Protesting VAR in Bulgaria

The Bulgarian Cup semi-final played between Lokomotiv Sofia and CSKA 1948 was stopped for 2 minutes because the fans of the home team blocked the VAR camera with a large banner.
They displayed a huge banner with a squirrel in a Lokomotiv shirt that blocked the visibility of the VAR camera at the stadium. The referee stopped the game until the banner was removed.

AFC Champions League Final 2022 (First Leg)

29 April 2023

Al Hilal SFC – Urawa Red Diamonds
Referee: Ahmed Al-Kaf (OMA, photo)
Assistant Referee 1: Abu Al-Amri (OMA)
Assistant Referee 2: Rashid Al-Ghaithi (OMA)
Fourth Official: Adel Al-Naqbi (UAE)
VAR: Omar Al-Ali (UAE)
AVAR: Ahmad Darwish (UAE)

UEFA urges clarity on handball rules

The UEFA Football Board held its inaugural meeting at the House of European Football in Nyon, Switzerland, reflecting on various topics, including the Laws of the Game and refereeing matters such as the line of intervention, VAR, the handball rule and player behaviour. In an engaging and constructive discussion, the Board expressed great satisfaction with the current level of refereeing in the European club competitions, especially in the UEFA Champions League, and suggested that the same unified approach to refereeing should be applied in domestic competitions across Europe.
With regard to the Laws of the Game, which stipulate that not every touch of a player's hand/arm with the ball is an offence, the Board issued the following recommendations for next season for better compliance of the Laws with the nature of the game:
• In their guidelines for the next season, the Board recommends that UEFA should clarify that no handball offence should be called on a player if the ball is previously deflected from his own body and, in particular, when the ball does not go towards the goal.
• On the same notice, the Board recommends that not every handball should automatically lead to a caution after every shot at goal, as anticipated by current guidelines.
• The Board encourages the referees to be more decisive in cautioning players who display unsporting behaviour, especially when attempting to deceive the referee by feigning injury or pretending to have been fouled.
• UEFA should launch an initiative towards the IFAB for the amendment of Law 12, which foresees that a player should be sent off for denying the opposing team a goal or an obvious goal-scoring opportunity by a handball offence. The Board feels players should be sent off only if they deliberately and intentionally touch the ball with their hand/arm. In case of other handball offences, the players should only be cautioned.
The inaugural meeting was attended by Eric Abidal, Rafael Benítez, Fabio Capello, Petr Čech, Luís Figo, Robbie Keane, Jürgen Klinsmann, Ronald Koeman, Philipp Lahm, Michael Laudrup, Paolo Maldini, Roberto Martínez, Predrag Mijatović, Gareth Southgate, Patrick Vieira, Rudi Völler, Javier Zanetti and Zinedine Zidane. Other Board members, who could not attend the meeting, were also consulted and shared their opinions on these topics as part of this project.

Source: UEFA

CAF Confederation Cup 2022/2023 – Quarter-finals (Second Leg)

30 April 2023

Young Africans – Rivers United
Referee: Redouane Jiyed (MAR, photo)

Marumo Gallants – Pyramids
Referee: Pierre Atcho (GAB)

ASEC Mimosas – US Monastir
Referee: Samuel Uwikunda (RWA)

Referee: Mohamed Marouf (EGY)

CAF Champions League 2022/2023 – Quarter-finals (Second Leg)

28-29 April 2023

ES Tunis – JS Kabylie
Referee: Jean Ndala-Ngambo (COD, photo)
Assistant Referee 1: Zakhele Siwela (RSA)
Assistant Referee 2: Olivier Safari (COD)
Fourth Official: Boubou Traore (MLI)
VAR: Dahane Beida (MTN)

Wydad AC – Simba
Referee: Alhadi Mahamat (CHA)
Assistant Referee 1: Elvis Noupue (CMR)
Assistant Referee 2: Issa Yaya (CHA)
Fourth Official: Mahmood Ismail (SDN)
VAR: Haythem Guirat (TUN)

Raja CA – Al Ahly
Referee: Mutaz Ibrahim (LBY)
Assistant Referee 1: Attia Amsaaed (LBY)
Assistant Referee 2: Khalil Hassani (TUN)
Fourth Official: Abdulrazg Ahmed (LBY)
VAR: Daniel Laryea (GHA)

Mamelodi Sundowns – CR Belouizdad
Referee: Abdel Bouh (MTN)
Assistant Referee 1: Hamedine Diba (MTN)
Assistant Referee 2: Arsenio Marengula (MOZ)
Fourth Official: Patrice Milazare (MRI)
VAR: Mahmoud Ashour (EGY)

UEFA Women’s Champions League 2022/23 – Semi-finals (Second Leg)

27 April 2023
FC Barcelona – Chelsea FCW
Referee: Esther Staubli (SUI, photo)
Assistant Referee 1: Susann Küng (SUI)
Assistant Referee 2: Katrin Rafalski (GER)
Fourth Official: Riem Hussein (GER)
VAR: Fedayi San (SUI)
AVAR: Franziska Wildfeuer (GER)
Referee Observer: Dagmar Damkova (CZE)

1 May 2023
Arsenal WFC – VfL Wolfsburg
Referee: Lina Lehtovaara (FIN)
Assistant Referee 1: Chrysoula Kourompylia (GRE)
Assistant Referee 2: Francesca Di Monte (ITA)
Fourth Official: Maria Ferrieri Caputi (ITA)
VAR: Paolo Valeri (ITA)
AVAR: Jelena Cvetković (SRB) 
Referee Observer: Paloma Quintero Siles (ESP)

Mateu Lahoz will cease to be LaLiga referee at the end of this season

As reported recently by Isaac Fouto in El Partidazo de COPE, the Technical Committee of Referees informed Mateu Lahoz that he will not continue as a referee in the Spanish LaLiga. There was an option of renewing him for one more season, as happened last year with Carlos Del Cerro Grande, but they consider that Mateu's cycle on the field has already ended. And he will not continue as a VAR either. In Spain, when the time comes to retire as on-field referees, they are offered the chance to continue for a year as VAR. Del Cerro Grande has accepted the proposal, but Mateu Lahoz declined it. He does not see himself in that role, since he does not believe in video refereeing, the tool that promised to revolutionize the way of refereeing in the world. He waits to see what his future will be. Surely, there will not lack offers from other foreign competitions. Without going any further, he was asked to referee the Dubai Cup final, but he did not have the necessary permits. His last match could be the Copa del Rey final, but right now the favorite to referee the cup duel between Real Madrid and Osasuna is Jose Sanchez Martinez. (Source: Cadena COPE)
The gap that Antonio Mateu Lahoz and Carlos Del Cerro Grande will leave in the Spanish refereeing must be filled by other referees, and the CTA is already designating who will occupy the international places that will be available next year. The first name that has come out, as Cadena SER has learned, is that of Javier Alberola Rojas. At 32 years old, the referee from La Mancha will be international as of 1 January 2024, taking over from the previous generation of referees. After his debut in the 2017/2018 season, he continued in the First Division until 6 May 2022, when he was forced to take a medical break until the end of last year. "I had a health problem. At a fitness test I felt bad, my body did not react as I thought. My arm began to swell, and I decided to go to the doctor as a precaution. I had to stay hospitalized, and they had to operate on me. I had a congestion of two veins in the clavicle and the blood did not flow well. They were moments of uncertainty and fear, but everything is over now. Now I have the joy of going back and enjoying football", explained Alberola Rojas. "You are afraid, uncertain and everything is going very fast. You go out to train and with those same clothes you see yourself admitted to the hospital, it catches you when you least expect it. Logically, you even put yourself in the worst scenarios", he added. “We do not value beautiful things, and there is only one life. When you start to think a bit, you see yourself in that situation, you see it differently and you want to enjoy yourself. It has helped me to improve as an athlete and a person; there is a lot of philosophy behind it", concluded Alberola Rojas. (Source: Cadena SER)

Concacaf Champions League 2023 – Semi-finals (First Leg)

25 April 2023
Tigres UANL – Club Leon
Referee: Armando Villarreal (USA, photo)
Assistant Referee 1: Cory Richardson (USA)
Assistant Referee 2: Logan Brown (USA)
Fourth Official: Rubiel Vazquez (USA)
VAR: Timothy Ford (USA)
AVAR: Chris Penso (USA)

26 April 2023
Philadelphia Union – Los Angeles FC
Referee: Cesar Ramos (MEX)
Assistant Referee 1: Alberto Morin (MEX)
Assistant Referee 2: Marco Bisguerra (MEX)
Fourth Official: Marco Ortiz (MEX)
VAR: Erick Miranda (MEX)
AVAR: Guillermo Pacheco (MEX)

Italian FIFA referee Massa attacked in Greece

Italian referee Davide Massa was brought in to officiate the tense Athens Derby between Olympiacos and AEK Athens, which ended in a riot and the official claiming he was attacked in the tunnel with a kick to the crotch.
The atmosphere around the play-offs for the Superleague title was so toxic that the Greek authorities drafted in an Italian referee to ensure impartiality. AEK won the match 3-1 and Olympiacos were furious with four of Massa’s calls, releasing a statement insisting “even the blind can see what is happening in Greek football.” After the final whistle, fans invaded the pitch and riot police had to launch tear gas. Massa has written his referee’s report and his allegations are somewhat shocking, even for the Greek Superleague. He wrote that objects including bottles were thrown onto the pitch during stoppages and he called an early end to the seven minutes of stoppages when home fans were starting to invade the pitch. “When entering the tunnel there were many people and I felt a blow to my genitals, without being able to tell who had done it.”

