Proud referee Vinčić ready for Champions League final 'goosebumps'

For a referee, just like a player, there is no greater stage in club football than the UEFA Champions League final. To take part in such an occasion is an experience reserved for the luckiest few, a tiny percentage whose hard work and determination has led them to the top. On Saturday, Slovenia's Slavko Vinčić will become the latest official to have been bestowed the honour. "When I received the news, it was a very emotional moment and I am still feeling these big emotions as I talk about it, it's a very difficult thing to describe," says the 44-year-old. "I'm proud for myself and my team because we work very hard together.”
Vinčić, a father of two, also took charge of the 2022 UEFA Europa League final and is among the selected referees for UEFA EURO 2024. There is no doubt though, that the Champions League final will be the highlight so far of a career that began almost 25 years ago. "If I am honest, when I started refereeing, I am not sure my dreams went so far as the Champions League final, so it's really a big thing," he smiles. "I can't remember my first match because it's so long ago, but I started in my home city, Maribor when I was 20 years old, and every step, from the third division in 2007 to the second, to the first and then to becoming an international referee in 2010 has felt like a big success. The time has passed so quickly, but it will only be later that I can stop and reflect on the journey."
For now, full focus is on Saturday's assignment, but just how does it feel to be at the centre of a UEFA Champions League game? "Before the match, just like anybody else when you hear the iconic music, the heart rate rises and you feel the goosebumps," Vinčić' says. "It happens every time, and I still feel proud and happy, but on the other hand, we are also focused on our obligations and ready to return the trust placed in us. Of course, the final is a huge occasion, but I will prepare for the game in the same way as any other match. We know the teams well anyway, but we will refresh our knowledge, speak to our football analysts and be as ready as we can. It's important that we stay concentrated because we have an important job." (Source: UEFA)

1 June 2024
Borussia Dortmund – Real Madrid
Referee: Slavko Vinčić (SVN)
Assistant Referee 1: Tomaž Klančnik (SVN)
Assistant Referee 2: Andraž Kovačič (SVN)
Fourth Official: François Letexier (FRA)
Reserve AR: Cyril Mugnier (FRA)
VAR: Nejc Kajtazović (SVN)
AVAR: Rade Obrenović (SVN)
SVAR: Massimiliano Irrati (ITA)
Referee Observer: Roberto Rosetti (ITA)

Concacaf Champions League Final 2024: Barton (SLV)

New records have been set in the 2024 Concacaf Champions Cup, and another will be penned when referee Ivan Barton blows the whistle to kick off the Final between CF Pachuca and Columbus Crew on Saturday at the Estadio Hidalgo in Pachuca, Hidalgo, Mexico. Barton will officiate a Concacaf Champions Cup final match for the third time, surpassing the record of Mexican referee Benito Archundia, and become the referee with the most finals in the tournament's history. The Salvadoran referee will also become the Central American official with the most matches as the main referee in the tournament. Barton has been the referee in 15 matches across six different editions of the Champions Cup. His first match, a Round of 16 match between Club Atletico Independiente and Toronto FC on February 19, 2019, was at the age of 28 years and 21 days. In the current edition, Barton and Oshane Nation from Jamaica are the referees with the most matches, with four each. (Source: Concacaf)

1 June 2024
CF Pachuca – Columbus Crew
Referee: Ivan Barton (SLV)
Assistant Referee 1: David Moran (SLV)
Assistant Referee 2: Henri Pupiro (NCA)
Fourth Official: Ismael Cornejo (SLV)
Reserve AR: Raymundo Feliz (DOM)
VAR: Daneon Parchment (JAM)
AVAR: Said Martinez (HON)

Europa Conference League final referee Dias' long journey to the top

One of either Olympiacos or Fiorentina will end their wait for European silverware at Wednesday’s UEFA Europa Conference League final, but the occasion has also been a long time coming for match referee Artur Soares Dias. It will be the first time Soares Dias has taken charge of a UEFA club final, the culmination of a refereeing journey that began almost three decades ago. "I have worked for 28 years to reach a major final like this – being a referee is the same as a player, a final is a final and we all want to be there," said the Portuguese official. "It was an unbelievable phone call to receive because we all work hard to reach this level. My reaction was a mix of nervousness, responsibility, honour and the feeling of achieving a dream. Of course, once you digest the news, you have to focus yourself because like any match, you need to be fit and ready, psychologically calm and stable."
Soares Dias has been refereeing since he was 17, making his debut in Portugal’s top division within eight years and becoming a FIFA international referee at 30 in 2010. This summer, he will officiate at his second UEFA EURO and was also among the referees at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, but Wednesday will be his first experience as the man in the middle of a major European final. The moment takes on extra poignance for the 44-year-old, whose father Manuel was also a referee prior to his passing in 2009. "The first person I called when I heard the news was my mother, because it's a moment to remember my father and the advice he gave me," Soares Dias explained. "He was one of the reasons that I wanted to be a referee and I am sure he is very proud of me considering this achievement." Soares Dias is also eager to recognise others in the game who have helped him on his journey. "It is very important to underline that this achievement is not just one for myself, there is a big team behind me who works with me to reach this level," he explained. "There are my assistant referees, of course, but also fourth officials, the VARs, the Portuguese Football Federation (FPF) and referees committee, and our physios, for example. All of those people help me to reach this final, so this success is for many people, not just myself."
Over the past year, the FPF has led the way in attracting new referees as part of UEFA's 'Be a Referee!' campaign, which aims to recruit 40,000 new officials across Europe each season. As he prepares for Wednesday night's assignment in Athens, Soares Dias reflects on his own path and considers the qualities needed to be a top official in the modern game. "Referees need a lot of qualities to reach the highest level. Integrity, a strong personality, leadership and communication are all important for managing a game, as well as a thick skin," he said. "To be at the centre of a match as a referee is a brilliant honour, but I remember my first game, being afraid to go onto the pitch. I was nervous and worried about making decisions, but everything improved over time, and I became more confident. As a young referee, if you have a big dream and you can define your objectives and targets, how to get there, and then work hard and don't give up, you can go a long way." The journey to the top has been a long one for Soares Dias, but on Wednesday at the AEK Arena, his hard work and patience will receive their long-awaited reward. (Source: UEFA)

29 May 2024
Olympiakos FC – AC Fiorentina
Referee: Artur Soares Dias (POR)
Assistant Referee 1: Paulo Soares (POR)
Assistant Referee 2: Pedro Ribeiro (POR)
Fourth Official: Glenn Nyberg (SWE)
Reserve AR: Mahbod Beigi (SWE)
VAR: Tiago Martins (POR)
AVAR: Christian Dingert (GER)
SVAR: Marco Fritz (GER)
Referee Observer: Carlos Velasco Carballo (ESP)

CONMEBOL Libertadores 2024 – Group Stage (Matchday 6)

28-30 May 2024

Junior – Botafogo
Referee: Jesus Valenzuela VEN (photo)
Assistant Referee 1: Jorge Urrego VEN
Assistant Referee 2: Tulio Moreno VEN
Fourth Official: Jose Uzcategui VEN
VAR: German Delfino ARG
AVAR: Hernan Mastrangelo ARG
Referee Assessor: Abraham Gonzalez COL
VAR Supervisor: Wilson Avila ECU

Liga de Quito – Universitario
Referee: Darío Herrera ARG
Assistant Referee 1: Pablo Gonzalez ARG
Assistant Referee 2: Jose Savorani ARG
Fourth Official: Sebastian Zunino ARG
VAR: Jorge Balino ARG
AVAR: Paulo Acevedo ARG
Referee Assessor: Cleidy Riveiro BRA
VAR Supervisor: Christian Schiemann CHI

Atletico Mineiro – Caracas
Referee: Guillermo Guerrero ECU
Assistant Referee 1: Dennys Guerrero ECU
Assistant Referee 2: Danny Avila ECU
Fourth Official: Robert Cabrera ECU
VAR: Benjamin Saravia CHI
AVAR: Marcia Castillo CHI
Referee Assessor: Ricardo Marques BRA
VAR Supervisor: Jorge Mercado PAR

Penarol – Rosario Central
Referee: Piero Maza CHI
Assistant Referee 1: Jose Retamal CHI
Assistant Referee 2: Alejandro Molina CHI
Fourth Official: Manuel Vergara CHI
VAR: Juan Lara CHI
AVAR: Gabriel Ureta CHI
Referee Assessor: Miguel Nievas URU
VAR Supervisor: Pericles Cortes BRA

