Marciniak: “Chiellini was crying on my shoulder”

A Polish referee in the Champions League final? Until recently, it would sound like a joke, but now it is not a matter of dreams and time. All thanks to Szymon Marciniak, who had excellent performances at Euro 2016.
- Do you ever rest? Do you go on holidays?
- Yes, like any normal person. Only that I try to stay active when I leave on holidays.
- Everyone thought that after a hard season and, in addition, your participation at the Euro almost to the very end, the chairman of the Referees Committee, Zbigniew Przesmycki, will give you a moment of breath. And here you are, unexpectedly, in the the first round of the Ekstraklasa.
- Frankly, I also thought that I could now go on vacation, but I understand the situation, so it was not a problem for me. The decision was made together with the President Przesmycki. We considered whether to take a break now or after the upcoming tests in UEFA on 10-12 August. We decided that I will go on vacation after the first round.
- Now a week away from the ball and then once again back on the field? 
- To be precise – a week and a half. In the third round I should already be back on the pitch. My duties are not only connected with the Polish football. As I mentioned, I will be soon running the fitness tests in UEFA. There is not much time to rest, but on the other hand, I may just train as well, because if the absence is not too long, I will no longer need to go back to the appropriate level. Now, almost all the time I need to be in shape. 
- Do you have enough time? Always busy, you have to live in constant stress. Few would understand it. 
- It's a matter of how you think about it. There are people for whom this would be a big problem, difficult for them to deal with it. However, in my case, the pressure flows; I do not feel it. This is important because most errors when refereeing are caused just by pressure. Who has a problem with that, referees less. And it happens because, for example, the referees having a problem with the pressure during the match, after analyzing the performance on video, cannot understand how they could make such simple mistakes. This brain is the key; you need to know how to properly prepare mentally. First is to focus, then the adrenalina is working automatically and after the final whistle ypou need to think about the next game, the next challenge. Extremely important is the intensity of the match, the possibility of frequent whistling. 
- I understand that you are not working with a psychologist? 
- We have the sports psychologist - Mrs. Paulina Nowak - for six years. When a class is being offered to a whole group of referees, for example, a meeting devoted to concentration or relaxation, I am joining it. With respect to individual meetings, I only had one - the first and last. Just after the first sessions, the doctor said that I do not need such meetings. 
- Let's get to the point. According to the experts, your performance at Euro should be defined as spectacular. What is your view? 
- It is difficult to answer such a question. There are star players running around the pitch; we are only there to referee them well and do not disturb the game. On the other hand, I do not want to be falsely modest; the evaluation of our work by the UEFA Referees Committee and also by Pierluigi Collina was great. You can always do better, for example, positioning for a free kick to the left, not the right, but these are funny things, details. At the post-match analysis, I always try to look for the ideal positions and, as they say in the referees’ world, wise whistles. 
- Can you give us an example? 
- Sometimes such behavior is required by the situation on the pitch. For example, during a match, when you whistle three times in a row a foul for a team, then later you should feel the game and award a free kick for the other team, for balance, so that players do not get the impression that you whistle just for one team. Sometimes it is very difficult, as it was in Spain – Czech Republic, when one team was attacking and the other defending. But I'm glad that I was able to find the right balance in terms of fouls and discipline. 
- Are you feeling appreciated by the UEFA Referees Committee? 
- Of course. From what I learned, we - young referees who do not have much experience at major tournaments - were appointed only to referee matches in the group stage. After the first two performances, and especially the second one, the right people considered that we deserved the bonus of being able to go into the round if 16. And at this level again we emerged well enough that Collina decided to keep us in France even longer and gave us the opportunity of gaining experience. Please note that the function of the fourth official, and I had this opportunity in the quarter-finals and semi-finals, is not confined to lifting the board with the changes and show how much time is left until the end. 
- Collina sent you to the minefield: you had to control the reserve bench of Italy. Was it a difficult task? 
- The quarter-final Germany - Italy showed very well the role of the fourth official - it was a tough fight for 120 minutes. We all know that the Italian bench is not easy. They continue the show, with non-stop gesturing. The task was not easy, but you can see that Collina, who was watching the game from the stands, appreciated my work, because he sent me in this function also for the semi-finals. I am glad that we managed to get more than we expected out of the championship.
- Let's look at your participation in the tournament by games. In Spain’s match against the Czech Republic, you were practically invisible. The only event worth noting was the tackle by Alvaro Morata on your assistant.
- Truth! After this match I got dozens of congratulations from the referees from all over Europe, Howard Webb among others, but the show was stolen by my assistant Paul Sokolnicki which, thanks to Morata, nearly acquainted with the turf. It was for this reason that we had some laughter and once we even joked during the match. After returning to the hotel, the other referees were making jokes. Frankly, after the final whistle, I glanced at the replay and it did not look good. Morata came with a dynamic sliding tackle, Paul strongly twisted the leg. If he would have been so athletic, it could have been a different outcome.
- You seemed relaxed and sometimes joking with players.
- We worked the same way as we usually do during any match in the domestic league. Changed only faces and shirts, everything else was the same for us. During the match, I had to deal a couple of times with Sergio Ramos and Tomas Rosicki. It was normal.
- Was the second match, Iceland-Austria, the hardest for you?
- Definitely. Already after the first match I knew more or less that I was going to referee the game. It was known that there are 36 matches in the group stage and we were 18 referees, so the assumption was that each referee will have two games in the group stage. When I did not get anything in the second matchday, Collina pulled me aside and said that, depending on some results, he will send me to the already mentioned, tough game. And so it happened. To prepare for it, we watched Austria and Portugal from the stands, we analyzed the game of the Austrians and we expected a very hard fight. It was difficult, but the match turned out to be my ticket to the knock-out phase. 
- One of the key decisions was to award a penalty kick for a foul on David Alaba. In this particular situation were you helped by the AAR Tomasz Musial or was it your sovereign decision? 
- It can be seen on video replays - the timing of the decision is immediate, Tomasz, even if he wanted to shout, he would not have time for this. When the player fell to the ground, it was after the whistle, and I was reaching for a yellow card. I had a good grasp of the situation, I saw everything very well and I did not think for a second. Being held, Alaba was unable to jump and I had to make a decision. But I do not want to take any merit away from Tomasz, who, during the Europa League semi-final shouted to me that Sevilla should be awareded a penalty kick. 
- When you awarded a penalty kick to the Germans in your third game were you sure of your decision? The voices of the experts were divided. 
- If you decide to award a penalty kick, you must be sure, not 70 per cent. In this situation, I had a good view of it. Anyway, please see a replay of the situation, Skrtel did not even try to argue. He immediately dropped his head; he knew that his behavior was irresponsible. But now, in retrospect, I can say that, if it happens again, I would show him a yellow card. 
- Is there a special moment of the championship that stucks in your memory? 
- There are a few. I will remember this tournament for a long time; it was so unpredictable that anyone can beat anyone. For example, Albania was about to advance to the next round, I was fascinated by the game. In contrast, we all remember Germany – Italy, with the 120 minutes and penalty shoot-out. Germany eventually won and the Italians have fallen into despair. I stood at the tunnel leading to the locker room and watched the broken players from Italy. The last one walked Giorgio Chiellini. He passed by me, but then turned back, threw himself in my arms and began to cry. I did not quite know at first how I should behave, but I took a neutral pose and humanly consoled him. It was a moment that I will remember for a long time, because I realized how great excitement accompanied the players on a great tournament.
- After returning from Euro - bearing in mind the positive evaluation of superiors – did you feel already part of Europe's leading referees, along with Clattenburg or Cakir?
- It is hard to compare with other referees; I can only say that I feel very good. When three years did not include any error in Europe, you have to be on top - there is no other option. The most important in the life of a referee is treaning hard on the ground. A player can miss one day a penalty kick but in a week he will have the opportunity to fix that. As a referee, you are as good as your last game. It is almost certain that soon no one will remember our good performance at Euro since, at some point, we will make errors. This is the life of a referee.
- In your case the matter is difficult, because, being the best Polish referee, everyone looks at you with respect. They regard you on a high level.
- It is true. Every time I have to prove that my performance at Euro did not stem from the fact that I am as bald as Collina, or that I am friends with Webb. I have to show that after returning from Euro I have no intention of cutting off coupons in the Polish league. It is of course difficult, because even the smallest error will be pointed out to me, but that is the way of things. We must all remember, however, the basic issue. Even with a very good position and having a good understanding of the situation, the referee cannot see everything; it can simply make a mistake, because it is a human person, like everyone else.
- Is the understanding for referees getting better in the Polish league?
- Yes, and I enjoy it. We are not robots, we can make errors. It is important to then say bluntly: “Sorry, I'm sorry gentlemen, I just did not see it, someone screened me and I miss the play”. It is known that throughout the play only fans are infallible. But here I always say what I heard 12 years ago: if you are a dodger, take a whistle and will be happy to go with you on the field to see how you are doing. 
- Before Euro, you said that you do not expect the finale because it is just too early. You were too young and too inexperienced. Has the Euro changed something in this regard? The Champions League final is already within your reach? 
- Collina would probably not like me talking on this topic. Besides, he laughed at me every time when we had similar talks. Please note that UEFA appointing me as the fourth official in the Euro quarter-finals and semi-finals took into account the possibility that I will be ready to referee the match, if needed, at such a level. In case of a referee injury, I would have to take his place. When Collina told me the information that I will be fourth official in the quarter and semi-finals, I thanked him and I understood, at the same time, that I am ready to referee such matches as the main referee. They showed me confidence. I feel a lot of humility, but I can say that I do not feel any worse than the European leaders. I know how I refereed the Euro matches, I know how it went in the quarter-finals of the Champions League or the Europa League semi-final. The Champions League final? Why not. 
- Is this your goal for the new season? 
- I do not think in those terms. The specificity of this profession is that just one wrong decision can make everything go wrong and collapse. You can ride for a few matches of the group stage, then the knockout and still one bad whistle can direct all the talk about my only negative. You cannot assume anything. Last season, everyone said that I am doing great, but I am still so young... 
- I hardly expected that you will be appointed to such important matches in European competitions. 
- It was said that maybe I was expected to stop in the round of 16 of the Champions League. It turned out that we were well evaluated and appointed to the quarter-finals of the Champions League. And when we got the Eurpa League semi-final, even older colleagues were not fully able to understand how it happened. The point is that age is not always the most important. If you have the appropriate feeling of the profession and a good fitness, why not rely on the possibility of refereeing major events?
- That streak would not be possible without a solid team.
- You are one hundred percent correct. I get along very well with my team on the field and beyond. We understand each other without words.
- You are supposed to lead the team in general, not only in the competition.
- Making a good atmosphere, in this particular topic Tomasz Musial is unmatched, he leads the way, but Pawel Raczkowski also does not stand away in terms of jokes. That is why our team is very popular in UEFA; we are always loud and funny. During Euro we also gained the yellow jersey in another issue - to attend the gym. Older friends came to us, inquired how they should practice, what to change. Later they implemented this in their training.
- You realize that it has a real impact on the entire community of referees in Poland? After your good performances, more than 100 people completed the referee course. This is a huge number compared to previous years.
- Initially, I shied away from interviews, it was hard for me, I did not want to give too many interviews. Our chairman Przesmycki and president Boniek explained to me that my activity in the media can be a positive impulse for young people. Hence the story of what does it mean to referee, how much effort is required, thus allowing access to the camera in our locker room. I preferred to speak through my whistle on the pitch, but older and wiser people in PZPN convinced me that I should overcome the situation and help improve the image of Polish refereeing community. 
- So far, you succeeded perfectly. 
- In my home area, Plock, there was a shortage of referees for a long time and now we have a surplus. In every meeting with young people, such as during a lecture at the Warsaw School of Economics, I always say that not everyone has to be Lewandowski or Krychowiak to exist in a serious football. Refereeing is also an interesting way. More and more young people decided to follow my advice and this made me feel a personal satisfaction. 