CAF Confederation Cup 2022/2023 – Quarter-finals (First Leg)

23 April 2023

US Monastir – ASEC Mimosas
Referee: Bamlak Tessema (ETH, photo)

Pyramids – Marumo Gallants
Referee: Ibrahim Traore (CIV)

Rivers United – Young Africans
Referee: Abongile Tom (RSA)

Referee: Ahmad Heeralall (MRI)

LaLiga survey on refereeing standards

Amid ongoing controversy surrounding refereeing in Spanish soccer, LaLiga has published the results of a survey which was shared with its 42 clubs across Primera and Segunda División. In it, findings including some damning views on the criteria used by referees. A stunning 100% of responding clubs stated that their players and staff “do not understand the handball rules” while 86% are unclear on “when VAR will or will not intervene”. It reflects a trend in the game with refereeing decisions being heavily criticized in recent weeks. Amid the ‘Negreira Case’, where Barcelona are accused of making payments to José María Enríquez Negreira, the former vice president of the Technical Refereeing Committee, criticism of referees has never been stronger. It has led to calls for greater transparency, and clubs have shown a strong statement backing that. 90% of LaLiga clubs believe that referees should explain controversial decisions at the end of each match, with images and audio recordings of VAR interactions made public.
Support for a new organizational model
Among the points highlighted by LaLiga was wide-ranging support for a new approach to the organization of referees in Spain. A vast majority, at 88% of LaLiga clubs, support the establishment of a group independent of the RFEF which has its own management of refereeing within Spanish soccer. They cite similar models which have been implemented abroad. England were the first to take this approach, setting up Professional Game Match Officials Limited in 2001 to become one of the first such groups of its kind. MLS followed suit in 2012 and Germany made the transition only last year. This would also be backed by one of the harshest responses, as 71% of respondents stated that the amount paid to the Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) for refereeing services by LaLiga and its clubs “does not correspond to the quality of the services provided”. If there was some saving grace for referees, it was that one of LaLiga’s most controversial proposals only gained a slight majority as a proposed variable remuneration system based upon performance was only backed by 59% of clubs.
Referees calls for support
The results of this survey reflect just the latest attack from LaLiga on the refereeing group and its officials in an ongoing political battle between Javier Tebas, president of LaLiga, and Luis Rubiales, president of the RFEF. “We, the professional referees of Spanish soccer, would like to express our deep concern about the unfortunate situation that has arisen around the group that we represent and that is being promoted from different fronts of professional soccer in what we consider to be a perfectly measured and organised campaign,” a statement published by Spanish referees through the RFEF stated. “We, the referees of the First and Second Division, ask LaLiga and its leaders for respect and institutional responsibility in the face of an unprecedented event in Spanish soccer,” it continued, with many taking the statement to be akin to a threat to consider a strike in the near future. “The leaders of La Liga cannot permanently lament a reputational crisis in Spanish football and at the same time collaborate in generating it through a call for tension and violence against referees in a maneuver that only leads to the devaluation of our football and its social discredit.”

Source: Forbes

CAF Champions League 2022/2023 – Quarter-finals (First Leg)

21-22 April 2023

JS Kabylie – ES Tunis

Referee: Amin Omar (EGY, photo)
Assistant Referee 1: Mahmoud El-Regal (EGY)
Assistant Referee 2: Ahmed Hossam (EGY)
Fourth Official: Mohamed Adel (EGY)
VAR: Ahmed El-Ghandour (EGY)

Simba SC – Wydad AC
Referee: Issa Sy (SEN)
Assistant Referee 1: Nouha Bangoura (SEN)
Assistant Referee 2:Adou N'Goh (CIV)
Fourth Official: Maguette N'Diaye (SEN)
VAR: Mahmoud Ashour (EGY)

Al Ahly – Raja CA
Referee: Mahmood Ismail (SDN)
Assistant Referee 1: Mohammed Ibrahim (SDN)
Assistant Referee 2: Liban Abdourazak (DJI)
Fourth Official: Mahamat Allaou (CHA)
VAR: Haythem Guirat (TUN)

CR Belouizdad – Mamelodi Sundowns
Referee: Peter Waweru (KEN)
Assistant Referee 1: Souru Phatsoane (LES)
Assistant Referee 2: Gilbert Cheruiyot (KEN)
Fourth Official: Omar Artan (SOM)
VAR: Daniel Laryea (GHA)

French referee Varela excluded for submitting false documents

Best Ligue 2 referee in 2021, then demoted to National at the end of last season, Bartolomeu Varela was excluded from refereeing. The information went completely unnoticed. On 27 October 2022, the minutes of the Federal Committee of Referees (CFA) mentioned the “removal of Mr. V.” from refereeing with immediate effect. According to information received from a member of this committee, Mr. V. is Bartolomeu Varela.
On 7 October 2022, the former best referee in Ligue 2 in 2021 was heard by the CFA for having submitted proof of air travel that he never made. “Considering therefore that all of the electronic tickets that Mr. V. submitted to the FFF to justify his travels between […] and […] over the X seasons are tickets that he had actually canceled and then submitted them with the aim that they reimburse him, even though he had not made these trips", indicates the committee. "Considering that Mr. V. therefore produced false proof of travel to the Financial Department of the FFF for the sole purpose of collecting undue sums (…) Considering that in an attempt to justify these trips, Mr. V. produced new documents not conclusive to the Committee here, as confirmed by the company Air France", Bartolomeu Varela was therefore removed from French refereeing with immediate effect “in application of article 39 of the Statute of Referees”. The CFA also decided to "transfer the file to the Legal Department of the FFF". On 11 January 2023, he tried to defend himself before the FFF's appeal committee by invoking good faith. Varela explained that, as a business manager, he never knew for sure how he was going to travel, but he had to decide last-minute. He made these trips between Brest and Paris by car “but forgot to declare these changes to the DTA“, adding that” these administrative irregularities did not benefit him “. Bartolomeu Varela assured that he was not dishonest and feels sorry to end his career like this". The Appeal Committee asked him to "transmit, as soon as possible, any evidence justifying the expenses that he claims to have incurred in the context of his travels, in particular all the useful supporting documents relating to the use of the car" to know if it was indeed an administrative deficiency. (Source: Foot Amateur)
Appointed federal referee in 2001, Bartolomeu Varela refereed matches in CFA2, the current National 3 and nine years later arrived in the elite of French football by being the referee of Avignon-Lens in Ligue 1. To climb to the highest level, the Portuguese-born referee was able to count on the support of the refereeing department at the time, under the responsibility of Marc Batta. Bartolomeu Varela was part of Ligue 1 for 7 seasons. If his refereeing decisions have often been the subject of controversy, it is above all his relationship with the players and coaches that was singled out. During his first season in Ligue 1, Bartolomeu Varela very quickly became the number 1 enemy of the coaches, many of whom he invited to go to the stands. During a Lens-Sochaux match in February 2011, Laszlo Bölöni disputed a free kick which brought Sochaux's third goal (2- 3). The fiery Romanian coach, who was expelled along with his deputy Georges Tournay, said that "arrogance prevented Varela from seeing clearly" and that the referee told him: "I made a mistake, but I’m crazy”, words that Varela disputed. A few months later, Varela was given an important match for the French Ligue 1 championship between Nice and PSG. The capital club was then coached by Carlo Ancelotti. On the Parisian bench, the exasperation with Varela's performance was at its peak. The Italian coach was called to order by the referee who decided to send Claude Makelele to the stands after addressing the former tricolor international by saying to him: "sit sit". A few weeks after this episode, Bartolomeu Varela was rewarded by being appointed as Herve Piccirillo's fourth official in the French Cup final between Lyon and Quevilly.
At the end of the match between Bastia and Evian Thonon Gaillard in 2014, the Bastiais François Modesto accuses Varela of having told him "shut up!". The Corsican defender will explain that in his 19-year career, a referee has never made such comments to him. Pascal Garibian, then Technical Director of Refereeing came to Varela's aid by "formally refuting these accusations". Patrice Garande was not happy either with Bartolomeu Varela who expelled him twice. A first time during a Caen-St. Etienne in February 2015 where the Caen coach will go so far as to qualify Varela "the biggest truffle of French refereeing". During a Monaco-Caen on 21 December 2016, Varela was abused by Radamel Falcao, author of a crude simulation which allowed him to obtain a penalty. Garande will still be expelled, along with two of his assistants, Jean-Marie Huriez and Jean-Marc Branger, a few months earlier during a match between Caen and Reims. Laurent Battles was also disillusioned with this referee when he was the coach of Troyes between 2019 and 2021. The current coach of the Greens had challenged the expulsion of Florian Tardieu during a match against Paris FC in April 2021. "I said he didn't do anything. I just repeated that two or three times and I asked the fourth official, but he replied that he could not speak on behalf of Mr. Varela", explained the coach on the site. Olivier Guégan, then coach of Valenciennes will also bear the brunt of Bartolomeu Varela's zeal during a match between Valenciennes and Niort in 2019. The list is long. Bartolomeu Varela refereed nearly 150 Ligue 1 matches during his seven years in the top flight. In 2017, he was relegated to Ligue 2, where his referee colleagues and assistants had elected him as the best referee in Ligue 2 at the end of the 2020/2021 season. The last match refereed by Bartolomeu Varela was on 13 May 2022 between Chambly and Boulogne sur Mer in National 2. He had not been appointed since to any match by the Technical Direction of Refereeing. (Source: Lionel Schneider/Arbitrage57)

