Cabrera: "Being a referee in Cuba is whistling against the wind"

This 45-year-old man, one of the many Cubans who chose to emigrate, has refereed in two FIFA Futsal World Cups, and currently works in the Major Arena Soccer League. "From Santa Clara to the world", a well-known reporter would have said in this case. In addition to taking part in the FIFA Futsal World Cups in Thailand 2012 and Colombia 2016, he refereed the final of the 2014 International Women's Tournament in Costa Rica, and the 2016 CONCACAF Futsal Championship.
- Why did you choose football in a country where, during your childhood and youth, everyone wanted to be a baseball player?
- My passion for football began during the 1986 World Cup final in Mexico. That day I was at my paternal grandparents' house and our friends from the neighborhood got together to watch that final that was shown on television. The emotion that game aroused in me has remained until today. I never played in any organized soccer league or competition. My real dream was baseball statistics. Since I was 7 years old, I had mastered and collected all information on Cuban baseball players, their numbers, positions... In short, nothing to do with football and even less with futsal. Studying in the third year at the Faculty of Physical Culture of Santa Clara, I was the organizer of the Sports Games and Professor Armando Arrojo suggested that I report on the radio the futsal matches that were going to take place at the university. I liked the proposal, but it never came to fruition. Days later, Arrojo and Gilberto Gonzalez, then provincial football commissioner, asked me to help them find a place to organize the first national course for futsal referees, to be held in January 2000. I asked them to let me participate and they agreed to enroll me. This is how my career in Cuban and world refereeing began.
- Why would someone choose to referee in Cuba when the remuneration is poor and the conditions for development are precarious?
- At the beginning, I did not give importance to any impediment and even less to remuneration; I was very young, studying and I took it as an opportunity for professional growth. But as I got higher into national competitions, I woke up from my dream and began to experience how difficult it was to be a referee. I could list hundreds of problems that Cuban referees suffer, because payment is only one of them. From my 23 years of experience (16 of them in Cuba), I believe that the main problem is the limited priority that the national football leaders give to the refereeing department. It has always been the most neglected thing. And an important detail: if football referees are neglected, the futsal and beach soccer referees are in a worse condition.
- When and why did you switch to futsal?
- Actually, I was in futsal from the beginning. Later, when I gained individual recognition in Cuba, they asked me to be the main referee of Santa Clara refereeing quartet, and so I alternated between futsal and football from 2000 to 2016. But futsal has always been my true passion. Working futsal and football at the same time made it easier for me to increase my performance quicker and acquire more experience, assimilating the best individual aspects of the referees of my generation and creating my own style. I am extremely grateful to my colleagues who supported me because I was the youngest and I nourished myself with the best of each one of them to become what I am today.
- Until you emigrated...
- Indeed. After I attended my second World Cup, where I went through to the final phase, I decided to emigrate to the United States. I felt truly fulfilled as a FIFA futsal referee and, although I had the possibility of achieving another World Cup, I thought that it was the right time to prioritize my family. In Cuba, being an active FIFA referee with positive results guarantees absolutely nothing. Until then, my priority had been to be a good referee. From that exact moment, I wanted to be a good father.
- How did you connect with futsal in the United States?
- Upon arriving in the United States in 2016, having the endorsement of having participated in two FIFA Futsal World Cups and showing good results in all competitions, several American futsal personalities, institutions, and programs, in different states, invited me to participate in their effort to promote futsal refereeing. During these seven years, I have shared my experience and contributed the best of myself in Ohio, Michigan, Kansas, Missouri, Virginia, Texas, and Florida, both for the growth of futsal referees in the United States and for some colleagues in Canada. All these groups have allowed me to remain active in refereeing after my arrival in the United States. In 2021 I started to referee in the Major Arena Soccer League, which represents the highest level of indoor soccer and keeps me with a professional mentality.
- What are the biggest differences between refereeing in Cuba and outside?
- They are two totally different worlds, but the individual effort to be successful on the pitch is the same, so the key lies in this aspect. From my experience, I believe that in Cuba the self-taught route continues to be the main way of individual growth for referees, although learning from experiences in centralized events and the sporadic courses that a referee is able to access also have an impact. In Cuba, there are generally very few university, youth, and school events, while in the United States football is played the entire year and with a tendency to increase the number of competitions. The payment for referees in all Cuban sports is laughable and, in many cases, non-existent. You only get paid better if you manage to be a FIFA referee and you are lucky if you are paid cash at the competitions you attended. I know many cases of Cuban referees who are owed money from competitions they attended more than seven years ago. Meanwhile, in the United States, each game has a clearly defined payment and depends on the type of competition, its level and the age of the participants, the better quality of the competition, the higher the remuneration.
- What future do you see for the Cuban refereeing?
- In Cuba, futsal is a very popular sport, followed by young people, but after the closure of the emblematic Havana club due to a government strategy, an evident decrease in the development of futsal and its refereeing is noted. It is striking that Cuba today only has two FIFA futsal referees, while we had six in the recent past. We didn't even have a Cuban representative in the last World Cup, after having referees in the 2004, 2008, 2012 and 2016 World Cups. Being a referee in Cuba is swimming against the current from day one, or rather, whistling against the wind. Certainly, many referees give up, some wander, and others like me get tired and look for a better standard of living and emigrate.

Source: CiberCuba

CONMEBOL U-17 Championship 2023

Ecuador, 30 March - 23 April 2023

Referee: Andres Merlos (ARG, photo)
Assistant Referee 1: Pablo Gonzalez (ARG)
Assistant Referee 2: Sebastian Raineiri (ARG)

Referee: Dilio Rodriguez (BOL)
Assistant Referee 1: Roger Orellana (BOL)
Assistant Referee 2: Ruben Flores (BOL)

Referee: Savio Pereira (BRA)
Assistant Referee 1: Guilherme Dias (BRA)
Assistant Referee 2: Nailton Sousa (BRA)

Referee: Felipe Gonzalez (CHI)
Assistant Referee 1: Juan Serrano (CHI)
Assistant Referee 2: Carlos Poblete (CHI)

Referee: Carlos Betancur (COL)
Assistant Referee 1: Miguel Roldan (COL)
Assistant Referee 2: Richard Ortiz (COL)

Referee: Augusto Aragon (ECU)
Assistant Referee 1: Juan Aguiar (ECU)
Assistant Referee 2: Andres Tola (ECU)

Referee: Michael Espinoza (PER)
Assistant Referee 1: Roberto Perez (PER)
Assistant Referee 2: Coty Carrera (PER)

Referee: Jose Burgos (URU)
Assistant Referee 1: Pablo Llarena (URU)
Assistant Referee 2: Santiago Fernandez (URU)

Referee: Angel Arteaga (VEN)
Assistant Referee 1: Carlos Lopez (VEN)
Assistant Referee 2: Antoni Garcia (VEN)

UEFA Referee Exchange
Referee: Simone Sozza (ITA)
Assistant Referee 1: Giovanni Baccini (ITA)
Assistant Referee 2: Davide Imperiale (ITA)

Support Referee
1. Roberto Perez (PER)

Support Assistant Referees
1. David Fuentes (COL)
2. Agustin Berisso (URU)

Referee Assessors
1. Patricio Loustau (ARG)
2. Luis Vera (ECU)
3. Fredy Arellanos (PER)
4. Miguel Nievas (URU)