Source: Pitka Nozna

FIFA World Cup 2018 – Prospective Referees (UEFA)

As expected, 16 out of the 18 referees who recently attended Euro 2016 in France have been pre-selected for the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia. Carlos Velasco Carballo (ESP, 45), who ended his career after Euro, and Martin Atkinson (ENG, 45) are missing, while Antonio Mateu Lahoz (ESP), Gianluca Rocchi (ITA), Anastasios Sidiropoulos (GRE, fourth official at Euro) and Artur Soares Dias (POR) have been added to the list of prospective referees. The oldest pre-selected referee is Nicola Rizzoli (ITA, photo), who will be 47 in 2018. No other referee will be older than 45 by the World Cup time, with the youngest candidate being Clement Turpin (FRA, 36 in 2018). In 2014, FIFA appointed only 9 European referees (plus 1 reserve) to the World Cup in Brazil, so the competition will be more difficult than the selection for Euro 2016.


UEFA
1. Felix Brych (GER, 1975)
2. Cuneyt Cakir (TUR, 1976)
3. Mark Clattenburg (ENG, 1975)
4. William Collum (SCO, 1979)
5. Jonas Eriksson (SWE, 1974)
6. Ovidiu Hategan (ROU, 1980)
7. Sergei Karasev (RUS, 1979)
8. Viktor Kassai (HUN, 1975)
9. Pavel Kralovec (CZE, 1977)
10. Bjorn Kuipers (NED, 1973)
11. Antonio Mateu Lahoz (ESP, 1977)
12. Szymon Marciniak (POL, 1981)
13. Milorad Mazic (SRB, 1973)
14. Svein Oddvar Moen (NOR, 1979)
15. Nicola Rizzoli (ITA, 1971)
16. Gianluca Rocchi (ITA, 1973)
17. Anastasios Sidiropoulos (GRE, 1979)
18. Damir Skomina (SVN, 1976)
19. Artur Soares Dias (POR, 1979)
20. Clement Turpin (FRA, 1982)


All prospective referees from Europe will attend a FIFA Elite Seminar in Zürich (SUI), from 19 to 23 September 2016.

Source: Pitka Nozna

UEFA Europa League – Third Qualifying Round (First Leg)

28 July 2016 

Austria Wien – Spartak Trnava
Referee: Alexandru Tudor (ROU, photo)
Assistant Referee 1: Alexandru Cerei (ROU)
Assistant Referee 2: Aurel Onita (ROU)
Fourth Official: Sebastian Coltescu (ROU)
Referee Observer: Volodimir Petrov (UKR)

AEK Larnaca – Spartak Moskva
Referee: Alejandro Hernández Hernández (ESP)
Assistant Referee 1: Teodoro Sobrino Magán (ESP)
Assistant Referee 2: José Naranjo Pérez (ESP)
Fourth Official: José González González (ESP)
Referee Observer: Vladimir Antonov (MDA)

FC Oleksandriya – Hajduk Split
Referee: Gediminas Mažeika (LTU)
Assistant Referee 1: Vytautas Simkus (LTU)
Assistant Referee 2: Vytenis Kazlauskas (LTU)
Fourth Official: Donatas Šimėnas (LTU)
Referee Observer: Goran Mihaljević (MNE)

Heracles Almelo – FC Arouca
Referee: Charalampos Kalogeropoulos (GRE)
Assistant Referee 1: Chasan Koula (GRE)
Assistant Referee 2: Tryfon Petropoulos (GRE)
Fourth Official: Georgios Kyzas (GRE)
Referee Observer: Tomasz Mikulski (POL)

LOSC Lille – FK Qäbälä
Referee: Daniel Stefanski (POL)
Assistant Referee 1: Rafal Rostkowski (POL)
Assistant Referee 2: Dawid Golis (POL)
Fourth Official: Zbigniew Dobrynin (POL)
Referee Observer: Frank De Bleeckere (BEL)

Torpedo Zhodino – Rapid Wien
Referee: Thorvaldur Arnason (ISL)
Assistant Referee 1: Gunnar Gudmundsson (ISL)
Assistant Referee 2: Gylfi Sigurdsson (ISL)
Fourth Official: Thoroddur Hjaltalin (ISL)
Referee Observer: Marinus Koopman (NED)

FK Jelgava – Beitar Jerusalem
Referee: Georgi Kabakov (BUL)
Assistant Referee 1: Martin Margaritov (BUL)
Assistant Referee 2: Martin Venev (BUL)
Fourth Official: Ivaylo Stoyanov (BUL)
Referee Observer: William Young (SCO)

Zagłębie Lubin – Sonderjyske
Referee: Robert Madley (ENG)
Assistant Referee 1: Stephen Child (ENG)
Assistant Referee 2: Ian Hussin (ENG)
Fourth Official: Kevin Friend (ENG)
Referee Observer: Jan Wegereef (NED)

Lokomotiva Zagreb – Vorskla Poltava
Referee: Harald Lechner (AUT)
Assistant Referee 1: Andreas Heidenreich (AUT)
Assistant Referee 2: Maximilian Kolbitsch (AUT)
Fourth Official: Julian Weinberger (AUT)
Referee Observer: Rune Pedersen (NOR)

Slavia Praha – Rio Ave
Referee: Sergei Lapochkin (RUS)
Assistant Referee 1: Aleksei Lebedev (RUS)
Assistant Referee 2: Aleksandr Kudriavtsev (RUS)
Fourth Official: Mikhail Vilkov (RUS)
Referee Observer: Zoran Petrović (SRB)

IFK Göteborg – HJK Helsinki
Referee: Kevin Clancy (SCO)
Assistant Referee 1: Douglas Ross (SCO)
Assistant Referee 2: Douglas Potter (SCO)
Fourth Official: John Beaton (SCO)
Referee Observer: Georgios Bikas (GRE)

İstanbul Başakşehir – HNK Rijeka
Referee: Svein Erik Edvartsen (NOR)
Assistant Referee 1: Magnus Lundberg (NOR)
Assistant Referee 2: Jan Erik Engan (NOR)
Fourth Official: Dag Vidar Hafsås (NOR)
Referee Observer: Gerard Perry (IRL)

Birkirkara FC – Kuban Krasnodar
Referee: Bart Vertenten (BEL)
Assistant Referee 1: Rien Vanyzere (BEL)
Assistant Referee 2: Thibaud Nijssen (BEL)
Fourth Official: Bram Van Driessche (BEL)
Referee Observer: Manuel Mejuto González (ESP)

FC Luzern – Sassuolo Calcio
Referee: Andreas Ekberg (SWE)
Assistant Referee 1: Fredrik Nilsson (SWE)
Assistant Referee 2: Mehmet Culum (SWE)
Fourth Official: Kristoffer Karlsson (SWE)
Referee Observer: Jaap Uilenberg (NED)

Grasshoppers – Apollon Limassol
Referee: Andris Treimanis (LVA)
Assistant Referee 1: Haralds Gudermanis (LVA)
Assistant Referee 2: Aleksejs Spasjonnikovs (LVA)
Fourth Official: Aleksandrs Golubevs (LVA)
Referee Observer: Nikolai Levnikov (RUS)