UEFA Women’s Champions League 2022/23 – Semi-finals (First Leg)

22 April 2023
Chelsea FCW – FC Barcelona
Referee: Jana Adamkova (CZE, photo)
Assistant Referee 1: Lucie Ratajova (CZE)
Assistant Referee 2: Paulina Baranowska (POL)
Fourth Official: Monika Mularczyk (POL)
VAR: Tomasz Kwiatkowski (POL)
AVAR: Katalin Kulcsar (HUN)
Referee Observer: Claudine Brohet (BEL)

23 April 2023
VfL Wolfsburg – Arsenal WFC
Referee: Kateryna Monzul (UKR)
Assistant Referee 1: Maryna Striletska (UKR)
Assistant Referee 2: Anita Vad (HUN)
Fourth Official: Tess Olofsson (SWE)
VAR: Dennis Higler (NED)
AVAR: Ella De Vries (BEL)
Referee Observer: Jenny Palmqvist (SWE)

Oliver raked in £3,000 to referee Saudi Arabian clash

Michael Oliver earned around £3,000 and business-class flights when he travelled to Saudi Arabia to referee a top-flight match between Cristiano Ronaldo's Al-Nassr and Al-Hilal this week. The match fee is roughly double what he would get for a Premier League fixture and the move, unprecedented until now, is set to be repeated in the future with Oliver and other leading English officials. Howard Webb, the new boss of the PGMOL, is said to be more relaxed than his predecessors at the Football Association - they handled such requests from foreign associations previously - and sees the benefit in his officials working in other domestic leagues, from both a reputational and experience perspective.
Oliver did not have a Champions League fixture this week and was able to fly in and out of Riyadh in just over a day, giving him ample recovery time ahead of Liverpool versus Nottingham Forest on Saturday. The Northumberland-based whistler booked Ronaldo when he hauled down an opponent by the neck. Webb, meanwhile, spent two years between 2015 and 2017 as head of referees in Saudi and is keen to strengthen links between the PGMOL and overseas refereeing bodies. Al-Nassr went on to lose the game 2-0, with former Manchester United striker Odion Ighalo scoring a brace - both coming from the penalty spot - to dent Ronaldo and Co's title hopes. It was Al-Nassr's first game since sacking manager Rudi Garcia, with the match managed by former youth team coach Dinko Jelicic, who has taken over as interim boss.

Source: Daily Mail

La Liga want Spanish referees to take 40% pay cut

La Liga are set to renogiate a deal with the referees to slash their salaries ahead of next season. A report from El Chiringuito, covered by Sport, claims that La Liga and the clubs involved want to reduce refereeing salaries ahead of next season, feeling they are not getting value for money. Currently referees in Spain are qualified through the Federation (RFEF) and then contracted by La Liga and the clubs as a service. The average referee at the top level earns a base salary of €12.5k per month, and with variables based on matches played can double their income. According to El Periodico, 20 La Liga games refereed combined with 20 games in the VAR room (for which they receive less), make up an annual salary of €300k. A figure that La Liga want to reduce to around €180k. This figure would still make them better paid than Premier League referees. This movement can also be interpreted in the context of the battle between La Liga and the RFEF, who have clashed over numerous issues over the last five years. Recently, the refereeing body (CTA) complained of the culture around referees, which they say is becoming violent.

Premier League to create team of VAR specialists

The Premier League's refereeing body is undergoing a major overhaul with chief Howard Webb working on creating a pool of 'VAR specialists' to boost accuracy. There will also be a new VAR manager to replace Neil Swarbrick, who is retiring at the end of this season, as well as Adam Gale-Watts taking over as technical director and Jon Moss becoming Select Group director. A flux of new coaches will be brought in to work with on-field referees on their tactical awareness in fixtures, too.
This serious collection of changes is at the behest of Webb, whose team of 'VAR specialists' will focus solely on being video officials, whereas this season there have been on-field referees filling in at Stockley Park – such as David Coote, who will referee Newcastle-Tottenham on Sunday and then act as VAR for Manchester City-Arsenal on Wednesday. According to PGMOL statistics, shown to Mail Sport on Tuesday, there has been a stark increase in accuracy since the mid-season World Cup. Figures show that 33.3 per cent fewer mistakes have been made since the tournament in Qatar. Likewise incorrect interventions are down from occurring every 24.3 games to 37.5 games, and missed interventions are down from 21.4 to 12.2. The stats were collated by the Independent Key Match Incidents Panel, who meet each Thursday to deliver their verdict on major decisions in matches. Previously secret, the five-person panel is now known to be made up of Rob Green, Karen Carney, Jonathan Walters, Steven Reid and Terry Burton. Webb took over from Mike Riley midway through this season with a view to ensuring officiating in England is the envy of other countries, much like the quality of football is considered to be. The video technology continues to cause controversy with fans confused and frustrated by what they saw as inconsistent handball decisions last weekend.

Source: Daily Mail

UEFA Europa Conference League 2022/23 – Quarter-finals (Second Leg)

20 April 2023

ACF Fiorentina – Lech Poznan
Referee: Rade Obrenovič (SVN, photo)
Assistant Referee 1: Jure Praprotnik (SVN)
Assistant Referee 2: Grega Kordež (SVN)
Fourth Official: Slavko Vinčić (SVN)
VAR: Nejc Kajtazović (SVN)
AVAR: Matej Jug (SVN)
Referee Observer: Francesco Bianchi (SUI)

AZ Alkmaar – RSC Anderlecht
Referee: Davide Massa (ITA)
Assistant Referee 1: Filippo Meli (ITA)
Assistant Referee 2: Stefano Alassio (ITA)
Fourth Official: Daniele Chiffi (ITA)
VAR: Marco Di Bello (ITA)
AVAR: Fabio Maresca (ITA)
Referee Observer: Stavros Tritsonis (GRE)

West Ham United – KAA Gent
Referee: Orel Grinfeeld (ISR)
Assistant Referee 1: Roy Hassan (ISR)
Assistant Referee 2: Idan Yarkoni (ISR)
Fourth Official: Gal Leibovitz (ISR)
VAR: Roi Reinshreiber (ISR)
AVAR: Eli Hacmon (ISR)
Referee Observer: Hugh Dallas (SCO)

OGC Nice – FC Basel
Referee: Serdar Gözübüyük (NED)
Assistant Referee 1: Erwin Zeinstra (NED)
Assistant Referee 2: Johan Balder (NED)
Fourth Official: Sander van der Eijk (NED)
VAR: Dennis Higler (NED)
AVAR: Jeroen Manschot (NED)
Referee Observer: Kyros Vassaras (GRE)

UEFA Europa League 2022/2023 – Quarter-finals (Second Leg)

20 April 2023

Sevilla FC – Manchester United
Referee: Artur Dias (POR, photo)
Assistant Referee 1: Paulo Soares (POR)
Assistant Referee 2: Pedro Ribeiro (POR)
Fourth Official: Antonio Nobre (POR)
VAR: Tiago Martins (POR)
AVAR: Luis Godinho (POR)
Referee Observer: Fritz Stuchlik (AUT)