Bolivar – Palestino
Referee: Andres Merlos ARG
Assistant Referee 1: Cristian Navarro ARG
Assistant Referee 2: Maximiliano Del Yesso ARG
Fourth Official: Fernando Espinoza ARG
VAR: Mauro Vigliano ARG
AVAR: Paulo Dovalo ARG
Referee Assessor: Oscar Maldonado BOL
VAR Supervisor: Wilson Lamouroux COL

Flamengo – Millonarios
Referee: Facundo Tello ARG
Assistant Referee 1: Ezequiel Brailovsky ARG
Assistant Referee 2: Gabriel Chade ARG
Fourth Official: Yael Falcon ARG
VAR: Hector Paletta ARG
AVAR: Salome Di Iorio ARG
Referee Assessor: Giulliano Bozzano BRA
VAR Supervisor: Carlos Pastorino URU

Estudiantes – Huachipato
Referee: Andres Rojas COL
Assistant Referee 1: John Gallego COL
Assistant Referee 2: Richard Ortiz COL
Fourth Official: Bismarks Santiago COL
VAR: Antonio Garcia URU
AVAR: Mathias de Armas URU
Referee Assessor: Hector Baldassi ARG
VAR Supervisor: Myriam Melgarejo PAR

Gremio – The Strongest
Referee: Andres Matonte URU
Assistant Referee 1: Carlos Barreiro URU
Assistant Referee 2: Horacio Ferreiro URU
Fourth Official: Anahi Fernandez URU
VAR: Carlos Orbe ECU
AVAR: Daniel Vacacela ECU
Referee Assessor: Marcelo Rogerio BRA
VAR Supervisor: Barbra Bastias CHI

Cerro Porteno – Colo Colo
Referee: Wilmar Roldan COL
Assistant Referee 1: Alexander Guzman COL
Assistant Referee 2: John Leon COL
Fourth Official: John Hinestroza COL
VAR: Leonard Mosquera COL
AVAR: David Rodriguez COL
Referee Assessor: Manuel Bernal PAR
VAR Supervisor: Gustavo Rossi ARG

Fluminense – Alianza Lima
Referee: Esteban Ostojich URU
Assistant Referee 1: Nicolas Taran URU
Assistant Referee 2: Pablo Llarena URU
Fourth Official: Yender Herrera VEN
VAR: Leodan Gonzalez URU
AVAR: Agustin Berisso URU
Referee Assessor: Jose Buitrago COL
VAR Supervisor: Carlos Pastorino URU

Sao Paulo – Talleres
Referee: John Ospina COL
Assistant Referee 1: David Fuentes COL
Assistant Referee 2: Mayra Sanchez COL
Fourth Official: Maria Daza COL
VAR: Nicolas Gallo COL
AVAR: Mauricio Perez COL
Referee Assessor: Jorge Antequera BOL
VAR Supervisor: Juan Cardellino URU

Barcelona – Cobresal
Referee: Joel Alarcon PER
Assistant Referee 1: Enrique Pinto PER
Assistant Referee 2: Alberth Alarcon PER
Fourth Official: Edwin Ordonez PER
VAR: Diego Haro PER
AVAR: Jonny Bossio PER
Referee Assessor: Juan Corozo ECU
VAR Supervisor: Cesar Escano PER

Independiente Del Valle – Liverpool
Referee: Carlos Ortega COL
Assistant Referee 1: Miguel Roldan COL
Assistant Referee 2: Cristian Aguirre COL
Fourth Official: Carlos Betancur COL
VAR: Yadir Acuna COL
AVAR: Heider Castro COL
Referee Assessor: Jose Carpio ECU
VAR Supervisor: Emerson de Carvalho BRA

Palmeiras – San Lorenzo
Referee: Felipe Gonzalez CHI
Assistant Referee 1: Claudio Urrutia CHI
Assistant Referee 2: Juan Serrano CHI
Fourth Official: Michael Espinoza PER
VAR: Fernando Vejar CHI
AVAR: Leslie Vasquez CHI
Referee Assessor: Ednilson Corona BRA
VAR Supervisor: Luis Vera ECU

River Plate – Deportivo Tachira
Referee: Kevin Ortega PER
Assistant Referee 1: Michael Orue PER
Assistant Referee 2: Jesus Sanchez PER
Fourth Official: Jesus Cartagena PER
VAR: Augusto Menendez PER
AVAR: Coty Carrera PER
Referee Assessor: Dario Ubriaco URU
VAR Supervisor: Patricio Polic CHI

Libertad – Nacional
Referee: Wilton Sampaio BRA
Assistant Referee 1: Rodrigo Correa BRA
Assistant Referee 2: Guilherme Camilo BRA
Fourth Official: Paulo Zanovelli BRA
VAR: Rodolpho Toski BRA
AVAR: Paulo Goncalves BRA
Referee Assessor: Ubaldo Aquino PAR
VAR Supervisor: Gustavo Rossi ARG

CONMEBOL Sudamericana 2024 – Group Stage (Matchday 6)

28-30 May 2024

Corinthians – Racing
Referee: Roberto Perez PER (photo)
Assistant Referee 1: Stephen Atoche PER
Assistant Referee 2: Leonard Soto PER
Fourth Official: Michael Espinoza PER
VAR: Nicolas Gallo COL
AVAR: Mauricio Perez COL
Referee Assessor: Silvia Regina BRA
VAR Supervisor: Luis Vera ECU

Argentinos Juniors – Nacional
Referee: Jose Cabero CHI
Assistant Referee 1: Miguel Rocha CHI
Assistant Referee 2: Carlos Poblete CHI
Fourth Official: Cristian Garay CHI
VAR: Francisco Gilabert CHI
AVAR: Edson Cisternas CHI
Referee Assessor: Hector Baldassi ARG
VAR Supervisor: Claudio Rios CHI

Coquimbo Unido – Red Bull Bragantino
Referee: Alex Cajas ECU
Assistant Referee 1: Juan Aguiar ECU
Assistant Referee 2: Mauricio Lozada ECU
Fourth Official: Christian Aleman BOL
VAR: Andres Cunha URU
AVAR: Jonathan Fuentes URU
Referee Assessor: Julio Bascunan CHI
VAR Supervisor: Juan Lugones BOL

Racing Club – Sportivo Luqueno
Referee: Bismarks Santiago COL
Assistant Referee 1: John Gallego COL
Assistant Referee 2: Richard Ortiz COL
Fourth Official: Andres Rojas COL
VAR: Leonard Mosquera COL
AVAR: David Rodriguez COL
Referee Assessor: Sabrina Lois ARG
VAR Supervisor: Oswaldo Segura ECU

Internacional – Belgrano
Referee: Alexis Herrera VEN
Assistant Referee 1: Lubin Torrealba VEN
Assistant Referee 2: Alberto Ponte VEN
Fourth Official: Alejandro Velasquez VEN
VAR: Fernando Vejar CHI
AVAR: Leslie Vasquez CHI
Referee Assessor: Hilton Moutinho BRA
VAR Supervisor: Juan Cardellino URU

Delfin – Real Tomayapo
Referee: Edwin Ordonez PER
Assistant Referee 1: Enrique Pinto PER
Assistant Referee 2: Alberth Alarcon PER
Fourth Official: Joel Alarcon PER
VAR: Diego Haro PER
AVAR: Jonny Bossio PER
Referee Assessor: Juan Corozo ECU
VAR Supervisor: Cesar Escano PER

Lanus – Cuiaba
Referee: Gery Vargas BOL
Assistant Referee 1: Jose Antelo BOL
Assistant Referee 2: Edwar Saavedra BOL
Fourth Official: Dilio Rodriguez BOL
VAR: Bryan Loayza ECU
AVAR: Juan Garcia BOL
Referee Assessor: Ricardo Casas ARG
VAR Supervisor: Victor Carrillo PER

Metropolitanos – Deportivo Garcilaso
Referee: Alberto Feres URU
Assistant Referee 1: Andres Nievas URU
Assistant Referee 2: Hector Bergalo URU
Fourth Official: Yerson Zambrano ECU
VAR: Franklin Congo ECU
AVAR: Jefferson Macias ECU
Referee Assessor: Jairo Romero VEN
VAR Supervisor: Juan Restrepo COL

