April 30, 2016

Three News on UEFA Refereeing

Three news on UEFA's top-flight refereeing: A change in the EURO 2016 Refereeing Panel, Fourth Official Changes in UEFA's club competitions and Observers for next week's Semifinal Return Legs.

Averianov has failed fitness tests

Bad news for Russian refereeing and Team Karasev: Anton Averianov (1973), Sergei Karasev's usual Assistant Referee 1, has failed the decisive pre-EURO fitness tests. According to Nikolay Levnikov, Averianov ran one of the short sprint tests "a bit out of time". Nikolay Golubev, an experienced, 45-year old Assistant Referee who already joined World Cup 2006 in Valentin Ivanov's team, will replace him in France. For now it is unclear whether he will be Karasev's first or second Assistant Referee.

At this point, we feel with Anton Averianov in these probably difficult days.

UEFA returns to "Ref as 4th"-mode

Before the 2012/13 season, UEFA decided to deploy Assistant Referees as Fourth Officials in their club competition games. Mostly FIFA licensed Assistant Referees were thus placed between the team's benches in Champions and Europa League ties.
Some days ago, UEFA has decided to come back to the old system which made use of national league or FIFA referees on the Fourth Official spots. It was argued that referees were more accepted and respected by team officials and substitute players than assistant referees had been over the past seasons.
To our knowledge and information, this decision will apply from next season on.

UEFA Referee Observers for the Semifinal Return Legs

Champions League:

Bayern München - Atlético Madrid
UEFA Referee Observer: Bertrand Layec (France)
UEFA Delegate: Campbell Ogilvie (Scotland)
Prediction: Viktor Kassai (Hungary)

Real Madrid - Manchester City
UEFA Referee Observer: Hans Reijgwart (Netherlands)
UEFA Delegate: Markus Stenger (Germany)
Prediction: Milorad Mažić (Serbia)

Europa League:

Sevilla FC - Shakhtar Donetsk
UEFA Referee Observer: Markus Nobs (Switzerland)
UEFA Delegate: Mark Blackbourne (England)
Prediction: Björn Kuipers (Netherlands)

Liverpool FC - Villarreal CF
UEFA Referee Observer: Frank De Bleeckere (Belgium)
UEFA Delegate: Geir Thorsteinsson (Iceland)
Prediction: Felix Brych (Germany)
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April 28, 2016

Referees and assistant referees for Under 17 EURO 2016

UEFA Referees Committee has appointed the following officials to attend this year's Under-17 European Championship in Azerbaijan from 5 to 21 May.  Eight referees, twelve assistant referees and four fourth officials have been selected from different countries. 

As usual, only referees from nations without a football team actively joining the tournament have been chosen.

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April 26, 2016

Europa League 2015/16 Semifinals: Szymon Marciniak and Damir Skomina to referee first legs

The match officials for the first legs of 2015-16 Europa League Semifinals have been defined. Polish Elite referee Szymon Marciniak has been appointed to handle the tie involving Shakhtar Donetsk from Ukraine and holders Sevilla FC from Spain. At the same time, Damir Skomina of Slovenia will take charge of Villarreal CF vs Liverpool FC.

Good luck.

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April 25, 2016

Mark Clattenburg to officiate Champions League Semifinal Atlético Madrid vs Bayern München

English Elite referee Mark Clattenburg has been selected by UEFA's Referees Committe to handle the Champions League's semifinal between Atlético Madrid and Bayern München. He will officiate his second game at Vicente Calderón in CL's knockout stage, after the appearance in Round of 16, when the home team faced PSV from the Netherlands. In addition, he was appointed twice in the EL knockout phase. 

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April 24, 2016

Cüneyt Çakır to referee Champions League Semifinal Manchester City vs Real Madrid

UEFA has chosen Turkish Cüneyt Çakır to referee next Tuesday's Champions League semifinal between Manchester City and Real Madrid. For the 39-year old, who took charge of last season's Champions League final in Berlin, it is the 6th UCL appearance in the ongoing 2015/16 campaign.

