January 10, 2014

World Cup Referees - Predictions for Europe - Part 1

Having already issued my predictions for the four major confederations environing UEFA, I would like to illuminate the situation among the pre-selected European World Cup referees and to examine their individual chances to make the dream of probably every referee become reality - being one of a bit more than 30 referees at the pending World Cup in Brazil.

Former colleagues, now boss and employee

In order to design it as dramaturgically precious as possible - and as you might have already presumed reading this post's headline - this analysis is splitted into two blocks. At first, I am going to focus on the "big 4". No, we don't go on safari. But there is a wide consent that usually there are four football nations that are always represented by a referee at the World Cup. These nations are England, Germany, Italy and Spain. Each of these nations was awarded two referee trios, a privilege that clearly confirms these nations' elevated status in football refereeing. The second block to be released at the weekend will then deal with the remaining referees on the pre-list. But before starting to touch on the nations and teams mentioned, I want to give you a short update on how far the World Cup selection has come (maybe for those who did not follow this process regularly).

Back in 2010, FIFA created a very first pre-list for UEFA and the other confederations. They used this chance to test then promising referees such as Markus Strömbergsson, Stephan Studer or Tony Chapron, who like many other colleagues attended a FIFA tournament. This list was very likely planned to not be the ultimate one, since there have been obvious and sensible changes such as appointing Lannoy instead of Chapron, Eriksson instead of Strömbergsson and so on. In spring 2012, this list was, as said, updated (e.g. Mazic jumped in) and remained untouched until now. Several FIFA tournaments and in UEFA's case also World Cup qualifiers are the essentially important basis for the selection to be discussed by FIFA's referee committee next week, while Champions League and Euro 2012 performances or achievements play a role, but maybe not the leading one. There have been multiple statements and rumours in the past weeks about how exactly FIFA is going to proceed next week. The most probable prognosis is that FIFA will create a pool of referees considered to attend the World Cup but still leaving the door open for the other referees omitted in case of injuries or poor performances by some of the chosen referees. Massimo Busacca himself has recently drafted this theory in an interview given to an Italian newspaper. Another opportunity would be to reduce the list in order to short-list some officials for the very last time. Hence, some referees would be completely out while nobody would be confirmed in any way, which could give the necessary positive pressure to perform well in the K.O. stage of UEFA Champions League for example. Finally, it is important to highlight that various sources and rumours have affirmed that UEFA will very likely get 10+1 places at the World Cup. As a consequence, the following analyses target at predicting eleven referees for the final World Cup list. And now, the predictions can commence.

These officials are to be discussed today:

REFEREE with ASSISTANT REFEREES
MA
Date of Birth
FIFA 10-13
Vote
ENGLAND, GERMANY, ITALY and SPAIN
Referee
Mark CLATTENBURG
ENG
13.03.1975
11
20%
Assistant 1
Stephen CHILD
ENG
21.08.1973

Assistant 2
Simon BECK
ENG
15.05.1972

Referee
Howard WEBB
ENG
14.07.1971
10
93%
Assistant 1
Michael MULLARKEY
ENG
03.05.1970

Assistant 2
Darren CANN
ENG
22.01.1969

Referee
Felix BRYCH
GER
03.08.1975
7
91%
Assistant 1
Mark BORSCH
GER
14.05.1975

Assistant 2
Stefan LUPP
GER
16.03.1977

Referee
Wolfgang STARK
GER
20.11.1969
8
22%
Assistant 1
Jan-Hendrik SALVER
GER
01.03.1969

Assistant 2
Mike PICKEL
GER
08.04.1975

Referee
Nicola RIZZOLI
ITA
05.10.1971
8
91%
Assistant 1
Renato FAVERANI
ITA
25.11.1969

Assistant 2
Andrea STEFANI
ITA
15.10.1969

Referee
Gianluca ROCCHI
ITA
25.08.1973
7
9%
Assistant 1
Elenito DI LIBERATORE
ITA
17.01.1973

Assistant 2
Gianluca CARIOLATO
ITA
24.04.1972

Referee
Alberto UNDIANO MALLENCO
ESP
08.10.1973
10
56%
Assistant 1
Raúl CABAÑERO MARTÍNEZ
ESP
28.08.1981