KRC Genk – Cork City
Referee: Clayton Pisani (MLT)
Assistant Referee 1: Alan Camilleri (MLT)
Assistant Referee 2: Edward Spiteri (MLT)
Fourth Official: Philip Farrugia (MLT)
Referee Observer: Kjell Alseth (NOR)

Osmanlispor – Nõmme Kalju
Referee: Nikola Dabanović (MNE)
Assistant Referee 1: Djordjie Ražnatović (MNE)
Assistant Referee 2: Nikola Radulović (MNE)
Fourth Official: Miloš Bošković (MNE)
Referee Observer: Manuel López Fernández (ESP)

Pandurii Târgu Jiu – Maccabi Tel Aviv
Referee: Sergii Boiko (UKR)
Assistant Referee 1: Oleksandr Voytyuk (UKR)
Assistant Referee 2: Volodymyr Volodin (UKR)
Fourth Official: Oleksandr Derdo (UKR)
Referee Observer: Ichko Lozev (BUL)

FK Shkëndija – Mladá Boleslav
Referee: Artyom Kuchin (KAZ)
Assistant Referee 1: Yevgeniy Belskiy (KAZ)
Assistant Referee 2: Anatoliy Khodin (KAZ)
Fourth Official: Aleksander Gauzer (KAZ)
Referee Observer: Alexandru Deaconu (ROU)

FK Vojvodina – Dinamo Minsk
Referee: Oliver Drachta (AUT)
Assistant Referee 1: Roland Brandner (AUT)
Assistant Referee 2: Andreas Rothmann (AUT)
Fourth Official: Dieter Muckenhammer (AUT)
Referee Observer: Christoforos Zografos (GRE)

Panathinaikos – AIK Solna
Referee: Bastian Dankert (GER)
Assistant Referee 1: Markus Häcker (GER)
Assistant Referee 2: René Rohde (GER)
Fourth Official: Benjamin Brand (GER)
Referee Observer: Miroslav Tulinger (CZE)

Hertha BSC – Brondby IF
Referee: Kevin Blom (NED)
Assistant Referee 1: Patrick Langkamp (NED)
Assistant Referee 2: Joost Van Zuilen (NED)
Fourth Official: Edwin van de Graaf (NED)
Referee Observer: Marián Ružbarský (SVK)

KAA Gent – Viitorul Constanța
Referee: Stephan Klossner (SUI)
Assistant Referee 1: Remy Zgraggen (SUI)
Assistant Referee 2: Marco Zürcher (SUI)
Fourth Official: Sascha Amhof (SUI)
Referee Observer: Oguz Sarvan (TUR)

Videoton FC – Midtjylland FC
Referee: Ville Nevalainen (FIN)
Assistant Referee 1: Ville Koskiniemi (FIN)
Assistant Referee 2: Sami Nykänen (FIN)
Fourth Official: Dennis Antamo (FIN)
Referee Observer: Gevorg Hovhannisyan (ARM)

NK Domžale – West Ham
Referee: Mete Kalkavan (TUR)
Assistant Referee 1: Ceyhun Sesiguzel (TUR)
Assistant Referee 2: Aleks Tascioglu (TUR)
Fourth Official: Tolga Özkalfa (TUR)
Referee Observer: Luciano Luci (ITA)

AZ Alkmaar – PAS Giannina
Referee: Mattias Gestranius (FIN)
Assistant Referee 1: Jan-Peter Aravirta (FIN)
Assistant Referee 2: Mikko Alakare (FIN)
Fourth Official: Antti Munukka (FIN)
Referee Observer: Eyjolfur Olafsson (ISL)

FC Aberdeen – NK Maribor
Referee: Tore Hansen (NOR)
Assistant Referee 1: Jon-Michael Knutsen (NOR)
Assistant Referee 2: Oystein Ytterland (NOR)
Fourth Official: Kai Erik Steen (NOR)
Referee Observer: Lassin Isaksen (FRO)

AS Saint Étienne – AEK Athens
Referee: Antonio Damato (ITA)
Assistant Referee 1: Riccardo Di Fiore (ITA)
Assistant Referee 2: Salvatore Longo (ITA)
Fourth Official: Domenico Celi (ITA)
Referee Observer: Erol Ersoy (TUR)

Admira Wacker Mödling – Slovan Liberec
Referee: Halis Özkahya (TUR)
Assistant Referee 1: Cem Satman (TUR)
Assistant Referee 2: Ekrem Kan (TUR)
Fourth Official: Ali Palabiyik (TUR)
Referee Observer: Igor Ischenko (UKR)

UEFA Champions League – Third Qualifying Round (First Leg)

26-27 July 2016

Sparta Praha – Steaua Bucureşti
Referee: Daniel Siebert (GER, photo)
Assistant Referee 1: Jan Seidel (GER)
Assistant Referee 2: Dominik Schaal (GER)
Fourth Official: Benjamin Cortus (GER)
Referee Observer: Murat Ilgaz (TUR)


FK Partizani – FC Salzburg
Referee: Michael Oliver (ENG)
Assistant Referee 1: Stuart Burt (ENG)
Assistant Referee 2: Adam Nunn (ENG)
Fourth Official: Craig Pawson (ENG)
Referee Observer: Cyril Zimmermann (SUI)

Ludogorets Razgrad – Crvena Zvezda
Referee: Martin Strömbergsson (SWE)
Assistant Referee 1: Daniel Gustavsson (SWE)
Assistant Referee 2: Joakim Amri Nilsson (SWE)
Fourth Official: Mohammed Al-Hakim (SWE)
Referee Observer: Peter Jones (ENG)

Bate Borisov – Dundalk FC
Referee: Ievgenii Aranovskyi (UKR)
Assistant Referee 1: Semen Shlonchak (UKR)
Assistant Referee 2: Oleksandr Korniyko (UKR)
Fourth Official: Yaroslav Kozyk (UKR)
Referee Observer: Carmel Agius (MLT)

Viktoria Plzeň – Qarabağ FK
Referee: Aleksandar Stavrev (MKD)
Assistant Referee 1: Marjan Kirovski (MKD)
Assistant Referee 2: Dejan Kostadinov (MKD)
Fourth Official: Dimitar Meckarovski (MKD)
Referee Observer: Raymond Ellingham (WAL)

FC Rostov – RSC Anderlecht
Referee: Luca Banti (ITA)
Assistant Referee 1: Lorenzo Manganelli (ITA)
Assistant Referee 2: Andrea Crispo (ITA)
Fourth Official: Gianpaolo Calvarese (ITA)
Referee Observer: Miroslav Vitković (CRO)

Shakhtar Donetsk – Young Boys
Referee: Serdar Gözübüyük (NED)
Assistant Referee 1: Hessel Steegstra (NED)
Assistant Referee 2: Charles Schaap (NED)
Fourth Official: Jeroen Manschot (NED)
Referee Observer: Sándor Piller (HUN)

GNK Dinamo – Dinamo Tbilisi
Referee: Robert Madden (SCO)
Assistant Referee 1: David McGeachie (SCO)
Assistant Referee 2: Sean Carr (SCO)
Fourth Official: Steven McLean (SCO)
Referee Observer: Jozef Marko (SVK)

Ajax – PAOK FC
Referee: Javier Estrada Fernández (ESP)
Assistant Referee 1: Miguel Martínez Munuera (ESP)
Assistant Referee 2: Francisco Martín García (ESP)
Fourth Official: Ignacio Iglesias Villanueva (ESP)
Referee Observer: Zdravko Jokić (SRB)

FC Astana – Celtic FC
Referee: Paolo Mazzoleni (ITA)
Assistant Referee 1: Gianluca Cariolato (ITA)
Assistant Referee 2: Giacomo Paganessi (ITA)
Fourth Official: Piero Giacomelli (ITA)
Referee Observer: René Temmink (NED)

Rosenborg BK – Apoel FC
Referee: Slavko Vinčić (SVN)
Assistant Referee 1: Bojan Ul (SVN)
Assistant Referee 2: Tomaž Klančnik (SVN)
Fourth Official: Dragoslav Perič (SVN)
Referee Observer: Juan Fernández Marin (ESP)

Astra Giurgiu – FC Kobenhavn
Referee: István Vad (HUN)
Assistant Referee 1: István Albert (HUN)
Assistant Referee 2: Peter Berettyán (HUN)
Fourth Official: Sándor Andó-Szabó (HUN)
Referee Observer: Michel Vautrot (FRA)

AS Trenčín – Legia Warszawa
Referee: Aleksei Kulbakov (BLR)
Assistant Referee 1: Dmitry Zhuk (BLR)
Assistant Referee 2: Aleh Maslianka (BLR)
Fourth Official: Dzianis Shcharbakou (BLR)
Referee Observer: Alfredo Trentalange (ITA)

Fenerbahçe SK – AS Monaco
Referee: Jesús Gil Manzano (ESP)
Assistant Referee 1: Ángel Nevado Rodríguez (ESP)
Assistant Referee 2: José Fernández Miranda (ESP)
Fourth Official: Iñaki Vicandi Garrido (ESP)
Referee Observer: Markus Nobs (SUI)

Olympiacos FC – Hapoel Beer Sheva
Referee: Manuel De Sousa (POR)
Assistant Referee 1: Álvaro Mesquita (POR)
Assistant Referee 2: Paulo Soares (POR)
Fourth Official: Luis Ferreira (POR)
Referee Observer: Kaj Ostergaard (DEN)