Defensa y Justicia – Universidad Cesar Vallejo
Referee: Bruno Arleu BRA
Assistant Referee 1: Rafael Alves BRA
Assistant Referee 2: Nailton Sousa BRA
Fourth Official: Ramon Abatti BRA
VAR: Francisco Gilabert CHI
AVAR: Edson Cisternas CHI
Referee Assessor: Sergio Viola ARG
VAR Supervisor: Claudio Rios CHI

Independiente Medellin – Always Ready
Referee: Gustavo Tejera URU
Assistant Referee 1: Martin Soppi URU
Assistant Referee 2: Santiago Fernandez URU
Fourth Official: Jose Burgos URU
VAR: Christian Ferreyra URU
AVAR: Richard Trinidad URU
Referee Assessor: Oscar Ruiz COL
VAR Supervisor: Rodney Aquino PAR

Boca Juniors – Nacional Potosi
Referee: Cristian Garay CHI
Assistant Referee 1: Miguel Rocha CHI
Assistant Referee 2: Carlos Poblete CHI
Fourth Official: Jose Cabero CHI
VAR: Rodrigo Carvajal CHI
AVAR: Juan Sepulveda CHI
Referee Assessor: Dario Ubriaco URU
VAR Supervisor: Patricio Polic CHI

Fortaleza – Sportivo Trinidense
Referee: Augusto Aragon ECU
Assistant Referee 1: Christian Lescano ECU
Assistant Referee 2: Ricardo Baren ECU
Fourth Official: Anthony Diaz ECU
VAR: Juan Andrade ECU
AVAR: Edison Vazquez ECU
Referee Assessor: Pedro Saucedo BOL
VAR Supervisor: Roberto Silvera URU

Athetico Paranaense – Sportivo Ameliano
Referee: Leandro Rey ARG
Assistant Referee 1: Facundo Rodriguez ARG
Assistant Referee 2: Gisella Trucco ARG
Fourth Official: Nazareno Arasa ARG
VAR: Francisco Gilabert CHI
AVAR: Edson Cisternas CHI
Referee Assessor: Hilton Moutinho BRA
VAR Supervisor: Oswaldo Segura ECU

Danubio – Rayo Zuliano
Referee: Manuel Vergara CHI
Assistant Referee 1: Jose Retamal CHI
Assistant Referee 2: Alejandro Molina CHI
Fourth Official: Piero Maza CHI
VAR: Juan Lara CHI
AVAR: Gabriel Ureta CHI
Referee Assessor: Marcelo de Leon URU
VAR Supervisor: Pericles Cortes BRA

Cruzeiro – Universidad Catolica
Referee: Maximiliano Ramirez ARG
Assistant Referee 1: Juan Belatti ARG
Assistant Referee 2: Daiana Milone ARG
Fourth Official: Maria Fortunato ARG
VAR: Antonio Garcia URU
AVAR: Mathias de Armas URU
Referee Assessor: Ricardo Marques BRA
VAR Supervisor: Myriam Melgarejo PAR

Union La Calera – Alianza
Referee: Christian Aleman BOL
Assistant Referee 1: Ruben Flores BOL
Assistant Referee 2: Juan Montaño BOL
Fourth Official: Ivo Mendez BOL
VAR: Andres Cunha URU
AVAR: Jonathan Fuentes URU
Referee Assessor: Julio Bascunan CHI
VAR Supervisor: Juan Lugones BOL

AFC Champions League Final 2024 (Second Leg)

25 May 2024

Al Ain – Yokohama Marinos
Referee: Ilgiz Tantashev (UZB, photo)
Assistant Referee 1: Andrei Tsapenko (UZB)
Assistant Referee 2: Timur Gaynullin (UZB)
Fourth Official: Akhrol Riskullaev (UZB)
VAR: Fu Ming (CHN)
AVAR: Sivakorn Pu-Udom (THA)

PGMOL referee observer banned for racist comment

A former FIFA and Premier League referee has been sacked as a senior observer after telling a black official he would have to smile in the dark to be seen at a match. Rodger Gifford made the racist comment to an assistant referee coach after an FA Cup second-round fixture between Newport County and Barnet in December. Gifford, then a referee observer at the Professional Game Match Officials Limited, was dismissed after the Football Association suspended him for five months for an “aggravated breach of misconduct”. The official who made the complaint of racism against him is said to have responded: “That’s out of order and I will not have that in my dressing room.” According to a written judgment, Gifford made the comment while discussing the brightness of the floodlights and advertising boards on the far side of the ground. Gifford, it is alleged, said to his fellow official, who was not named: “It was lucky that you were not over there as assistant referee as we wouldn’t have been able to see you. If you smiled though, we would be able to see your teeth.” One witness to the discussion during a post-match debrief said: “I felt this was a very inappropriate comment and although slightly laughed off in jest... it made the dressing room an awkward place for a few moments due to what had been said.”
Gifford, who had worked as a Premier League referee from 1992 to 1996, denied the charge, claiming he had made a “light-hearted comment” and “would never intentionally insult a value colleague”. Gifford, whose role involved helping referees progress in the professional and amateur game, is said to have emailed an apology to the official but the Regulatory Commission rejected Gifford’s defence. “As to Rule E3.2, it is evident that the comments made by Mr Gifford included a reference to race. It is difficult to reconcile Mr Gifford’s position,” the decision read. “He held a position of trust and responsibility within PGMOL. There is no place in the game, or society, for comments of this nature. There is no other position. Again, it was averred that there was no malice in the comments made, and it was ill-judged banter but this lacks any merit. Moreover, Mr Gifford denied the charge.”
The FA said: “Former PGMOL referee observer, Rodger Gifford, has been suspended from all football and football-related activity for five months, fined £400 and ordered to attend a mandatory face-to-face education programme, for an aggravated breach of misconduct. “It was alleged that following the FA Cup second-round fixture between Newport County AFC and Barnet FC on Saturday 2 December 2023, his language towards an assistant referee coach was abusive and/or insulting and/or improper, contrary to Rule E3.1. It was further alleged that this is an “aggravated breach”, as defined in Rule E3.2, as it includes a reference, whether express or implied, to colour and/or race and/or ethnic origin.”

CONMEBOL Copa America 2024

The South American Football Confederation, through its Referees Commission, announced the list of referees called up for the CONMEBOL Copa America 2024. There are 101 referees, both men and women, belong to CONMEBOL and UEFA, in a strategic exchange agreement between the confederations, and to Concacaf as guests. For the first time in history, the men’s CONMEBOL Copa America 2024 will feature female match officials: Edina Alves – BRA (Referee); Neuza Back – BRA (Assistant); Mary Blanco – COL (Assistant); and Migdalia Rodríguez – VEN (Assistant), representing CONMEBOL. Meanwhile, Maria Penso – USA (Referee); Brooke Mayo – USA (Assistant); Kathryn Nesbitt – USA (Assistant); and Tatiana Guzman – NCA (VAR), representing Concacaf. The referees will arrive on June 12, 2024, in Dallas, USA, to participate in the pre-tournament seminar from June 13 to 17. The goal is to reinforce technical concepts comprehensively, work on physical aspects, and conduct various training activities on the field, in classrooms, and in VAR rooms. The training topics include matches with players, VAR booth simulations, technical and physical evaluations, as well as regenerative physiotherapy work, ensuring the referees achieve their best performance. (Source: CONMEBOL)

Referee: Yael Falcon (ARG, photo)
Assistant Referee 1: Facundo Rodriguez (ARG)
Assistant Referee 2: Maximiliano Del Yesso (ARG)

Referee: Dario Herrera (ARG)
Assistant Referee 1: Juan Belatti (ARG)
Assistant Referee 2: Cristian Navarro (ARG)

Video Match Officials: Mauro Vigliano (ARG), Silvio Trucco (ARG), Hector Paletta (ARG)

Referee: Ivo Mendez (BOL)
Assistant Referee 1: Jose Antelo (BOL)
Assistant Referee 2: Edwar Saavedra (BOL)

Video Match Official: Gery Vargas (BOL)

Referee: Edina Alves (BRA)
Assistant Referee 1: Neuza Back (BRA)
Assistant Referee 2: Mary Blanco (COL)

Referee: Raphael Claus (BRA)
Assistant Referee 1: Danilo Manis (BRA)
Assistant Referee 2: Rodrigo Correa (BRA)

Referee: Wilton Sampaio (BRA)
Assistant Referee 1: Bruno Pires (BRA)
Assistant Referee 2: Bruno Boschilia (BRA)

Video Match Officials: Rodolpho Toski (BRA), Daniel Nobre (BRA), Paulo Goncalves (BRA)