Assistant 2
Roberto DÍAZ PÉREZ
ESP
29.04.1976

Referee
Carlos VELASCO CARBALLO
ESP
16.03.1971
4
36%
Assistant 1
Roberto ALONSO FERNÁNDEZ
ESP
18.09.1976

Assistant 2
Juan Carlos YUSTE JIMÉNEZ
ESP
25.09.1975


 
ENGLAND



The recent past has shown that the English FA savours kind of exceptional status in FIFA with regards to political influence and pressure. It is an open secret that one of the pre-selected referees, Mark Clattenburg, just got the appointment for the Olympic Games final between Mexico and Brazil because of being British like the tournament's hosts. De facto, FIFA has put Clattenburg under a real magnifier during the last years proven by his many appearances in FIFA tournaments. For example, he handled many matches at U-20 World Cup 2011 in Colombia including chiefly sonorous clashes. Apart from the already mentioned Olympic Games final in 2012, he was also present at U-17 World Cup 2013 where he however oversaw only two group stage games. At the same time, he did not really receive much in the World Cup qualifiers. Even though his observer in Netherlands - Romania was top-class in his relevance (nobody less than committee member Peter Mikkelsen of Denmark), Clattenburg only got two matches of not that high importance (the other match was Israel - Russia with German Wilfried Heitmann observing him).
By contrast, Howard Webb has experienced his probably best two years as an international referee in 2012 and 2013 emphasized by a very good European Championship in 2012 and the insight that he has stayed England's best international official. The Confederations Cup 2013 does not allow many doubts about that from my point of view. His World Cup qualifiers have not been the most sonorous clashes, but were surely important: Turkey vs Romania (Slawomir Stempniewski, POL),  Norway vs Switzerland (Patritiu Abrudan, ROU), Croatia vs Belgium (Nikolay Levnikov, RUS) and Sweden vs Portugal (Vlado Sajn, SVN). Except the last two observers, FIFA did not send high-profile observers to assess Webb, which indicates that he was never really in question for FIFA (maybe in late 2010 and early 2011, but this time is over). He is surely one of the most successful and charismatic referees the world of football has seen in its whole history and will clearly be appointed to attend his second World Cup. Clattenburg's progress and way FIFA deals with him shows that he is a promising referee for World Cup 2018 - or even for EURO 2016: There are broadly spread rumours that Webb is about to finish his career after World Cup 2014 - but this stays speculation for now. 
So, from my point of view the English World Cup trio will be clearly headed by Howard Webb being assisted by his steady companions Michael Mullarkey and Darren Cann.


