May 6, 2012

UEFA Europa League Final - Prediction

Before the upcoming finals of this season's editions of UEFA Champions League and UEFA Europa League, there might be predictions about the officials that will referee the matches based on the tournaments' course of appointments and performances. 
The Champions League final will be played between in Munich - between the hosts of FC Bayern and the English side of FC Chelsea - on 19 May. The final of Europa League, being an all Spanish tie between Atlético Madrid and Athletic Bilbao, will be already kicked off in Bucuresti on 9 May.
Whereas it has already unfolded that the Slovenian UEFA Referee Committee member Vlado Sajn will observe the Champions League final referees and that his colleague Jaap Uilenberg from the Netherlands will function as observer in Bucuresti's Europa League final, the referees to be selected are difficult to predict.

UEFA Europa League
In general, one has to emphasize that one cannot be sure whether UEFA will appoint a referee who will participate in UEFA EURO 2012 or not. The semifinals in both competitions have underlined that both might be possible. Furthermore, the referee for the final certainly joins the ELITE Group and should not have refereed a final in this competition yet. It is also useful to erase those officials from the pool of possible final referees who have already whistled a semifinal, and perhaps also a quarterfinal in Europa League. Of course, no Spanish and no Dutch referee may be nominated due to the teams and the observer.

Having applied this criteria, the following officials are remaining:
Felix Brych (GER), Cüneyt Çakır (TUR), Mark Clattenburg (ENG), Viktor Kassai (HUN), Stéphane Lannoy (FRA), Florian Meyer (GER), Svein Oddvar Moen (NOR), Pedro Proenca (POR), Gianluca Rocchi (ITA), Wolfgang Stark (GER), Paolo Tagliavento (ITA), Howard Webb (ENG).

Cuneyt Çakır, EL final after CL semifinal? (c) FIFA

In general, one can say that Kassai and Webb will probably have no chance. Kassai did not show the best performance in his UCL Semifinal at Santiago Bernabeu, Webb had problems in Munich, too, and furthermore, it must be stressed that it seems quite impossible that a referee from England will get the final, they had already two participations in UCL/UEL Semifinals. For this reason, Mark Clattenburg should not be taken into consideration either, he also refereed Atlético Madrid in the Quarterfinals. The Italians Rocchi and Tagliavento could both had chances, Tagliavento has taken an immense rise in the past season. However, Rizzoli had the 2010 UEFA Europa League final, so that again in Italian could be quite unprobable. Stéphane Lannoy has shown his best international season so far, had overall good performances in both competitions but was not spared by problems especially in his match between Atlético Madrid and Hannover in Quarterfinals, so that it is more or less superfluous to take him into account as well.  
Pedro Proenca counts as almost safe referee of the UCL final. He was observed by UEFA Referee Committee members three times, showed more or less satisfying performances in these matches. It is an all Spanish tie, a Portugues referee in it would mean the opposite of last year's final. He could be a candidate, but he already refereed a match with Bilbao's involvement: at Schalke Arena in the Quarterfinals. I doubt that he would be the best choice, the CL final match fits in more with his approach.
Moen showed quite a good season, has however enough time to develop and to improve, what seems to be still necessary. It would be a high risk to appoint him for such an intense match, a risk, which could however reveal to be worth.
Cüneyt Çakir was able to impress us in his first UCL Semifinal at Camp Nou, where he showed an almost perfect match. Many - including me - considered him as possible final referee even at the beginning of this season, the impression has confirmed, he is a very probable option.
Finally, there are three German referees left. Florian Meyer can be forgotten, he is at the end of his international career and was never at the peak of UEFA refereeing, even though he has been joining the ELITE Group for quite a long time. Felix Brych and Wolfgang Stark both have big chances in the next years. Brych, a rising star in UEFA refereeing, who is also under FIFA's eyes and who has been nominated to referee matches at 2012 Olympic Games in Great Britain, showed a brilliant performance at Stamford Bridge in the first leg of the semifinal between FC Chelsea and FC Barcelona. Remembering the procedure in the last season, when Carlos Velasco Carballo handled the EL final after having superbly refereed a Champions League Semifinal's first leg, Brych could be a very good option, too. Wolfgang Stark - to the surprise of everybody - did not receive a UEFA Champions League match in the K.O. stage. He had two good performances in important EL matches (ManCity - Porto; Sporting - Metalist), was however not observed by a high profile UEFA Observer. It is very unprobable that UEFA will not appoint him once again prior to the EURO, but after having stopped thinking in a rational way, even this is not sure. 