Referee: Cristian Garay (CHI)
Assistant Referee 1: Jose Retamal (CHI)
Assistant Referee 2: Juan Serrano (CHI)

Referee: Piero Maza (CHI)
Assistant Referee 1: Claudio Urrutia (CHI)
Assistant Referee 2: Miguel Rocha (CHI)

Video Match Officials: Juan Lara (CHI), Rodrigo Carvajal (CHI), Edson Cisternas (CHI)

Referee: John Ospina (COL)
Assistant Referee 1: John Gallego (COL)
Assistant Referee 2: Miguel Roldan (COL)

Referee: Wilmar Roldan (COL)
Assistant Referee 1: Alexander Guzman (COL)
Assistant Referee 2: John Leon (COL)

Video Match Officials: Nicolas Gallo (COL), Yadir Acuna (COL), David Rodriguez (COL)

Referee: Augusto Aragon (ECU)
Assistant Referee 1: Christian Lescano (ECU)
Assistant Referee 2: Ricardo Baren (ECU)

Video Match Officials: Carlos Orbe (ECU), Bryan Loayza (ECU)

Referee: Juan Benitez (PAR)
Assistant Referee 1: Eduardo Cardozo (PAR)
Assistant Referee 2: Milciades Saldivar (PAR)

Video Match Officials: Derlis Lopez (PAR), Eduardo Britos (PAR), Jose Cuevas (PAR)

Referee: Kevin Ortega (PER)
Assistant Referee 1: Michael Orue (PER)
Assistant Referee 2: Stephen Atoche (PER)

Video Match Officials: Joel Alarcon (PER), Jonny Bossio (PER), Augusto Menendez (PER)

Referee: Andres Matonte (URU)
Assistant Referee 1: Nicolas Taran (URU)
Assistant Referee 2: Martin Soppi (URU)

Referee: Gustavo Tejera (URU)
Assistant Referee 1: Carlos Barreiro (URU)
Assistant Referee 2: Pablo Llarena (URU)

Video Match Officials: Leodan Gonzalez (URU), Richard Trinidad (URU), Christian Ferreyra (URU)

Referee: Alexis Herrera (VEN)
Assistant Referee 1: Lubin Torrealba (VEN)
Assistant Referee 2: Migdalia Rodriguez (VEN)

Referee: Jesus Valenzuela (VEN)
Assistant Referee 1: Jorge Urrego (VEN)
Assistant Referee 2: Alberto Ponte (VEN)

Video Match Officials: Juan Soto (VEN), Carlos Lopez (VEN)

Referee: Ivan Barton (SLV)
Assistant Referee 1: David Moran (SLV)
Assistant Referee 2: Henri Pupiro (NCA)

Referee: Mario Escobar (GUA)
Assistant Referee 1: Luis Ventura (GUA)
Assistant Referee 2: Humberto Panjoj (GUA)

Referee: Cesar Ramos (MEX)
Assistant Referee 1: Alberto Morin (MEX)
Assistant Referee 2: Marco Bisguerra (MEX)

Referee: Ismail Elfath (USA)
Assistant Referee 1: Kyle Atkins (USA)
Assistant Referee 2: Corey Parker (USA)

Referee: Tori Penso (USA)
Assistant Referee 1: Brooke Mayo (USA)
Assistant Referee 2: Kathryn Nesbitt (USA)

Video Match Officials: Eric Miranda (MEX), Guillermo Pacheco (MEX), Tatiana Guzman (NCA), Armando Villarreal (USA)

UEFA Exchange
Referee: Maurizio Mariani (ITA)
Assistant Referee 1: Daniele Bindoni (ITA)
Assistant Referee 2: Alberto Tegoni (ITA)

Video Match Officials: Marco Di Bello (ITA), Aleandro Di Paolo (ITA)

Referee Assessors
1. Ricardo Casas (ARG)
2. Angel Sanchez (ARG)
3. Regildenia Moura (BRA)
4. Enrique Osses (CHI)
5. Christian Schiemann (CHI)
6. Manuel Bernal (PAR)
7. Olga Miranda (PAR)
8. Roberto Silvera (URU)
1. Leonel Leal (CRC)
2. Peter Prendergast (JAM)
3. Gregory Barkey (USA)

VAR Supervisors (CONMEBOL)
1. Gustavo Rossi (ARG)
2. Pericles Cortez (BRA)
3. Emerson de Carvalho (BRA)
4. Patricio Polic (CHI)
5. Wilson Lamouroux (COL)
6. Luis Vera (ECU)
7. Victor Carrillo (PER)
8. Carlos Pastorino (URU)

'Best seat in the house' for Women's Champions League final referee Welch

It has been a year to remember for UEFA Women's Champions League final referee Rebecca Welch. Having fulfilled fourth official duties at last season's final in Eindhoven, she became the first-ever woman to referee an English men's Premier League match in December and caps the campaign off with Saturday's sold-out showpiece in Bilbao, when Women's Champions League holders Barcelona face eight-time champions Lyon. An international referee since 2015, the 40-year-old only took up refereeing in her mid-twenties but has risen through the ranks to become one of Europe's top officials. Below, she speaks about receiving the call for Saturday's big match, how her career has developed and her advice for others interested in becoming a referee.
- Rebecca, congratulations on your appointment for the final, how does it feel?
- RW: The appointment really came out of the blue. When you look at the list of elite UEFA referees, there are some really strong candidates, so I wasn’t expecting it. When I received the call, I nearly fell off my chair! I was made up, and very excited for the fixture. I've been wishing the week away so that it comes around quicker. To referee this game is probably going to be the biggest came of my career so far, it's the pinnacle of European women's football. I know the game has sold out too, and it's unbelievable how much crowds at women's football have grown over the past few years. I was lucky enough to be at the Women's EURO in England, and it showed how women's football has really taken off.
- How do you reflect on your journey as a referee within the game?
- I've been a referee now for 14 years and on the UEFA list for ten, and in that time there have been a lot of positive changes for women's football, but we are not going to stop now and accept how far we have come, we are going to push on and hopefully in another ten years from now, things will be even better. Referees have to move with the game as it develops, and we are fortunate that we get a lot of education, coaching and support now. I've had some brilliant coaches and mentors who have made me much better as a referee, and ultimately have enabled me to get this appointment.
- Whose support are you most grateful for during that time?
- My really good friend, Lindsey Robinson, was a referee in England and is now New Zealand Football’s referee development manager, and I have her to thank for making me try out refereeing. Lindsey is over the moon for me with this appointment and we often keep in touch despite living on opposite sides of the world. Off the field, my family, and especially my mum and dad, have been with me since the start of the journey. They came to my first game, where there were no corner flags and no goal nets, and I was panicking and thinking I couldn’t do it. They've been behind me all the way and have also helped to keep me grounded or pick me up during difficult or disappointing times, refereeing can be a lonely job, so I'm super grateful to have had them there in my life. My dad is also my designated taxi driver, so wherever I go, he normally drives me there, and he will be coming with me to Bilbao.
- Do those early experiences help you grow not just as a ref but as a person too?
- Totally, the more experience you get as a referee, the more knowledge you get. When you first qualify, you come out of a course and know a lot about the Laws of the Game but applying them in a practical scenario is very different. I probably spent the first 12 months really just learning the trade and getting comfortable with being out in the middle. That 'on-the-job' training is great, and you build up resilience and confidence along the way. I definitely had some occasions in those early days where I thought, 'I'm never doing this again', but ended up putting my kit back on and getting out there again the following weekend. Fourteen years later, I'm now preparing for the Women's Champions League final, so never give up!
- With a Women's Champions League final and becoming the first female referee in the English men's Premier League, it really has been a special season for you?
- It was a great landmark for me to referee in the Premier League, but probably even bigger for female referees within football. Now we have our first female in one of the best leagues in the world, I hope it can inspire others, both girls and boys, to take up refereeing. I've been going through the levels throughout the season, and obviously wanted to do a Premier League game, but it was never guaranteed, so it was an amazing moment for me. When you start refereeing, everyone dreams of reaching the Premier League, just like as a player, but there's only a tiny percentage of people that can make it.
- What's your advice for young women or girls who want to follow in your footsteps?
- If you're interested, give it a go! You can take a course through your national or regional football association, and there is no entry criteria beyond a minimum age, which varies in different countries. You can give it a go, and if you don’t like it, you don’t have to continue, but it gives you so many skills you can apply outside of football. I was also a terrible player, so refereeing gave me the chance to stay involved in the game and now I have the chance to walk out at stadiums and massive events like this Women's Champions League final, which as a player I could never have achieved.
- And finally, what's the best thing about being a referee?
- You get the best seat in the house. I used to go and watch football as a kid and I loved it, but now I walk out at the front and get to be a part of it. Women's football has grown so much and to be part of some of the biggest competitions in the world is just fantastic. (Source: UEFA)

