaela Pachtova (CZE), Nanna Andersen (DEN), Frederikke Sokjaer (DEN), Lisa Benn (ENG), Kirsty Dowle (ENG), Stacey Pearson (ENG), Zulema Gonzalez Gonzalez (ESP), Olatz Rivera Olmedo (ESP), Triinu Vaher (EST), Ifeoma Kulmala (FIN), Minka Vekkeli (FIN), Lotta Vuorio (FIN), Alexandra Collin (FRA), Audrey Gerbel (FRA), Maika Vanderstichel (FRA), Teona Sturua (GEO), Fabienne Michel (GER), Franziska Wildfeuer (GER), Anastasia Mylopoulou (GRE), Eirini Pingiou (GRE), Andromachi Tsiofliki (GRE), Reka Molnar (HUN), Claire Purcell (IRL), Briet Bragadottir (ISL), Meitar Shemesh (ISR), Deborah Bianchi (ITA), Silvia Gasperotti (ITA), Martina Molinaro (ITA), Tatiana Sorokopudova (KAZ), Rita Vehapi (KOS), Jurgita Macikunyte (LTU), Jeļena Jermolajeva (LVA), Oxana Cruc (MDA), Elena Gobjila (MDA), Irena Velevackoska (MKD), Marisca Overtoom (NED), Louise Thompson (NIR), Emilie Torkelsen (NOR), Sarah Zangeneh (NOR), Michalina Diakow (POL), Filipa Cunha (POR), Teresa Oliveira (POR), Ana Terteleac (ROU), Cristina Trandafir (ROU), Nadezhda Gorinova (RUS), Marina Krupskaya (RUS), Alexandra Ponomareva (RUS), Deborah Anex (SUI), Michele Schmolzer (SUI), Miriama Bockova (SVK), Vanja Jankovic (SVN), Tjasa Misja (SVN), Lovisa Johansson (SWE), Maral Mirzai (SWE), Gamze Durmuş (TUR), Neslihan Muratdagi (TUR), Cansu Tiryaki (TUR), Anastasiya Romanyuk (UKR), Liudmyla Telbukh (UKR), Kateryna Usova (UKR).


Elite (28)
Stefan Vrijens (BEL), Vedran Babic (CRO), Nikola Jelic (CRO), Ondrej Cerny (CZE), David Nissen (DEN), Marc Birkett (ENG), Juan Cordero Gallardo (ESP), Alejandro Martinez Flores (ESP), David Urdanoz Apezteguia (ESP), Grigori Osomkov (EST), Kirill Naishouler (FIN), Victor Berg Audic (FRA), Cedric Pelissier (FRA), Gabor Kovacs (HUN), Nicola Manzione (ITA), Chiara Perona (ITA), Eduardo Coelho (POR), Miguel Castilho (POR), Cristiano Santos (POR), Vladimir Kadykov (RUS), Irina Velikanova (RUS), Petar Radojcic (SRB), Daniel Matkovic (SUI), David Schaerli (SUI), Lukas Pesko (SVK), Ales Mocnik Peric (SVN), Admir Zahovic (SVN), Kamil Cetin (TUR).

First Category (35)
Juan Boelen (BEL), Volha Pauliuts (BLR), Trayan Enchev (BUL), Yiangos Yiangou (CYP), Jan Kresta (CZE), Peter Nurse (ENG), Pablo Delgado Sastre (ESP), Javier Moreno Reina (ESP), Julien Lang (FRA), Vasileios Christodoulis (GRE), Norbert Szilagyi (HUN), Giulio Colombin (ITA), Dario Pezzuto (ITA), Aslan Galayev (KAZ), Ingus Purins (LVA), Viktor Bugenko (MDA), Josip Barton (MKD), Marjan Mladenovski (MKD), Stephen Vella (MLT), Ibrahim El Jilali (NED), Lars Van Leeuwen (NED), Telmen Undrakh (NOR), Tomasz Frak (POL), Damian Grabowski (POL), Ruben Santos (POR), Filipe Duarte (POR), Vlad Ciobanu (ROU), Iuri Neverov (RUS), Grigori Zelentsov (RUS), Daniele D’Adamo (SMR), Rastislav Behancin (SVK), Dejan Veselic (SVN), Ugur Cakmak (TUR), Ozan Soykan (TUR), Denys Kutsyi (UKR).