Wolfgang Stark, a probable candidate for the final

Naturally, the tactical approach, personality and "style" of the respective referee who comes into question must perfectly fit in with the match. Spanish duels are always intense, the referee has to expect a lot, as Collina reinforced, he has to predict. Stark has shown that he can be a very good referee in intense, Spanish duels, although there was certainly a lack of control in last year's el clásico. Jaap Uilenberg gave him a very high mark for this match and is now the observer again. Stark would deserve the final after 13 years of FIFA refereeing, after 43 Champions League matches and 17 Europa League matches. But UEFA in fact knows Stark, there is actually no need to test him. At this stage, the only question is, who is able to show the best performance possible in this specific match and to my mind, both, Brych and Stark are able to do that. The same counts for Cakir, who however had Athletic Bilbao which could mean a small disadvantage for him.

Finally, my final prediction is:

9 May 2012, National Arena, Bucuresti, Romania
Atlético Madrid (ESP) - Athletic Bilbao (ESP)
Referee: Wolfgang Stark (GER)
Assistant Referees: Jan-Hendrik Salver (GER), Mike Pickel (GER)
Additional Assistant Referees: Florian Meyer (GER), Deniz Aytekin (GER)
Fourth Official: Manuel Gräfe
Reserve Assistant Referee: Mark Borsch (GER)

UEFA Champions League final predictions will follow next week.


  1. My final prediction:

    9 May 2012, National Arena, Bucuresti, Romania
    Atlético Madrid (ESP) - Athletic Bilbao (ESP)
    Referee: Cüneyt Çakır (TUR)
    Assistant Referees: Bahattin Duran (TUR), Tarik Ongun (TUR)
    Additional Assistant Referees: Hüseyin Göcek (TUR), Bülent Yildirim (TUR)
    Fourth Official: Fırat Aydınus (TUR)
    Reserve Assistant Referee: Mustafa Emre Eyisoy (TUR)

  2. I agree completely wit your analysis of the situation, but due to the latest surprising appointments, my outsider tip is Gianluca Rocchi.

  3. Mohammed Abdul Fattah6/5/12 17:10

    My Prediction : Felix Brych ( GER )

  4. My prediction is Stark since he will not have his opportunity for the CL final

    1. Just for this? Anything against Stark, but I think that UEFA can't reason in this way! They had to know before, that it was possible to see Bayern in Champions League final nd so it was a problem for Stark.
      There are for sure other reasons, if we haven't seen the german referee in all the knocout stage.

    2. We are not involved in UEFA's procedure and thinking, what I know is that Stark often had Uilenberg as observer, why not this time? Furthermore, Philipp and I just had an idea in February/March: one could specialize Stark for EL (step by step, the last step is the final then) and for this reason, he was left out of CL, they gave Brych the stage to impress FIFA. This would be an explanation.
      Nevertheless, there is still the possibility that a non EURO ref could get it, I just imagine a referee making a total failure in the final. His chances in EURO would rapidly decrease (a reason for which also Skomina was left out of the final).

  5. Anonymous6/5/12 19:30

    My wish is Stark, but who knows... I think it will be Brych.

  6. Anonymous6/5/12 20:31

    I think that one of the finals go to the portuguese referee Pedro Proença. He is a rising star and I had the opportunity of seeing a classic game between two important portuguese teams and he was suberb.

  7. Stark sędzią główny finału ligi europa bierzącego sezonu to niewypał roku albo obecnej dekady według mnie to wcale nie taki dobry sędzia ale cóż tak zdecydował Collina więc tak zostaje

    1. Posłuchaj, jestem również Polakiem, więc jeśli nie rozumiesz po angielsku, mogę powiedzieć parę słów po Polsku. Stark to wyśmienity arbiter, jeden z najlepszych, jeśli nie najlepszy w chwili obecnej w Europie. Twoje negatywne oceny są prawdopodobnie spowodowane czerwoną kartką dla Pepe w meczu Real - Barca, znając polską fascynację Gran Derby. Poza tym, oficjalna informacja podana zostanie jutro. Dzisiaj są to tylko nasze gdybania. Uwierz, Stark jest wyśmienitym arbitrem - stanowczym, surowym, ale jednocześnie czującym grę. Pozdrawiam.