25 May 2024
FC Barcelona – Olympique Lyonnais
Referee: Rebecca Welch (ENG)
Assistant Referee 1: Natalie Aspinall (ENG)
Assistant Referee 2: Emily Carney (ENG)
Fourth Official: Ivana Martinčić (CRO)
Reserve AR: Sanja Rodjak-Karšić (CRO)
VAR: Stuart Attwell (ENG)
AVAR: Katrin Rafalski (GER)
SVAR: Katalin Kulcsar (HUN)
Referee Observer: Dagmar Damkova (CZE)

UEFA Women's Euro 2025 – Qualifying Round (Matchday 4)

4 June 2024

Spain – Denmark
Referee: Maria Ferrieri Caputi ITA (photo)
Assistant Referee 1: Francesca Di Monte ITA
Assistant Referee 2: Veronica Martinelli ITA
Fourth Official: Martina Molinaro ITA
Referee Observer: Anja Kunick GER

France – England
Referee: Ivana Martinčić CRO
Assistant Referee 1: Sanja Rodjak-Karšić CRO
Assistant Referee 2: Maja Petravić CRO
Fourth Official: Sabina Bolić CRO
Referee Observer: Ivana Vlaić BIH

Israel – Scotland
Referee: Jelena Kumer CRO
Assistant Referee 1: Ivona Pejić CRO
Assistant Referee 2: Gordana Katušić CRO
Fourth Official: Jelena Pejković CRO
Referee Observer: Gitte Holm DEN

Bosnia and Herzegovina – Malta
Referee: Sofik Torosyan ARM
Assistant Referee 1: Liana Grigoryan ARM
Assistant Referee 2: Kristine Grigoryan ARM
Fourth Official: Araksya Saribekyan ARM
Referee Observer: Aneliya Sinabova BUL

Azerbaijan – Turkey
Referee: Nanna Andersen DEN
Assistant Referee 1: Sidsel Dall DEN
Assistant Referee 2: Anna Schmidt DEN
Fourth Official: Frida Klarlund Nielsen DEN
Referee Observer: Cristina Ionescu-Babadac ROU

Latvia – Slovenia

Referee: Sofiya Prychyna UKR
Assistant Referee 1: Iryna Chayka UKR
Assistant Referee 2: Oleksandra Vdovina UKR
Fourth Official: Lyudmyla Telbukh UKR
Referee Observer: Silvia Spinelli ITA

Hungary – Switzerland
Referee: Eleni Antoniou GRE
Assistant Referee 1: Georgia Komisopoulou GRE
Assistant Referee 2: Dimítra Tsaganou GRE
Fourth Official: Irini Pingiou GRE
Referee Observer: Ana Minić SRB

Faroe Islands – Greece
Referee: Laura Mauricio SUI
Assistant Referee 1: Laetitia Nuara SUI
Assistant Referee 2: Melissa Dos Santos SUI
Fourth Official: Deborah Anex SUI
Referee Observer: Wendy Toms ENG

Finland – Netherlands

Referee: Sandra Bastos POR
Assistant Referee 1: Andreia Sousa POR
Assistant Referee 2: Catia Tavares POR
Fourth Official: Sara Alves POR
Referee Observer: Knarik Grigoryan ARM

Poland – Germany
Referee: Olatz Rivera Olmedo ESP
Assistant Referee 1: Iragartze Fernandez Esesumaga ESP
Assistant Referee 2: Silvia Fernandez Perez ESP
Fourth Official: Marta Huerta de Aza ESP
Referee Observer: Esther Azzopardi MLT

Slovakia – Serbia
Referee: Monika Mularczyk POL
Assistant Referee 1: Anna Dabrowska POL
Assistant Referee 2: Julia Bukarowicz POL
Fourth Official: Michalina Diakow POL
Referee Observer: Olga Tanschi MDA

Georgia – Cyprus
Referee: Farida Lütfaliyeva AZE
Assistant Referee 1: Sevda Nuriyeva AZE
Assistant Referee 2: Gülnura Akbarzada AZE
Fourth Official: Ali Aliyev AZE
Referee Observer: Nelly Viennot FRA

Moldova – North Macedonia
Referee: Ioanna Allagiotou CYP
Assistant Referee 1: Despina Dimosthenous CYP
Assistant Referee 2: Maria Savvidou CYP
Fourth Official: Zoi Stavrou CYP
Referee Observer: Marta Atzori ITA

Bulgaria – Romania
Referee: Jurgita Mačikunyte LTU
Assistant Referee 1: Irina Pozdejeva LTU
Assistant Referee 2: Guoste Jonikaite LTU
Fourth Official: Ugne Šmitaite LTU
Referee Observer: Rachel Kohen ISR

Albania – Luxembourg
Referee: Melek Dakan TUR
Assistant Referee 1: Mürvet Yavuztürk TUR
Assistant Referee 2: Merve Turan TUR
Fourth Official: Gamze Pakkan TUR
Referee Observer: Marta Frias Acedo ESP

Italy – Norway
Referee: Rebecca Welch ENG
Assistant Referee 1: Emily Carney ENG
Assistant Referee 2: Anastasiya Voloshchuk ENG
Fourth Official: Kirsty Dowle ENG
Referee Observer: Lilach Asulin ISR

Sweden – Ireland
Referee: Alina Peșu ROU
Assistant Referee 1: Daniela Constantinescu ROU
Assistant Referee 2: Petruța Iugulescu ROU
Fourth Official: Roxana Timiș ROU
Referee Observer: Anri Hänninen FIN

Andorra – Montenegro
Referee: Joanna Vassallo MLT
Assistant Referee 1: Erinda Kume ALB
Assistant Referee 2: Koleta Prenga ALB
Fourth Official: Eglantina Pjetrushaj ALB
Referee Observer: Emilia Wnuk POL

Belgium – Czechia
Referee: Ewa Augustyn POL
Assistant Referee 1: Paulina Baranowska POL
Assistant Referee 2: Aleksandra Ulanowska POL
Fourth Official: Anna Adamska POL
Referee Observer: Blaženka Logarušić CRO

Northern Ireland – Portugal
Referee: Franziska Wildfeuer GER
Assistant Referee 1: Sina Diekmann GER
Assistant Referee 2: Anne Uersfeld GER
Fourth Official: Davina Lutz GER
Referee Observer: Jenny Palmqvist SWE

Ukraine – Wales
Referee: Caroline Lanssens BEL
Assistant Referee 1: Margot Jacobs BEL
Assistant Referee 2: Irmgard Van Meirvenne BEL
Fourth Official: Manon Plandsoen NED
Referee Observer: Christine Frai GER

Croatia – Kosovo
Referee: Michaela Pachtova CZE
Assistant Referee 1: Nikola Šafrankova CZE
Assistant Referee 2: Zuzana Špindlerova CZE
Fourth Official: Natalie Čampišova CZE
Referee Observer: Graziella Pirriatore ITA

Iceland – Austria

Referee: Desiree Gründbacher SUI
Assistant Referee 1: Susann Küng SUI
Assistant Referee 2: Linda Schmid SUI
Fourth Official: Stefan Horisberger SUI
Referee Observer: Katarzyna Wierzbowska POL