Premier League VAR chief set to retire

Premier League video assistant referee chief Neil Swarbrick is to leave his role at the end of the season. Swarbrick moved on to lead video assistant referee duties after his on-field career came to an end in 2018. The 57-year-old has spearheaded VAR's implementation in the top flight. But he has now opted to retire amid a period of change at PGMOL triggered by the arrival of Howard Webb as chief refereeing officer. Former World Cup final referee Webb returned to English football to take up the newly created role at the end of 2022 after five years in the United States. The VAR system has endured frequent controversies since being introduced into the Premier League from the start of the 2019-20 campaign. Earlier this month Lee Mason left PGMOL following his VAR error during Arsenal's 1-1 draw with Brentford. Mason failed to draw the lines to check for offside on Ivan Toney's equaliser for the Bees and left his post just days later. Another official, John Brooks, was dropped as VAR operator for the Merseyside derby and Manchester City's top-of-the-table visit to Arsenal after wrongly disallowing a Brighton goal at Crystal Palace. This move in itself is regarded as being distinct from the furore in recent weeks that led to Mason's immediate departure from PGMOL on 17 February. However, it is part of the immense change at the organisation and the direction of travel. Webb is determined to make officials more transparent and accountable and if that means making tough decisions, that is what he will do. VAR has been a particular issue, although some of the bolder moves, including announcing decisions to fans in stadiums, are only within the remit of international rule-making body IFAB, whose annual meeting is in central London on Saturday. (Source: BBC)
In the recent Premier League match between Chelsea and Tottenham, referee Stuart Attwell caused VAR confusion by overturning Ziyech red card. Just before half-time, players from both sides squared up to each other. After a long period of deliberation, referee Stuart Attwell sent off Hakim Ziyech on the advice of his assistant, Darren Cann, alongside input from the VAR, Paul Tierney. However, after the red card was shown the VAR immediately instigated a review for a clear and obvious error. VAR decision: Red card cancelled. With the way VAR operates, everyone is left guessing - and indeed assuming this was an error in process by the officials. Yet despite all this, VAR protocol was followed to the letter. This wasn't a situation wrong on the pitch or in the VAR room. In short, even though the VAR doesn't think Ziyech's actions are a red-card offence, he cannot tell Attwell they aren't a red-card offence before Attwell has decided whether or not they are a red-card offence. Fans, pundits and indeed the match commentators (who can hear the VAR but, crucially, not the referee) were left to fill in the blanks. Until FIFA and the IFAB finally embrace the need to share the conversations between referee and VAR as they happen - both on TV and inside the stadium - the gap in understanding and acceptance will only widen.
Attwell books Havertz for an initial challenge on Richarlison before the flare up, when he took a swipe at the Tottenham striker in an attempt to trip him. Ziyech then tried to tackle Richarlison and may have won the ball. Despite the ensuing melee, Ziyech isn't considered to have committed any offence at this point. The VAR cannot tell Attwell that Ziyech should have been booked. The only way the VAR could intervene on this aspect is if Attwell had incorrectly cautioned Havertz for the challenge made by Ziyech, then the yellow could have been switched to Ziyech on mistaken identity. This could technically have resulted in Ziyech still being sent off - the red card being downgraded to yellow for the push, and the yellow shown to Havertz transferred to him. Why did the VAR help issue a red card, only to then advise it was wrong? Attwell had turned to his left just as Ziyech raised his hand toward Royal and didn't see it. It's Cann who believed he saw the hand straight into the face from a Chelsea player. A cornerstone of the VAR process is a referee must always take a decision first. So, the VAR cannot make any suggestion about a possible sanction before the referee has made his own decision, but the VAR can help with identification. Ergo, a VAR can tell the referee who the offender was, but he couldn't tell the referee if he should or shouldn't show a red card. Attwell will say to Tierney he's going to show a red card, but ask for confirmation who that player is. Once Attwell has shown the red card to Ziyech, that then brings the VAR into play for a review of the decision. This situation was unlike many others. Though it took 4½ minutes, only the final 1½ minutes actually involved the VAR process - the other three were used up by the melee, discussions among the match officials and the disciplinary action. The only difference to a normal situation is that Cann couldn't identify Ziyech; the aid of the VAR was needed for that. If you shift the process to a VAR giving his opinion on a decision before a referee has made his own mind up, then the VAR becomes the de-facto referee. The on-field decision has to remain the most important element. As Ziyech clearly didn't push Royal directly in the face, his hand slipping off the Spurs player's shoulder, a red card can be viewed as a clear and obvious error. Imagine if we were allowed to hear Attwell say to the VAR he has a red-card offence and could the VAR please confirm the player's identity? And then we hear the VAR immediately initiate the review for the error? We'd all know exactly what had happened and articles like this might not be so necessary. There will always be complicated reviews, the kind that aren't going to be explained by a referee reading out their final decision pitch side, which FIFA and the IFAB think will solve the problems over communication. (Source: ESPN)

UEFA Youth League 2022/2023 – Round of 16

28 February 2023
AC Milan – Rukh Lviv
Referee: Christian Ciochirca (AUT, photo)
Assistant Referee 1: Maximilian Weiss (AUT)
Assistant Referee 2: Michael Obritzberger (AUT)
Fourth Official: Matteo Marcenaro (ITA)
Referee Observer: Roberto Rosetti (ITA)

Hajduk Split – Manchester City
Referee: Snir Levi (ISR)
Assistant Referee 1: Idan Zoler (ISR)
Assistant Referee 2: Tuval Koltunoff (ISR)
Fourth Official: Ante Terzić (CRO)
Referee Observer: Igor Pristovnik (CRO)

Borussia Dortmund – Paris St. Germain
Referee: Goga Kikacheishvili (GEO)
Assistant Referee 1: Davit Gabisonia (GEO)
Assistant Referee 2: Davit Akhvlediani (GEO)
Fourth Official: Robin Braun (GER)
Referee Observer: Sven Bindels (LUX)

1 March 2023
Sporting CP – AFC Ajax
Referee: Matthew De Gabriele (MLT)
Assistant Referee 1: Jurgen Spiteri (MLT)
Assistant Referee 2: Mitchell Scerri (MLT)
Fourth Official: Andre Narciso (POR)
Referee Observer: Manuel Diaz Vega (ESP)

Real Madrid – FC Salzburg
Referee: Marian Barbu (ROU)
Assistant Referee 1: George Neacșu (ROU)
Assistant Referee 2: Adrian Vornicu (ROU)
Fourth Official: Pedro Munoz Piedra (ESP)
Referee Observer: Ian Stokes (IRL)

FC Barcelona – AZ Alkmaar
Referee: Ondřej Berka (CZE)
Assistant Referee 1: Matěj Vlček (CZE)
Assistant Referee 2: Lukaš Machač (CZE)
Fourth Official: David Lopez Jimenez (ESP)
Referee Observer: Salustia Cipres (AND)

Liverpool FC – FC Porto
Referee: Helgi Jonasson (ISL)
Assistant Referee 1: Egill Gudlaugsson (ISL)
Assistant Referee 2: Eysteinn Hrafnkelsson (ISL)
Fourth Official: Benjamin Speedie (ENG)
Referee Observer: Kevin Parry (WAL)

Atletico de Madrid – KRC Genk
Referee: Chrysovalandis Theouli (CYP)
Assistant Referee 1: Pavlos Georgiou (CYP)
Assistant Referee 2: Kyriakos Sokratous (CYP)
Fourth Official: Fernando Bueno Prieto (ESP)
Referee Observer: Lucilio Batista (POR)

