August 13, 2015

News: UEFA Course, Assault Against Referee, Al-Hakim's Facebook-Project, Hagen's retirement and Webb's New Role

News on refereeing: UEFA's pre-season course for referees, the abandonment of a German Cup match, a facebook page started as suddenly as it was closed again owned by a Swedish FIFA official and Howard Webb's new role in Saudi Arabia.

UEFA's Preparatory Course for Top Referees

Since yesterday, Europe's top referees have once again gathered  to hold their annual preparatory course in Nyon, UEFA's headquarters. As usual, physical and technical tests will be conducted including weighing sessions, fitness checks and video tests as well as group work. 
The pool of Elite and First Group referees as well as the female Elite referees will be joined by a guest from Canada: refereeing hope Mathieu Bourdeau has attended Nyon as well.
Pierluigi Collina and Hugh Dallas are holding the speeches, focussing on mobbing and dissent, teamwork and handball particularly. Dagmar Damkova and Bo Karlsson are managing the female group. The meeting is about to end on 14 August at lunch time.

German referee suffers light brain concussion after hit by lighter

During the 71st minute of the German Cup 1st Round match between VfL Osnabrück and RB Leipzig [1:0], 2nd Bundesliga referee Martin Petersen was hit by a lighter at his head suffering a light brain concussion. Petersen cancelled the match as a consequence and was unable to continue to referee. The home team's president later apologized to Petersen amid applause.
DFB Refereeing Head Herbert Fandel stated that it had been an assault against a referee which warranted an abandonment of the match. We hope that the same counts for assaults against players - in the past, there have been popular examples where such incidents did not lead to an abandonment of the respective game.

Swedish Mohammed Al-Hakim starts - and closes facebook page on refereeing

"I also want the page to inspire more people to become referees, which is an important part of football. I want to show my side of officiating and want to balance the picture [there is of us] in the media. I want to increase the accessibility in the football family." - Mohammed Al-Hakim, a Swedish FIFA referee, told the Guardian. He explained his decision to open a site focussing on refereeing decisions with his belief in "openness and dialogue". We were already about to make a post on that and welcome our new 'posting colleague', but his facebook page has been closed in the meantime. Al-Hakim later said that the resonance of the site became "big, a bit too big".

Tom Hagen has retired from international refereeing

Norwegian Tom Harald Hagen has decided to quit international refereeing. He stressed that he wanted to focus on domestic competitions more and had therefore taken this "hard decision". Terje Hauge expressed that he regretted this decision, but fully respected it.

Howard Webb to become Head of Refereeing in Saudi Arabia

A surprising and, at first glance, odd move: Howard Webb becomes the Head of Refereeing of the Saudi Arabian football association. The latter declared in a statement: "The Saudi Arabian Football Federation is pleased to announce the signing of international officiating expert, Mr. Howard Webb, as the head of the refereeing department in the Federation. As head of the Refereeing Department, Mr. Webb will be in charge of developing, training, evaluating, and appointing referees. [...] In addition, Mr. Webb will be responsible for long and short-term strategies and plans to improve refereeing level in the Kingdom. The Saudi Arabian Football Federation would like to take the opportunity to welcome Mr. Webb and wish him the best of luck in his new journey".
This contradicts our previous news that Webb had become a UEFA referee observer.


  1. "This contradicts our previous news that Webb had become a UEFA referee observer." - Why? There are many head of referees functioning also as UEFA observers.

    1. So far there is no sign that Webb belongs to the pool of new UEFA observers, but let's wait-and-see.

  2. Anonymous13/8/15 19:29

    Off topic: Tom Harald Hagen retires from international refereeing

    1. Anonymous13/8/15 23:41

      Very surprising decision. His motivation has perhaps taken a hit after his repeated failures at Champions League level.

    2. Another referee whose (international) career was a bit spoilt by the former ED group. But yes, his performances did not meet the requirements at all.

    3. Anonymous14/8/15 10:01

      Perhaps he can get AAR nominations in Moen's team as a non-FIFA and that is part of his motivation?