GERMANY


Another close duel between two referees from the same nation has already been existing for some seasons in Germany. Two Bavarians are fighting for the place in the World Cup list. While Wolfgang Stark, being international since the old millennium and having received UEFA's Elite status in 2002, is certainly a known face for FIFA, Felix Brych is the more inexperienced official in the run.
Stark was one of not many European referees who managed to show good performances in all their matches at World Cup 2010 - along with Viktor Kassai and Olegário Benquerenca, he was practically the only one. That's why his credit in FIFA circles is surely not that small. Without recognizing it, he is probably one of the best referees Europe has to offer at the moment. The problem having cropped up in the past two or three years is that Stark's performances are often between worldclass and the opposite. He has not managed to get a real consistency into his performance record recently. Moreover, he faced several controversies not only within German football leading to some kind of loss of confidence in his abilities - among others, his technical mistake in Paris SG vs FC Barcelona and his poor performance in Croatia vs Spain at EURO 2012 must be mentioned at this point. Stark's only FIFA tournament was the latest edition of FIFA's U-17 World Cup. He refereed three matches and did not have much control in Argentina vs Côte d'Ivoire - the overall impression was therefore not totally positive. His World Cup qualifier campaign was remarkably irrelevant: Denmark vs Czech Republic (Guy Goethals, BEL) and Hungary vs Romania (Valentin Ivanov, RUS) were his only matches.
For a couple of years, UEFA is strongly pushing Felix Brych. Even in his early years as Elite referee, he handled matches like AC Milan vs Real Madrid. In 2012, he had his so far biggest test of his career when excellently overseeing the semifinal in UEFA Champions League between Chelsea FC and FC Barcelona. He then attended his first FIFA tournament of his career, the Olympic Games 2012 in Great Britain, taking charge of two matches (Uruguay vs Senegal in the group stage and Brazil vs Honduras in the knockout stage). According to FIFA's referee assistance program and video footage, he made three important mistakes in these matches including a wrong sending-off for a careless tackle on Neymar. However, he was appointed for important World Cup qualifiers, was assessed by important observers and showed excellent or very good performances: Spain vs France (Vítor Melo Pereira, POR), the Balcan derby between Serbia and Croatia (Jaap Uilenberg, NED), Armenia vs Bulgaria (Zoran Petrović, SRB) and finally the intercontinental play-off between New Zealand and Mexico (Nikolay Levnikov, RUS). These qualifiers should be, from my point of view, much more decisive for the selection than two matches at Olympic Games. Additionally, he was present at Confed Cup 2013 along with the European competitives Webb, Kuipers and Proença - surely a top-class referee panel. Brych only got one match on the last matchday of the group stage, between two teams (Japan and Mexico) who were already out and without any chance to qualify for the k.o. stage. A soft but correct penalty kick was awarded in this match. As a compensation, he accompanied Björn Kuipers into the final between Brazil and Spain as the fourth official. This underlines that FIFA and Busacca in particular seem to be careful with this referee. Probably, the phantom goal due to a hole in the goalnet allowed by Brych raised some doubts about the medial echo when choosing him for the World Cup. This goal went across the whole world and was visible for everyone. Personally, I am determined that this incident may not play any role with regard to the matter we are discussing. Busacca must select the better referee, the better referee team and the referee team with more prospect for the future. And this is clearly Brych's team. I hope and believe that FIFA will recognize this and include Felix Brych, Mark Borsch and Stefan Lupp in the World Cup roster. World Cup 2010 is the only hope on the horizon for Stark.


ITALY


Here, we can make it very short. Despite some inconsistencies in the past months, Nicola Rizzoli is the absolutely clear no.1 in Italy. He refereed last season's Champions League final which once again underlined his political support and estimation in UEFA. FIFA mostly did not appoint remarkably meaningful referee observers for his World Cup qualifiers, which bolsters the thesis that his appearance at the World Cup is pretty safe: Ireland vs Germany (Carlos Ferreira Matos, POR), Bosnia vs Slovakia (Erol Ersoy, TUR), Estonia vs Turkey (Jørn-West Larsen, DEN) and Portugal vs Sweden, where he performed very well, with Jozef Marko from Slovakia. His only FIFA tournaments, the Club World Cup 2011 and the U-20 World Cup in 2013, did not offer any arguments against Rizzoli's nomination. Gianluca Rocchi, the second Italian referee on the pre-list and, as we have learnt from IFFHS, the world's tenth best referee, will have it difficult to find much support in the committee next week. His FIFA performances have been good (Olympic Games 2012 and U-17 World Cup 2013), but it's surely not enough to endanger Rizzoli's position. His World Cup qualifiers were Poland vs England (Valentin Ivanov, RUS) and Austria vs Sweden (Jean Lemmer, LUX), where he had some problems.
A possible matter of discussion might be Rizzoli's assistant referee Andrea Stefani, who had a poor group stage in UEFA Champions League and is definitely not in his best shape. I don't expect a change in the trio, but it would not totally come by surprise. Anyway, Rizzoli has definitely bought his World Cup ticket.


