May 7, 2012

Wolfgang Stark appointed for Bucharest final

German referee Wolfgang Stark from Landshut, Bavaria, has been nominated by UEFA to be in control of the all Spanish final of this season's edition of UEFA Europa League between Atlético Madrid and Athletic Club Bilbao at Bucharest's National Arena on Wednesday, 8 May.
Stark, who is working for a bank one day per week, will head the team of match officials destined for overseeing the final. He will be accompanied by Jan-Hendrik Salver and Mike Pickel (acting as assistant referees), while Florian Meyer and Deniz Aytekin will stand at the byline functioning as the recently established additional assistant referees. UEFA also announced the appointment of the  fourth official, the French ELITE referee Stéphane Lannoy will fulfill this job at the coaching zones. Mark Borsch, who is normally Felix Brych's assistant referee, will accompany the team as reserve assistant referee.
The team will be officially observed by Jaap Uilenberg from the Netherlands.
Wolfgang Stark may exhibit an amply high experience both on national and also and especially on international level. Apart from the fact that he was in charge of a total amount of 260 Bundesliga matches in Germany and of the 2011 DFB Cup final between MSV Duisburg and Schalke 04, he is leading the current roster of active FIFA referees related to the amount of insets in the most popular club competition of the world: he refereed 43 UEFA Champions League matches until now.
The participations in the 2007 FIFA Under 17 World Cup Canada and 2008 FIFA Olympic Games China may be seen as the basis for his achievements in recent history. After having been in charge of three matches at 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa including a Round of 16 match, he whistled the semifinal's first leg of UEFA Champions League in 2011 between Real Madrid and FC Barcelona. In June, he will be one of the 12 match officials of 2012 UEFA EURO Poland/Ukraine.
In addition to this, Stark is considered as probable referee for the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil, as he joins the official FIFA list of prospective referees for the next World Cup.
Final referee: Wolfgang Stark (GER) (c) Sportbild

The 42 year-old, who savours football and ice hockey as leisure time activities, is the incarnation of the active and predicting referee. Recent performances certify that Stark has an incommensurable feeling and way of how to deal with upcoming conflicts between players and the referee and also between players themselves. His tactical approach is always lenient, powerful speeches are the key for him to lead the match. Nevertheless, many red cards were the result of insults and complaints, Stark there applies a zero-tolerance-policy. This is more or less reinforced by the fact that he was - two times in a row - elected as the worst referee by the majority of the Bundesliga players. In fact, his approach is mostly successful, however leads to problems every now and then, too.
He basically does not rely on his cards, which does not however mean that he has a too negligent dealing with his leniency. A milestone for his success may be also found when considering his assistant referees. Jan-Hendrik Salver, who had already accompanied Dr. Markus Merk in his most important matches, is probably the most active assistant referee at this European level and made some vital decisions, which needed a lot of courage and self-confidence and mostly led to a good decision. Mike Pickel's strengths are especially the (non-)offside detection and his international experience in general, having been the assistant referee 1 of Herbert Fandel for many years in Germany.
As for Florian Meyer, one of the most experienced referees in Germany, this final nomination is probably the peak of a very successful career as referee, although he never managed the final step to finally arrive at Europe's top class. Deniz Aytekin has been being an international referee since January 2011 and managed to be promoted by UEFA into First Group of referees in only one season. In Bundesliga, he made an enormous step in the past season as well and was in charge of many top clashes which were refereed in a quite good way by him. Mark Borsch completes the German side in the referee team, a young, promising and - as proved in Champions League many times - a very good assistant referee. Stéphane Lannoy's nomination is surely a surprise, or even a historical decision: UEFA never appointed a fourth official coming from a different country than the rest of the referee team. With regard to the pending EURO, which Lannoy will join as well, this might be an exception or just a remarkable change in UEFA's refereeing philosophy, since former worldclass referee Pierluigi Collina has taken control.

World of Football Refereeing and its community wish the referee team all the best for a successful performance and a great match.