Europa League final referee Kovacs ready for action

As we anticipate a scintillating UEFA Europa League final between Atalanta and Leverkusen, there is one man who will be closer than the rest of us to the action – referee István Kovács. This appointment comes at the end of another impressive campaign for the Romanian official and represents the third consecutive season he has been on duty at a UEFA club final. He took charge of the inaugural UEFA Europa Conference League showpiece in Tirana in 2022 and was fourth official at the UEFA Champions League decider in Istanbul last June. Such experiences stand him in good stead for what awaits on Wednesday night in Dublin. "This will be my second UEFA final as a referee, and it really is a dream come true," says the 39-year-old. "To have refereed the Europa Conference League final in 2022 is of course helpful for this occasion. I still remember the feelings and the experience from that night, but I still need to work and prepare well for the match to make sure everything goes well on the night. It's a big responsibility to be appointed for this match and I want to prove I am ready for this challenge." Kovács is used to the big stage and is also preparing to officiate at his second UEFA European Championship this summer, but there is still a sense of pride at handling such high-profile matches. "I like the adrenaline when I am on the field; it is one of the best things about being a referee," he explains. "If I take good decisions during the game, I am proving to myself that I can handle these big matches."
Wednesday night's showpiece in front of 50,000 fans will be a far cry from Kovács' first-ever game as a referee when he was just 14 years old, and it is the perfect time to reflect on 25 years in the role. "I love football. For me, being a referee is the most beautiful job in the world and I recommend that youngsters come and embrace this opportunity," he says. "During my career, I have made a lot of connections, built good relationships with my colleagues and have enjoyed visiting many different countries through my work." It is a journey, however, that Kovács acknowledges he could not have made alone. "The Europa League final will be a proud moment for me but also for the team alongside me and more broadly, Romanian football," he says. "I owe a lot of people at home a big 'thank you' for the success I have had in my career. Many people have helped me with good advice or support when I have had difficult times. The chairman of the referees committee in Romania, Kyros Vassaras, has helped to improve a lot of things in the domestic game for us, and there is one person who has been next to me since I started – István Szilágyi – and I thank him in particular because he has always supported me." Kovacs will clearly have plenty of well-wishers on Wednesday night, but nothing will distract him until the job is done. "I don't change anything in the way I prepare for matches," he explains. "I do the same thing whether it is a European final or a Romanian league match, and this helps to ensure I am fully focused. Once the game is finished, we can reflect and enjoy the occasion." (Source: UEFA)

22 May 2024
Atalanta BC – Bayer Leverkusen
Referee: Istvan Kovacs (ROU)
Assistant Referee 1: Vasile Marinescu (ROU)
Assistant Referee 2: Ovidiu Artene (ROU)
Fourth Official: Ivan Kruzliak (SVK)
Reserve AR: Branislav Hancko (SVK)
VAR: Pol van Boekel (NED)
AVAR: Catalin Popa (ROU)
SVAR: Rob Dieperink (NED)
Referee Observer: Vladimir Sajn (SVN)

UEFA Women's Euro 2025 – Qualifying Round (Matchday 3)

31 May 2024

England – France
Referee: Marta Huerta de Aza ESP (photo)
Assistant Referee 1: Guadalupe Porras Ayuso ESP
Assistant Referee 2: Eliana Fernandez Gonzalez ESP
Fourth Official: Olatz Rivera Olmedo ESP
Referee Observer: Gyöngyi Gaal HUN

Portugal – Northern Ireland
Referee: Tess Olofsson SWE
Assistant Referee 1: Almira Spahic SWE
Assistant Referee 2: Emelie Elfstrand SWE
Fourth Official: Lovisa Johansson SWE
Referee Observer: Dilan Gökçek Işcan TUR

Armenia – Kazakhstan

Referee: Elena Gobjilă MDA
Assistant Referee 1: Natalia Ceban MDA
Assistant Referee 2: Ana Ciobotaru MDA
Fourth Official: Oxana Cruc MDA
Referee Observer: Sandra Renon FRA

Kosovo – Croatia
Referee: Kristina Georgieva BUL
Assistant Referee 1: Ekaterina Marinova BUL
Assistant Referee 2: Pavleta Rashkova BUL
Fourth Official: Hristiyana Guteva BUL
Referee Observer: Esther Azzopardi MLT

North Macedonia – Moldova
Referee: Audrey Gerbel FRA
Assistant Referee 1: Clementine Dubreil FRA
Assistant Referee 2: Berangere Jourdain FRA
Fourth Official: Elisa Daupeux FRA
Referee Observer: Petra Pavlikova SVK

Greece – Montenegro
Referee: Sarah Zangeneh NOR
Assistant Referee 1: Line Nymoen NOR
Assistant Referee 2: Tomke Poppen NOR
Fourth Official: Marit Skurdal NOR
Referee Observer: Regina Belksma-Konink NED

Estonia – Albania
Referee: Tatiana Sorokopudova KAZ
Assistant Referee 1: Dinara Idirisova KAZ
Assistant Referee 2: Liga Didrike LVA
Fourth Official: Jeļena Jermolajeva LVA
Referee Observer: Galina Doneva BUL

Faroe Islands – Andorra
Referee: Marisca Overtoom NED
Assistant Referee 1: Ashley de Haan NED
Assistant Referee 2: Isabelle van Gilst NED
Fourth Official: Sterre Bijlsma NED
Referee Observer: Bente Skogvang NOR

Norway – Italy
Referee: Stephanie Frappart FRA
Assistant Referee 1: Camille Soriano FRA
Assistant Referee 2: Melissa Rossignol FRA
Fourth Official: Emeline Rochebiliere FRA
Referee Observer: Antonia Kokotou GRE

Austria – Iceland
Referee: Lina Lehtovaara FIN
Assistant Referee 1: Heini Hyvönen FIN
Assistant Referee 2: Tonja Weckström FIN
Fourth Official: Minka Vekkeli FIN
Referee Observer: Hilda McDermott IRL

Serbia – Slovakia
Referee: Elvira Nurmustafina KAZ
Assistant Referee 1: Nargis Magau KAZ
Assistant Referee 2: Madina Almaskyzy KAZ
Fourth Official: Aidyn Tasybaev KAZ
Referee Observer: Irina Mîrț ROU

Cyprus – Georgia
Referee: Karoline Jensen NOR
Assistant Referee 1: Silje Thoresen NOR
Assistant Referee 2: Helle Reiten NOR
Fourth Official: Emilie Torkelsen NOR

Slovenia – Latvia
Referee: Ana Terteleac ROU
Assistant Referee 1: Mihaela Țepușă ROU
Assistant Referee 2: Roxana Ivanov ROU
Fourth Official: Roxana Timiș ROU
Referee Observer: Eleni Kyriou GRE

Romania – Bulgaria
Referee: Kathrin Huber AUT
Assistant Referee 1: Amina Gutschi AUT
Assistant Referee 2: Lena Hirtl AUT
Fourth Official: Olivia Tschon AUT
Referee Observer: Sharon Sluyts BEL

Czechia – Belgium

Referee: Silvia Gasperotti ITA
Assistant Referee 1: Giulia Tempestilli ITA
Assistant Referee 2: Stefania Signorelli ITA
Fourth Official: Anna Frazza ITA
Referee Observer: Pernilla Larsson SWE

Denmark – Spain

Referee: Ivana Projkovska MKD
Assistant Referee 1: Vjolca Izeiri MKD
Assistant Referee 2: Elena Soklevska-Ilievski MKD
Fourth Official: Marjan Dejanoski MKD
Referee Observer: Elke Günther GER

Turkey – Azerbaijan
Referee: Alexandra Collin FRA
Assistant Referee 1: Elodie Coppola FRA
Assistant Referee 2: Clothilde Brassart FRA
Fourth Official: Clemence Gonçalves FRA
Referee Observer: Jelena Banjeglav-Rankov SRB

Switzerland – Hungary
Referee: Emanuela Rusta ALB
Assistant Referee 1: Edjena Kapxhiu ALB
Assistant Referee 2: Mirjeta Salla ALB
Fourth Official: Kejsi Tafili ALB
Referee Observer: Rhona Coombes IRL

Scotland – Israel
Referee: Deborah Bianchi ITA
Assistant Referee 1: Tiziana Trasciatti ITA
Assistant Referee 2: Doriana Lo Calio ITA
Fourth Official: Maria Marotta ITA
Referee Observer: Snježana Fočić CRO

Wales – Ukraine
Referee: Shona Shukrula NED
Assistant Referee 1: Martina Boer NED
Assistant Referee 2: Melissa Lejear BEL
Fourth Official: Wendy Gijsbers NED
Referee Observer: Maria Villa Gutierrez ESP

Ireland – Sweden
Referee: Katalin Kulcsar HUN
Assistant Referee 1: Judit Gavalla-Kulcsar HUN
Assistant Referee 2: Noemi Hegedűs-Barath HUN
Fourth Official: Eszter Urban HUN
Referee Observer: Paloma Quintero Siles ESP

Germany – Poland
Referee: Jelena Cvetković SRB
Assistant Referee 1: Ivana Jovanović SRB
Assistant Referee 2: Aleksandra Kostić SRB
Fourth Official: Milica Milovanović SRB
Referee Observer: Caroline De Boeck BEL