SPAIN


So we have got to the tightest and most difficult duel between two officials from the same nation. The decision to make concerning Spain's referees Alberto Undiano Mallenco and Carlos Velasco Carballo can be maybe described as a true 50-50 decision.
We all remember Undiano's World Cup 2010. Despite choosing a completely unclever approach in Germany vs Serbia and not savouring any respect by the players, he got kind of build up match between North Korea and Côte d'Ivoire which qualified him for overseeing the round of 16 match between the Netherlands and Slovakia. It is an open secret that the former chairman of FIFA's referee committee, Ángel Villar Llona, is a great fan of Undiano and his refereeing style. In addition, José García-Aranda was the head of the refereeing department in 2010, which was surely no disadvantage for the Spanish trio. It's however completely different in UEFA. In late 2010, UEFA and specially Collina started to strongly push Velasco into the role as the new Spanish no.1. In his first season as Elite referee, he was immediately assigned for a semifinal in Champions League and handled it brilliantly. For this reason, he completed the all-Iberian Europa League final a few weeks later where he was however unable to show the same quality again. Collina himself was the referee observer then. Maybe in order to guarantee that Velasco's progress would definitely succeed. And de facto, Velasco outstripped Undiano, who never took charge of a more important match than a Champions League quarterfinal. It was Velasco, who attended EURO 2012 and was nominated for the opener match. Well, we know the result and the last Champions League performances have not been that consistent either. Velasco's biggest problem becoming visible in some of these matches including EL final, EURO 2012 and e.g. Dortmund vs Napoli are his poor player management and low approval for his decisions and approach among the players. Sometimes, the matches got out of control for this reason. In the meantime, Undiano has become a quite solid referee with, in my opinion, not the most sophisticated soft skills, but with overall much self-confidence, match control and a solid decision-taking. He put this onto the pitch at his FIFA appearances, e.g. in Turkey at the U-20 World Cup. At the same time, Velasco only handled one single match at a FIFA organized tournament - at last December's Club World Cup in Morocco, where he fell for a dive and gave a wrong penalty kick as a consequence.
The referee observers appointed for both referees' World Cup qualifiers again emphasize how close the duel is and how unsure FIFA's committee and Busacca seem to be:

Alberto Undiano:
- Belgium vs Croatia, Vítor Melo Pereira (Portugal)
- Sweden vs Ireland, Gudmunder Ingi Jónsson (Iceland)
- Romania vs Hungary, Alfredo Trentalange (Italy, FIFA Committee)
- England vs Montenegro, Vaclav Krondl (Czech Rep.)
- Play-Off: Iceland vs Croatia, Peter Mikkelsen (Denmark, FIFA Committee)

Carlos Velasco:
- Netherlands vs Turkey, Iouri Baskakov (Russia, former UEFA Committee member)
- Italy vs Bulgaria, Francesco Bianchi (Switzerland)
- Slovenia vs Norway, Alfredo Trentalange (Italy, FIFA Committee)

Alfredo Trentalange, who is powerful in the referee committee, assessed both referees. Surely, the committee wanted to have reliable judgments on the potential of both referees. Undiano's performances have been good, his appointments have been more numerous. It was him who got a play-off match, not Velasco. All these signs indicate a certain tendency. I don't want to call Velasco chanceless, but I am actually sure that it won't be enough. Undiano savours enough trust and support by FIFA, keeping in mind that Villar Llona still has something to say within FIFA, inspite of having retired from his position in the referee management. One interesting question would be whether, given the case that Undiano will be selected, what is to happen with the assistant referees. Actually, Roberto Alonso Fernández and Juan Carlos Yuste Jiménez are the more experienced and better assistant referees. Undiano's assistants are good, but inexperienced and, in my opinion, not at Alonso's and Yuste's level. Since Yuste already worked with Undiano at World Cup 2010, there could be a change, as the trios remain open and subject to possible alterations until the end. In the end, I nonetheless have to highlight that both referees are mainly drawing their World Cup chances from their nationality and not necessarily because they are on the same level like their colleagues from the rest of Europe, which is well displayed in the community vote.

My predictions therefore are:

REFEREE with ASSISTANT REFEREES
MA
Date of Birth
4 REFEREES FROM ENG, GER, ITA and ESP
Referee
Howard WEBB
ENG
14.07.1971
Assistant 1
Michael MULLARKEY
ENG
03.05.1970
Assistant 2
Darren CANN
ENG
22.01.1969
Referee
Felix BRYCH
GER
03.08.1975
Assistant 1
Mark BORSCH
GER
14.05.1975
Assistant 2
Stefan LUPP
GER
16.03.1977
Referee
Nicola RIZZOLI
ITA
05.10.1971
Assistant 1
Renato FAVERANI
ITA
25.11.1969
Assistant 2
Andrea STEFANI
ITA
15.10.1969
Referee
Alberto UNDIANO MALLENCO
ESP
08.10.1973
Assistant 1
Raúl CABAÑERO MARTÍNEZ
ESP
28.08.1981
Assistant 2
Roberto DÍAZ PÉREZ
ESP
29.04.1976

28 Comments:

  1. Very good analysis, Niclas. It has been a good thing to split UEFA discussion in two parts.
    There are too many names and I can imagine how long will be the second part with many and many things to say about all the other UEFA preselected officials.
    By the way, I will give now my choices for these 4 duels.