Negreira sued by ex-FIFA referee and current VAR Estrada Fernandez

Enriquez Negreira, formerly vice-president of the Spanish FA's Technical Committee of Referees (CTA), received £1.2million from the Catalan giants between 2016 and 2018, allegedly for providing advice how to get better treatment from referees. And current official Xavier Estrada Fernandez has sued the 77-year-old for sporting corruption or receiving fraudulent payments in the latest twist to the high-profile affair which embroils Barcelona and its president Joan Laporta.
The lawsuit was presented in the courts in Barcelona on Friday and alleges that Enriquez Negreira provided advice and services 'with the aim of securing refereeing decisions favourable to the interests of FC Barcelona' while he was CTA vice-president, in different seasons from 2003 to 2018. The document shows he was paid around £1.2m by Barcelona via his company DASNIL 95 SL between 2016 and 2018, meaning he was on the payroll of one of the clubs while carrying out a supposedly neutral role for the governing body. Estrada's case is also brought against Enriquez Negreira's son Javier Enríquez Romero, who managed the company and who provided 'coaching' services to active referees when taking them from their hotel to the stadium. Estrada previously worked as a referee in LaLiga, Spanish football's top flight, but has worked as a Video Assistant Referee (VAR) since the 2021-2022 season.
Enriquez Negreira has denied ever favouring Barcelona with refereeing decisions, while the club have admitted hiring an 'external consultant' who provided reports on 'professional refereeing'. Spanish outlet El Pais report that his company sent Barcelona a written report and DVD with video analysis discussing the profile of their upcoming referee before every LaLiga and Copa del Rey game. LaLiga said on Friday it cannot investigate cases from more than three years ago, seemingly ruling out punishments like Barcelona being docked points or titles being removed. But prosecutors' investigations are ongoing and criminal charges may be brought. On Thursday, newspaper El Mundo presented documents which said Barca had paid DASNIL 95 SL more than £5.8m from 2001. El Mundo also revealed a burofax Enriquez Negreira sent to the club in 2018 after Barcelona halted payments, in which he said he would bring about a 'scandal' by 'revealing with no hesitation all the irregularities from the club I've lived through first-hand', unless payments began again. He added: 'I have the firm intention to sue the club, which would bring negative consequences for FC Barcelona.' Enriquez Negreira started working as a top-flight referee in 1979 and rose up the ranks to become CTA vice-president by 1994. He told Spanish tax authorities last week Barcelona paid him 'to make sure no refereeing decisions were made against them, which is to say, for everything to be neutral'. Barcelona, for their part, claim they have launched their own probe into the matter.

Source: Daily Mail

AFC Champions League 2022 – Semi-final (West Region)

26 February 2023

Al Hilal – Al Duhail
Referee: Ko Hyung-Jin (KOR, photo)
Assistant Referee 1: Yoon Jae-Yeol (KOR)
Assistant Referee 2: Park Sang-Jun (KOR)
Fourth Official: Fu Ming (CHN)
VAR: Kim Jong-Hyeok (KOR)

CONCACAF U-17 Championship Final 2023: Martinez (SLV)

26 February 2023

Mexico – USA
Referee: Filiberto Martinez (SLV, photo)
Assistant Referee 1: Carlos Vargas (SLV)
Assistant Referee 2: Cristian Alvarado (GUA)
Fourth Official: Jose Fuentes (GUA)

Amboya: “If they don't pay us, it's hard to feel supported”

The Ecuadorian referees claim that both the Ecuadorian Football Federation (FEF) and the LigaPro maintain debts with the entire refereeing union. FIFA AR Monica Amboya says that the referees are going through an "uncomfortable" situation from the economic point of view, and she hopes that the FEF and LigaPro will catch up on payments "as soon as possible." In the case of the Federation, the referee details that there have been debts for some years. In addition, they have not been paid for their work in the 2022 Ecuador Cup. In that tournament, Amboya was working as VAR. The Professional League owe payments, among others, for matches that were played with VAR, including the finals between Aucas and Barcelona SC. “If they don't pay us, it's hard to feel supported. When you work, the least you expect is to be paid. We feel uncomfortable knowing that there is no commitment to keep everything up to date”, says Amboya.
According to Jaime Jativa, general secretary of the Association of Professional Referees, several of his colleagues have not received their salaries since 2018. Some quit refereeing. Others look for methods to generate resources. Although the ADAFP sent a letter on 29 December 2022 to the FEF, requesting a meeting to resolve the payments, that meeting has not been held so far. They were waiting for the Ordinary Congress to take place. During the Congress, which took place on January 31 in Guayaquil, Egas admitted a debt with the Referee Associations, which exceeds USD 1.8 million. The truth is that there is a general malaise on the part of all referees towards both institutions, due to the constant delays in payments. "It is a complicated situation. We need the money. There are families that depend on us. In addition, we have a multidisciplinary team of nutritionists, physical trainers and instructors who also work for free”, says Amboya. She was appointed by FIFA to the Women’s World Cup in New Zealand and Australia, which will be played from July 20 to August 20 of this year. Amboya will be one of the tournament's 55 assistant referees and the only Ecuadorian. “It is a joy because it has been a four-year job, where I have prepared myself in the best way, leaving everything aside, including the family“. Amboya has sacrificed her time with her daughters and her loved ones to train and stay in peak condition. She did not hide her happiness at having been ratified for the competition and, at the same time, she admitted that she feels a "great responsibility" to represent the country in the best way.

Source: Primicias

CONMEBOL Libertadores 2023 – Second Round (Second Leg)

28 February - 2 March 2023

Cerro Porteno – Curico Unido
Referee: Wilmar Roldan (COL, photo)
Assistant Referee 1: Alexander Guzman (COL)
Assistant Referee 2: Dionisio Ruiz (COL)
Fourth Official: Andres Rojas (COL)
VAR: John Ospina (COL)
AVAR: David Rodriguez (COL)
Referee Assessor: Gustavo Rossi (ARG)
VAR Supervisor: Roberto Silvera (URU)

Sporting Cristal – Nacional
Referee: Cristian Garay (CHI)
Assistant Referee 1: Claudio Urrutia (CHI)
Assistant Referee 2: Miguel Rocha (CHI)
Fourth Official: Felipe Gonzalez (CHI)
VAR: Angelo Hermosilla (CHI)
AVAR: Alejandro Molina (CHI)
Referee Assessor: Cesar Escano (PER)
VAR Supervisor: Wilson Avila (ECU)

Huracan – Boston River
Referee: Wilton Sampaio (BRA)
Assistant Referee 1: Rodrigo Correa (BRA)
Assistant Referee 2: Bruno Pires (BRA)
Fourth Official: Ramon Abatti (BRA)
VAR: Rodolpho Toski (BRA)
AVAR: Daniel Nobre (BRA)
Referee Assessor: Patricio Loustau (ARG)
VAR Supervisor: Patricio Polic (CHI)

Independiente Medellin – El Nacional
Referee: Raphael Claus (BRA)
Assistant Referee 1: Danilo Manis (BRA)
Assistant Referee 2: Bruno Boschilia (BRA)
Fourth Official: Paulo Zanovelli (BRA)
VAR: Wagner Reway (BRA)
AVAR: Pablo Goncalves (BRA)
Referee Assessor: Abraham Gonzalez (COL)
VAR Supervisor: Barbra Bastias (CHI)

Atletico Mineiro – Carabobo
Referee: Diego Haro (PER)
Assistant Referee 1: Michael Orue (PER)
Assistant Referee 2: Stephen Atoche (PER)
Fourth Official: Augusto Menendez (PER)
VAR: SIlvio Trucco (ARG)
AVAR: Jonny Bossio (PER)
Referee Assessor: Ednilson Corona (BRA)
VAR Supervisor: Carlos Pastorino (URU)

Always Ready – Magallanes
Referee: Alexis Herrera (VEN)
Assistant Referee 1: Alberto Ponte (VEN)
Assistant Referee 2: Antoni Garcia (VEN)
Fourth Official: Jose Argote (VEN)
VAR: Rafael Traci (BRA)
AVAR: Rodrigo Guarizo (BRA)
Referee Assessor: Jorge Antequera (BOL)
VAR Supervisor: Wilson Lamouroux (COL)

Millonarios – Universidad Catolica
Referee: Facundo Tello (ARG)
Assistant Referee 1: Gabriel Chade (ARG)
Assistant Referee 2: Ezequiel Brailovsky (ARG)
Fourth Official: Nicolas Lamolina (ARG)
VAR: Mauro Vigliano (ARG)
AVAR: Jorge Balino (ARG)
Referee Assessor: Luzmila Gonzalez (COL)
VAR Supervisor: Sergio Cristiano (BRA)

Fortaleza – Deportivo Maldonado
Referee: Jesus Valenzuela (VEN)
Assistant Referee 1: Jorge Urrego (VEN)
Assistant Referee 2: Tulio Moreno (VEN)
Fourth Official: Guillermo Guerrero (ECU)
VAR: Carlos Orbe (ECU)
AVAR: Christian Lescano (ECU)
Referee Assessor: Ricardo Marques (BRA)
VAR Supervisor: Angel Sanchez (ARG)

Turkish referees and observers among the earthquake victims

The Turkish Football Federation (TFF) has issued a statement expressing its sadness for the victims of the earthquake, announcing that there are members of the refereeing community among them: “It is with deep sadness that we learned that some of our referees and observers, who served in various competitions, lost their lives in the earthquake disaster that shocked our country. 14 members of our referee community lost their lives and the homes of hundreds of them were destroyed. May God have mercy on our deceased referees and observers. We express our condolences to their bereaved families, loved ones and our entire football community. On this occasion, once again, we wish God's mercy for all our citizens lost in the earthquake, and the speedy recovery of our injured. Condolences to our beloved nation."