Atlético Madrid
Athletic Bilbao
MATCH FACTS: UEFA Europa League Final 2011/12, Wednesday, 08 May 2012, 20:45 CET


Wolfgang Stark (Germany)

Assistant Referees
Jan-Hendrik Salver (Germany)
Mike Pickel (Germany)

Additional Assistant Referees
Florian Meyer (Germany)
Deniz Aytekin (Germany)

Fourth Official
Stéphane Laurent Lannoy (France)

Reserve Assistant Referee
Mark Borsch (Germany)

UEFA Referee Observer
Jaap Uilenberg (Netherlands)

UEFA Delegate
Pierino Lardi (Switzerland)

National Arena, Bucharest, Romania


  1. So, we have Wolfgang Stark.
    Deserved appointment, anyway I go on with my idea: the reasons for which he was not appointed in all the knockout CL stage, are still unknown.
    Even though UEFA had already in mind to choose him for this final, they could have appointed the german referee in a match. Anyway it seems clear that now UEFA wants to push more the young Bavarian, because he has a great future, waiting for him.
    Furthermore, I think that after this appointment, will be very difficult for Stark, to get the Champions League final too in the next years (he will have only 2013 and 2014 as chances), a dream for every referee, but we can't ignore (of course) also EURO2012. If Germany will go home (Niclas, don't get angry, it's just a reasoning) Stark will be surely one of the big candidates for the final.
    So, at any rate, a important future is wating also Stark, not only Brych.

    Finally, some words are needed about the appointment of the fourth official. You said it well, probably there is again the "hand" of Pierluigi Collina, in this unexpected decision. Let me say that it's a right one, because final matches are important, and so the fourth official must be a Elite referee.
    Of course here, Brych was possible and expected, but probably it's a choice, due to EURO2012 reasons, as I have already said in another post.
    They are doing tests and experiments, so I'm going to think that also the Champions League final will be with two different Elite referees.
    And UEFA is already working on the communication between the 12 men who will referee in Ukraine and Poland.
    To my mind, an excellent decision.

    1. Well Chefren, I agree with most of your post. But what puzzles me is Lannoy as an individual referee. His performances were never so good. He had many matches with problems and honestly I can't understand how he was appointed to the final. Not to mention that I couldn't see his get a final in any other way.

    2. To be honest, this season was better for him: not so many controversial decisions, just some problems in his last match, Atletico Madrid - Hannover.
      Furtermoreh, take into account that it's just an appointment as fourth official, and one reason probably is also that he is already selected for EURO2012 and he needs to be tested with his colleagues.
      I think that this is enough, even though you are (of course) in the right to be disappointed :)

    3. Anonymous12/5/12 17:20

      Lannoy no thanks, may have been a political decision only.

  2. I agree with both you, I would like to add a point related to the fourth official Lannoy.
    A fourth official, what is his task? Sorry, but even a DFB referee (NON-FIFA) could have accompanied the Stark team for this match. I do not see an adequate reason, I do not think that it is a test for Lannoy either. It could be that the only reason is that Mr Batta wanted to satisfy his home federation, to pull strings which he obviously did not use in the last years (no French referee with really important matches since Sars' retirement). Political decision IMO.
    Anyway, it is of course a right signal that UEFA shows that they are sending their best ones. I would have favoured Kuipers then as 4th, he is able to speak German, would have had a good communication with the team and it would be deserved.
    Gaining the atmosphere in this final is the only reward, nobody can actually say that a the fourth official was only chosen due to good performances as a referee in this season. Therefore, I want to stress that I believe that we actually do not need a high profile referee for this position/function, the only reason behind it is certainly giving Lannoy the chance to experience the atmosphere.

    1. Right, but don't forget the obvious reason of the presence of the fourth official: if the referee gets injured, he has to replace him on the pitch, so for a final a adequate man is needed.

    2. On the paper, that is of course right, but as UEFA did not care about that in the last years, it seems to be a new discovery ;)

    3. Not, if the referee gets injured, additional assistant 1 has to replace him.

    4. Are you sure? And who takes the place of the additional?
      Remember that if the referee is injured, probably he can't walk.
      I think that it's normal to switch place always with the fourth official, even though I have to be honest, I really don't know if with the additional assistants on the pitch FIFA and UEFA have changed some rules about that.
      Does anyone know anything?

    5. Yes, if the ref is injured, his place take AAR1, but before every match, UEFA delegate (or national federation delegate) in talk with referees says who will be a main ref if he gets injured. Normally, it's AAR1, BUT it can be 4th official only if he has a bigger experience than AAR1. At Euro 2012, it will be always AAR1, due to language reason. I think the role of 4th official takes then a reserve assistant referee.

    6. Another point, a reasonable appointment would also have been Královec, he also speaks German and will probably accompany for this reason Stark one time as 4th at EURO.