    1) It is clear that Howard Webb will go to WC for the reasons you have explained, I would anyway really like to see Clattenburg in the next big tournament (Euro 2016 or WC 2018).
    2) In Germany Felix Brych is surely now ahead of Stark, and I'm sorry for Stark but he should also take into account that after a WC and a (not good) EURO tournament, his time could be over (it is said with all the respect for him).
    3) Italy: no doubts about Nicola Rizzoli, he will be at WC and I'm sure Stefani will be not replaced
    4) The most interesting and difficult duel. I must say at first Velasco Carballo (when he officiated Europa League final) seemed a rising star (despite of his age), surely better than Undiano Mallenco. Nevertheless, in the subsequent years (including Euro 2012) I changed my idea. Velasco is a good referee, but there isn't a big difference with Undiano Mallenco. Both officials have some areas for improvement. So, no reasons to make a so big change. Undiano Mallenco can join again the WC considering also his past experience. In addition to that, one must underline that Undiano is also younger than Velasco, and for this reason, aftter Brazil 2014, he will be able to attend other tournaments.
    So at the end my choices regarding these officials, are 100% similar to yours.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Niclas: I echo your sentiments and choices.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Excellent analisys. Stark was lucky in 2010, nobody else from Germany.
    I also believe that FIFA will follow this list.
    But I can hardy wait part II which is "highest mathematics" and more politics then refereeing.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Anonymous10/1/14 15:22

    Agree with 3 out of 4. As you know I don't think any referee from Spain should go, but I realize that politics will probably make my view incorrect.

    /Swedish observer

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anonymous10/1/14 16:54

      The Spanish referees cannot out of Brazil.

      Delete
    2. Anonymous10/1/14 19:52

      Of course they can - if they base the appointment on performance.

      /Swedish observer

      Delete
  5. @ Swedish Observer: Your view is not incorrect per se, but I think Busacca just has another opinion ;-)

    - After WC 2010 I doubted whether we would see Webb again on a World Cup match. I wasn't sure whether he would go through the whole process again, being sure that the ultimate reward was out of reach for him this time. Until after EURO 2012, my favourite for this World Cup was therefore Clattenburg. Webb has however proven me completely wrong and is still around at the top of world refereeing and seems as motivated as ever. Webb has also the luck of highly superior assistants, I never understood why Clattenburg was paired with Child and Beck, they never impressed me to be honest.

    - As Chefren said, Stark's time is over as no.1 German referee. Great career, some impressive matches (the Clasico of course) but Brych is a more consistent and international referee these days, although the Olympics showed some work to be done for him. The same choice as in 2012, however the pendulum had not yet completely swung in Brych's favour, so the safe choice was Stark. Perhaps we would have seen a different choice just half a year later. Brych has proved himself at the highest level in the past years, in CL and European qualifiers.
    I fully expect to see Brych in Brazil.

    - The difference between Rizzoli and Rocchi: even an out of form Rizzoli is preferable to Rocchi, for me. Of course the CL final referee of the year before is only left at home in exceptional circumstances, well I don't see them at this moment. Of course he has had his bad moments in the past year but still, Rizzoli is a referee of high talent and I am sure his performance will pick up in the second half of this season. At any rate, he's had a good start of 2014!
    Faverani's punishment will be in CL to my mind, he will be in Rizzoli's team at the World Cup I think.

    Of course, I could say I wouldn't take either Spanish referee, but that would make an interesting discussion void...

    - Undiano was clearly Spain's no. 2 in European competitions for the past few years. It is clear however FIFA are not done with him yet and I feel he has shown improvement the past seasons. Admittedly his chances are so big because his rival hasn't covered himself in glory since EURO 2012.
    Carballo never really got his chance for FIFA, which would seem to indicate an easy decision for Busacca & co. In the end Undiano showed good performances when it mattered and got a play-off. Surely a good sign for him. His performance was of a World Cup level (sorry for that, Edward) and for me, his ticket for Brazil was booked then and there. Carballo's selection for CWC made no difference whatsoever.