Source: TFF

CONMEBOL Recopa 2023 (Second Leg)

28 February 2023

Flamengo – Independiente Del Valle
Referee: Andres Matonte (URU, photo)
Assistant Referee 1: Nicolas Taran (URU)
Assistant Referee 2: Martin Soppi (URU)
Fourth Official: Jose Burgos (URU)
Reserve AR: Andres Nievas (URU)
VAR: Andres Cunha (URU)
AVAR 1: Gustavo Tejera (URU)
AVAR 2: Richard Trindad (URU)
AVAR 3: Leodan Gonzalez (URU)
Referee Assessor: Angel Sanchez (ARG)
VAR Supervisor: Juan Cardellino (URU)

CAF Champions League 2022/2023 – Group Stage (Matchday 3)

24-25 February 2023

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

Wydad AC – Petro de Luanda
Referee: Ibrahim Traore (CIV)
Assistant Referee 1: Adou N'Goh (CIV)
Assistant Referee 2: Nouho Ouattara (CIV)
Fourth Official: Kouassi Biro (CIV)

Vita Club – Kabylie
Referee: Louis Houngnandande (BEN)
Assistant Referee 1: Eric Ayimavo (BEN)
Assistant Referee 2: Narcisse Kouton (BEN)
Fourth Official: Adissa Ligali (BEN)

Coton Sport – Al Hilal
Referee: Mehrez Melki (TUN)
Assistant Referee 1: Yamen Malloulchi (TUN)
Assistant Referee 2: Faouzi Djeridi (TUN)
Fourth Official: Naim Hosni (TUN)

Al Ahly – Mamelodi Sundowns
Referee: Bamlak Tessema (ETH)
Assistant Referee 1: Temesgin Samuel (ETH)
Assistant Referee 2: Tigle Gizaw (ETH)
Fourth Official: Tewodros Mitiku (ETH)

Vipers – Simba
Referee: Celso Alvacao (MOZ)
Assistant Referee 1: Arsenio Marengula (MOZ)
Assistant Referee 2: Teofilo Mungoi (MOZ)
Fourth Official: Simoes Guambe (MOZ)

Raja CA – Horoya
Referee: Peter Waweru (KEN)
Assistant Referee 1: Gilbert Cheruiyot (KEN)
Assistant Referee 2: Samuel Kuria (KEN)
Fourth Official: Phillip Brooke (KEN)

Al Merrikh – CR Belouizdad
Referee: Boubou Traore (MLI)
Assistant Referee 1: Modibo Samake (MLI)
Assistant Referee 2: Amadou Guisse (MLI)
Fourth Official: Mahamadou Keita (MLI)

AFC Champions League 2022 – Quarter-finals (West Region)

23 February 2023

Al Duhail – Al Shabab
Referee: Mohanad Sarray (IRQ, photo)
Assistant Referee 1: Abu Al-Amri (OMA)
Assistant Referee 2: Rashid Al-Ghaithi (OMA)
Fourth Official: Sivakorn Pu-Udom (THA)
VAR: Omar Al-Ali (UAE)
AVAR Ahmad Al-Ali (KUW)
SVAR: Kim Dae-Yong (KOR)

Foolad – Al Hilal
Referee: Hiroyuki Kimura (JPN)
Assistant Referee 1: Isao Nishihashi (JPN)
Assistant Referee 2: Takumi Takagi (JPN)
Fourth Official: Fu Ming (CHN)
VAR: Jumpei Iida (JPN)
AVAR: Yusuke Araki (JPN)
SVAR: Kim Jong-Hyeok (KOR)

UEFA Europa Conference League 2022/23 – Round of 32 (Second Leg)

23 February 2023

CFR Cluj – Lazio
Referee: Felix Zwayer (GER, photo)
Assistant Referee 1: Stefan Lupp (GER)
Assistant Referee 2: Marco Achmüller (GER)
Fourth Official: Sven Jablonski (GER)
VAR: Harm Osmers (GER)
AVAR: Katrin Rafalski (GER)
Referee Observer: Marian Ružbarsky (SVK)

Dnipro – AEK Larnaca
Referee: Andris Treimanis (LVA)
Assistant Referee 1: Haralds Gudermanis (LVA)
Assistant Referee 2: Martins Svipsts (LVA)
Fourth Official: Aleksandrs Golubevs (LVA)
VAR: Rob Dieperink (NED)
AVAR: Erwin Blank (NED)
Referee Observer: Miroslav Tulinger (CZE)

FK Partizan – FC Sheriff
Referee: Andreas Ekberg (SWE)
Assistant Referee 1: Mehmet Culum (SWE)
Assistant Referee 2: Marcus Lundgren (SWE)
Fourth Official: Fredrik Klitte (SWE)
VAR: Christopher Kavanagh (ENG)
AVAR: Daniel Cook (ENG)
Referee Observer: Nuno Castro (POR)

RSC Anderlecht – PFC Ludogorets
Referee: Daniel Siebert (GER)
Assistant Referee 1: Jan Seidel (GER)
Assistant Referee 2: Rafael Foltyn (GER)
Fourth Official: Daniel Schlager (GER)
VAR: Sören Storks (GER)
AVAR: Pascal Müller (GER)
Referee Observer: Levan Paniashvili (GEO)

KAA Gent – FK Qarabag
Referee: William Collum (SCO)
Assistant Referee 1: Francis Connor (SCO)
Assistant Referee 2: David Roome (SCO)
Fourth Official: Nicholas Walsh (SCO)
VAR: David Coote (ENG)
AVAR: Lee Betts (ENG)
Referee Observer: Elmir Pilav (BIH)

FC Basel – Trabzonspor
Referee: Antonio Mateu Lahoz (ESP)
Assistant Referee 1: Pau Cebrian Devis (ESP)
Assistant Referee 2: Roberto Diaz Perez (ESP)
Fourth Official: Mario Melero Lopez (ESP)
VAR: Ricardo De Burgos Bengoetxea (ESP)
AVAR: Jose Gonzalez Gonzalez (ESP)
Referee Observer: Markus Strömbergsson (SWE)

ACF Fiorentina – SC Braga
Referee: Benoît Bastien (FRA)
Assistant Referee 1: Hicham Zakrani (FRA)
Assistant Referee 2: Aurelien Berthomieu (FRA)
Fourth Official: Thomas Leonard (FRA)
VAR: Benoît Millot (FRA)
AVAR: Eric Wattellier (FRA)
Referee Observer: Guy Goethals (BEL)

Lech Poznan – Bodo Glimt
Referee: Nikola Dabanović (MNE)
Assistant Referee 1: Vladan Todorović (MNE)
Assistant Referee 2: Srdjan Jovanović (MNE)
Fourth Official: Miloš Bošković (MNE)
VAR: Fran Jović (CRO)
AVAR: Dario Bel (CRO)
Referee Observer: Cyril Zimmermann (SUI)

UEFA Europa League 2022/2023 – Round of 32 (Second Leg)

23 February 2023

PSV Eindhoven – Sevilla FC
Referee: Daniele Orsato (ITA, photo)
Assistant Referee 1: Ciro Carbone (ITA)
Assistant Referee 2: Alessandro Giallatini (ITA)
Fourth Official: Fabio Maresca (ITA)
VAR: Marco Di Bello (ITA)
AVAR: Daniele Chiffi (ITA)
Referee Observer: Joao Ferreira (POR)