Sporting – Juventus
Referee: François Letexier (FRA)
Assistant Referee 1: Cyril Mugnier (FRA)
Assistant Referee 2: Mehdi Rahmouni (FRA)
Fourth Official: Stephanie Frappart (FRA)
VAR: Pol van Boekel (NED)
AVAR: Rob Dieperink (NED)
Referee Observer: Carlos Clos Gomez (ESP)

Union St. Gilloise – Bayer Leverkusen
Referee: Antonio Mateu Lahoz (ESP)
Assistant Referee 1: Pau Cebrian Devis (ESP)
Assistant Referee 2: Roberto Diaz Perez (ESP)
Fourth Official: Jose Munuera Montero (ESP)
VAR: Ricardo De Burgos Bengoetchea (ESP)
AVAR: Guillermo Cuadra Fernandez (ESP)
Referee Observer: Alain Hamer (LUX)

AS Roma – Feyenoord
Referee: Anthony Taylor (ENG)
Assistant Referee 1: Gary Beswick (ENG)
Assistant Referee 2: Adam Nunn (ENG)
Fourth Official: Robert Jones (ENG)
VAR: Stuart Attwell (ENG)
AVAR: Christopher Kavanagh (ENG)
Referee Observer: Laurent Duhamel (FRA)

UEFA Champions League 2022/2023 – Quarter-finals (Second Leg)

18 April 2023
SSC Napoli – AC Milan
Referee: Szymon Marciniak (POL, photo)
Assistant Referee 1: Pawel Sokolnicki (POL)
Assistant Referee 2: Tomasz Listkiewicz (POL)
Fourth Official: Glenn Nyberg (SWE)
VAR: Tomasz Kwiatkowski (POL)
AVAR: Bartosz Frankowski (POL)
Referee Observer: Bernardino Gonzalez Vazquez (ESP)

Chelsea FC – Real Madrid
Referee: Daniele Orsato (ITA)
Assistant Referee 1: Ciro Carbone (ITA)
Assistant Referee 2: Alessandro Giallatini (ITA)
Fourth Official: Maurizio Mariani (ITA)
VAR: Massimiliano Irrati (ITA)
AVAR: Paolo Valeri (ITA)
Referee Observer: Jon Skjervold (NOR)

19 April 2023
Inter Milano – SL Benfica
Referee: Carlos Del Cerro Grande (ESP)
Assistant Referee 1: Diego Barbero Sevilla (ESP)
Assistant Referee 2: Guadalupe Porras Ayuso (ESP)
Fourth Official: Cesar Soto Grado (ESP)
VAR: Juan Martinez Munuera (ESP)
AVAR: Alejandro Hernandez Hernandez (ESP)
Referee Observer: Konrad Plautz (AUT)

Bayern München – Manchester City
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: Nicola Rizzoli (ITA)

Pacifici elected AIA President

Carlo Pacifici is the new president of the Italian Referees Association. His election (260 votes out of 310, equal to 84%) took place during the AIA General Assembly which was held in Coverciano, with remote electronic voting by all voters. “It will be an adventure to be experienced together”, he said at the end of his speech, in which he outlined the main points of his electoral program. “The strong and indispensable commitment of this Association is to always be inclusive and to give everyone opportunities, based on skills and competences and never on differences. We have many ideas, projects, and goals ahead of us to achieve together. But projects and ideas cannot ignore the quality of the people who carry them forward, the values that underpin every initiative and the work of a team. In fact, we cannot afford to neglect anyone, to lose opportunities, skills, professionalism, and experience. The team is the AIA with its 31,583 members. It's time for responsibility and to move forward. This is the time to take the field all, without exception, to strengthen our Association".
Carlo Pacifici – AIA National President
Alberto Zaroli – AIA Vice President
AIA National Committee: Antonio Zappi, Luca Marconi, Stefano Archina, Katia Senesi, Andrea Mazzaferro, Riccardo Camiciottoli and Michele Affinito
At the opening of the Assembly, a greeting was received from the President of the Italian Football Federation, Gabriele Gravina: "A warm wish to Carlo Pacifici, a serious and discreet person, fundamental characteristics for those who love to work for others and not for themselves. Today, the AIA must feel more and more part of the FIGC, not only as a component but as a fundamental element representing its backbone. The referees are the Federation, and the Federation is the Italian referees. We will give answers to the violence and no referee should feel abandoned. Today - added the FIGC President - I must show respect for Alfredo Trentalange, who, with his resignation, has shown a great sense of responsibility and attachment to the entire refereeing community, to the Federation and the world of football".

Source: AIA

CONMEBOL Libertadores 2023 – Group Stage (Matchday 2)

18-20 April 2023

Internacional – Metropolitanos
Referee: Yael Falcon (ARG, photo)
Assistant Referee 1: Ezequiel Brailovsky (ARG)
Assistant Referee 2: Pablo Gonzalez (ARG)
Fourth Official: Andres Merlos (ARG)
VAR: Leandro Rey (ARG)
AVAR: Mariana De Almeida (ARG)
Referee Assessor: Paulo Conceicao (BRA)
VAR Supervisor: Victor Carrillo (PER)

Fluminense – The Strongest
Referee: Carlos Ortega (COL)
Assistant Referee 1: Alexander Guzman (COL)
Assistant Referee 2: Dionisio Ruiz (COL)
Fourth Official: Wilmar Roldan (COL)
VAR: Leonard Mosquera (COL)
AVAR: Yadir Acuna (COL)
Referee Assessor: Regildenia Moura (BRA)
VAR Supervisor: Wilson Lamouroux (COL)

Olimpia – Patronato
Referee: Raphael Claus (BRA)
Assistant Referee 1: Danilo Manis (BRA)
Assistant Referee 2: Bruno Boschilia (BRA)
Fourth Official: Flavio De Souza (BRA)
VAR: Rodolpho Toski (BRA)
AVAR: Rodrigo Guarizo (BRA)
Referee Assessor: Cesar Escano (PER)
VAR Supervisor: Wilson Avila (ECU)

Boca Juniors – Deportivo Pereira
Referee: Andres Matonte (URU)
Assistant Referee 1: Nicolas Taran (URU)
Assistant Referee 2: Martin Soppi (URU)
Fourth Official: Mathias de Armas (URU)
VAR: Andres Cunha (URU)
AVAR: Richard Trinidad (URU)
Referee Assessor: Hector Baldassi (ARG)
VAR Supervisor: Julio Bascunan (CHI)

Athletico Paranaense – Atletico Mineiro
Referee: Pablo Echavarria (ARG)
Assistant Referee 1: Juan Belatti (ARG)
Assistant Referee 2: Diego Bonfa (ARG)
Fourth Official: Fernando Rapallini (ARG)
VAR: Hector Paletta (ARG)
AVAR: Nicolas Lamolina (ARG)
Referee Assessor: Cleidy Ribeiro (BRA)
VAR Supervisor: Jairo Romero (VEN)

Independiente Del Valle – Liverpool
Referee: Angel Arteaga (VEN)
Assistant Referee 1: Lubin Torrealba (VEN)
Assistant Referee 2: Alberto Ponte (VEN)
Fourth Official: Jose Argote (VEN)
VAR: Juan Soto (VEN)
AVAR: Carlos Lopez (VEN)
Referee Assessor: Fredy Arellanos (PER)
VAR Supervisor: Sergio Cristiano (BRA)

Nacional – Independiente Medellin
Referee: Dario Herrera (ARG)
Assistant Referee 1: Cristian Navarro (ARG)
Assistant Referee 2: Maximiliano Del Yesso (ARG)
Fourth Official: Maria Fortunato (ARG)
VAR: Jorge Balino (ARG)
AVAR: Pablo Dovalo (ARG)
Referee Assessor: Juan Cardellino (URU)
VAR Supervisor: Angel Sanchez (ARG)

Colo Colo – Monagas
Referee: Anderson Daronco (BRA)
Assistant Referee 1: Rodrigo Correa (BRA)
Assistant Referee 2: Neuza Back (BRA)
Fourth Official: Edina Alves (BRA)
VAR: Pablo Goncalves (BRA)
AVAR: Daniel Nobre (BRA)
Referee Assessor: Carlos Ulloa (CHI)
VAR Supervisor: Gustavo Rossi (ARG)

River Plate – Sporting Cristal
Referee: John Ospina (COL)
Assistant Referee 1: John Leon (COL)
Assistant Referee 2: Sebastian Vela (COL)
Fourth Official: Bismark Santiago (COL)
VAR: Juan Lara (CHI)
AVAR: Edson Cisternas (CHI)
Referee Assessor: Hernan Maidana (ARG)
VAR Supervisor: Carlos Pastorino (URU)