    I would really like to see Undiano tested also by UEFA in the upcoming CL knock-out rounds, then his selection will have less the feeling of a political appointment. Of course, if he fails then, it's a whole different story ;-)

    Incisive analysis Niclas, a lot of excellent work has gone into it, that's clear. Nice overview of qualifier and observer appointments. Keep up the good work and I look forward to part two, where there are no clearly defined head-to-heads as in this part, but more a free-for-all between all referees...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. If Clatts wasn't teamed with Messrs Beck and Child, who would you suggest accompany him?
      Long? Burt? Collin? Bennett? England? Kirkup?
      After Cann and Mullarkey - Beck and Child are the second best option IMHO.
      However, our second best linesman isn't even FIFA listed.
      Scott Ledger has been performing excellently for a while now. It's perplexing as to why he has been overlooked.

      Delete
    2. Kirkup and Collin would be my team for Clattenburg (at the time of the first pre-list Kirkup was with Webb of course, so Cann and Collin), but I do not doubt a single moment that your knowledge of English assistant referees is far superior to mine. However you must agree there is a huge gulf in class between Webb's and Clattenburg's teams.

      Delete
    3. Agreed.
      Kirkup is vastly overrated. His domestic form has been awful at times. We all know what he did at the Euros.
      In contrast, Ledger would have been an excellent international AR.
      The legend that is Darren Cann will give up his badge next year. My bet is 24-year-old John Brooks to replace him. He is regularly appointed with Collin domestically and I think they would work well together.
      I see:
      Webb;Mullarkey, Cann
      Clattenburg; Beck, Child
      Atkinson; Kirkup, Long
      Oliver; Bennett, England
      Taylor; Collin, Burt

      Delete
  6. BTW - I see Oliver (28) being paired with either Bennett (28) England (28) or Long (31).
    Certainly future proof...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Would Stuart Burt (31) be another option? The FA seems to think so...

      http://www.premierleague.com/en-gb/referees/profile.appointments.html/michael-oliver-2

      Delete
    2. Well, he has been poor this season domestically, in big games (Man. United - Arsenal & Man. City - Arsenal).
      Plus, he was born in 1980, making him 33/34...

      Delete
    3. You're right of course, you may know my math skills are not my strongest point ;-)

      Do you think his poor form this season disqualifies him from Oliver's future team? I think it's not decided yet, and all the names we mentioned might get a chance in EL/U21 games, before a 'team' is formed.

      Ah, Brooks... The assistant who put City players in their place? Seen him a few times, a real talent indeed.

      Thanks for your insights in English refereeing, it brings good discussions as you can see ;-)

      Delete
    4. Anonymous10/1/14 19:51

      I saw Burt live once last season and he was excellent. Didn't he referee the FA Cup final last year too? Iam sure that he will recover and get back to his usual form.

      /Swedish observer

      Delete
    5. @Thomas: IMO, going forward, either Bennett, England or Long should accompany Oliver. Burt is error prone, but it doesn't stop Riley and co. giving him a share of the top fixtures. I seem to remember him accompanying Clattenburg in the Porto-Malaga Round of 16 game last term where he performed well. He is capable, just needs to incorporate some much needed consistency in his game.
      I agree, John Brooks is certainly one for the future. His comments last year did make the headlines. I can't believe he was taken off for the next round of fixtures for that innocent comment. By the way, he's right, tickets for the Emirates Stadium are ridiculously expensive. I found out that the hard way!
      Always a pleasure to take part in these somewhat interesting discussions Thomas!

      @Swedish Observer:
      Burt was part of the 2012/13 League Cup Final team with Kevin Friend and Scott Ledger.
      He was also appointed to the 2011/12 FA Cup final with Phil Dowd and Andy Garrett.
      I too tip him to rediscover his form.

      BTW - League Cup Final is on the horizon. There is a possible Manchester derby on the cards.
      Atkinson and Oliver are probable with the former being the favourite.

      Delete
  7. Off Topic:

    Nice video about Kuipers' great year: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lYYtEB5eXEI

    One advice: check that your sound is not at 100% ;-)

    ReplyDelete
  8. Excellent text, as always! :)
    You probably know my wish to include Rocchi on the final list, he deserves that in my humble opinion. Clattenburg has bad luck to be a class ref in Webb's time. Of course, Howard is excellent, maybe even the best in the World and Clatts will have his time for sure.