Nantes – Juventus
Referee: Jose Sanchez Martinez (ESP)
Assistant Referee 1: Raul Cabanero Martinez (ESP)
Assistant Referee 2: Inigo Prieto Lopez (ESP)
Fourth Official: Pablo Gonzalez Fuertes (ESP)
VAR: Juan Martinez Munuera (ESP)
AVAR: Ignacio Iglesias Villanueva (ESP)
Referee Observer: Viktor Kassai (HUN)

FC Midtjylland – Sporting CP
Referee: Ivan Kruzliak (SVK)
Assistant Referee 1: Branislav Hancko (SVK)
Assistant Referee 2: Jan Pozor (SVK)
Fourth Official: Peter Kralovic (SVK)
VAR: Bartosz Frankowski (POL)
AVAR: Piotr Lasyk (POL)
Referee Observer: Emil Božinovski MKD)

AS Monaco – Bayer Leverkusen
Referee: Alejandro Hernandez Hernandez (ESP)
Assistant Referee 1: Jose Naranjo Perez (ESP)
Assistant Referee 2: Diego Sanchez Rojo (ESP)
Fourth Official: Alejandro Muniz Ruiz (ESP)
VAR: Guillermo Cuadra Fernandez (ESP)
AVAR: Jose Munuera Montero (ESP)
Referee Observer: Stefan Johannesson (SWE)

Manchester United – FC Barcelona
Referee: Clement Turpin (FRA)
Assistant Referee 1: Nicolas Danos (FRA)
Assistant Referee 2: Benjamin Pages (FRA)
Fourth Official: Jeremie Pignard (FRA)
VAR: Jerôme Brisard (FRA)
AVAR: Willy Delajod (FRA)
Referee Observer: Francesco Bianchi (SUI)

FC Rennes – Shaktar Donetsk
Referee: Tobias Stieler (GER)
Assistant Referee 1: Christian Gittelmann (GER)
Assistant Referee 2: Mark Borsch (GER)
Fourth Official: Sascha Stegemann (GER)
VAR: Christian Dingert (GER)
AVAR: Benjamin Brand (GER)
Referee Observer: Markus Nobs (SUI)

Union Berlin – AFC Ajax
Referee: Carlos Del Cerro Grande (ESP)
Assistant Referee 1: Diego Barbero Sevilla (ESP)
Assistant Referee 2: Guadalupe Porras Ayuso (ESP)
Fourth Official: Miguel Angel Ortiz (ESP)
VAR: Xavier Estrada Fernandez (ESP)
AVAR: Cesar Soto Grado (ESP)
Referee Observer: Rune Pedersen (NOR)

AS Roma – FC Salzburg
Referee: Slavko Vinčić (SVN)
Assistant Referee 1: Tomaž Klančnik (SVN)
Assistant Referee 2: Andraž Kovačič (SVN)
Fourth Official: Rade Obrenovič (SVN)
VAR: Nejc Kajtazović (SVN)
AVAR: Matej Jug (SVN)
Referee Observer: Stephen Lodge (ENG)

CONMEBOL Recopa referee Maza denounced by his wife on social media

A serious complaint against FIFA referee Piero Maza (Chile) was released hours before his top continental appointment, CONMEBOL Recopa 2023. His wife, Pollett Lopez, accused Maza of domestic violence through social networks. In addition, she claims that the referee did not grant her a divorce and characterized him as "promiscuous".
On her Instagram account, Lopez posted several images to accompany her complaint. In one of the pictures, she has a neck wound. "My beautiful New Year 2022, with my neck in these conditions because Mr. Piero Maza had too many drinks and that took all the aggressiveness out of him," she wrote. "But it was my fault for not having denounced it earlier, for allowing me to always be the crazy and sick one. It's over. Does this kind of referee impart justice in our country's matches? Piero Maza, give me my freedom, give me my divorce!", she added.
"I implored him, I begged him 'let's do this the good way'. He earns approximately 5 million pesos a month, counting the CONMEBOL matches, and he refuses to give his wife 350,000 pesos a month for support. Now, I don't want anything, just my freedom, and he refuses to give it to me. He forces me to stay married", she continued. 
"For me it is something very sad and the truth is embarrassing to have to make public these horrific and degrading things toward my person like the ones I have just uploaded. But despair makes a wise parson behave like a mad person and I am already desperate. He left home overnight, without giving me a financial contribution. He left me living from one day to the next in a house that costs 3 million pesos a month to be able to maintain it. He did not care about anything and began to enjoy his life dating many women", she added.
Lopez added a photo of alleged conversations by the referee through WhatsApp. "He wanted to sleep with all of Santiago and now the 'gentleman Piero Maza' refuses to give me a divorce and makes life impossible for his ex-lady", she wrote.

Source: RedGol

FIFA Women’s World Cup 2023 Qualifiers – Play-Off Tournament (Finals)

22-23 February 2023

Chile – Haiti
Referee: Salima Mukansanga (RWA, photo)
Assistant Referee 1: Queency Victoire (MWI)
Assistant Referee 2: Mary Njoroge (KEN)
Fourth Official: Anna-Marie Keighley (NZL)
VAR: Shaun Evans (AUS)
AVAR: Ella De Vries (BEL)

Portugal – Cameroon
Referee: Casey Reibelt (AUS)
Assistant Referee 1: Joanna Charaktis (AUS)
Assistant Referee 2: Park Mi-Suk (KOR)
Fourth Official: Emikar Calderas (VEN)
VAR: Tatiana Guzman (NCA)
AVAR: Carol Anne Chenard (CAN)

Paraguay – Panama
Referee: Kateryna Monzul (UKR)
Assistant Referee 1: Maryna Striletska (UKR)
Assistant Referee 2: Paulina Baranowska (POL)
Fourth Official: Salima Mukansanga (RWA)
VAR: Muhammad Bin Jahari (SIN)
AVAR: Ella De Vries (BEL)

UEFA Champions League 2022/2023 – Round of 16 (First Leg, II)

21 February 2023
Liverpool FC – Real Madrid
Referee: Istvan Kovacs (ROU, photo)
Assistant Referee 1: Vasile Marinescu (ROU)
Assistant Referee 2: Mihai Artene (ROU)
Fourth Official: Horatiu Fesnic (ROU)
VAR: Massimiliano Irrati (ITA)
AVAR: Marco Guida (ITA)
Referee Observer: Hugh Dallas (SCO)

Eintracht Frankfurt – SSC Napoli
Referee: Artur Dias (POR)
Assistant Referee 1: Paulo Soares (POR)
Assistant Referee 2: Pedro Ribeiro (POR)
Fourth Official: Fabio Verissimo (POR)
VAR: Tiago Martins (POR)
AVAR: Joao Pinheiro (POR)
Referee Observer: Karen Nalbandyan (ARM)

22 February 2023
RB Leipzig – Manchester City
Referee: Serdar Gözübüyük (NED)
Assistant Referee 1: Erwin Zeinstra (NED)
Assistant Referee 2: Johan Balder (NED)
Fourth Official: Joey Kooij (NED)
VAR: Pol van Boekel (NED)
AVAR: Dennis Higler (NED)
Referee Observer: Terje Hauge (NOR)

Inter Milano – FC Porto
Referee: Srdjan Jovanović (SRB)
Assistant Referee 1: Uroš Stojković (SRB)
Assistant Referee 2: Milan Mihajlović (SRB)
Fourth Official: Novak Simović (SRB)
VAR: Bastian Dankert (GER)
AVAR: Marco Fritz (GER)
Referee Observer: Michael Riley (ENG)

Barcelona director took 50% commission on referee payments

The latest development in the ‘Barçagate’ scandal has tied former Barcelona director Josep Contreras to Jose María Enríquez Negreira, the former vice president of the Royal Spanish Football Federation Referees Committee, whose company received €1.4 million in payments from the club between 2016 and 2018. According to El País, “the investigation carried out by the Prosecutor’s Office has proven that the payments to the son (of Enríquez Negreira) were not made directly but were channeled through Tresep, a shell company owned by the former Barcelona director”. El País states that Contreras, who died in December last year, earned 50% commission on the amount paid by Barça for “coaching services”.
The findings of the investigation confirm the link between Barcelona, Dasnil 95 and Tresep, with Enríquez Negreira, his son Javier Enríquez Romero and Contreras at the centre of the story. The investigation, continues El País, confirms that Barça paid almost €7 million to Enríquez Negreira between 2001 and 2018 for “undocumented ‘verbal’ advice which would supposedly ensure ‘neutral’ treatment from referees”. El País says that “the investigation into Barcelona’s payments began in May and the Treasury had previously started inspecting Dasnil’s financial activity across three years (2016, 2017 and 2018) due to accounting irregularities and because they had detected unjustified invoices. In 2016, Barça paid €532,728 to Enríquez Negreira’s company, which made a total of €567,136 euros that year, meaning Barça’s payments accounted for almost 94% of its income. Something very similar happened the following year. In 2018, Barça stopped making payments in the month of July, which provoked an angry response from Enríquez Negreira. That year, Barça paid Dasnil €318,200 euros, almost the same amount as their revenue (€329,373). The following year, with its star client gone amid the threat of further financial irregularities being uncovered, Dasnil’s revenue plummeted to €7,348”.