Flamengo – Nublense
Referee: Wilmar Roldan (COL)
Assistant Referee 1: Dionisio Ruiz (COL)
Assistant Referee 2: Alexander Guzman (COL)
Fourth Official: Andres Rojas (COL)
VAR: Leonard Mosquera (COL)
AVAR: Yadir Acuna (COL)
Referee Assessor: Hilton Moutinho (BRA)
VAR Supervisor: Wilson Lamouroux (COL)

Corinthians – Argentinos Juniors
Referee: Jesus Valenzuela (VEN)
Assistant Referee 1: Jorge Urrego (VEN)
Assistant Referee 2: Tulio Moreno (VEN)
Fourth Official: Yender Herrera (VEN)
VAR: Nicolas Gallo (COL)
AVAR: Jorge Guzman (COL)
Referee Assessor: Oscar Ruiz (COL)
VAR Supervisor: Patricio Polic (CHI)

Barcelona – Bolivar
Referee: Kevin Ortega (PER)
Assistant Referee 1: Michael Orue (PER)
Assistant Referee 2: Jesus Sanchez (PER)
Fourth Official: Augusto Menendez (PER)
VAR: Diego Haro (PER)
AVAR: Jonny Bossio (PER)
Referee Assessor: Juan Corozo (ECU)
VAR Supervisor: Henry Gambetta (PER)

Racing – Aucas
Referee: Christian Ferreyra (URU)
Assistant Referee 1: Carlos Barreiro (URU)
Assistant Referee 2: Andres Nievas (URU)
Fourth Official: Anahi Fernandez (URU)
VAR: Leodan Gonzalez (URU)
AVAR: Agustin Berisso (URU)
Referee Assessor: Hernan Maidana (ARG)
VAR Supervisor: Julio Bascunan (CHI)

Atletico Nacional – Melgar

Referee: Wilton Sampaio (BRA)
Assistant Referee 1: Bruno Pires (BRA)
Assistant Referee 2: Leila Moreira (BRA)
Fourth Official: Braulio Machado (BRA)
VAR: Wagner Reway (BRA)
AVAR: Daiane Muniz (BRA)
Referee Assessor: Luzmila Gonzalez (COL)
VAR Supervisor: Juan Lugones (BOL)

Palmeiras – Cerro Porteno
Referee: Fernando Rapallini (ARG)
Assistant Referee 1: Juan Belatti (ARG)
Assistant Referee 2: Diego Bonfa (ARG)
Fourth Official: Pablo Echavarria (ARG)
VAR: Mauro Vigliano (ARG)
AVAR: Hector Paletta (ARG)
Referee Assessor: Ednilson Corona (BRA)
VAR Supervisor: Patricio Polic (CHI)

Libertad – Alianza Lima

Referee: Facundo Tello (ARG)
Assistant Referee 1: Facundo Rodriguez (ARG)
Assistant Referee 2: Jose Savorani (ARG)
Fourth Official: Leandro Rey (ARG)
VAR: Silvio Trucco (ARG)
AVAR: Salome Di Iorio (ARG)
Referee Assessor: Pedro Saucedo (BOL)
VAR Supervisor: Ricardo Casas (ARG)

CONMEBOL Sudamericana 2023 – Group Stage (Matchday 2)

18-20 April 2023

Red Bull Bragantino – Oriente Petrolero
Referee: Francisco Gilabert (CHI, photo)
Assistant Referee 1: Alejandro Molina (CHI)
Assistant Referee 2: Alan Sandoval (CHI)
Fourth Official: Jose Uzcategui (VEN)
VAR: Angelo Hermosilla (CHI)
AVAR: Gabriel Ureta (CHI)
Referee Assessor: Ednilson Corona (BRA)
VAR Supervisor: Jorge Osorio (CHI)

Newells Old Boys – Blooming
Referee: John Hinestroza (COL)
Assistant Referee 1: Wilmar Navarro (COL)
Assistant Referee 2: Mary Blanco (COL)
Fourth Official: Maria Daza (COL)
VAR: John Perdomo (COL)
AVAR: Agustin Berisso (URU)
Referee Assessor: Ana Perez (PER)
VAR Supervisor: Jose Espinel (ECU)

Estudiantes de La Plata – Tacuary
Referee: Piero Maza (CHI)
Assistant Referee 1: Claudio Urrutia (CHI)
Assistant Referee 2: Miguel Rocha (CHI)
Fourth Official: Cristian Garay (CHI)
VAR: Antonio Garcia (URU)
AVAR: Alberto Feres (URU)
Referee Assessor: Oscar Maldonado (BOL)
VAR Supervisor: Marcio Santiago (BRA)

Palestino – Estudiantes de Merida
Referee: Michael Espinoza (PER)
Assistant Referee 1: Stephen Atoche (PER)
Assistant Referee 2: Leonar Soto (PER)
Fourth Official: Joel Alarcon (PER)
VAR: David Rodriguez (COL)
AVAR: Heider Castro (COL)
Referee Assessor: Claudio Rios (CHI)
VAR Supervisor: Gustavo Rossi (ARG)

Sao Paulo – Puerto Cabello
Referee: Ivo Mendez (BOL)
Assistant Referee 1: Edwar Saavedra (BOL)
Assistant Referee 2: Juan Montano (BOL)
Fourth Official: Christian Aleman (BOL)
VAR: Roberto Sanchez (ECU)
AVAR: Monica Amboya (ECU)
Referee Assessor: Oscar Ruiz (COL)
VAR Supervisor: Patricio Polic (CHI)

Independiente Santa Fe – Gimnasia y Esgrima
Referee: Guillermo Guerrero (ECU)
Assistant Referee 1: Ricardo Baren (ECU)
Assistant Referee 2: Dennys Guerrero (ECU)
Fourth Official: Luis Quiroz (ECU)
VAR: Carlos Orbe (ECU)
AVAR: Christian Lescano (ECU)
Referee Assessor: Abraham Gonzalez (COL)
VAR Supervisor: Barbra Bastias (CHI)

Guarani – Danubio
Referee: Flavio De Souza (BRA)
Assistant Referee 1: Danilo Manis (BRA)
Assistant Referee 2: Bruno Boschilia (BRA)
Fourth Official: Raphael Claus (BRA)
VAR: Rodolpho Toski (BRA)
AVAR: Rodrigo Guarizo (BRA)
Referee Assessor: Jorge Antequera (BOL)
VAR Supervisor: Marcio Santiago (BRA)

Defensa y Justicia – America Mineiro

Referee: Alexis Herrera (VEN)
Assistant Referee 1: Antoni Garcia (VEN)
Assistant Referee 2: Byron Romero (ECU)
Fourth Official: Bryan Loayza (ECU)
VAR: Manuel Vergara (CHI)
AVAR: Loreto Toloza (CHI)
Referee Assessor: Sabrina Lois (ARG)
VAR Supervisor: Sandra Zambrano (ECU)

LDU Quito – Magallanes

Referee: Jose Argote (VEN)
Assistant Referee 1: Lubin Torrealba (VEN)
Assistant Referee 2: Alberto Ponte (VEN)
Fourth Official: Angel Arteaga (VEN)
VAR: Juan Soto (VEN)
AVAR: Carlos Lopez (VEN)
Referee Assessor: Patricio Loustau (ARG)
VAR Supervisor: Sergio Cristiano (BRA)

San Lorenzo – Fortaleza
Referee: Esteban Ostojich (URU)
Assistant Referee 1: Richard Trinidad (URU)
Assistant Referee 2: Horacio Ferreiro (URU)
Fourth Official: Bismarks Santiago (COL)
VAR: Antonio Garcia (URU)
AVAR: Alberto Feres (URU)
Referee Assessor: Sabrina Lois (ARG)
VAR Supervisor: Victor Carrillo (PER)

Santos – Audax Italiano
Referee: Andres Rojas (COL)
Assistant Referee 1: Jorge Urrego (VEN)
Assistant Referee 2: Tulio Moreno (VEN)
Fourth Official: Jesus Valenzuela (VEN)
VAR: Nicolas Gallo (COL)
AVAR: Jorge Guzman (COL)
Referee Assessor: Oscar Ruiz (COL)
VAR Supervisor: Jairo Romero (VEN)

Penarol – Millonarios
Referee: Cristian Garay (CHI)
Assistant Referee 1: Jose Retamal (CHI)
Assistant Referee 2: Miguel Rocha (CHI)
Fourth Official: Fernando Vejar (CHI)
VAR: Piero Maza (CHI)
AVAR: Gabriel Ureta (CHI)
Referee Assessor: Martin Vazquez (URU)
VAR Supervisor: Angel Sanchez (ARG)

