After last weeks' qualifying rounds and the play-off ties allocated at today's drawings at UEFA's headquaters in Nyon, Switzerland, the new European club competition campaign surely is at the ready. At the end of August, last season's winners of UEFA Champions League - Bayern München - and UEFA Europa League - Chelsea FC - will meet in Prague to fight for the first title of the season, the UEFA Super Cup. Time to make an early prediction on the final referee.
|One of the best European World Cup refs in South Africa: Olegário Benquerença|
Elite Referees minus British and German officials and previous Super Cup final officials:
Furthermore, some other officials already took charge of many finals in the last seasons, so that the likelihood to see them appointed this year is quite low as well. In addition, a few officials are quite unprobable for performance-related or other reasons:
Benquerença: Considering his extremely bright career having culminated at FIFA World Cup 2010 and among others in 2010/11 UEFA Champions League quarterfinal between Man.United and Chelsea FC, assigning the Portuguese referee for a final would be a nice reward before his soon retirement. I once again would like to see the only referee in the Elite Group with a style and personality you can certainly call "positively extra-ordinary" and listen to the commentary saying his full name "Olegário Manuel Bartolo Faustino Benquerença"...
Eriksson: The Swedish referee would definitely deserve a final. His performances in the last campaign have been, all in all, good. His three appearances at FIFA Under-20 World Cup confirmed that. Furthermore, his calm attitude and strong player management would suit to this match. It would be first final for a Scandinavian referee for quite a long time, after Peter Fröjdfeldt and Claus Bo Larsen in 2008.
Královec: The Czech official had some problems in the UEFA Europa League semifinal involving Chelsea FC last season. Nonetheless he is an outsider option, too. As the final will be played in Prague, the political factor might play a role - but his appointment is rather unlikely in my opinion.
Lannoy: The French official counted to the weaker officials at 2010 FIFA World Cup and the season after it. His European Championship 2012 was however very sovereign and crowned with an overall solid semifinal performance. He will retire in 2014 so that there are not that many opportunities to designate him for a final. The Super Cup final 2013 could be a good opportunity.
Mažić: Following excellent performances throughout the whole last UEFA season, the promotion to Elite was just deserved and nothing else. Born in 1973, big finals have to come quickly. I rather do not believe that he will be appointed in this year, but reading his name would be no surprise at all.
Undiano Mallenco: Despite some great matches and performances some years ago, Undiano's career has partly come to a standstill during the last years. Velasco Carballo was heavily pushed, leading to his quick EL final and EURO participation with not that satisfying results. It was Undiano who joined Under-20 World Cup - Velasco Carballo is still without a FIFA tournament you need for a World Cup call-up. That's why Undiano could be "back in the business". Nonetheless he probably only has some outsider chances.
It's too hard to outline a clear prediction, but I tend to think either Benquerença, Eriksson or Lannoy will be assigned. What do you think?