    7. The instructions by UEFA about the AARS don't say such a thing. FIFA in the LOTG clearly states the only the FO replaces the referee (if injured).

    8. Edward, in fact that was all I knew (only the fourth official can replace the referee), but I think we should trust Yun Hyeon with his info.

    9. My previous post is confirmed by Marcin Borski (4th official at EURO) in this article,1743583,druk.html

    10. Anonymous12/5/12 17:22

      Lannoy no thanks, may have been a political decision only.

  3. Totally happy/content with the appoitment. Each hot candidate listed in previous post totally deserved this final, best luck for him. We'll be watching live very closely as observers' of blog.
    And, I liked new policy to assign an Elite from another federation as fourth (We shouldn't neglect that being a fourth of final is a prestigous appoitment),and that would increase communication between Elites as well. They will be doing the same 4O position at EURO, maybe we'll see Stark as fourth of Lannoy since there are just 4 official fourths. We need such interactions. But honestly speaking; Next german CL final referee will not be Stark, IMO.

    "Another very very dissapointing information IMO, Turkish football federation has found notthing disputable in match fixing investigation, and cleared Fenerbahçe (a decision that I am totally ashamed of as a Turkish citizen). I know that here is not the exact place, however if we are talking purely about football and its component (referee), one should rise truth... By the way, there is no referee involvement in the investigation which continues for the last one year."

  4. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  5. Maybe Chefren knows that:

    AL HILAL RIYADH - AL AHLI JEDDAH (Champions Cup, semi-final, first leg)
    REFEREE: Andrea Romeo (ITA)
    ASS REF 1: Fabio Galloni (ITA)
    ASS REF 2: Roberto Carrer (ITA)
    4TH REF: Carmine Russo (ITA)

    also in Qatar are foreign referees:

    AL GHARAFA SC - AL KHARTIYATH SC (Emir Cup, semi-final)
    REFEREE: Damir Skomina (SVN)
    ASS REF 1: Matej Žunič (SVN)
    ASS REF 2: Bojan Ul (SVN)
    4TH REF: Salman Ahmad Fallahi (QAT)

    AL SADD SC - AL JAISH SC (Emir Cup, semi-final)
    REFEREE: Viktor Kassai (HUN)
    ASS REF 1: Gábor Erős (HUN)
    ASS REF 2: György Ring (HUN)
    4TH REF: Faisal Abdullah (QAT)

    Well, Qatari are reacher :D

    1. No, I didn't know it.
      As always here in Italy this kind of appointments are hidden by AIA, maybe they think that it's not so important for people, to know these things.
      Romeo, Galloni, Carrer and Russo are all NO FIFA referees.

  6. UEFA delegate:
    Pierino L.G. Lardi (Switzerland)

  7. Some impressions I received during the two German u17 euro matches:

    Kruzliak with 2 phantom fouls, the rest was on a very high level, AR1 Krizaric from CRO with lack of fitness, good calls however, AR2 Djukic from MNE superb.

    Aleckovic with many crudities, overall a still satisfying performance, but sometimes strange cards, weird way of gaining authority, bad cooperation with the 4th Avram, but finally, good presence and mostly, the decisions were good.
    Opland with many important decisions including an offside goal, many correct throw-in decisions that were hard to see, Wicht with a decent performance, was not challenged that much.

  8. Out of Topic some more friendlies appointments.

    26/5 Norway - England: Manuel Grafe (GER). 1 Week ago UEFA showed that the referee for this friendly match was Michael Weiner and now it appears Grafe.

    25/5 Croatia - Estonia: Mihaly Fabian (HUN)
    05/6 Austria - Romania: Danny Makkelie (NED)

    1. Strange moves with Weiner and Gräfe. has changed its entry, too, but there is still Weiner. The assistant refs would underline that, as they are from the same region like Weiner.

  9. My feeling is that Stark was good. He had some weaknesses but his overall performance for this level of the competition and the aspects of this match is more than satisfying. His assistants had some problems (Salver with some fouls in front of him and Pickel with 1 offside call) but they performed well.
    I was positively impressed by Florian Meyer and his true involvement at the game. He entered the pitch in almost every corner and foul outside his area and he was talking to the players to protect them. He showed that experience is everything in refereeing. Aytekin probably helped Stark with 2 falls in front of him but we had no replay at one occasion at min. 24).


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