Source: AS

AFC Champions League 2022/2023 – Round of 16 (West Region)

19-20 February 2023

Al Duhail – Al Rayyan
Referee: Yusuke Araki (JPN, photo)
Assistant Referee 1: Isao Nishihashi (JPN)
Assistant Referee 2: Takumi Takagi (JPN)
Fourth Official: Hanna Hattab (SYR)
VAR: Hiroyuki Kimura (JPN)
AVAR: Jumpei Iida (JPN)

Al Shabab – Nasaf FK
Referee: Adham Makhadmah (JOR)
Assistant Referee 1: Ahmed Al Roalle (JOR)
Assistant Referee 2: Mohammad Al Kalaf (JOR)
Fourth Official: Mohanad Sarray (IRQ)
VAR: Omar Al-Ali (UAE)
AVAR: Ahmad Al-Ali (KUW)

Al Faisaly – Foolad
Referee: Ahmed Al-Kaf (OMA)
Assistant Referee 1: Abu Al-Amri (OMA)
Assistant Referee 2: Rashid Al-Ghaithi (OMA)
Fourth Official: Ali Al-Qaysi (IRQ)
VAR: Omar Al-Ali (UAE)
AVAR: Ahmed Al-Ali (KUW)

Al Hilal – Al Ahli
Referee: Fu Ming (CHN)
Assistant Referee 1: Ma Ji (CHN)
Assistant Referee 2: George Lakrindis (AUS)
Fourth Official: Ko Hyung-Jin (KOR)
VAR: Sivakorn Pu-Udom (THA)
AVAR: Alexander King (AUS)

CAF Champions League 2022/2023 – Group Stage (Matchday 2)

17-18 February 2023

JS Kabylie – Wydad AC
Referee: Sadok Selmi (TUN, photo)
Assistant Referee 1: Khalil Hassani (TUN)
Assistant Referee 2: Faouzi Djeridi (TUN)
Fourth Official: Naim Hosni (TUN)

Vita Club – Atletico de Luanda
Referee: Mohamed Maarouf (EGY)
Assistant Referee 1: Ahmed Tawfik (EGY)
Assistant Referee 2: Youssef El-Bosaty (EGY)
Fourth Official: Ahmed El-Ghandour (EGY)

Coton Sport – Mamelodi Sundowns
Referee: Samuel Uwikunda (RWA)
Assistant Referee 1: Dieudonne Mutuyimana (RWA)
Assistant Referee 2: Justin Karangwa (RWA)
Fourth Official: Nsoro Ruzindana (RWA)

Al Hilal – Al Ahly
Referee: Dahane Beida (MTN)
Assistant Referee 1: Youssouf Yahia (MTN)
Assistant Referee 2: Bouna Ndiaye (MTN)
Fourth Official: Babacar Sarr (MTN)

Vipers SC – Horoya AC
Referee: Lahlou Benbraham (ALG)
Assistant Referee 1: Abbes Zerhouni (ALG)
Assistant Referee 2: Adel Abane (ALG)
Fourth Official: Youcef Gamouh (ALG)

Simba SC – Raja CA
Referee: Blaise Ngwa (CMR)
Assistant Referee 1: Elvis Noupue (CMR)
Assistant Referee 2: Carine Atezambong (CMR)
Fourth Official: Frank Bito (CMR)

El Merreikh – Zamalek SC
Referee: Daniel Laryea (GHA)
Assistant Referee 1: Kwasi Brobbey (GHA)
Assistant Referee 2: Paul Atimaka (GHA)
Fourth Official: Charles Bulu (GHA)

CR Belouizdad – ES Tunis
Referee: Abongile Tom (RSA)
Assistant Referee 1: Zakhele Siwela (RSA)
Assistant Referee 2: Khamusi Razwimisani (RSA)
Fourth Official: Jelly Chavani (RSA)

Negreira tried to extort money from Barcelona after it stopped payments

Former Barcelona chief Josep Maria Bartomeu has confirmed to ESPN that ex-Spanish referees committee (CTA) vice-president Jose Maria Enriquez Negreira tried to extort money from the Catalan club in 2018 after it stopped making payments to his company. Enriquez Negreira is being investigated by the Spanish prosecutor's office for receiving at least €1.6 million from Barca between 2016 and 2018 for consultancy work.
Barca stopped making payments to Enriquez Negreira's part-owned company DASNIL 95 SL after June 2018 once Negreira was no longer vice-president of the CTA. Enriquez Negreira sent a registered letter to Bartomeu, published in El Mundo newspaper, in which he threatened to reveal alleged irregularities of the club unless their partnership resumed. "When we cut off the relationship, after a few days, I received Enriquez Negreira's burofax, of which despite the threats, we never heard from him again," Bartomeu told ESPN. "He sent us the letter in mid-2018 and until today, I always thought that this was an useless document, that no matter how much he scratched, he would never get anything out [of it]." Bartomeu confirmed that Barcelona contracted Enriquez Negreira's company, among other things, was for "technical reports related to professional refereeing" and that such practice was commonplace in football. There have been accusations that Barca gained advantages on the pitch, yet Bartomeu insisted that was not the case. "Barcelona has nothing to hide and it's impossible to say that Barcelona rigged any match," he said. "Saying that is outrageous. Barca have won all the titles in recent years because they have been better than the rest of their rivals. If they want to search, let them search, they will find nothing. And remember that in 2014, for example, a refereeing error cost us a league title at home against Atletico. We never said anything." 
Asked what work Enriquez Negreira's company carried out for Barca, Bartomeu said: "He made two types of reports: a pre-game one, in which he indicated what the referee was like and how he behaved, and a post-game one in which he analysed the work that the referee had done, where he had failed and where he had got it right." Bartomeu said the Enriquez Negreira case cannot be compared to the Calciopoli scandal that rocked Italy in 2006 and led to Juventus being relegated to Serie B with two of their titles being revoked. "It's perverse to compare this to the Moggigate [Calciopoli], crazy," Bartomeu said. "Barca is clean of everything, I insist, clean of everything and very calm. This is a practice carried out by all clubs. Everyone has control over the refereeing work. And it's normal. The clubs complain publicly and privately about decisions that they consider may have harmed them and go to the federation with documentation and videos as a result of the work on these reports." Bartomeu said their collaboration ended with Enriquez Negreira in 2018 because Barca decided to do their work themselves to save money. LaLiga president Javier Tebas said the club will not face sporting sanctions over the conflict of interest accusations because statute of limitations laws in Spain make it possible to punish clubs only within three years of any offences.
Enriquez Negreira was a top-flight referee in Spain between 1977 and 1992. He was later the vice-president of the referees committee until 2018, when he left the role following elections. The current president of the referees committee, Luis Medina Cantalejo, said he believed in the integrity of the league referees. "We trust that the courts will act and leave it in their hands and that if anyone is responsible they should pay the highest punishment," he said. According to El Mundo, Barca paid a total of €6.65m without tax to Enriquez Negreira's company, with payments dating to 2001 when Joan Gaspart was club president. The club presidents who succeeded Gaspart reportedly continued those payments and even increased the amount. Those club presidents: Enric Reyna, Joan Laporta (twice), Sandro Rosell, Josep Maria Bartomeu and Carles Tusquets. According to El Pais, the payments by Barcelona to Enriquez Negreira reached €7m and started back in 2001. If so, that would mean Barcelona kept paying Enriquez Negreira during different club presidents, including from 2003-10 under the first term of current president Joan Laporta, who again took charge in 2021. "I shut off the faucet on Negreira, Laporta quadrupled his salary, he should explain that," he said in reference to Laporta's first tenure as president. El Mundo reported that Enriquez Negreira had threatened Bartomeu to create a "scandal'' when the club decided to stop paying for his company's services in 2018. In an interview with Spanish newspaper ABC, Bartomeu said he ended the contract with the company to reduce costs and that the club never tried to seek favor from referees. He added that in exchange for the money the club received referee reports "in written form and in DVD'' for every game for its first team and its "B'' team. "It looks like with this service we were asking for more penalties in our favor or that we wanted to condition the referees' decision, but it is not true. This person [Enriquez Negreira] had zero power of the referees,'' Bartomeu said. Gaspart, who ran Barcelona from 2000-2003 when the payments allegedly started, has denied any knowledge of them.