    =================================================

    OT:

    2014 CAF African Nations Championship (CHAN)
    South Africa - 11 January to 01 February 2014

    Referees (18):
    Aly LEMGHAIFRY (Mauritania)
    Juste ZIO (Burkina Faso)
    Mutaz Abdelbasit KHAIRALLA (Sudan)
    Mohamed BENOUZA (Algeria)
    Redouane JIYED (Morocco)
    Mahamadou KEITA (Mali)
    Aboubacar Mario BANGOURA (Guinea)
    Mohamed KORDI (Tunisia)
    Malang DIEDHIOU (Sénégal)
    Gehad GRISHA (Egypt)
    Bernard CAMILLE (Seychelles)
    Bamlak TESSEMA WEYESA (Ethiopia)
    Mal Souley MOHAMADOU (Cameroon)
    Janny SIKAZWE (Zambia)
    Victor GOMES (South Africa)
    Sylvester KIRWA (Kenya)
    Joseph LAMPTEY (Ghana)
    Wiish Hagi YABAROW (Somalia)


    Assistant referees (18):
    Yahaya MAHAMADOU (Niger)
    Theogene NDAGIJIMANA (Rwanda)
    Mohamed Idam HAMID (Sudan)
    Mark SSONKO (Uganda)
    Olivier Safari KABENE (DR Congo)
    Issa YAYA (Tchad)
    Aboubabcar DOUMBOUYA (Guinea)
    Foaad EL MAGHRABI (Lybia)
    Moussa BAYERE (Ivory Coast)
    Tahssen ABO EL SADAT (Egypt)
    Balkrishna BOOTUN (Mauritius)
    Berhe TESFAGIORGHIS (Eritrea)
    Yanoussa MOUSSA (Cameroon)
    Oamogetse GODISAMANG (Botswana)
    Mothibidi Stevens KHUMALO (South Africa)
    Jerson Emiliano DOS SANTOS (Angola)
    Abel BABA (Nigeria)
    Hassan EGUEH YACIN (Djibouti)

    Thanks to refereesfifa.blogspot.com

    ReplyDelete
  9. Anonymous11/1/14 00:03

    "[...], as we have learnt from IFFHS, the world's tenth best referee, [...]"
    (Suricate; January 10, 2014)

    :-)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Excellent Niclas, nothing is written just for case. Every word has his meaning. This is why I'm really impressed by his work.

      OT
      This evening the Spanish top clash between Atletico Madrid and Barcelona will be handled by Antonio Mateu Lahoz.

      Delete
    2. I agree with Chefren, good article both aesthetically and content-wise.

      I like the appointment, Mateu is very strong communicatively, perhaps that's why he has struggled at times in European competitions. I don't know how well his English is.
      Anyway I like his way of refereeing and look forward to the exciting top match.

      Delete
    3. Anonymous12/1/14 13:49

      An impressive detailed analysis, it is always a pleasure to read such reasoned opinions. IMHO the predictions are correct, although I think that Mateu (good performance yesterday in Madrid) has more potential than Undiano and Velasco.

      OT
      Today there is a top clash in Portugal between Benfica and Porto in Lisbon. The top teams have the same points in a match with an additional emotional burden, it´s the first match after the death of Eusebio a week ago. It should be very tough to handle... I thought this was clearly a match for Proença or Sousa, but the chosen was the younger Soares Dias. A huge test for him.

      Delete
  10. Anonymous11/1/14 21:17

    Eagerly waiting for part two now, Niclas ;-)!

    /Swedish observer

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Aren't we all ;)

      Delete
    2. I am on the last lap :) Expect it this afternoon.

      Delete
  11. I'd like to see Clattenburg, Stark, Velasco and Rizzoli go through.
    Webb is a fantastic referee but it would be nice to see Clattenburg get a chance. I like Stark's style and believe he would perform well. I have preferred Velasco's style to Mallenco but think he needs some soft skills development as you said. Rizzoli isn't much of a doubt with anyone given his performance.

    ReplyDelete
  12. Anonymous12/1/14 13:30

    Da Asco Carballo No Good.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anonymous12/1/14 14:15

      For God's sake, learn to spell at least the names correctly.

      Delete

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