Botafogo – Universidad Cesar Vallejo

Referee: Maximiliano Ramirez (ARG)
Assistant Referee 1: Gabriel Chade (ARG)
Assistant Referee 2: Sebastian Rainieri (ARG)
Fourth Official: Nicolas Lamolina (ARG)
VAR: Hernan Mastrangelo (ARG)
AVAR: Mariana De Almeida (ARG)
Referee Assessor: Hilton Moutinho (BRA)
VAR Supervisor: Sandra Zambrano (ECU)

Universitario – Goias

Referee: Gery Vargas (BOL)
Assistant Referee 1: Jose Antelo (BOL)
Assistant Referee 2: Carlos Tapia (BOL)
Fourth Official: Gaad Flores (BOL)
VAR: Rodrigo Carvajal (CHI)
AVAR: Claudio Urrutia (CHI)
Referee Assessor: Cesar Mongrut (PER)
VAR Supervisor: Jose Espinel (ECU)

Emelec – Huracan
Referee: Bruno Arleu (BRA)
Assistant Referee 1: Rafael Alves (BRA)
Assistant Referee 2: Luanderson Lima (BRA)
Fourth Official: Ramon Abatti (BRA)
VAR: Rafael Traci (BRA)
AVAR: Jose Rocha (BRA)
Referee Assessor: Jose Lara (ECU)
VAR Supervisor: Henry Gambetta (PER)

Deportes Tolima – Tigre
Referee: Luis Quiroz (ECU)
Assistant Referee 1: Ricardo Baren (ECU)
Assistant Referee 2: Dennys Guerrero (ECU)
Fourth Official: Guillermo Guerrero (ECU)
VAR: Carlos Orbe (ECU)
AVAR: Christian Lescano (ECU)
Referee Assessor: Abraham Gonzalez (COL)
VAR Supervisor: Barbra Bastias (CHI)

LaLiga leading the red card count across European big leagues

Tensions are running high in Spanish football over the issue of referees, with clubs publicly expressing their disagreement and unhappiness with the group and demanding changes. President of Sevilla, Pepe Castro, stated, “We did not make a statement for fun, we did it because things are happening that are not normal.” Players being sent off has become a major source of contention with referees, surpassing even issues such as VAR and handball. Adding to the tension is the Negreira Case, which has further strained relations between the various parties. This situation of conflict comes just months prior to the negotiation of the new referee agreement in LaLiga for the coming seasons.

LaLiga red cards compared with Premier League, Serie A, Bundesliga, Ligue 1
Players and coaches have argued that LaLiga referees are quicker to issue red cards than those in other leagues, with Spain drawing 112 red cards compared to Ligue 1′s 81, for example. Astonishingly, combining the number of red cards shown in Serie A, Bundesliga, and the Premier League would not reach the Spanish total. This comparison is particularly unfavourable for LaLiga when compared solely with the English top flight, which has 84 fewer expulsions. While Spain has traditionally been among the countries with the highest number of cards shown, this season has seen a significant increase in the number of expulsions. However, Luis Medina Cantalejo, the head of the Spanish referees (CTA), warned in August that protecting footballers was a priority, and tough actions that led to injuries had been missed in the previous season.

Red cards and injuries assessed
The data seems to support this stance, with LaLiga having the fewest injuries in Europe at 345. The Premier League and Bundesliga, the two competitions with the fewest expulsions, have the most injuries at 581 and 615, respectively. While there have been exceptions to this trend in recent years, the leagues with fewer red cards have tended to have more injuries. It is also important to analyze whether the expulsions compensate for the days off, with Premier League players spending 6,452 more days on the sidelines than LaLiga players this season. Over the last five years, footballers in England have suffered 739 more injuries and spent 29,627 more days on the treatment table than their Spanish counterparts. Despite facing criticism and pressure, Medina Cantalejo has reiterated his support for the criteria followed by LaLiga referees in an interview with AS. According to him, protecting players is the top priority of Spanish referees, even if it means drawing more red cards than other leagues. He stated that LaLiga referees have made progress in player protection throughout the season and are obligated to ensure the safety of players as athletes and valuable assets of football clubs. He also mentioned that the number of serious injuries due to violent tackles has reduced significantly in LaLiga. Despite the criticism, he is confident that the data supports his conviction and the policies followed by LaLiga referees are for the good of the competition.

Are LaLiga refs less tolerant to protests?
The high number of red cards in LaLiga cannot be solely attributed to the aim of protecting players from injuries. While most red cards are given for fouls, including serious foul play and preventing obvious goal scoring opportunities, there is also a significant number of second yellow cards, with 43 of the 112 total red cards being issued for this reason. Among these, 11 were for insults, seven for protesting to the referee, and two for arguments between players, according to OPTA. In contrast, in the Premier League, only two players have been sent off for protesting to the referee or using foul language. This is one of the main complaints from LaLiga players and coaches, who believe that referees are less tolerant of protests than they used to be, leading to more second yellow cards being issued. In addition, clubs are unhappy with the sanctions imposed under what is being called the “law of silence,” which punishes players with four to twelve games of suspension if they make post-match statements that criticise or have an insulting attitude towards referees. The players’ association has called for this rule to be revoked, arguing that it infringes on players’ right to express their opinion. The CTA has denied this, stating that they will always accept criticism, even the harshest ones, as long as they do not question their honour or accuse them of premeditated bias towards a particular team.

Premier League playing style
Another question around the Spanish game surrounds the pace of play in LaLiga which is slower than in other leagues, an effective time of around 52 minutes per game impacting on the spectacle. The struggle between teams and referees centers around who is to blame for this. Atlético Madrid boss Diego Simeone recently pointed out that in England, there is a more dynamic way of refereeing, which allows for more contact, while in LaLiga, the game is slowed down more. Some blame coaches and players for wasting time in the final minutes with simulation and constant fouls. The number of expulsions could affect the pace of the game, but it seems that this is not the case in the Premier League. Although there are fewer red cards, they are punished more severely by the administration. For instance, an expulsion for serious foul play is a three-game ban (four if there is a repeat offence) in the Premier League, while in Spain, it is only one. Additionally, the second cycle of accumulation of yellow cards is punished with two games in the Premier League against one in LaLiga. However, despite these regulations that could restrict the playing time of footballers, the English top flight sees most duels contested (58,900).

Source: AS

FIFA Futsal World Cup 2024 Qualifiers (UEFA) – Main Round (Play-offs)

First Leg, 12-15 April 2023

Belgium – Hungary
Referee 1: Juan Cordero Gallardo (ESP, photo)
Referee 2: Alejandro Martinez Flores (ESP, photo)
Third Referee: Pablo Delgado Sastre (ESP)
Timekeeper: Yasin Alageyik (BEL)

Sweden – Germany
Referee 1: Gabor Kovacs (HUN)
Referee 2: Norbert Szilagyi (HUN)
Third Referee: Peter Zimonyi (HUN)
Timekeeper: David Glavonjic (SWE)

Czechia – Lithuania
Referee 1: Nikola Jelić (CRO)
Referee 2: Vedran Babic (CRO)
Third Referee: Dino Kramar (CRO)
Timekeeper: Ondrej Černy (CZE)

Netherlands – Moldova
Referee 1: Cedric Pelissier (FRA)
Referee 2: Victor Chaix (FRA)
Third Referee: Julien Lang (FRA)
Timekeeper: Ibrahim El Jilali (NED)

Second Leg, 17-19 April 2023

Hungary – Belgium
Referee 1: Cristiano Santos (POR)
Referee 2: Eduardo Coelho (POR)
Third Referee: Filipe Duarte (POR)
Timekeeper: Adam Czene-Joo (HUN)

Lithuania – Czechia
Referee 1: Nicola Manzione (ITA)
Referee 2: Chiara Perona (ITA)
Third Referee: Martina Piccolo (ITA)
Timekeeper: Sarunas Tamulynas (LTU)

Germany – Sweden
Referee 1: Marc Birkett (ENG)
Referee 2: Peter Nurse (ENG)
Third Referee: Oliver Rodriguez-Ballinger (ENG)
Timekeeper: Maximilian Alkofer (GER)

Moldova – Nertherlands
Referee 1: Aleš Mocnik Peric (SVN)
Referee 2: Admir Zahovič (SVN)
Third Referee: Jernej Petek (SVN) 
Timekeeper: Igor Soltanici (MDA)