      Listen me, I am also a Pole, so if you don't understand English, I can say some words in Polish to you. Stark is a great referee, one ofthe best, maybe the best at the moment in Europe. Your negative Starks' evaluations are probably caused by a red card to Pepe in Gran Derby last season. I know a Polish fascination in Gran Derby matches. By the way, official information will be published tomorrow. Believe me, Stark is great referee - strict, sometimes harsh, but he has a great play feeling. Regards.

  8. Anonymous6/5/12 21:47

    Referee : Pedro Proença
    Assistants: Bertino Miranda & Ricardo Santos
    Additional Assistants: Jorge Sousa & Duarte Gomes
    Fourth Official: Olegario Benquerenca
    Reserve Assistant Referee:: Tiago Trigo

    1. Anonymous6/5/12 23:15

      I think that is impossible prediction because that was Portuguese team in semi-final

    2. Benquerenca has finished his career, hasn't he?

    3. Anonymous7/5/12 20:59

      No, tere were not a portuguese team in a semi final this year.
      No, Benquerença has fail a uefa fisic test. The yo.yo test.

    4. Anonymous, is not Sporting Lisbon a Portuguese team?

    5. Anonymous8/5/12 16:13

      Yes, but when I wrote my answer I was talking about referee team, not football team.

  9. Rizzoli has lost his hopes to referee Champions League final this evening!
    A horror - performance.... OH MY GOD

    1. Anonymous6/5/12 23:18

      Yeah, very very bad performance. Maybe UEFA gave recommendations to pick Rizzoli and Proenca for top-clashis in their countries. If yes, Champions League final will go to Proenca for sure.

    2. It was not that bad, the penalty no 1 was a joke, the rest was decent.

    3. This comment has been removed by the author.

  10. Anonymous7/5/12 05:24

    My final prediction: Jonas Eriksson (Swe)

  11. Anonymous7/5/12 11:04

    My final prediction: Rizzoli.
    In Chelsea-Barça, not well Brych. Always for Chelsea.

  12. Anonymous7/5/12 11:09

    It's Stark.

  13. Atletico-Athletic
    Wolfgang Stark (GER)
    Assistant referees
    Jan-Hendrik Salver (GER)
    Mike Pickel (GER)
    Fourth official
    Stéphane Lannoy (FRA)
    Additional assistant referees
    Florian Meyer (GER)
    Deniz Aytekin (GER)

  14. Mohammed Abdul Fattah7/5/12 11:11

    UEFA Announced Wolfgang Stark (GER)for EL final. very good Niclas.

    1. That's interesting: Lannoy as fourth.
      I would have rewarded Brych for this role, but probably it's a test for EURO2012.

    2. And now I'm sure that we will see two Elite referees from different countries also in Champions League final. The choice is not so difficult: Rizzoli and Proença.
      UEFA has just to decide who on the pitch and who as fourth :)
      I like this new experiment...

    3. Proenca and Velasco (at least after yesterday)

    4. This comment has been removed by the author.

  15. Mohammed Abdul Fattah7/5/12 11:57

    Totally i agree with you Cherfen. But unfortunately with yesterday performance for Rizzoli. It will be an embarrassing situation for Colina if he appoints Rizzoli in the Final. But Now we can see Proenca for sure or Eriksson.

  16. Stark jest sędzią głównym sędziami rezerwowymi są Manuel Grafe anie Stephane Lannoy to błąd a ASISSTANT rezerwowy to jest Mark Borsch tam jest błąd niemoże w takim meczu być z innego kraju techniczny sędzia. Stark Pickel Salver oraz Aytekin Meyer Grafe i Borsch to są sędziowie finału LIGI EUROPA

  17. It almost had to be Stark after Cakir had gotten a semi-final and CL final was impossible. It still doesn't make much sense to me why Stark didn't get a single CL match in the K.O. stage...

  18. My Prediction is Bilbao 1-3 Madrid..


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