Second Category (96) 
Arlind Subashi (ALB), Gevorg Yeghoyan (ARM), Daniel Stauber (AUT), Manuel Wolf (AUT), Knyaz Amiraslanov (AZE), Ali Jabrayilov (AZE), Hikmat Qafarli (AZE), Yasin Alageyik (BEL), Jiri Bergs (BEL), Farik Keco (BIH), Vedran Marcinko (KOS), Nikola Tadic (KOS), Maksim Dzeikala (BLR), Anatol Ustsuizhanin (BLR), Ivan Ivanov (BUL), Kaloyan Kirilov (BUL), Ivo Tsenov (BUL), Mislav Dzeko (CRO), Dino Kramar (CRO), Larisa Avramidou (CYP), Michalis Christofides (CYP), Georgios Kozakos (CYP), Nicolas Nicolaou (CYP), Radim Cep (CZE), Filip Nesnera (CZE), Alice Vevodova (CZE), Martin Koster (DEN), Daniel Sorensen (DEN), Oliver Rodriguez (ENG), Jagnar Jakobson (EST), Paavo Kompaa (FIN), Arttu Kyynaeraeinen (FIN), Maria Tuomi (FIN), Jordan Faltesse (FRA), Zviad Bliadze (GEO), Maximilian Alkofer (GER), Christian Gundler (GER), Jacob Pawlowski (GER), Zyl Sheriff (GIB), Antonios Adamopoulos (GRE), Panagiotis Ntalas (GRE), Annamaria Tolnay (HUN), Peter Zimonyi (HUN), David Berry (IRL), Mark Patchell (IRL), Raafat Al Hamola (ISR), Idan Berenshtein (ISR), Idan Elmalem (ISR), Mariia Glekova (ISR), Martina Piccolo (ITA), Giovanni Zannola (ITA), Talgat Kosmukhambetov (KAZ), Turekhan Tursumbayev (KAZ), Besar Beqiri (KOS), Besart Ismajli (KOS), Florentina Kallaba (KOS), Irmantas Kaprasovas (LTU), Dominykas Norkus (LTU), Mantas Pomeckis (LTU), Steve Ribeiro (LUX), Eduards Fatkulins (LVA), Done Ristovski (MKD), Drazen Vuckevic (MNE), Joern Te Kloeze (NED), Jacob Van Dijke (NED), Dag Tangvik (NOR), Monica Czudzinovicz (POL), Slawomir Steczko (POL), Pawel Tokarewicz (POL), Liviu Chita (ROU), Laurentiu Deaconu (ROU), Bogdan Hanceariuc (ROU), Tatiana Boltneva (RUS), Vitali Groshev (RUS), Gordon McCabe (SCO), Oliver Nikolic (SRB), Nebojsa Panic (SRB), Nikola Rabrenovic (SRB), Darko Boskovic (SUI), Marco Rothenfluh (SUI), Peter Budac (SVK), Martin Matula (SVK), Doroteja Music (SVN), Jernej Petek (SVN), Ademir Avdic (SWE), Kastriot Gerxhaliu (SWE), David Glavonjic (SWE), George Jansizian (SWE), Hakan Tezcan (TUR), Fatma Tursun (TUR), Orest Dutsiak (UKR), Yevhen Hordiienko (UKR), Sviatoslav Kliuchnyk (UKR), Mariia Myslovska (UKR), Vasilica Ciuplea (WAL), Carl Hughes (WAL).