UEFA U-19 Euro Final 2016: Aghayev (AZE)

Aliyar Aghayev has told UEFA.com of his pride and surprise after the official from Azerbaijan was selected to referee Sunday's UEFA European U-19 Championship final between Italy and France in Sinsheim."It's a very great honour, although I was a little bit shocked when I heard," said Aghayev, who has taken charge of two matches at the tournament in Germany and worked as fourth official at two more. "Referees want to get better and better. Since the start of the tournament it was my aim to make it to the final, and I'm so happy to have been given the chance to do that. "This is a big achievement for modern refereeing in Azerbaijan. It's thanks to the support of my family and my chairman, and I'm very grateful for that. It's been a great tournament in a great country," Aghayev added. "The organisation has been wonderful. Germany is a great football country, there have been some top-class stadiums and all [the officials] have enjoyed working in front of such large crowds."
The 28-year-old from Baku has been a FIFA referee since 2013, the same year he started overseeing matches in UEFA competitions in the UEFA European Under-17 Championship elite round. Aghayev also handled two games at the 2014 U17 finals in Malta, before making his UEFA Europa League group stage debut as a referee in December 2015, as Rapid Wien took on Dinamo Minsk. He feels his time in Germany will be of long-term benefit, explaining: "I've learned a lot. The referee observers are very experienced, and they give us all the benefit of that. When we ask questions, they're there to help us as much as they can, which is really important for us."
The U-19 final appointment is the culmination of a busy 2015/16 campaign for Aghayev. In addition to his UEFA Europa League commitments, he also refereed matches in UEFA Champions League qualifying, 2017 U21 qualifying and the UEFA Youth League, as well as fourth official duties at no fewer than six games at the U17 finals in his native Azerbaijan. "I took lots of advice before the tournament, because it's another level for me," he said. "I wanted to make sure I enjoyed it, and I've done that. This final is a big match, but it's not the last match for me I hope! The aim is to improve all the time, with every game, and to get the chance to do more big games in the future".


24 July 2016
France – Italy
Referee: Aliyar Aghayev (AZE, photo)
Assistant Referee 1: Milovan Djukic (MNE)
Assistant Referee 2: Igor Demeshko (RUS)
Fourth Official: Roi Reinshreiber (ISR)
Referee Observer: Kyros Vassaras (GRE)

Elleray expecting video replays to be used from 2018

The International Football Association Board, the body that decides the laws of the game, agreed to trial video assistant referees in March and is currently holding its second workshop for interested associations and leagues at the home of the New York Red Bulls. Last month, Australia, Brazil, Germany, Portugal, the Netherlands and the United States signed up to test the concept "offline", with "live" pilots, where real decisions will be decided by replays, starting in 2017. Elleray said "two or three" more associations have since agreed to join the pilot phase but would not confirm if any of the Home Nations are among them, although he did say they were all taking a "close interest" in developments. The Dutch FA, which hosted the first workshop in May, has been trialling video assistant referees "offline" for the last three seasons and claims it has "improved" almost one in four decisions. It also said replay decisions have taken an additional 12 seconds on average. Elleray, an IFAB advisor who recently led a comprehensive review of football's laws, said the Dutch experiments looked at every decision during a game, whereas IFAB will "start narrow". "The advice we got from every sport that is doing this already was that you should not try to review too much," said the 61-year-old Englishman. "There will always be decisions in football that are subjective, even when you have looked at the replay, so we want to focus on those key decisions that are clearly wrong".
Elleray said replays would only be used to settle decisions on goals, penalties and straight red cards, with assistance also offered in cases of mistaken identity for red and yellow cards. As an example, Elleray said the workshop had discussed the goal that Peru's Raul Ruidiaz scored with his hand to knock Brazil out of last month's Copa America. It was clearly visible on TV replays but the referee and his assistants missed it. He pointed that it took five minutes for the referee to restart the game but said IFAB would not be putting a time limit on video assistant referee decisions. "Accuracy is more important than speed," Elleray added. The system will work by having a video assistant referee watching live footage of the game from the broadcasters' cameras in a truck or control room. They will be in contact with the referee via a two-way radio and he or she can either ask for their assistance or be guided by the video assistant referee. Elleray explained that for factual decisions - was a player fouled inside or outside the box, for instance - the referee will most likely just take the video assistant's advice, but for more subjective calls the referee will signal for a TV replay and then review the footage on a tablet computer at the side of the pitch. The former geography teacher said he believed it would take four to six months to train video assistant referees to the system but said there was "every chance" major leagues will be using them in 2018. Friendlies and ties in domestic cup competitions are likely to be the first games to have "live" trials next year, and a final decision to approve the law change will be made in 2018 at the earliest and 2019 at the latest.

Source: PA

Australian referee Ben Williams has announced his early retirement

Williams will referee his final match in Australia on Tuesday night when he takes control of the International Champions Cup (ICC) match between Juventus FC and Tottenham Hotspur F.C. at the Melbourne Cricket Ground. He will remain available for international appointments until December. Williams will end his top level career having controlled 161 Hyundai A-League matches and 24 NSL matches. He also had the honour of refereeing the 2015 Westfield FFA Cup Final as well as international matches through the AFC and FIFA panels.
“After 22 years on the national panels and 12 years as a FIFA referee it feels like the right time to hang up the whistle,” Williams said. “I’m looking forward to spending time with my increased family and giving back to them for all the love and support they afforded me throughout my career.” FFA CEO David Gallop paid tribute to Williams, who was named as one of three fulltime professional referees, alongside Chris Beath and Jarred Gillett, in September 2015. “I would like to congratulate Ben Williams on his career and his role in the evolution of referees in the Hyundai A-League,” Gallop said. “Ben spent more than a decade officiating in the A-League and various international matches and tournaments, juggling his role with work and family duties. He was an important part of the transition into full time professional referees and we wish him well with his future endeavours and family life.” Having experienced the launch of fulltime professional refereeing Williams believes the future is positive for Australian match officials. “I have been lucky to be a part of the transition into the professional era of the Hyundai A-League and now into fulltime professional refereeing,” Williams said. “I look forward to the continued success of the fulltime refereeing program and believe Australian referees now have a real career pathway available to them”.
Football Federation Australia (FFA) will make an announcement on Williams’ replacement on the three-person Professional Referees Panel in the near future. Williams retires as one of Australia’s most highly respected international referees. The 39-year-old regards the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil, where he refereed three matches including the Round of 16 match between Greece and Costs Rica, as the highlight of his career. In addition to numerous FIFA World Cup Qualifiers and AFC Champions League matches, his impressive resume includes refereeing matches at the 2010 Asian Games, 2011 AFC Asian Cup, 2012 AFC Champions League Final, 2012 Olympic Games, 2013 FIFA U-20 World Cup, 2014 FIFA World Cup, 2014 FIFA Club World Cup and 2015 AFC Asian Cup. In spite of his resume, Williams was not pre-selected by FIFA as a candidate for the next World Cup, which likely contributed to his early retirement.

Source: Football Australia

Stronger position towards unacceptable conduct in England

Premier League football, and the wider game in England, is known for being competitive and compelling, but also for its fairness and for being played in the right spirit. However, the English football authorities have noticed over the past four seasons that intolerable behaviour by players and managers in their competitions have reached unacceptable levels in certain areas. Therefore, the Premier League, EFL and The FA have announced a collective undertaking to improve behaviour across the game. Their undertaking will task the Professional Game Match Officials (PGMO) to take a stronger position and action towards unacceptable participant conduct. This will focus on behaviour towards match officials, with the aim of reducing disrespectful conduct, such as aggressively challenging decisions or running from distance to confront an official.


The PGMO will apply the Laws of the Game to manage rigorously the following incidents of bad behaviour with the following sanctions:

Dissent towards match officials
Yellow cards will be issued to players who:
- Show visibly disrespectful behaviour to any match official
- Respond aggressively to decisions
- Confront an official face to face
- Run towards an official to contest a decision

Offensive, insulting or abusive language or gestures towards match officials
- Red cards will be issued to players who confront match officials and use offensive, insulting or abusive language and/or gestures towards them.

Physical contact with match officials
- A yellow card for physical contact with any match official in a non-aggressive manner (e.g. an inquisitive approach to grab the official’s attention).
- A red card for physical contact with match officials in an aggressive or confrontational manner.

Surrounding match officials

- A yellow card for at least one player when two or more from a team surround a match official.
- The FA will continue to sanction teams when they surround match officials.

Conduct in the technical area
- The requirements of the Technical Area Code of Conduct will be more rigorously enforced for players and club staff.
- Additionally, match officials will be required to retain professional detachment from players and club staff at all times.

“We and our clubs have been discussing for some time concerns that certain elements of player behaviour are overstepping the mark and it is our collective position that these types of behaviour should no longer be tolerated. Things happen in the heat of the moment during fast and highly competitive football; we still want to see the passion fans enjoy and demand, but players and managers have to be aware there are lines that should not be crossed”, said Richard Scudamore, Executive Chairman of the Premier League. “We all have a collective responsibility to ensure high standards of respect are maintained – from the grassroots to the professional game”, said Martin Glenn, FA chief executive. “Above all, we don’t want youngsters mimicking incidents of dissent or abuse they see on TV in the school playground or the park pitches. English football relies on its officials and anything we can do to protect and promote the work of our 28,000 referees in this country is to be supported”.