Boiko moved from UEFA to MLS

Former Ukrainian FIFA referee Sergii Boiko recently moved to the USA and will be refereeing his first MLS match on 15 April 2023: FC Dallas – Real Salt Lake. Boiko is following Alan Kelly (former FIFA referee in Ireland) and Matthew Conger (current FIFA referee in New Zealand) who previously made the move to the USA and refereed MLS matches.
Sergii Boiko (45) ended his international career in November 2022, after refereeing Olympiakos – Nantes in the group stage of the UEFA Europa League. He reached FIFA level in 2011 and his first international match was Turkey – Korea. During his 12 years on the FIFA List, Boiko has refereed 74 international matches (including his fourth official and additional assistant referee appointments, this number reaches 100 matches). The Ukrainian also refereed in the preliminary rounds of the UEFA Champions League (4 matches), preliminary, group stage and play-offs of the UEFA Europa League (39 matches), preliminary and group stage of the UEFA Conference League (6 matches), group stage of the Nations League (3 matches), World Cup and Euro qualifiers (10 matches). In 2013, Boiko was appointed to the UEFA U-21 Euro, where he refereed 3 matches, including the semi-final between Spain and Norway.
There were some ambiguous matches in the referee's career. In particular, the match of the third qualifying round of the Europa League 2015/16 between the Cypriot Apollon and the Azerbaijani Gabala immediately comes to mind. After the visitors equalized in the stoppage time, Boiko took the players of both teams off the field, and after a certain time he returned to the field and resumed the match for a few more minutes. Everyone thought that the referee made a mistake with the timing, but in fact there was a disturbance in the stands, foreign objects were flying onto the field, and this action was necessary for the safety of the players. There are also two matches of the group stage of the Europa League (Astra - Celtic in 2014 and Dynamo Zagreb - Spartak Trnava in 2018), in which Boiko had to referee in dense fog and only the willful decision of the referee made it possible to hold these matches on time and avoid postponements to the next day. According to statistical data, in international matches, Boiko issued 295 yellow cards (on average, almost 4/game), sent-off 20 players and awarded 27 penalty kicks. The geography of his matches includes 33 European countries. Most often - five times - Boiko went to Kazakhstan, four times - to Belgium, Greece, and Turkey. The most - eight times - the Ukrainian referee shared the football field with teams from Belgium, seven times - with clubs from Greece and Israel. Among the teams with which Boyko crossed paths are representatives of Spain (Villarreal, Betis, Athletic), Italy (Lazio), Germany (Leipzig, Union), France (Bordeaux, Rennes, Nantes).

Source: Dynamo Kiev

International Friendly Matches (Women) – April 2023

6-12 April 2023

Switzerland – China
Referee: Katalin Kulcsar (HUN, photo)
Assistant Referee 1: Ivana Alezarova (SVK)
Assistant Referee 2: Nikolett Bizderi (HUN)
Fourth Official: Reka Molnar (HUN)

Germany – Brazil
Referee: Esther Staubli (SUI)
Assistant Referee 1: Susanne Küng (SUI)
Assistant Referee 2: Linda Schmid (SUI)
Fourth Official: Michele Schmölzer (SUI)

Poland – Costa Rica
Referee: Jana Adamkova (CZE)
Assistant Referee 1: Tereza Holakovska (CZE)
Assistant Referee 2: Tereza Hessova (CZE)
Fourth Official: Angelika Gebka (POL)

Spain – Norway
Referee: Ivana Projkovska (MKD)
Assistant Referee 1: Elena Soklevska-Ilievski (MKD)
Assistant Referee 2: Vjolca Izeiri (MKD)
Fourth Official: Irena Velevačkoska-Ristevski (MKD)

Wales – Northern Ireland
Referee: Stacey Pearson (ENG)
Assistant Referee 1: Emily Carney (ENG)
Assistant Referee 2: Sian Massey-Ellis (ENG)
Fourth Official: Lisa Benn (ENG)

Czechia – Morocco
Referee: Monika Mularczyk (POL)
Assistant Referee 1: Anna Dąbrowska (POL)
Assistant Referee 2: Katarzyna Wojs (POL)

Estonia – Malta
Referee: Lina Lehtovaara (FIN)
Assistant Referee 1: Heini Hyvönen (FIN)
Assistant Referee 2: Jenni Paavolainen (FIN)

Slovakia – Finland
Referee: Michalina Diakow (POL)
Assistant Referee 1: Aleksandra Ulanowska (POL)
Assistant Referee 2: Paulina Baranowska (POL)
Fourth Official: Michal Očenaš (SVK)

Austria – Scotland
Referee: Louise Thompson (NIR)
Assistant Referee 1: Lisa Rashid (ENG)
Assistant Referee 2: Ceri Williams (WAL)
Fourth Official: Emily Heaslip (ENG)

New Zealand – Iceland
Referee: Melis Özçigdem (TUR)
Assistant Referee 1: Burak Şeker (TUR)
Assistant Referee 2: Murat Curbay (TUR)
Fourth Official: Abdullah Özkara (TUR)

Sweden – Denmark
Referee: Riem Hussein (GER)
Assistant Referee 1: Sina Diekmann (GER)
Assistant Referee 2: Melissa Joos (GER)
Fourth Official: Fabienne Michel (GER)

Portugal – Japan
Referee: Audrey Gerbel (FRA)
Assistant Referee 1: Clementine Dubreil (FRA)
Assistant Referee 2: Rocio Puente Pino (ESP)
Fourth Official: Filipa Cunha (POR)

Netherlands – Germany
Referee: Olatz Rivera Olmedo (ESP)
Assistant Referee 1: Eliana Fernandez Gonzalez (ESP)
Assistant Referee 2: Silvia Fernandez Perez (ESP)
Fourth Official: Elena Pelaez Arnillas (ESP)

Austria – Belgium
Referee: Simona Ghisletta (SUI)
Assistant Referee 1: Emilie Aubry (SUI)
Assistant Referee 2: Sabrina Keinersdorfer (SUI)
Fourth Official: Natalija Papovic (SUI)

France – Colombia
Referee: Deborah Bianchi (ITA)
Assistant Referee 1: Veronica Martinelli (ITA)
Assistant Referee 2: Giulia Tempestilli (ITA)
Fourth Official: Silvia Gasperotti (ITA)

Sweden – Norway
Referee: Lina Lehtovaara (FIN)
Assistant Referee 1: Heini Hyvönen (FIN)
Assistant Referee 2: Tonja Weckström (FIN)
Fourth Official: Minka Vekkeli (FIN)

Italy – Colombia
Referee: Zoi Stavrou (CYP)
Assistant Referee 1: Polyxeni Irodotou (CYP)
Assistant Referee 2: Angeliki Athanasopoulou (CYP)
Fourth Official: Deborah Bianchi (ITA)

Azerbaijan – Turkey
Referee: Cristina Trandafir (ROU)
Assistant Referee 1: Elena Tepușa (ROU)
Assistant Referee 2: Roxana Ivanov (ROU)
Fourth Official: Farida Lütfaliyeva (AZE)

Denmark – Japan
Referee: Shona Shukrula (NED)
Assistant Referee 1: Franca Overtoom (NED)
Assistant Referee 2: Diana Snoeren (NED)
Fourth Official: Marisca Overtoom (NED)

Spain – China
Referee: Jana Adamkova (CZE)
Assistant Referee 1: Lucie Ratajova (CZE)
Assistant Referee 2: Nikola Šafrankova (CZE)
Fourth Official: Lucie Šulcova (CZE)

Estonia – Turkey
Referee: Monika Mularczyk (POL)
Assistant Referee 1: Anna Dąbrowska (POL)
Assistant Referee 2: Katarzyna Wojs (POL)
Fourth Official: Reelika Turi (EST)

Portugal – Wales
Referee: Deborah Anex (SUI)
Assistant Referee 1: Sabrina Keinersdorfer (SUI)
Assistant Referee 2: Lena Hirtl (AUT)
Fourth Official: Catarina Campos (POR)

Austria – Czechia
Referee: Ana Terteleac (ROU)
Assistant Referee 1: Alexandra Apostu (ROU)
Assistant Referee 2: Daniela Constantinescu (ROU)
Fourth Official: Maria Ennsgraber (AUT)

Romania – Morocco
Referee: Cansu Tiryaki (TUR)
Assistant Referee 1: Sedef Aktan (TUR)
Assistant Referee 2: Arzu Görgün (TUR)
Fourth Official: Iuliana Demetrescu (ROU)

Netherlands – Poland
Referee: Nanna Andersen (DEN)
Assistant Referee 1: Katrine Stensholm (DEN)
Assistant Referee 2: Anna Schmidt (DEN)
Fourth Official: Viki De Cremer (BEL)

England – Australia
Referee: Natalie Simon (USA)
Assistant Referee 1: Meghan Mullen (USA)
Assistant Referee 2: Kali Smith (USA)
Fourth Official: Alyssa Nichols (USA)

France – Canada
Referee: Sandra Bastos (POR)
Assistant Referee 1: Andreia Sousa (POR)
Assistant Referee 2: Irmgard Van Meirvenne (BEL)
Fourth Official: Sara Alves (POR)

Belgium – Slovenia
Referee: Louise Thompson (NIR)
Assistant Referee 1: Victoria Finlay (NIR)
Assistant Referee 2: Lisa Rashid (ENG)
Fourth Official: Lisa Benn (ENG)