Source: ESPN

CAF U-20 Africa Cup of Nations 2023

Egypt, 19 February – 11 March 2023

1. Yannick Kabanga (COD)
2. Mohamed Guedi (DJI)
3. Omar Artan (SOM, photo)
4. Jean-Claude Ishimwe (RWA)
5. Mohamed Athoumani (COM)
6. Mouhamed Issa (BEN)
7. Clement Kpan (CIV)
8. Hamidou Diero (BFA)
9. Mahmoud Ahmed (EGY)
10. Jalal Jayed (MAR)
11. Jammeh Lamin (GAM)
12. El Hadji Sy (SEN)
13. Ahmed Abdulrazg (LBY)
14. Ibrahima Keita (MLI)

Women Referees
1. Akhona Makalima (RSA)
2. Bouchra Karboubi (MAR)

Assistant Referees
1. Styven Moutassi (CGO)
2. Fasika Biru (ETH)
3. Omer Ahmed (SDN)
4. Pascal Ndimunzigo (BDI)
5. Dimbiniaina Andriatianarivelo (MAD)
6. Shaji Padayachi (SEY)
7. Abdoul Saley (NIG)
8. Ahonto Koffi (TOG)
9. Igho Hope (NGA)
10. Roland Dodoo (GHA)
11. Mohamed Halhal (EGY)
12. Mohamed Bakir (TUN)
13. Bouzit Hamza (ALG)
14. Joel Doe (LBR)

Women Assistant Referees
1. Fatiha Jermoumi (MAR)
2. Soukaina Hamdi (MAR)
3. Fanta Kone (MLI)
4. Yara Atef (EGY)

Video Assistant Referees
1. Ahmed El-Ghandour (EGY)
2. Mahmoud Ashor (EGY)
3. Dahane Beida (MTN)
4. Daniel Laryea (GHA)
5. Elvis Noupue (CMR)
6. El Hadji Samba (SEN)

Referee Assessors
1. Felix Tangawarima (ZIM)
2. Essam El-Fattah (EGY)
3. Tempa Ndah (BEN)

Referee Technical Instructors
1. Jean-Claude Birumushahu (BDI)
2. Badara Diatta (SEN)
3. Ahmed El-Ela (EGY)

Referee Fitness Instructors
1. Bento Navesse (MOZ)
2. Mohamed Abokhater (EGY)
3. Farid Sultan (EGY)

First ever bodycam trial for grassroots referees in England

The new bodycam trial, which is the first of its kind in the world, will take place in England after permission was granted by the International Football Association Board [IFAB], who oversee the laws of the game. The aim of the trial is to explore whether the use of bodycams improves participant behaviour and respect towards referees in the grassroots game. The FA has partnered with Reveal Media, who produce the bodycams, to help introduce the technology for selected grassroots referees in four adult grassroots partner leagues across Middlesbrough, Liverpool, Worcester and Essex. Within the first three months of the trial, we will see approximately 100 grassroots referees wear the equipment while officiating adult grassroots football matches.
All referees taking part will receive the support, education and training required to use the bodycams effectively in approved fixtures. The footage can also be accepted as evidence in a disciplinary hearing if required. As part of the trial, we'll be tracking and evaluating the impact of the bodycams on behaviour across the participating leagues and, if it’s successful, may look to roll it out across additional adult grassroots football leagues in England during the 2023-24 season. "Referees are the lifeblood of our game and we thank the IFAB for their support in allowing us to undertake this new grassroots bodycam trial, the first of its nature globally," said Mark Bullingham, chief executive of the FA. "We've listened to feedback from the referee community, and we hope this trial will have a positive impact on the behaviour towards them – so that ultimately they can enjoy officiating in a safe and inclusive environment." And Daniel Meeson, FA head of refereeing - technical and development, added: "We care passionately about the welfare and support for our referees in England, and our national game simply could not operate without them. Across all levels of our game, we have some of the best referees in the world – many of whom have dedicated their lives to the refereeing – and they deserve our utmost respect and thanks. So we're excited to explore how bodycams can be used in grassroots refereeing so that we can better understand how they could help affect the behaviour of players and coaches towards them."
Sophie, a North Riding FA referee who will be among the first officials to trial the bodycam, said: “I feel very lucky to take part in this trial. I think it’s going to increase my skills and awareness on how we communicate with players – not only how we conduct ourselves on a matchday, but also being able to take charge of the game with a bit more authority on some occasions.” Mohammed, a fellow North Riding FA referee, added: “It’s a defining moment in grassroots football. For me, prevention is better than a cure. We don’t want to be reporting misbehaviour about misconduct from players and fining them. We’d rather it didn’t happen.”

Lale Orta becomes first woman chair of Referees Committee in Turkey

The Turkish Football Federation (TFF) appointed Prof. Dr. Lale Orta as the new head of the Central Refereeing Committee, making her the first woman president of the MHK.
"The Central Refereeing Committee will be chaired by Prof. Dr. Lale Orta, first female football coach, first female referee, and one of the first female FIFA referees in Turkey. We believe that the new committee will fulfill its responsibilities to add value to football in Turkey and to bring it to higher levels. We wish the new MHK president and members success in their duties", stated TFF in their announcement.
Prof. Dr. Orta, a former football player, became Turkey's first female football coach when the TFF opened up coaching courses for women in 1985. Ten years later, in 1995, she became one of the first female football referees with a FIFA badge. Throughout her career, she refereed over 1,500 professional and amateur matches and 60 international games. In 2000, she obtained a Ph.D. in Physical Education at the Istanbul Technical University.