Netherlands – Finland
Referee: Frida Klarlund DEN
Assistant Referee 1: Fie Bruun DEN
Assistant Referee 2: Katrine Stensholm DEN
Fourth Official: Nanna Andersen DEN
Referee Observer: Teodora Albon ROU

FIFA Video Support challenge system

FIFA has held the first trials of a new system of VAR which allows coaches to challenge a referee's decision, rather than the reviews only being undertaken by video officials. The new system, Football Video Support (VS), allows for the same situations to be challenged as in VAR - goals, penalties, red cards, and mistaken identity. Each team will be able to make two challenges per match. If the challenge is successful, the team keeps that review. The decision to request a review is the responsibility of the coach, who does so by twirling a finger in the air and giving the fourth official a card. The coach then says which kind of incident he wants to be reviewed. The players can recommend to the coach that a review is made but activating it will remain with the coach. A replay operator would ensure the correct footage is shown.
Pierluigi Collina, chairman of FIFA Referees Committee, said the first tests held during the Blue Stars/FIFA Youth Cup, a FIFA youth competition in Zurich last week, went well. "The outcome was very, very positive," Collina explained at the FIFA Congress in Bangkok. "Our aim is to continue to trial this new system, namely in our youth competitions. We hope to be able to give all of you who have indicated an interest in the possibility to implement this system in your competitions."
For now, the challenge system is an internal FIFA trial and there is no option for leagues or competitions to request to be part of it, and there are no plans to introduce it at the top of the game. VS is not intended to replace the version of VAR seen at the elite level, where there are the resources to have multiple cameras and officials working as video assistants. However, it will give hope to leagues who have requested to trial a challenge system but have been repeatedly turned down by FIFA. Serie A first made the request to implement challenges in 2020, believing it would be less intrusive in the game. If the trials prove successful and move through the levels to enter the Laws of the Game, there would be no reason why a league couldn't choose to implement Video Support over the full VAR system.

Source: ESPN

UEFA U-17 Euro 2024

Cyprus, 20 May - 5 June 2024

1. Jasper Vergoote BEL (photo)
2. Antoni Bandic BIH
3. Radoslav Gidzhenov BUL
4. Ante Čulina CRO
5. Menelaos Antoniou CYP
6. Jan Petrik CZE
7. Jakob Sundberg DEN
8. Mohammed Al-Emara FIN
9. Pierre Gaillouste FRA
10. David Fuxman ISR
11. Miguel Nogueira POR
12. Nenad Minaković SRB

Assistant Referees
1. Martijn Tiesters BEL
2. Stefan Tešanovic BIH
3. Petar Mitrev BUL
4. Luka Pušic CRO
5. Kyriakos Sokratous CYP
6. Marek Podany CZE
7. Victor Skytte DEN
8. Turkka Valjakka FIN
9. Alexis Auger FRA
10. Rostislav Talis ISR
11. Nelson Pereira POR
12. Nikola Borović SRB

Referee Observers
1. Hugh Dallas SCO
2. Elmir Pilav BIH
3. Haim Jakov ISR
4. Costas Kapitanis CYP

Turkish FA removes FIFA badge due to referee pregnancy

Turkish referee Betül Nur Yılmaz is preparing to take the Turkish Football Federation (TFF) to the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) for its decision to remove her FIFA badge after learning about her pregnancy.
Yılmaz received an invitation from FIFA to referee a tournament to be held in Belgium in the summer of 2023, according to May 16 reporting by the daily BirGün. During training sessions in Belgium, Yılmaz felt unwell, and a medical examination revealed that she was pregnant. Yılmaz reported her condition to the Referee Affairs Directorate and requested to suspend her refereeing duties with the TFF due to her pregnancy. When the directorate informed FIFA about the situation, UEFA Referees Committee Chairman Roberto Rosetti sent Yılmaz a congratulatory email, expressing his desire to see her back on duty as soon as possible. However, the TFF decided that her pregnancy and responsibilities as a mother would make it difficult for her to continue as an active FIFA referee and did not include Yılmaz in the FIFA referees list prepared in January 2024.
Betül Nur Yılmaz objected to being removed from the FIFA referee list due to her pregnancy, noting that male referees could suspend their refereeing duties during military service. She appealed to the refereeing board, where three out of seven members voted in her favor, while four voted against her. The TFF denied the allegations regarding Yılmaz and maintained that their decision was based on the referee’s yearly performance. However, Yılmaz revealed that she had received scores above 8 (prolific performance) in all the matches she refereed in that year. In Europe, pregnant female referees can remain on the list for two years. Yılmaz shared that she suffered psychological problems after being ostracized from her profession due to her pregnancy. She felt as if she was being punished for being pregnant, said the referee.

Source: duvaR

UEFA Women’s U-17 Euro Final 2024: Pachtova (CZE)

18 May 2024

England – Spain
Referee: Michaela Pachtova CZE (photo)
Assistant Referee 1: Ainhoa Ruiz AND
Assistant Referee 2: Ivona Pejić CRO
Fourth Official: Lotta Vuorio FIN
Referee Observer: Rhona Coombes IRL

Match for Third Place
Poland – France
Referee: Martina Molinaro ITA
Assistant Referee 1: Nikolett Bizderi HUN
Assistant Referee 2: Roxana Ivanov ROU
Fourth Official: Miriama Bočkova SVK
Referee Observer: Dagmar Damkova CZE

CAF Champions League Final 2024 (Second Leg)

25 May 2024

Al Ahly – ES Tunis
Referee: Jean Ndala (COD, photo)
Assistant Referee 1: Souru Phatsoane (LES)
Assistant Referee 2: Seydou Tiama (BFA)
Fourth Official: Mahamat Alhadji (CHA)
VAR: Lahlou Benbraham (ALG)
AVAR 1: Daniel Laryea (GHA)
AVAR 2: Mohamed Ibrahim (SDN)

CAF Confederation Cup Final 2024 (Second Leg)

19 May 2024

Zamalek – RS Berkane
Referee: Issa Sy (SEN, photo)
Assistant Referee 1: Djibril Camara (SEN)
Assistant Referee 2: Nouha Bangoura (SEN)
Fourth Official: Omar Artan (SOM)
VAR: Pierre Atcho (GAB)
AVAR 1: Maria Rivet (MRI)
AVAR 2: Khalil Hassani (TUN)

Referees set for Euro 2024 adventure

Match officials selected for duty at UEFA EURO 2024 are ready for action after a two-day workshop in Frankfurt. The event brought together the 19 selected referees and their assistants, as well as VARs and supporting officials, for an in-depth briefing a month ahead of the tournament, which runs from 14 June to 14 July. The workshop was the first gathering of all 89 EURO 2024 officials, and a perfect opportunity to familiarise themselves with their tournament base camp, a country hotel complex just outside Frankfurt, selected as a convenient central location for travel to each of the ten match venues across the country. The group, which also features a team of officials from Argentina thanks to UEFA's on-going collaboration with CONMEBOL, will spend more than one month together as they prepare for the 51 matches to come.
Such a high-profile tournament, the third-biggest sporting stage in the world, brings with it plenty of pressure to perform, but also represents a high point in officials' careers, a point Roberto Rosetti, UEFA's managing director of refereeing, was keen to emphasise. "Welcome to Germany and congratulations on being here. You are at one of the best tournaments in the world, so enjoy these moments. They are among the most important and beautiful moments in all your life. I am fully convinced that this is the best list of referees ever for a football tournament. We are so proud of the names on this list and you must be proud to be here too", said Rosetti. "I was very pleased to be selected for EURO 2024, it is a big achievement and was one of my personal goals, but I am also aware that it is a big responsibility and the most difficult part is still to come. This workshop is the best way to prepare, all here together to receive the same messages in a focused, friendly environment", said François Letexier.
During the workshop, the referees received wide-ranging updates around match organisation, medical, technology and integrity matters, but the main focus was on their roles across the all-important 90 minutes. One of the key points on the agenda was how referees should manage player and coach behaviour during matches. Rosetti published an open letter earlier this week detailing the importance of working with teams to present a positive image and set the right example for younger players and supporters. It was a topic also discussed with team coaches at the recent finalists' briefing in Düsseldorf and with UEFA's Football Board, and presented once more to officials here in Frankfurt. "We are talking about the image of the game. Players and coaches must respect our job and if they don’t, we will take action," Rosetti explained. To encourage respect and fair play, UEFA has issued a new directive for EURO 2024, whereby referees will speak directly with team captains to explain key decisions on the pitch. The directive will be discussed in detail with each of the 24 participating teams at their base camps ahead of the tournament.
It is not just players that need to be in peak condition for EURO 2024. Match officials must also be ready for action at the highest level, prepared to run up to 13 kilometres per match at high intensity while making split-second decisions. UEFA monitors officials' fitness throughout the season, providing bespoke training programmes and testing to ensure optimal performance. In Frankfurt, they were put through their paces by specialist fitness coaches with a series of drills aiming to keep them sharp ahead of the tournament. "Referees and assistant referees have no choice. You need to be injury free, fresh and fit when you come to the tournament. Training quality has been very high and we are very confident that you are doing a good job", said Werner Helsen, UEFA referee fitness coach
Rosetti and UEFA's refereeing team presented different match situations to the officials, discussing the occasions when interventions should take place. UEFA's approach during the tournament will mirror that in our club competitions. VAR will not overrule referees' on-field decisions unless the video reviews shows evidence of a clear and obvious mistake, with the final call always being made by the referee. It is a message Rosetti shared with team coaches in Düsseldorf last month, where he emphasised "minimum interference for maximum benefit", with referees urged to trust their judgment and make strong decisions on the field. With this encouragement and confidence from UEFA's refereeing leaders ringing in their ears, officials now return home to complete their domestic, and in some cases, European club seasons, before they reconvene in Germany in early June. The countdown is well and truly on!