Scotland – Costa Rica
Referee: Kirsty Dowle (ENG)
Assistant Referee 1: Emily Carney (ENG)
Assistant Referee 2: Melissa Burgin (ENG) 
Fourth Official: Lorraine Watson (SCO)

UEFA Europa Conference League 2022/23 – Quarter-finals (First Leg)

13 April 2023

KAA Gent – West Ham United
Referee: Anastasios Sidiropoulos (GRE, photo)
Assistant Referee 1: Polychronis Kostaras (GRE)
Assistant Referee 2: Lazaros Dimitriadis (GRE)
Fourth Official: Vassilis Fotias (GRE)
VAR: Angelos Evangelou (GRE)
AVAR: Aristotelis Diamantopoulos (GRE)
Referee Observer: William Young (SCO)

Lech Poznan – ACF Fiorentina
Referee: Irfan Peljto (BIH)
Assistant Referee 1: Senad Ibrisimbegović (BIH)
Assistant Referee 2: Davor Beljo (BIH)
Fourth Official: Miloš Gigovic (BIH)
VAR: Fedayi San (SUI)
AVAR: Ivan Bebek (CRO)
Referee Observer: Stefan Johannesson (SWE)

RSC Anderlecht – AZ Alkmaar
Referee: Daniel Siebert (GER)
Assistant Referee 1: Jan Seidel (GER)
Assistant Referee 2: Rafael Foltyn (GER)
Fourth Official: Daniel Schlager (GER)
VAR: Harm Osmers (GER)
AVAR: Sören Storks (GER)
Referee Observer: Volodymyr Petrov (UKR)

FC Basel – OGC Nice
Referee: Glenn Nyberg (SWE)
Assistant Referee 1: Mahbod Beigi (SWE)
Assistant Referee 2: Andreas Söderqvist (SWE)
Fourth Official: Adam Ladebäck (SWE)
VAR: Stuart Attwell (ENG)
AVAR: Peter Bankes (ENG)
Referee Observer: Michael Ross (NIR)

UEFA Europa League 2022/2023 – Quarter-finals (First Leg)

13 April 2023

Feyenoord – AS Roma
Referee: Jose Sanchez Martinez (ESP, photo)
Assistant Referee 1: Raul Cabanero Martinez (ESP)
Assistant Referee 2: Inigo Prieto Lopez (ESP)
Fourth Official: Cesar Soto Grado (ESP)
VAR: Juan Martinez Munuera (ESP)
AVAR: Guillermo Cuadra Fernandez (ESP)
Referee Observer: Peter Sippel (GER)

Manchester United – Sevilla FC
Referee: Felix Zwayer (GER)
Assistant Referee 1: Stefan Lupp (GER)
Assistant Referee 2: Marco Achmüller (GER)
Fourth Official: Sven Jablonski (GER)
VAR: Christian Dingert (GER)
AVAR: Benjamin Brand (GER)
Referee Observer: Domenico Messina (ITA)

Juventus – Sporting CP
Referee: Halil Meler (TUR)
Assistant Referee 1: Mustafa Eyisoy (TUR)
Assistant Referee 2: Kerem Ersoy (TUR)
Fourth Official: Arda Kardeşler (TUR)
VAR: Jerôme Brisard (FRA)
AVAR: Abdulkadir Bitigen (TUR)
Referee Observer: Milorad Mažić (SRB)

Bayer Leverkusen – Union St. Gilloise
Referee: Ivan Kružliak (SVK)
Assistant Referee 1: Branislav Hancko (SVK)
Assistant Referee 2: Jan Pozor (SVK)
Fourth Official: Peter Kralović (SVK)
VAR: Paolo Valeri (ITA)
AVAR: Maurizio Mariani (ITA)
Referee Observer: Stephane Lannoy (FRA)

UEFA Champions League 2022/2023 – Quarter-finals (First Leg)

11 April 2023
Manchester City – Bayern München
Referee: Jesus Gil Manzano (ESP, photo)
Assistant Referee 1: Diego Barbero Sevilla (ESP)
Assistant Referee 2: Angel Nevado Rodriguez (ESP)
Fourth Official: Jose Munuera Montero (ESP)
VAR: Juan Martinez Munuera (ESP)
AVAR: Alejandro Hernandez Hernandez (ESP)
Referee Observer: Björn Kuipers (NED)

Benfica – Inter Milano
Referee: Michael Oliver (ENG)
Assistant Referee 1: Stuart Burt (ENG)
Assistant Referee 2: Simon Bennett (ENG)
Fourth Official: John Brooks (ENG)
VAR: Pol van Boekel (NED)
AVAR: Stuart Attwell (ENG)
Referee Observer: Carlos Velasco Carballo (ESP)

12 April 2023
AC Milan – SSC Napoli
Referee: Istvan Kovacs (ROU)
Assistant Referee 1: Vasile Marinescu (ROU)
Assistant Referee 2: Mihai Artene (ROU)
Fourth Official: Horațiu Feșnic (ROU)
VAR: Bastian Dankert (GER)
AVAR: Marco Fritz (GER)
Referee Observer: Roberto Rosetti (ITA)
Real Madrid – Chelsea FC
Referee: François Letexier (FRA)
Assistant Referee 1: Cyril Mugnier (FRA)
Assistant Referee 2: Mehdi Rahmouni (FRA)
Fourth Official: Stephanie Frappart (FRA)
VAR: Tomasz Kwiatkowski (POL)
AVAR: Willy Delajod (FRA)
Referee Observer: Vladimir Šajn (SVN)

Concacaf Champions League 2023 – Quarter-finals (Second Leg)

11 April 2023
Violette AC – Club Leon
Referee: Keylor Herrera (CRC, photo)
Assistant Referee 1: Carlos Fernandez (CRC)
Assistant Referee 2: Raymundo Feliz (DOM)
Fourth Official: Randy Encarnacion (DOM)
VAR: Tatiana Guzman (NCA)
AVAR: Benjamin Pineda (CRC)

Los Angeles FC – Vancouver Whitecaps
Referee: Juan Calderon (CRC)
Assistant Referee 1: Juan Mora (CRC)
Assistant Referee 2: Henri Pupiro (NCA)
Fourth Official: Selvin Brown (HON)
VAR: Carol Anne Chenard (CAN)
AVAR: Joseph Dickerson (USA)

12 April 2023
Atlas FC – Philadelphia Union
Referee: Ivan Barton (SLV)
Assistant Referee 1: David Moran (SLV)
Assistant Referee 2: Zachari Zeegelaar (SUR)
Fourth Official: Jaime Herrera (SLV)
VAR: Ricardo Montero (CRC)
AVAR: Melissa Borjas (HON)

Tigres UANL – Motagua FC
Referee: Walter Lopez (GUA)
Assistant Referee 1: Luis Ventura (GUA)
Assistant Referee 2: Humberto Panjoj (GUA)
Fourth Official: Bryan Lopez (GUA)
VAR: Edvin Jurisevic (USA)
AVAR: Pierre-Luc Lauziere (CAN)

Mexican referee Hernandez suspended for 12 matches for violent conduct

Liga MX referee Fernando Hernandez was given a 12-game suspension after kneeing Leon's Lucas Romero in the groin during a regular season match in Week 13, the league's disciplinary committee said on Tuesday.
"Fernando Hernandez Gomez, referee of the match [Club America vs. Leon], is sanctioned by the Disciplinary Committee with a 12-game suspension, for violating Article 30, paragraph g) of the FMF's [Mexican Football Federation] Regulation of Sanctions, by engaging in violent conduct against a player," read a statement from the committee. During the second half of the match at the Estadio Azteca this past Saturday, Hernandez became aggressive after Leon players surrounded him following a controversial goal scored by Club America, leading to Hernandez kneeing Romero in the groin.
Managers from both teams were sent off after the fight, which left Leon's Nicolas Larcamon with a torn shirt, six yellows shown during a 10-minute window in the second half, a frantic injury time equalizer from Leon, a controversial goal for Club America, and Hernandez becoming personally involved after making the decision to knee Leon's Lucas Romero in the groin while giving him a yellow card. Shortly after the game that ended in a 2-2 draw, the FMF's Referees Commission announced that they would investigate his actions. In the disciplinary committee's statement from Tuesday, other sanctions included a two-game suspension for Romero due to "violating the principles of sportsmanship and Fair Play, through actions towards match officials," and two-game suspensions for Leon manager Nicolas Larcamon and Club America manager Fernando Ortiz for "violent conduct." During the match, both coaches were given direct red cards due to engaging in a fight on the sideline. The statement added that more severe sanctions could be given in the future for either team if similar actions emerged again.

Source: ESPN