Source: Premier League

UEFA U-19 Euro 2016 – Semi-finals

21 July 2016

Portugal – France
Referee: Radu Petrescu (ROU, photo)
Assistant Referee 1: Milovan Djukić (MNE)
Assistant Referee 2: Ridiger Çokaj (ALB)
Fourth Official: Anatolii Zhabchenko (UKR)
Referee Observer: Matteo Trefoloni (ITA)

England – Italy
Referee: Roi Reinshreiber (ISR)
Assistant Referee 1: Douglas Ross (SCO)
Assistant Referee 2: Igor Demeshko (RUS)
Fourth Official: Bart Vertenten (BEL)
Referee Observer: Terje Hauge (NOR)

Play-off for FIFA U-20 World Cup 2017

Germany – Netherlands
Referee: Alejandro Hernandez Hernandez (ESP)
Assistant Referee 1: Vladimir Gerasimov (LTU)
Assistant Referee 2: Geir Isaksen (NOR)
Fourth Official: Aliyar Aghayev (AZE)
Referee Observer: Emil Bozinovski (MKD)

FP World’s Best Futsal Referee 2015: Malfer (ITA)

Italian referee Alessandro Malfer has been voted by Futsal Planet, for the second time, the world’s best futsal referee of 2014 with 543 points, ahead of the Hungarian Gabor Kovacs and English Marc Birkett. Alessandro Malfer, 41, started his refereeing career in 2002 and earned his FIFA futsal badge in 2011. Three years later he was selected for the UEFA Futsal Euro in Belgium and the UEFA Futsal Cup final in Azerbaijan. Malfer was appointed this year to the UEFA Futsal Euro final.

FP World’s Best Futsal Referees 2015

1. Alessandro Malfer (ITA, photo) 543 p
2. Gabor Kovacs (HUN) 466 p
3. Marc Birkett (ENG) 402 p
4. Gean Coelho Telles (BRA) 327 p
5. Tomohiro Kozaki (JPN) 265 p
6. Daniel Rodriguez (URU) 201 p 
7. Chris Colley (AUS) 169 p
8. Leroy Brown (GUA) 96 p
9. Sherif Soliman (EGY) 94 p
10. Amitesh Behari (FIJ) 47 p

UEFA Super Cup 2016: Mazic (SRB)

Serbia's Milorad Mažić will referee the UEFA Super Cup game between Real Madrid and Sevilla in Trondheim, the first UEFA final of the Serbian referee’s career. Fresh from officiating at UEFA Euro 2016, where he and his team took charge of three games, the 43-year-old Mažić has received perhaps the most prestigious assignment of his career. A company director in the meat industry in Serbia, and a well-known personality in local football, he has been a regular in the UEFA Champions League and UEFA Europa League. He first took charge of a UEFA match in 2009, a UEFA European U-17 Championship qualifier between Austria and Italy. Mažić twice refereed games involving Real Madrid in the 2014/15 UEFA Champions League; a 1-0 win at Basel in the group stage, and a 0-0 draw at Atlético Madrid in the quarter-finals. He has also been involved in two Sevilla games. His team officiated in the second leg of the 2013/14 UEFA Europa League quarter-finals, where Sevilla progressed despite a 3-1 loss at Valencia, and Mažić was fourth official as Los Hispalenses beat Benfica on penalties in the final in Turin. (Source: UEFA)


9 August 2016
Real Madrid – FC Sevilla
Referee: Milorad Mažić (SRB, photo)
Assistant Referee 1: Milovan Ristić (SRB)
Assistant Referee 2: Dalibor Djurdjević (SRB)
Additional AR 1: Danilo Grujić (SRB)
Additional AR 2: Nenad Djokić (SRB)
Fourth Official: Szymon Marciniak (POL)
Reserve AR: Tomasz Listkiewicz (POL)

UEFA Europa League – Second Qualifying Round (Second Leg)

20-21 July 2016

AC Omonia (CYP) - Beitar Jerusalem (ISR)
Referee: Davide Massa (ITA, photo)
Assistant Referee 1: Fabiano Preti (ITA)
Assistant Referee 2: Filippo Valeriani (ITA)
Fourth Official: Claudio Gavillucci (ITA)
Referee Observer: Guy Goethals (BEL)

Kapaz PFK (AZE) - Admira Wacker (AUT)
Referee: Vitali Meshkov (RUS)
Assistant Referee 1: Valeri Danchenko (RUS)
Assistant Referee 2: Maksim Gavrilin (RUS)
Fourth Official: Mikhail Vilkov (RUS)
Referee Observer: Murat Ilgaz (TUR)

FK Ventspils (LVA) - Aberdeen FC (SCO)

Referee: Danilo Grujić (SRB)
Assistant Referee 1: Srđan Milutinović (SRB)
Assistant Referee 2: Ivica Stojanović (SRB)
Fourth Official: Milan Ilić (SRB)
Referee Observer: Igor Satkii (MDA)

FK Jelgava (LVA) - Slovan Bratislava (SVK)
Referee: Ken Henry Johnsen (NOR)
Assistant Referee 1: Tom Gronevik (NOR)
Assistant Referee 2: Morten Jensen (NOR)
Fourth Official: Trygve Kjensli (NOR)
Referee Observer: Konrad Plautz (AUT)

Lokomotiva Zagreb (CRO) - RoPS Rovaniemi (FIN)

Referee: Giorgi Kruashvili (GEO)
Assistant Referee 1: Zaza Menteshashvili (GEO)
Assistant Referee 2: Zaza Pipia (GEO)
Fourth Official: George Vadachkoria (GEO)
Referee Observer: Michael Argyrou (CYP)

HJK Helsinki (FIN) - Beroe Stara Zagora (BUL)
Referee: Padraigh Sutton (IRL)
Assistant Referee 1: Dermot Broughton (IRL)
Assistant Referee 2: Robert Clarke (IRL)
Fourth Official: Graham Kelly (IRL)
Referee Observer: Christoforos Zografos (GRE)

Torpedo Belaz Zhodino (BLR) - Debreceni VSC (HUN)
Referee: Dimitar Meckarovski (MKD)
Assistant Referee 1: Dejan Nedelkoski (MKD)
Assistant Referee 2: Goce Petreski (MKD)
Fourth Official: Dejan Jakimovski (MKD)
Referee Observer: Are Habicht (EST)

Nomme Kalju (EST) - Maccabi Haifa (ISR)
Referee: Markus Hameter (AUT)
Assistant Referee 1: Maximilian Kolbitsch (AUT)
Assistant Referee 2: Andreas Heidenreich (AUT)
Fourth Official: Rene Eisner (AUT)
Referee Observer: Ryszard Wójcik (POL)

Levski Sofia (BUL) - NK Maribor (SVN)
Referee: Michael Tykgaard (DEN)
Assistant Referee 1: Henrik Sønderby (DEN)
Assistant Referee 2: Lars Hummelgaard (DEN)
Fourth Official: Anders Poulsen (DEN)
Referee Observer: Paulius Malzinskas (LTU)

Stromsgodset IF (NOR) - Sonderjyske (DEN)
Referee: Steven McLean (SCO)
Assistant Referee 1: David McGeachie (SCO)
Assistant Referee 2: Douglas Potter (SCO)
Fourth Official: Robert Madden (SCO)
Referee Observer: Albano Janku (ALB)

AEK Larnaca (CYP) - Cliftonville FC (NIR)
Referee: Tihomir Pejin (CRO)
Assistant Referee 1: Goran Pataki (CRO)
Assistant Referee 2: Bojan Zobenica (CRO)
Fourth Official: Duje Strukan (CRO)
Referee Observer: Brian Lawlor (WAL)

Grasshopper Zürich (SUI) - KR Reykjavík (ISL)
Referee: Erez Papir (ISR)
Assistant Referee 1: David Bitton (ISR)
Assistant Referee 2: Eyal Sharon (ISR)
Fourth Official: Zvi Levi (ISR)
Referee Observer: Luciano Luci (ITA)

Slavia Praha (CZE) - Levadia Tallinn (EST)
Referee: Christos Nicolaides (CYP)
Assistant Referee 1: Charalambos Charalambous (CYP)
Assistant Referee 2: Charalmabos Georgiou (CYP)
Fourth Official: Lucas Soteriou (CYP)
Referee Observer: Andreas Schluchter (SUI)

IFK Göteborg (SWE) - Piast Gliwice (POL)
Referee: Georgios Kominis (GRE)
Assistant Referee 1: Polychronis Kostaras (GRE)
Assistant Referee 2: Nikolaos Karaisaridis (GRE)
Fourth Official: Michail Voskakis (GRE)
Referee Observer: Edgar Steinborn (GER)

FC Vaduz (LIE) - FC Midtjylland (DEN)
Referee: Andrew Davey (NIR)
Assistant Referee 1: Goergios Argyropoulos (NIR)
Assistant Referee 2: Stephen Donaldson (NIR)
Fourth Official: Keith Kennedy (NIR)
Referee Observer: Zoran Petrović (SRB)

Odds BK (NOR) - PAS Giannina (GRE)
Referee: Tomasz Musiał (POL)
Assistant Referee 1: Radoslaw Siejka (POL)
Assistant Referee 2: Sebastian Mucha (POL)
Fourth Official: Pawel Raczkowski (POL)
Referee Observer: Jiri Ulrich (CZE)