    4. He says that his motivation was that international refereeing takes too much time and energy, and that he wants to concentrate on domestic football. Can't blame him; it is a taxing schedule to referee internationally.

    5. Anonymous14/8/15 19:45

      I don't understand Norwegian referees. Ovrebo stated that, too. Only domestic leagues.

    6. A personal decision which deserves high respect. If you feel that it's not right or exhausting what you are doing, be brave and finish it.
      Refereeing, specially in UEFA, has turned into a full-time job with extreme impacts on the officials' everyday life, starting from how to organize your day, via nutrition to 4 times training per week. I can blame nobody who draws the right conclusions if there is no prospect in sight.

    7. Anonymous14/8/15 23:27

      For referees from many country the international match fees are very high compared to their wages at home, while for Norwegians who have maybe the highest wages in Europe the relative payment is not so big.

  3. Anonymous14/8/15 00:38

    Very genuine motivation for Collum to start refereeing:
    "What inspired you to become a referee in the first place?
    A complete lack of ability at playing! I played in goal in one match for the school team and we lost 18-0, so I think it was realising that maybe my talent lay elsewhere."

    1. Anonymous14/8/15 08:42

      Many referees stated that they started because they were not good enough as players, but to be honest I really don't understand this reason, referee is a totally different role from player, you can't compare them. One should start refereeing if only really interested in that. Although, at least Collum was honest.

    2. Anonymous14/8/15 11:33

      Collum at Barça-Sevilla was very,very bad.

    3. Anonymous15/8/15 11:39

      To be fair Collum started refereeing when he was 14. The story about his game with the school team happened when he was in primary school (ages between 5 & 11 years) so knowing from that age that he was not going to anywhere in playing the sport he loved so much he looked at how else he could be involved in Football and from that age he was interested in being a referee. I would be that happens with the majority of people who get into refereeing, they want to continue involvement in Football when playing isn't going to be an option.

  4. OT:
    The Dutch FA has posted this video today, by Dick van Egmond, in which he explains 5 situations about the new off-side interpretation.
    1 Off-side, 2 no-offside, 3 no offside, 4 off side and 5 offside. He said that 1, 4 and 5 have changed in comparison to last season. I know that previous videos have been posted about this, but more material is never bad I guess.

    1. Thanks a lot for the video. However, I am surprised by van Egmond's statement that e.g. video 5 would have changed. UEFA has applied the "impact on the ability to play the ball" guideline for 1 year already, it was implemented before WC 2014. The action impacting the goalkeeper in video 5 was already offside last season.
      Moreover, e.g. video 1 shows that someone tried to play the ball. UEFA's guidelines passed to the national associations say for some years that clearly attempting to play the ball should be considered as equivalent to interfering with play...

    2. Well, for the ones who don't understand Dutch, I will translate what he states:
      1. Van Egmond states that he doesn't touch the ball, and because of that it's no offside. This season it is, because his movement towards the ball has influence on the opponent.
      2. The player of Heerenveen (blue/white) has no influence at all on the opponent, so the goal should be counted. No change there.
      3. The player does not play the ball, clearly does not want to play the ball, so the play should go on. No opponents near, so no influence on them. No change there.

      In cases 4 and 5, the offside-player obstructs another player in his movement.
      4. The offside player of blue blocks the movement of his opponent, so that he can't play the ball. Last year according to Van Egmond it would have been no offside, but now it is, because he prevents the opponent from playing the ball. He sais that this would not have been offside last year.
      5. Here Van Egmond states, that at the moment the ball is played, the red/white player is offside. Last year according to VE he does not challenge for the ball, he does not play the ball and does not obstruct the sight of the keeper. Preventing the keeper from playing the ball was not in order last season, he sais. He also states that this season, this is offside because he prevents the keeper from going towards the ball.

      Maybe this translation can be helpful?

    3. It is helpful, but nonetheless surprising... "Preventing the keeper from playing the ball was not in order last season, he sais." - even in former RAPs there were some clips clearly showing that it was applied last season.