20:45 CET - Etihad Stadium, Manchester (ENG)
Manchester City
Manchester City FC
Real Madrid

Referee: Cüneyt Çakır (TUR)
Assistant Referee 1: Cem Satman (TUR)
Assistant Referee 2: Tarik Ongun (TUR)
Additional Assistant Referee 1: Hüseyin Göçek (TUR)
Additional Assistant Referee 2: Barış Şimşek (TUR)
4th Official: Serkan Ok (TUR)
UEFA Referee Observer: William Young (SCO)
UEFA Delegate: Jozef Kliment (SVK)
Referee Liaison Officer:
The 3rd Team Referee Observer: Maxi R (GER)

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The 3rd Team's Performance Review on: Björn Kuipers in SL Benfica vs Bayern München (UCL Quarterfinal, 2nd Leg)

A good performance with one clear crucial mistake, that's how our observer summarized Björn Kuipers' work in the Champions League quarterfinal between SL Benfica and Bayern München.

Read the full report!

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April 17, 2016

Thoughts on the Referees to be appointed for the last 10 Matches...

Still being thrilled by last week's Champions League (UCL) and Europa League (UEL) quarterfinal matches, let's have an early glance at what awaits us and UEFA's referees in the semifinals that have been drawn on last Friday. Keep in mind: The following text is a mixture between what I would do on the one hand and what I think UEFA will do on the other hand.

The four duels are...:


Manchester City vs Real Madrid
Atlético Madrid vs FC Bayern München


Villarreal CF vs Liverpool FC
Shakhtar Donetsk vs Sevilla FC

Let's start with the four Champions League duels. For sure, an important question to be answered before appointing semifinal referees is "Who should referee the final(s)?". In my view, this is clear since last week. Swedish Jonas Eriksson (photo) will have the honor to take charge of the Champions League final 2016 by 99,9% for my taste. His only real competitive, German Felix Brych, did well in the Barca vs Atlético game - also UEFA has this impression apparently. However, most decisions went against Atlético that made them raise strange conspiracy theories after the game. If Bayern qualify, Brych is out as he is from Munich, Germany. If Atlético qualify for the final, he is very likely out as well, as his appointment would create fuss in the media even before the very first whistle is blown. So... bad luck for Brych, he will have to wait another season. With Eriksson, UEFA exactly knows what they get and despite a crucial mistake by his first assistant referee in the Bayern vs Juventus Round of 16 match, he did quite well. So, my premise for the following is: Eriksson gets the UCL final. Another premise is: Nicola Rizzoli will get no further match before EURO 2016. Those who have seen Atlético vs Barca last week know why.

Brych should be rewarded for his good performance in Barcelona. As he did not handle Manchester City or Real Madrid in this season's K.O. stage, it is quite probable that UEFA will appoint him for one of this tie's legs. Usually they appoint a referee, who comes from the same nation like a team that joins the other semifinal, for the first leg to maximize the perceived level of impartiality. Therefore I expect Felix Brych in Manchester City vs Real Madrid.

Another interesting question is which English referee will be appointed for one of the Atlético vs Bayern legs. Definitely there will be only one English referee team in the semifinals (the only other option would be that one of Martin Atkinson / Mark Clattenburg gets the final...) as the 1st and 2nd leg referee teams should normally come from different national associations. While Clattenburg had a decent outing in the Atlético vs PSV Eindhoven Round of 16 match - and as Atlético won, there won't be that much prejudices; appointing Clattenburg thus would be accepted -, Atkinson did not perform well in Juventus vs Bayern. Personally I think that Atkinson got enough last season and is not at the peak of his abilities at the moment. Therefore I would prefer Clattenburg for a semifinal. It might be that UEFA sees it vice versa though. Analogously to Brych, I think UEFA will appoint an English referee for the match in Vicente Calderón. My prediction thus is: Mark Clattenburg to referee Atlético Madrid vs Bayern München.

Now it becomes more difficult. Someone who cannot be ignored after his widely good performances this season and last week is Turkish Cüneyt Çakır. I think the "closer" duel of those 2 UCL semifinals is the German-Spanish one. For this reason - and as Bayern's stadium is usually a difficult turf for UEFA officials - I think Çakır will take charge of the 2nd leg of Bayern München vs Atlético Madrid.