Qabala FK (AZE) - MTK Budapest (HUN)
Referee: Mete Kalkavan (TUR)
Assistant Referee 1: Ceyun Sesiguzel (TUR)
Assistant Referee 2: Esat Sancaktar (TUR)
Fourth Official: Serkan Cinar (TUR)
Referee Observer: Vasily Melnichuk (UKR)

Maccabi Tel Aviv (ISR) - Kairat Almaty (KAZ)
Referee: Tiago Lopes (POR)
Assistant Referee 1: Luis Campos (POR)
Assistant Referee 2: Rui Teixeira (POR)
Fourth Official: Fabio Verissimo (POR)
Referee Observer: Boško Jovanetić (SRB)

Europa FC (GIB) - AIK Solna (SWE)
Referee: Ádám Farkas (HUN)
Assistant Referee 1: Gábor Erős (HUN)
Assistant Referee 2: Oszkár Lémon (HUN)
Fourth Official: József Erdős (HUN)
Referee Observer: Lassin Isaksen (FRO)

FK Kukësi (ALB) - Austria Wien (AUT)
Referee: Vilhjalmur Thorarinsson (ISL)
Assistant Referee 1: Gunnar Gudmundsson (ISL)
Assistant Referee 2: Bryngeir Valdimarsson (ISL)
Fourth Official: Thoroddur Hjaltalin (ISL)
Referee Observer: Adrian Casha (MLT)

Connah's Quay Nomads (WAL) - FK Vojvodina (SRB)
Referee: Peter Kralović (SVK)
Assistant Referee 1: Erik Weiss (SVK)
Assistant Referee 2: Miroslav Benko (SVK)
Fourth Official: Roland Weiss (SVK)
Referee Observer: Luc Wilmes (LUX)

Zagłębie Lubin (POL) - FK Partizan (SRB)
Referee: Anatoliy Abdula (UKR)
Assistant Referee 1: Sergii Bekker (UKR)
Assistant Referee 2: Oleg Pluzhnyk (UKR)
Fourth Official: Oleksandr Derdo (UKR)
Referee Observer: Michael Ross (NIR)

KF Shkendija (MKD) - Neftçi PFK (AZE)
Referee: Erik Lambrechts (BEL)
Assistant Referee 1: Karel De Rocker (BEL)
Assistant Referee 2: Jo De Weirdt (BEL)
Fourth Official: Frederik Geldhof (BEL)
Referee Observer: Nicolae Grigorescu (ROU)

Brondby IF (DEN) - Hibernian FC (SCO)
Referee: Marius Avram (ROU)
Assistant Referee 1: Valentin Avram (ROU)
Assistant Referee 2: Miklos Nagy (ROU)
Fourth Official: Iulian Calin (ROU)
Referee Observer: John Ward (IRL)

Osmanlıspor (TUR) - Zimbru Chisinau (MDA)
Referee: Ola Hobber Nilsen (NOR)
Assistant Referee 1: Jan Engan (NOR)
Assistant Referee 2: Reidar Gundersen (NOR)
Fourth Official: Martin Lundby (NOR)
Referee Observer: Manuel Mejuto González (ESP)

Spartak Trnava (SVK) - FC Shirak (ARM)
Referee: Arnold Hunter (NIR)
Assistant Referee 1: Stephen Bell (NIR)
Assistant Referee 2: Paul Robinson (NIR)
Fourth Official: Ian Mc Nabb (NIR)
Referee Observer: Hervé Piccirillo (FRA)

Hajduk Split (CRO) - CSMS Iaşi (ROU)
Referee: Frank Schneider (FRA)
Assistant Referee 1: Philippe Jeanne (FRA)
Assistant Referee 2: Djemel Zitouni (FRA)
Fourth Official: Olivier Thual (FRA)
Referee Observer: Darko Čeferin (SVN)

NK Domžale (SVN) - Shakhtyor Soligorsk (BLR)
Referee: Alain Bieri (SUI)
Assistant Referee 1: Alain Heiniger (SUI)
Assistant Referee 2: Carmine Sangiovanni (SUI)
Fourth Official: Urs Schnyder (SUI)
Referee Observer: Plarent Kotherja (ALB)

FK Čukarički (SRB) - Videoton FC (HUN)
Referee: Alexandre Boucaut (BEL)
Assistant Referee 1: Jimmy Cremers (BEL)
Assistant Referee 2: Kristof Meers (BEL)
Fourth Official: Christof Dierick (BEL)
Referee Observer: Stanislav Suhkina (RUS)

Saint Patrick's Athletic (IRL) - Dinamo Minsk (BLR)
Referee: Alan Sant (MLT)
Assistant Referee 1: Roberto Vella (MLT)
Assistant Referee 2: Luke Portelli (MLT)
Fourth Official: Mario Apap (MLT)
Referee Observer: Dragutin Poljak (CRO)

Cork City (IRL) - BK Häcken (SWE)
Referee: Carlos Xistra (POR)
Assistant Referee 1: Alvaro Mesquita (POR)
Assistant Referee 2: Tiago Pereira (POR)
Fourth Official: Joao Silva (POR)
Referee Observer: Peter Jones (ENG)

Budućnost Podgorica (MNE) - KRC Genk (BEL)
Referee: Charalampos Kalogeropoulos (GRE)
Assistant Referee 1: Alexandros Grevenis (GRE)
Assistant Referee 2: Ioannis Toumpakaris (GRE)
Fourth Official: Anastasios Papapetrou (GRE)
Referee Observer: Sergey Zuev (RUS)

Heart of Midlothian (SCO) - Birkirkara FC (MLT)
Referee: Ville Nevalainen (FIN)
Assistant Referee 1: Ville Koskiniemi (FIN)
Assistant Referee 2: Sami Nykänen (FIN)
Fourth Official: Mattias Gestranius (FIN)
Referee Observer: Alain Hamer (LUX)

Top Welsh referee retires with heart condition

The Football Association of Wales regrets to announce that FIFA Referee Ryan Stewart has unfortunately had to retire from active refereeing due to a serious heart condition. Ryan, from Whitchurch in Cardiff, was embarking on his first year as an international referee after four seasons as a Welsh Premier League referee. He recently refereed his first A International when Gibraltar hosted Liechtenstein in a 0-0 draw.
The condition ALVC (Arrhythmogenic Left Ventricular Cardiomyopathy), which is similar to ARVC, a leading cause of cardiac arrest and sudden death, is often associated with athletes, due in part to their high levels of exercise. High profile cases of such medical conditions include England cricketer James Taylor who retired in April, aged 26, because of ARVC. FAW Referees Manager Ray Ellingham said: “The whole refereeing family was shocked and saddened to learn of Ryan’s condition which has led to his premature retirement. "He has recently undergone a series of tests with a leading Professor in sports cardiology and the FAW will continue to work closely with Ryan and do everything possible to help him through this difficult period, and aid him in his recovery.” Ryan is very keen to remain in the refereeing structure within Wales and will now take up a position as a Referee Observer within the Welsh Pyramid.

Source: FAW

Copa Libertadores Final 2016

First Leg, 20 July 2016
Independiente del Valle – Atletico Nacional
Referee: Enrique Caceres (PAR, photo)
Assistant Referee 1: Eduardo Cardozo (PAR)
Assistant Referee 2: Milciades Saldivar (PAR)
Additional AR 1: Ulises Mereles (PAR)
Additional AR 2: Jose Mendez (PAR)
Fourth Official: Roberto Canete (PAR)
Referee Observer: Ednilson Corona (BRA)

Second Leg, 27 July 2016
Atletico Nacional – Independiente del Valle
Referee: Nestor Pitana (ARG)
Assistant Referee 1: Ezequiel Brailovsky (ARG)
Assistant Referee 2: Ariel Scime (ARG)
Additional AR 1: Dario Herrera (ARG)
Additional AR 2: German Delfino (PAR)
Fourth Official: Ivan Nunez (ARG)
Referee Observer: Carlos Alarcon (PAR)

Collina: "Ronaldo? Payet did not want to hurt him"

The head of UEFA referees: "We studied the patterns of the teams to avoid surprises and errors. The foul on CR7 in the final? Maybe it was yellow, but the trend was random". 
It had nothing to do with the heat. The invasion of moths during the Euro 2016 final has an illustrious "guilty": Pierluigi Collina. The head of the UEFA referees had somehow invited them before the tournament when he told his referees: "You have to fly like butterflies and sting like a bee". A clear homage to Ali (who died on 3 June), but also expressing a wish: to see them as positive actors in France. The final of 10 July marked the victory of Portugal, but also the great of the European match officials.
- Are you satisfied?
- We have received many compliments, for example the words of praise expressed by prominent coaches like Ferguson and Wenger.
- Secrets?
- The work of the referees and assistant referees. They have been joined by other professionals who took care of the physical and tactical preparation. We introduced an important innovation: to know the schemes of the teams and the technical characteristics of the players, which is critical to predict situations that might otherwise take you by surprise, a condition that often leads to error. On this point, we have made a quantum leap thanks to two match analysts, Cristiano Ciardelli and Gianvito Piglionico, both coaches with UEFA A Licenses. Each national team that qualified for Euro 2016 was studied in detail. 
- Can you give us an example of a tactical situation analysed for the referees? 
- Italy and Switzerland were playing the ball by the central defender (Bonucci and Schar) not to develop the game sideways, but to go deep with a long pass to favor the inclusion of a midfielder. 
- The teams were explained the referee guidelines and what would not be tolerated. Was that a successful prevention work? 
- Here I respond with significant numbers: from a total of 205, only 9 yellow cards for dissent, one for simulation and, again, one direct red, in France-Ireland, due to a clear chance on goal denied. It means that we thought of play and very little of anything else. Even dangerous interventions have been minimal. 
- But there was Ronaldo's injury in the final... 
- Payet? It was a foul. Did he deserve a yellow? It is debatable. But the dynamic of the battle, knee to knee, was accidental. It is an unfortunate episode. Payet did not want to hurt him. 