Source: UEFA

Orsato: "My referee career will end after Euro"

At the Media Day of the Euro 2024 referees, Daniele Orsato announced his retirement in the interview with Lorenzo Fontani: “I will end my career as a referee after Euro. I thank all the instructors and assigners who have taught me so much in these years”. The role of referee assigner, however, does not seem to be in his plans: "I want to dedicate myself only to my family and my children. I hope that my last whistle will be that of the Euro final, but it's okay if Italy wins".
- Being here is a gratification, perhaps even more exciting...
- For me it’s always an emotion and a pride to represent Italian referees; it’s a huge responsibility. We are more of a family than a team, so it was exciting.
- Can we say that your career will end after Euro?
- Yes, it will end a beautiful experience, and I am proud of it, both for me and my family.
- Who would you want to thank?
- All the refereeing technicians who have accompanied my growth, from Claudio Pieri to Maurizio Mattei to Stefano Farina, as well as Collina, Rosetti, Braschi, Rizzoli and Rocchi. All of them were examples that I admired and tried to learn from. The most formative experience for me was the one as additional assistant referee (AAR) with Rizzoli at the 2016 European Championship, where I understood the things and the details that are needed on the field in the important games to be accepted. It was an incredible experience.
- Have you thought about what you are going to do after the last whistle?
- I think I will blow the whistle with the usual grit that has always distinguished me. I will do it all, I am really proud of what I have done, and I will give my best until the end.”
- We do not wish anything bad to Spalletti's Italy, but how nice it would be if the last whistle was that of the final?
- Of course, we all hope Italy will win. I would be proud and happy if the last Euro whistle would be mine, but if Italy wins, it’s okay.
- Did you set yourself a target for Euro 2024?
- I have never set myself long-term goals; I always think only about the last game. When we are in the locker room with my team, we never know whether we just refereed the last game of the competition or if we will have another one. Let’s think step-by-step to do the best.
- Here with you is also Marco Guida. What advice would you give him?
- I just congratulated Marco, because he followed a complicated path. He had a serious injury that put him out for a long time, but he worked hard, he is a serious referee, and this Euro will represent the beginning of a long career in UEFA for him.
- The Italian referees say that often abroad they relax, forgetting the pressure of Serie A. Is it the same for you?
- I wouldn’t say you relax, but you don’t get the same dissent from players and you have fewer problems on the field; in Europe they know you less and you lose less time. In Italy, you know more players and dialogues are longer, the protests are more significant. If you make a mistake in Europe, you feel sorry the same way as in Serie A.
- Is there a role of referee assigner for you in the future?
- No, there is only my family, my wife, and my kids. I don’t see anything else beyond them.

Source: SkySport

Zwayer: “Be prepared to adapt to new developments”

German referees Felix Zwayer and Daniel Siebert attended the Media Day for Euro 2024, where they shared their thoughts.
Zwayer: "The tension was high. We knew in advance when the referee team would be announced, but everyone who made it was only invited to the video call five minutes before 10 o'clock. You then wait and constantly check your emails. Of course, you hope that you'll be allowed to be there - but when the time really comes, it's something else. Managing (international) top matches was never a goal for me when I started out. I was simply interested and found the task of refereeing exciting, and then it always developed further. I kept taking steps forwards, but also backwards at times. You must draw the right conclusions from the less enjoyable moments and stick to your guns. In the end, anything goes if you are prepared to adapt to new developments in football. We worked on this together; without my assistants this nomination would not have been possible. Stefan Lupp has been nominated for a major tournament for the fifth time and that says it all. Marco Achmüller fought his way back from injury, which was impressive. All Euro referees form a team, where Daniel and I, together with our assistants and the three video assistants, represent German refereeing. We each referee our own games, but we still stick together as referees".
Siebert: "My way of refereeing matches and my performances have led me to where I am now. It would be wrong to suddenly change everything before the tournament. My coach as a player always told me: 'You shouldn't do anything special before special matches'. That applies well to refereeing. Every Euro match is great. In the team with Jan and Rafael, we are simply grateful to be part of this Euro and will approach the tournament with anticipation and humility. I just want to do my best and referee the games I get in the best possible way. During my first Euro, I had an experienced colleague, Felix Brych, at my side, which helped me a lot".

Source: SkySport

Collum appointed as new Head of Scottish Refereeing

Willie Collum has been appointed Head of Refereeing at the Scottish FA following an extensive recruitment process. The vastly experienced Category One referee will take up his duties in early July after resigning as a local authority Education Officer. He will end almost 30 years of refereeing – 20 of which were spent as a Category One match official and FIFA Referee – with immediate effect to replace the outgoing Crawford Allan, who leaves the role at the end of the season.
The Scottish FA and global sports recruitment experts Elevate Talent compiled a list of experienced applicants from four different continents. Willie’s experience, leadership responsibilities within the Scottish education system, understanding of the Scottish football landscape and resilience made him the outstanding candidate. He has refereed at UEFA Euro 2016, the 2015 UEFA Super Cup, in four Scottish Cup finals, two League Cup finals, and in over 250 FIFA and UEFA club and international competitions including the Champions League and Europa League, World Cup and European Qualifiers. The 45-year-old believes the time is right to help current and future referees maximise their potential. “I am proud and honoured to be appointed the Scottish FA’s Head of Refereeing,” said the 45-year-old. “It’s well-known that I took up refereeing at the age of 14 and today’s announcement is the culmination of some of the greatest experiences of my career. It’s my strong view that the role of Head of Refereeing is responsible to all of Scottish football, not just the association, as I am fully aware of the passion and expectations from clubs, players, supporters and match officials themselves. I wouldn’t have achieved half of what I have as a referee without the support of my colleagues and team-mates within refereeing and my immediate priority is to galvanise the current network of match officials from Category One to those taking the field for the first time. I’ve been in their shoes at every level and want to help others fulfil their potential by overcoming the challenges along the way and seizing the opportunities. I will outline my plan in detail when I start officially but I was emphatic throughout the interview process that I want to improve, with consultation and consensus, the operation and delivery of VAR for all concerned. I want to use my experience to alleviate the unsustainable burden on our match officials and improve relations and mutual respect between match officials, club officials, players, coaches and fans. I would like to thank Crawford for leading the implementation of VAR and I know I can count on him for advice during the handover period and along the way. I look forward to getting started.”
Ian Maxwell, Scottish FA Chief Executive: “When we announced that Crawford was leaving at the end of the season the board and senior team were clear that we would leave no stone unturned in getting the best candidate for a job that has become significantly more demanding with the arrival of VAR. We had applications from experienced candidates across the UK, Europe, North America, Asia and Australia. It is to Willie’s great credit that he emerged as the outstanding candidate from such a strong international field. Willie has had a unique refereeing career, which started in his early teens. He has gone on to become one of our most experienced and decorated match officials and has amassed the practical knowledge and experience to make a significant contribution as Head of Refereeing. He spoke with passion and purpose on how he sees the role of Head of Refereeing. We look forward to him implementing his plan and I would like to reiterate my thanks to Crawford Allan for his contribution over the last four years, not least leading on the feasibility and implementation of VAR. I know he will be on hand to support Willie during the handover period as required.”

Source: SFA