The biggest doubt I have is about who should referee the 2nd leg of Real Madrid vs ManCity in Santiago Bernabeu. Maybe this match is partly decided after the 1st leg. Maybe not. It has to be someone with a decent level of experience in big games for sure. Normally the most logical conclusion would be Björn Kuipers. His crucial mistake in Benfica vs Bayern last week was however a number too blatant and clear. I am not sure whether a clear 7.9 in a quarterfinal rules you out of a semifinal - but I think so. If we ignore him for a moment, there are many alternatives.

1) Damir Skomina. He has had a pretty good season so far and did some big games, mostly with a good performance and invisible appearance (low number of cards expect last week's Spanish UEL derby). I have not watched his performance in Sevilla last week, but it seems to have been quite good from what I heard. If so, then a UCL semifinal would make sense.

2) Szymon Marciniak: A rising star who is collecting experience in really big games this season. He did well in most of his matches, e.g. Real Madrid vs AS Roma or Bayern vs Benfica. A UCL semifinal would be deserved, but of course quite early in his career and a bit too risky. From a psychological point of view, he should be appointed for a UEL semifinal, but not for UCL.

3) Viktor Kassai & Milorad Mažić: Both did not always show the best performances in the early phase of this season and both somehow had to recover after WC 2014 (Kassai as he was not nominated for it, Mažić as he did not play a good role in Brazil). Kassai seems to have performed well in St Petersburg and Madrid - Mažić did overall well in ManU vs Liverpool. The Serbian however struggled a bit in Paris vs ManCity, there were 2 difficult penalty area decisions to take and, at least in my view, one of them was wrongly taken. Anyway: under the premise that Atlético vs Bayern goes to Çakır and Clattenburg, there is no room in UCL for both referees, as they handled either ManCity or Real Madrid in the quarterfinals.

4) Pavel Královec or Svein Moen: Both should not remain unmentioned. Královec had a good season and was my favourite for the UEL final for a long time. But his last performances were below expected level due to too many crucial mistakes. Svein Moen delivered solid, but never completely good performances this season from my point of view. Gent vs Wolfsburg showed that he has one huge problem: a lack of acceptance (as a result of missing tactical cleverness, I would dare to say). I think both should not get a further match before EURO 2016.

So, to come back to Kuipers, I don't think that he should be ruled out too early. But I would prefer Skomina, who also has semifinal experience and would deserve it more or less. No doubt that Björn Kuipers in Real Madrid vs ManCity would be a good choice as well (as you can argue that his wrongly interpreted SPA/DOGSO situation was 1 mistake and no sign of a systematically problematic performance).

In conclusion, I would choose:

Manchester City vs Real Madrid: Felix Brych (Germany)
Atlético Madrid vs Bayern München: Mark Clattenburg (England)

Bayern München vs Atlético Madrid: Cüneyt Çakır (Turkey)
Real Madrid vs Manchester City: Damir Skomina (Slovenia)

and Jonas Eriksson for the UCL final.

For Europa League, there are some other names to add: Above all, Scottish William Collum who did not have his best season, but did well and on the expected level in Bayer Leverkusen vs Villarreal CF in UEL Round of 16. A semifinal would be the logical next step. Shakhtar Donetsk vs Sevilla FC - without any doubt a big game - would be an opportunity. Then, there is Italy's Gianluca Rocchi, who also did well this season and could be rewarded with a semifinal or even the final. As there is no other Italian (assumed Orsato won't get a match and Rizzoli is out after his performance in Madrid), it would be no surprise to see Rocchi at Anfield Road (he may not handle Shakhtar as an Italian).

As previously outlined, I think Kassai and Marciniak should get futher matches, but not in UCL. In case of Mažić, all depends on how UEFA has seen the penalty area decisions in Paris. If he got a good mark, he would be a candidate for the final in Basel.