Source: La Gazzetta dello Sport

UEFA Champions League – Second Qualifying Round (Second Leg)

19-20 July 2016

SJK Seinajoki – Bate Borisov
Referee: Bastian Dankert (GER, photo)
Assistant Referee 1: Mike Pickel (GER)
Assistant Referee 2: Rene Rohde (GER)
Fourth Official: Frank Willenborg (GER)
Referee Observer: Leslie Irvine (NIR)

FC Sheriff – Hapoel Beer Sheva
Referee: Daniel Stefanski (POL)
Assistant Referee 1: Rafal Rostkowski (POL)
Assistant Referee 2: Dawid Golis (POL)
Fourth Official: Zbigniew Dobrynin (POL)
Referee Observer: Nikolai Levnikov (RUS)

FK Liepāja – FC Salzburg
Referee: Jonathan Lardot (BEL)
Assistant Referee 1: Laurent Conotte (BEL)
Assistant Referee 2: Frederic Godelaine (BEL)
Fourth Official: Lawrence Visser (BEL)
Referee Observer: Gylfi Orrason (ISL)

Apoel FC – The New Saints
Referee: Nikola Dabanovic (MNE)
Assistant Referee 1: Veslin Radunovic (MNE)
Assistant Referee 2: Jovica Tatar (MNE)
Fourth Official: Predrag Radovanovic (MNE)
Referee Observer: Haim Jakov (ISR)

FC København – Crusaders FC

Referee: Ante Vucemilovic-Simunovic (CRO)
Assistant Referee 1: Dalibor Conjar (CRO)
Assistant Referee 2: Igor Krmar (CRO)
Fourth Official: Dario Bel (CRO)
Referee Observer: Francesco Bianchi (SUI)

Crvena Zvezda – Valletta FC
Referee: Tore Hansen (NOR)
Assistant Referee 1: Jon-Michael Knutsen (NOR)
Assistant Referee 2: Oystein Ytterland (NOR)
Fourth Official: Erik Steen (NOR)
Referee Observer: Patrick Kelly (IRL)

FC Astana – Žalgiris Vilnius
Referee: Sandro Schärer (SUI)
Assistant Referee 1: Raffael Zeder (SUI)
Assistant Referee 2: Bekim Zogaj (SUI)
Fourth Official: Stephan Klossner (SUI)
Referee Observer: Rune Pedersen (NOR)

F91 Dudelange – Qarabağ FK
Referee: Kevin Clancy (SCO)
Assistant Referee 1: Stuart Stevenson (SCO)
Assistant Referee 2: Sean Carr (SCO)
Fourth Official: Donald Robertson (SCO)
Referee Observer: Alexandru Deaconu (ROU)

IFK Norrköping – Rosenborg BK
Referee: Craig Pawson (ENG)
Assistant Referee 1: Lee Betts (ENG)
Assistant Referee 2: Adam Nunn (ENG)
Fourth Official: Lee Mason (ENG)
Referee Observer: Zbigniew Przesmycki (POL)

Ferencváros TC – FK Partizani
Referee: Kristo Tohver (EST)
Assistant Referee 1: Sten Klaasen (EST)
Assistant Referee 2: Jaan Roos (EST)
Fourth Official: Eiko Saar (EST)
Referee Observer: Levan Paniashvili (GEO)

AS Trenčín – Olimpija Ljubljana
Referee: Joao Capela (POR)
Assistant Referee 1: Paulo Santos (POR)
Assistant Referee 2: Jorge Oliveira (POR)
Fourth Official: Bruno Duarte (POR)
Referee Observer: Bernardino Gonzalez Vazquez (ESP)

GNK Dinamo – FK Vardar
Referee: Sergei Ivanov (RUS)
Assistant Referee 1: Dmitri Mosiakin (RUS)
Assistant Referee 2: Roman Usachev (RUS)
Fourth Official: Alexei Nikolaev (RUS)
Referee Observer: Nuno Castro (POR)

Legia Warszawa – HŠK Zrinjski
Referee: Nicolas Rainville (FRA)
Assistant Referee 1: Guillaume Debart (FRA)
Assistant Referee 2: Stephan Luzi (FRA)
Fourth Official: Francois Letexier (FRA)
Referee Observer: Peter Fröjdfeldt (SWE)

Mladost Podgorica – Ludogorets Razgrad
Referee: Pol Van Boekel (NED)
Assistant Referee 1: David Goossens (NED)
Assistant Referee 2: Patrick Langkamp (NED)
Fourth Official: Dennis Higler (NED)
Referee Observer: Robert Sedlacek (AUT)

FH Hafnarfjördur – Dundalk FC
Referee: Paolo Valeri (ITA)
Assistant Referee 1: Alessandro Giallatini (ITA)
Assistant Referee 2: Giorgio Peretti (ITA)
Fourth Official: Marco Di Bello (ITA)
Referee Observer: Karel Bohunek (CZE)


Alashkert – Dinamo Tbilisi
Referee: Mohammed Al-Hakim (SWE)
Assistant Referee 1: Daniel Gustavsson (SWE)
Assistant Referee 2: Peter Magnusson (SWE)
Fourth Official: Kaspar Sjöberg (SWE)
Referee Observer: Igor Ischenko (UKR)

Celtic FC – Lincoln Red Imps
Referee: Bartosz Frankowski (POL)
Assistant Referee 1: Michal Obukowicz (POL)
Assistant Referee 2: Jakub Winkler (POL)
Fourth Official: Tomasz Kwiatkowski (POL)
Referee Observer: Stefan Messner (AUT)

UEFA U-19 Euro 2016 – Group Stage (Matches 9-12)

17 July 2016
Italy – Portugal

Referee: Radu Petrescu (ROU, photo)
Assistant Referee 1: Douglas Ross (SCO)
Assistant Referee 2: Birkir Sigurdarsson (ISL)
Fourth Official: Alan Sant (MLT)
Referee Observer: Terje Hauge (NOR)

Austria – Germany
Referee: Anatolii Zhabchenko (UKR)
Assistant Referee 1: Vladimir Gerasimov (LTU)
Assistant Referee 2: Manuel Vidali (SVN)
Fourth Official: Nikola Dabanović (MNE)
Referee Observer: Emil Bozhinovski (MKD)

18 July 2016
Netherlands – France
Referee: Bart Vertenten (BEL)
Assistant Referee 1: Geir Oskar Isaksen (NOR)
Assistant Referee 2: Igor Demeshko (RUS)
Fourth Official: Alejandro Hernandez Hernandez (ESP)
Referee Observer: Kyros Vassaras (GRE)

England – Croatia
Referee: Aliyar Aghayev (AZE)
Assistant Referee 1: Milutin Djukić (MNE)
Assistant Referee 2: Ridiger Çokaj (ALB)
Fourth Official: Roi Reinshreiber (ISR)
Referee Observer: Matteo Trefoloni (ITA)

FIFA Futsal World Cup 2016

Colombia, 10 September - 1 October 2016

AFC
1. Khamis Al Shamsi (UAE, 1980)
2. Vahid Arzpeyma (IRN, 1976) 

3. Nurdin Bukuev (KGZ, 1980, photo)
4. Chris Colley (AUS, 1979)
5. Tomohiro Kozaki (JPN, 1978)
6. Jianqiao Liu (CHN, 1984)
7. Rey Ritaga (PHI, 1975)
8. Quoc Truong (VIE, 1982)

CAF
1. Adalbert Diouf (SEN, 1985)
2. Mohamed Hassan (EGY, 1977)
3. Khalid Hnich (MAR, 1981)
4. Jose Katemo (ANG, 1982)

CONCACAF
1. Sergio Cabrera (CUB, 1977)
2. Ronny Castro (CRC, 1978)
3. Jorge Flores (SLV, 1981)
4. Carlos Gonzalez (GUA, 1982)
5. Francisco Rivera (MEX, 1977)
6. Lance VanHaitsma (USA, 1982)

CONMEBOL
1. Cristian Espindola (CHI, 1979)
2. Yuri Garcia (COL, 1985)
3. Jose Hernandez (ECU, 1975)
4. Jose Malaga (PER, 1978)
5. Elvis Pena (PAR, 1981)
6. Daniel Rodriguez (URU, 1979)
7. Dario Santamaria (ARG, 1979)
8. Gean Telles (BRA, 1975)

OFC
1. Rex Kamusu (SOL, 1984)
2. Chris Sinclair (NZL, 1986)

UEFA
1. Marc Birkett (ENG, 1978)
2. Ondrej Cerny (CZE, 1979)
3. Kamil Cetin (TUR, 1984)
4. Eduardo Fernandes (POR, 1979)
5. Fernando Gutierrez (ESP, 1971)
6. Pascal Lemal (BEL, 1972)
7. Alessandro Malfer (ITA, 1975)
8. Cedric Pelissier (FRA, 1976)
9. Bogdan Sorescu (ROU, 1974)
10. Sasa Tomic (CRO, 1975)

CAF Reserve
Theodore Eyebe (CMR, 1987)

CONMEBOL Reserve

Henry Gutierrez (BOL, 1981)

Referee Coordinator
Pedro Galan Nieto (ESP)