Source: Bianet

CONMEBOL Libertadores 2023 – Second Round (First Leg)

21-23 February 2023

Nacional – Sporting Cristal
Referee: Anderson Daronco (BRA, photo)
Assistant Referee 1: Rafael Alves (BRA)
Assistant Referee 2: Bruno Boschilia (BRA)
Fourth Official: Wagner Magalhaes (BRA)
VAR: Wagner Reway (BRA)
AVAR: Pablo Goncalves (BRA)
Referee Assessor: Ricardo Casas (ARG)
VAR Supervisor: Angel Sanchez (ARG)

Curico Unido – Cerro Porteno
Referee: Yael Falcon (ARG)
Assistant Referee 1: Diego Bonfa (ARG)
Assistant Referee 2: Sebastian Raineri (ARG)
Fourth Official: Andres Merlos (ARG)
VAR: German Delfino (ARG)
AVAR: Juan Belatti (ARG)
Referee Assessor: Carlos Ulloa (CHI)
VAR Supervisor: Wilson Avila (ECU)

El Nacional – Independiente Medellin

Referee: Gustavo Tejera (URU)
Assistant Referee 1: Carlos Barreiro (URU)
Assistant Referee 2: Pablo Llarena (URU)
Fourth Official: Jose Burgos (URU)
VAR: Andres Cunha (URU)
AVAR: Richard Trinidad (URU)
Referee Assessor: Jose Espinel (ECU)
VAR Supervisor: Juan Cardellino (URU)

Boston River – Huracan
Referee: Wilmar Roldan (COL)
Assistant Referee 1: Sebastian Vela (COL)
Assistant Referee 2: Wilmar Navarro (COL)
Fourth Official: Carlos Betancur (COL)
VAR: John Perdomo (COL)
AVAR: Alexander Guzman (COL)
Referee Assessor: Mauricio Espinosa (URU)
VAR Supervisor: Wilson Lamouroux (COL)

Carabobo – Atletico Mineiro
Referee: Gery Vargas (BOL)
Assistant Referee 1: Jose Antelo (BOL)
Assistant Referee 2: Edwar Saavedra (BOL)
Fourth Official: Ivo Mendez (BOL)
VAR: Nicolas Gallo (COL)
AVAR: Leonard Mosquera (COL)
Referee Assessor: Luis Sanchez (VEN)
VAR Supervisor: Roberto Silvera (URU)

Magallanes – Always Ready
Referee: Andres Merlos (ARG)
Assistant Referee 1: Sebastian Raineri (ARG)
Assistant Referee 2: Diego Bonfa (ARG)
Fourth Official: Yael Falcon (ARG)
VAR: German Delfino (ARG)
AVAR: Juan Belatti (ARG)
Referee Assessor: Barbra Bastias (CHI)
VAR Supervisor: Wilson Avila (ECU)

Universidad Catolica – Millonarios
Referee: Braulio Machado (BRA)
Assistant Referee 1: Rodrigo Correa (BRA)
Assistant Referee 2: Bruno Pires (BRA)
Fourth Official: Bruno Arleu (BRA)
VAR: Rodolpho Toski (BRA)
AVAR: Rodrigo D’Alonso (BRA)
Referee Assessor: Jose Lara (ECU)
VAR Supervisor: Juan Cardellino (URU)

Deportivo Maldonado – Fortaleza
Referee: Carlos Betancur (COL)
Assistant Referee 1: Wilmar Navarro (COL)
Assistant Referee 2: Sebastian Vela (COL)
Fourth Official: Wilmar Roldan (COL)
VAR: John Perdomo (COL)
AVAR: Alexander Guzman (COL)
Referee Assessor: Martin Vazquez (URU) 
VAR Supervisor: Wilson Lamouroux (COL)

Mason leaves PGMOL after VAR error

Video Assistant Referee Lee Mason has left the officials' body PGMOL and will no longer work on Premier League games, following his high-profile error in Arsenal's draw with Brentford.
Mason had worked as a Premier League referee for 15 years and oversaw 287 top-flight matches during that time, with his last coming during the closing stages of the 2021/22 season. However, the 51-year-old, while working solely as a VAR this season, has twice been dropped from working on a round of Premier League fixtures after high-profile errors. The first came in September, when he disallowed a Newcastle goal against Crystal Palace. He was then handed a similar punishment after failing to draw the lines and notice the offside position of Christian Norgaard as the Brentford player made the assist for Ivan Toney's late equaliser at the Emirates Stadium on Saturday. PGMOL later apologised for the mistake, which was described as "not acceptable" by Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta: "That wasn't a human error. That was a big, big, big not conceiving and understanding your job. That's not acceptable, I'm sorry. And that cost Arsenal two points and that's not going to be restored."
PGMOL confirmed on Friday evening that Mason had left the organisation by mutual consent. His full career in the professional game saw the 51-year-old officiate in over 500 fixtures after he progressed to the Football League in 1998. A PGMOL statement said: "We would like to thank Lee for his dedicated service to the professional game and wish him all the best for the future."

Source: Sky Sports

FIFA Women’s World Cup 2023 Qualifiers – Play-Off Tournament (Semi-finals)

18 February 2023
Senegal – Haiti
Referee: Kateryna Monzul (UKR, photo)
Assistant Referee 1: Maryna Striletska (UKR)
Assistant Referee 2: Paulina Baranowska (POL)
Fourth Official: Emikar Calderas (VEN)
VAR: Shaun Evans (AUS)
AVAR: Ella De Vries (BEL)

Cameroon – Thailand

Referee: Melissa Borjas (HON)
Assistant Referee 1: Shirley Perello (HON)
Assistant Referee 2: Sandra Ramirez (MEX)
Fourth Official: Anna-Marie Keighley (NZL)
VAR: Carol Anne Chenard (CAN)
AVAR: Tatiana Guzman (NCA)

19 February 2023
Chinese Taipei – Paraguay
Referee: Salima Mukansanga (RWA)
Assistant Referee 1: Queency Victoire (MWI)
Assistant Referee 2: Mary Njoroge (KEN)
Fourth Official: Melissa Borjas (HON)
VAR: Tatiana Guzman (NCA)
AVAR: Ella De Vries (BEL)

Papua New Guinea – Panama
Referee: Casey Reibelt (AUS)
Assistant Referee 1: Joanna Charaktis (AUS)
Assistant Referee 2: Park Mi-Suk (KOR)
Fourth Official: Kateryna Monzul (UKR)
VAR: Salome Di Iorio (ARG)
AVAR: Daiane Muniz (BRA)

CONMEBOL Referee Fees

CONMEBOL Libertadores and Sudamericana

- Group Stage: $3,300/match
- Round of 16: $3,700/match
- Quarter-finals: $4,000/match
- Semi-finals: $10,000/match
- Final: $20,000/match

Assistant Referees and Video Assistant Referees
- Group Stage: $2,450/match
- Round of 16: $2,700/match
- Quarter-finals: $3,100/match
- Semi-finals: $7,000/match
- Final: $16,000/match

Fourth Officials and Assistant Video Assistant Referees
- Group Stage: $2,200/match
- Round of 16: $2,500/match
- Quarter-finals: $2,700/match
- Semi-finals: $6,000/match
- Final: $8,000/match

Source: Caracol

CONMEBOL Recopa 2023 (First Leg)

21 February 2023

Independiente Del Valle – Flamengo
Referee: Piero Maza (CHI, photo)
Assistant Referee 1: Jose Retamal (CHI)
Assistant Referee 2: Claudio Urrutia (CHI)
Fourth Official: Cristian Garay (CHI)
Reserve AR: Miguel Rocha (CHI)
VAR: Juan Lara (CHI)
AVAR 1: Rodrigo Carvajal (CHI)
AVAR 2: Edson Cisternas (CHI)
AVAR 3: Juan Soto (VEN)
Referee Assessor: Fredy Arellanos (PER)
VAR Supervisor: Patricio Polic (CHI)

Mass brawl with 8 red cards in Brazil

A Campeonato Paranaense clash between Athletico Paranaense and Coritiba ended in disgrace following a mass brawl that led to eight red cards being shown. With Fernandinho lining up for the hosts, he was booked during the contest but was not an aggressor in the brawl which has had plenty of attention from the football community.
Following a bad-tempered second-half, the game finished as a 1-1 draw before tempers boiled over as players confronted one another for their actions during the contest. Punches and kicks were thrown with stadium staff and coaches trying to break things up - with a fan then causing carnage by running on and trying to flying kick a rival goalkeeper before being restrained. With David Terans, Thiago Heleno, Pedrinho, Christian and Pedro Henrique seeing red for the hosts, Marcio Silva, Alex Manga and Fabricio Daniel de Souza went for Coritiba.
Coritiba have won the Campeonato Paranaense 39 times since their first in 1916, with the second most successful champions being Paranaense with 26. The brawl that ended their last fixture in disappointing circumstances comes after a clash between Vasco da Gama and Sport Recife last year ended in wild scenes. Footage captured shows supporters pushing past a security gate to enter the field of play, kick-starting a mass flare-up between safeguarding personnel and fans.

Source: Daily Star