    4. Anonymous15/8/15 16:00

      D.vE. is almost completely wrong.

      In the first situation, the attacker was not in the offside position! If he was then offside but this was valid decision also till this summer.

      The fourth and fifth sequence were and are offside. The attackers in offside position clearly restricted the movement of defending players to the ball and therefore influenced their ability to play with it. I fully support Niclas's doubt and surprise on explanation presented in video.

      The 2-nd situation is onside, agree. If D.vE. wanted point out some change then the 3-rd situation is very good example. The ball goes very close to the player in offside position but he doesn't touch it and, which is actually important, he doesn't restrict the movement of anybody from defending team. So onside, in contrary to possible previous explanation.

      The aim of change was only to offer an additional explanation of some terms which are used in connection with Law XI. and to illustrate it with suitable examples. Everybody could make the own opinion if these examples are good and if their potencial is used by proper way.


  5. Mohammed Al-Hakim explains that a lack of time caused the shutdown of his Facebook page:

    "When the Allsvenskan and internationally acclaimed referee Mohammed Al-Hakim started his Facebook page, it quickly became a great success. But now he does away with the page. "It was fantastic fun, but I quite simply don't have the time anymore. I have two jobs, a family and a referee career to think of," he says.
    It is only a few weeks since Mohammed Al-Hakin started his Facebook page. The first purpose was to create an open forum for dialog with the football family, supporters and played, but also to foster understanding of a referee's daily life. "The key thought was also to to create interest and perhaps balance the perception of us referees. I wanted to be open, honest and available and hopefully inspire several to choose the referee path," says Mohammed Al-Hakim.
    The page was quickly much appreciated. And noticed. Mohammed Al-Hakim's unique initiative quickly came to the ears of the media, not only in Sweden. International media outlets wrote on the Swedish referee's Facebook page. Among others, articles were published in the English The Guardian, Mirror and the American Huffington Post as well as a series other publications. "It became huge. They called from all over the world and I had to tell them about the initiative and why I thought it was good."
    The problem was that it became too big, too much, too fast. Now he is forced to do away with the tool. "I don't have time. It was almost a full-time job to maintain quality on the page and interact with all followers, moderate comments and keep watch. I have two jobs, a family and a refereeing career to thing of," says Mohammed Al-Hakim as he continues: "It is really sad. I got a lot of good feedback, but it doesn't work anymore, unfortunately."

    1. Anonymous15/8/15 15:06

      Are we supposed to believe that FIFA and/or UEFA were OK with explaining decisions on Facebook??? :)

    2. Anonymous15/8/15 15:08

      Yes we are

    3. I could not believe that Al-Hakim would have been so stupid as to not clear this with his employers (by the way, Fogis (which published this article) is the referees' union in Sweden) before opening it. Also, he stated clearly that he would not discuss UEFA and FIFA matches due to regulations in place.

  6. Anonymous15/8/15 15:17

    @Niclas: Do you have or can you get the list of 40 AARs who attended the UEFA seminar last week?

    1. Anonymous17/8/15 04:34

      They must have been the AARs candidates for Euro 2016. If we get their names (or, at least, countries), we will be able to find out who the referee candidates are for Euro 2016. There were two AARs from each country, so they come from 20 countries/referee teams. Niclas, could you publish the list? If someone knows who went there from each country, please post the AARs names.

    2. Anonymous17/8/15 04:54

      According to, Marius Avram and Radu Petrescu were the 2 AARs from Romania, so Ovidiu Hategan might be one of the candidates for Euro 2016.

  7. News of Portugal

    Duarte Gomes FIFA Referee announced the end of international career. In June the FIFA Referee Marco Ferreira had announced the end of his career after being demoted. Next year Portugal will in principle 2 new FIFA referees.

    1. Anonymous15/8/15 23:00

      Not a big future for Portuguese refereeing at high level. I would change this rule, it is a nosense if you demote FIFA officials, these are the consequences, they make also a fool with their colleagues, among other things. It is important to give trust to referees FIFA listed.


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