Technical Coordinator
Massimo Cumbo (ITA)


Referee Assessors/Instructors
1. Perry Gautier (BEL)
2. Yasuhiro Matsuzaki (JPN)
3. Ed Marco (USA)

Helsen: “A referee who did not sleep well receives a lighter training diary”

English referee Mark Clattenburg led the Euro 2016 final as the tournament climaxed with a prolonged encounter between hosts France and Portugal. Clattenburg was omnipresent with 2,774 meters of high speed running (14 to 20 km/h) and 999 meters of very high speed running (> 20 km/h) during the match. In the 109th minute Antonio Eder scored the winning goal with a fine strike from outside the box. Early on in the game the English referee had failed to spot a rash challenge from Dimitri Payet on Cristiano Ronaldo. Minutes later, the Portuguese superstar had to limp off, but, after a tournament that was relatively free from playing incidents, UEFA’s referee fitness expert Werner Helsen, a professor at the KU Leuven’s Faculty of Kinesiology and Rehabilitation Sciences, has expressed his profound satisfaction with the standard of refereeing at Euro 2016 in an interview with Inside World Football.
- What’s your overall assessment of Euro 2016 from a refereeing point of view?
- You can sense it’s been a very good tournament, reflected by the comments and evaluations of the UEFA referee officers Pierluigi Collina, Hugh Dallas and Mark Batta, who are the technical experts. Not at a single moment during the tournament did any controversy about refereeing decisions arise. That’s indeed a very good sign. There were no mistakes that influenced the final outcome of a match. And this was also expressed by the coaches of the teams and the match analyses on different media platforms.
- Why has this major tournament been so successful in your opinion?
- First and foremost, that is down to the referees. The 18 (referee) teams, that were in France, are among Europe’s elite. They were accompanied by their assistants and additional assistant referees, with whom they form a quintet domestically, in the Europa League and in the Champions League. That’s important, as their performances are evaluated by referee observers in every match and monitored by the Refereeing Officers to maintain the highest quality of refereeing. In addition, at this championship for the first time, the Chief Refereeing Officer, Pierluigi Collina, also introduced a match analyst, Cristiano Ciardelli, who analysed the playing style of the teams and provided the referees with valuable information, including the setup for free kicks, corner kicks, throw-ins, etc. As far as my role is concerned as a sports scientist and a UEFA training expert, the preparation for Euro 2016 started right after the end of Euro 2012 and that was a very progressive approach from UEFA. The last four years, I have followed 30 referees closely with a web-based platform ‘Topsportlab’, to which the referees submit their training routines and where we add their results of fitness tests and injury prevention screenings. That has enabled a change from a product-oriented to a persona-oriented approach with the aim of improving everyone individually. The Yo-Yo intermittent recovery is a commonplace performance test within professional football circles – 65% of all the referees have improved substantially, in spite of aging four years. Since Pierluigi Collina became chief refereeing officer, it’s become important that referees are not only fit, but also perceived as such, ‘the physical appearance image.’ In the last four years, the fat percentage has dropped from 17% to 13.5%, in spite, again, of being four years older. We conduct screenings during the winter and summer camps – strength, flexibility, mobility, core stability etc. – and that allowed us to produce individual injury prevention exercises. The referees have become stronger and less prone to injuries. In the last five weeks, we didn’t encounter a major problem during any training session or match notwithstanding the fact that the training intensity was quite high during several sessions.
- How did you manage to individualise the training regimes for 94 officials?
- This was a far larger group than at previous European Championships. But we strived to maintain the individualisation for every team and every individual. We gave every team a specific training diary from MD-3 until MD+2 with particular exercises and training objectives. Every morning, every individual also completed an iPad questionnaire: did you sleep well? How do you feel? Are you suffering from abnormal muscular stiffness? How is your mood? So I got that information before practice started. At the start of the tournament some referees didn’t sleep very well – a new room, a new mattress, etc. We took that into account. That was part of the success – attending everyone’s precise needs at the right time.
- What do you do when a referee sleeps badly?
- You can deal with it if it’s one night. That’s not a disaster, but when it’s recurring the person in question will receive a lighter training diary. I received a text message from Nicola Rizzoli, who thanked me, writing ‘I have never trained this intensely for an entire month before, but I didn’t have any problems.’ On the one hand, they train very intensely – which is required to attain top fitness for the games – but on the other hand they didn’t suffer any negative side effects. Rizzoli is one of the more experienced (older) referees and one of the few who is exempted from the age limit in Italy. He can referee for another year despite being 45+.
- Rizzoli’s decision to award a penalty to France in the semi-finals may have been technically correct – to the letter of the law – but wasn’t in line with the spirit of the game?
- Pierluigi Collina, Hugh Dallas and Mark Batta are the technical experts. They immediately argued that it did concern a very unnatural position. Schweinsteiger’s hand should not have been there. That was a correctly awarded penalty. On the BBC, Rio Ferdinand – as well as Thierry Henry who knows all about hand balls – said that there couldn’t be any discussion, because the defender’s hand shouldn’t have been there. As a referee you can only judge based on what you see. The day after the match, Joachim Low reacted positively.
- Can older age for referees be detrimental at times with young players executing the game at a high pace?
- No; not at all. Experience is paramount to assess game situations. It is better to have a referee, who has whistled in top games, than a referee, who may be physically fit, but doesn’t have the experience. That goes for the teams, but certainly for the referees. Experience is essential and you can only get that by refereeing matches at the highest level – domestically, in the Champions League and in the Europa League. At Euro 2016, we had for example some younger referees, early 30s – Clément Turpin from France, Sergei Karasev from Russia, Ovidiu Haţegan from Romania, Szymon Marciniak from Poland, Pavel Kralovec from the Czech Republic and Svein-Oddvar Moen from Norway, who participated for the first time, but they all excelled. They did two games in the group phase, but in the knockout phase the older referees with more experience prevailed.
- With the progression of the past four years, how far can a referee’s limit be pushed? Can they improve come Euro 2020?
- A few referees are approaching the 45-year age limit, imposed by both UEFA and FIFA in international football. In a lot of domestic leagues, there is no such limit anymore. Martin Atkinson is a very good example. In the last decade, he has had an extraordinary trajectory. His body composition (as measured by the fat percentage) has been improved significantly (more than halved). He says that he has become a totally different personality. He is not the only one who could extend his refereeing career with the adequate and continuous guidance, based on an individual blueprint. That applies to players, but certainly also to referees.
- Would you favor extending the age limit?
- That’s a difficult question. In the Premier League you have referees, who are 50+. Belgium and the Netherlands have also abolished the age limit. As long as they meet the physical requirements, there is no reason [to implement an age limit]. There is, however, a difference between UEFA and FIFA: a Collina generation would have the level to prolong their career and block the influx of a new generation of young referees. I understand UEFA’s stance to adhere to the age limit, so that young referees from all the national associations can progress to the highest levels.
- Back to Euro 2016, before the tournament special attention was dedicated to offside situations? 
- That project started about four years ago with UEFA. As a sports scientist you always seek legal means to better prepare individuals for the task-in-hand. Neither France nor Portugal play the offside trap. Germany exploited offside situations in a delightful manner. They had clearly practiced that. There was always a player, Thomas Muller for example, who dropped back from an offside position and in behind another player would charge forward to latch on to a cross pass. They wanted to confuse defenders and perhaps also the linesmen. So the number of offside decisions can greatly vary from match to match. We wanted to offer the linesmen more experience. Therefore, thanks to the financial support of UEFA for a 4 year PhD project, we developed an application ‘Perfection4Perception.’ After the workshop in April, we sent the assistant referees video clips every week. They had to assess an offside situation and afterwards got the applicable decision, the slow-motion images and a frozen image of the striker’s position at the moment the preceding pass was given. From the end of April until the start of Euro 2016, they solved 600 to 700 offside situations. In this tournament, there were no fundamental offside situations that were judged wrongly. So, together with the assistant referee instructors who were involved during the past Euro for instruction and AR match analysis, Phil Sharp and Magic Wierzbowski, we will compare the performances in the games with those of the application. It’s akin to simulation training for pilots, surgeons or police officers.
- Did the defensive and cautious nature of the matches help referees?
- That’s difficult to assess. Euro 2016 had 20 games more, up from 31 games at Euro 2012. In the entire tournament, there were only three red cards. That’s a very limited number of sending offs. I have the impression an equal number of yellow cards were brandished at both Euro 2016 and at the previous tournament, which was considered to be a very fair competition [at Euro 2012: 123 yellow cards; at Euro 2016: 203 yellow cards]. We should cherish those facts, but that’s down to the refereeing and the team briefings. UEFA’s refereeing committee sent a delegate to every participant to pass on clear instructions about the new laws of the game [modification of triple punishment and introduction of goal line technology among others] with the aid of video clips and a lively powerpoint presentation. That has contributed to the understanding of players, coaches and teams of their fate [when infringing the new laws].
- Has this been the best refereed European Championship?
- At the European Championship in Poland and Ukraine Pedro Proença was the referee for the final and I remember clearly, when he walked up to the podium to collect his final award that the BBC noted that the referees’s contributions to the positive football on display demanded respect. The previous European Championship was well refereed. Euro 2016 was far more complex, because of the new organisation and the importance of the last group games. Those matches were decisive to determine the winner of the group, the runner-up and who’d progress and who’d be eliminated and so, in this championship – also because of the numbers of games – [the refereeing] was at least of the same, if not, of a higher level.

Source: Inside World Football