In conclusion, I would choose:

Villarreal CF vs Liverpool FC: Viktor Kassai (Hungary)
Shakhtar Donetsk vs Sevilla FC: William Collum (Scotland) (more conservative alternatives: Martin Atkinson or Björn Kuipers)

Sevilla FC vs Shakhtar Donetsk: Szymon Marciniak (Poland)
Liverpool FC vs Villarreal CF: Gianluca Rocchi (Italy)

and either Milorad Mažić, Szymon Marciniak or Damir Skomina - depending on the semifinal appointments - for the UEL final.

However, all these ideas are like a lottery and surely depend on several things most of us cannot and do not know. What are your thoughts? 


Referee Observers for next week:

Manchester City vs Real Madrid: William Young (Scotland)
Atlético Madrid vs Bayern München: Alfredo Trentalange (Italy, FIFA ref. committee)

Villarreal CF vs Liverpool FC: Murat Ilgaz (Turkey)
Shakhtar Donetsk vs Sevilla FC: Stefan Ormandjiev (Bulgaria)
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April 13, 2016

The 3rd Team's Performance Review on: Felix Brych in FC Barcelona vs Atlético Madrid (UCL Quarterfinal, 1st Leg)

In a couple of minutes, Italian Nicola Rizzoli will face the Champions League clash between Atlético Madrid and FC Barcelona. How Felix Brych did - in the opinion of the our referee observer - in the first leg can be found below!

We are going to use this report system during EURO 2016. In a couple of days, you'll get the opportunity to give us feedback via an online survey. So save your munition for now please! :)

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FIFA Laws of the Game 2016/17 - English

What the IFAB has announced as the most extensive revision of the Laws of the Game, can be read in English from now on. Please find the new Laws of the Game 2016/17 attached below!

> LAWS OF THE GAME version 2016/17
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April 12, 2016

Europa League 2015/16 - Referee Appointments for Quarterfinals (II)

UEFA has appointed the following officials to handle Europa League's Quarterfinals return legs, to be played on Thursday 14 April. Among others, Turkish Cüneyt Çakır will control Liverpool - Borussia Dortmund, while Slovenian Damir Skomina will oversee the Spanish derby involving Sevilla and Athletic Bilbao. 
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April 11, 2016

"The most extensive revision of the Laws of the Game in IFAB's 130-year history"

It was definitely no April Fools' joke what the International Football Association Board (IFAB) has sent to the national associations, FIFA and their confederations on the 1st April 2016. It seems as if a small revolution is waiting for us: What IFAB Secretary Lucas Brud calls "the most extensive revision of the Laws of the Game in IFAB's 130-year history" will soon be faced by referees and instructors at all levels.

In the following, you receive an early insight into the revision of the Laws of the Game (version 2016/17) that are planned to be released pretty soon. 

© licensed under creative commons: Tim Reckmann on Flickr

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Champions League 2015/16 - Kuipers and Rizzoli to complete Quarterfinals appointments

Italian Nicola Rizzoli has beeen appointed by UEFA's Referees Committee to handle the return match of the Spanish derby between Atlético de Madrid and FC Barcelona. At the same time, Dutch Björn Kuipers will officiate the game in Lisbon involving Benfica and Bayern. This is the first appointment for both Elite officials in CL KO stage for this season. 

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April 10, 2016

Champions League 2015/16 Quarterfinals - Viktor Kassai to referee Real Madrid - Wolfsburg; Carlos Velasco in charge of ManCity - PSG

Exclusive: Two UEFA matches within five days: Carlos Velasco Carballo has been chosen to oversee the Champions League Quarterfinal return leg between Manchester City and Paris SG on Tuesday, having controlled Borussia Dortmund vs Liverpool FC on last Thursday. Hungarian Viktor Kassai and his EURO squad have been assigned to take charge of Real Madrid that will have to redeem their 0:2 loss against VfL Wolfsburg in the first leg.

20:45 CET - Etihad Stadium, Manchester (ENG)
Manchester City
Manchester City FC
Paris Saint-Germain
Paris SG

Referee: Carlos Velasco Carballo (ESP)
Assistant Referee 1: Roberto Alonso Fernández (ESP)
Assistant Referee 2: Juan Carlos Yuste Jiménez (ESP)
Additional Assistant Referee 1: Jesús Gil Manzano (ESP)
Additional Assistant Referee 2: Carlos Del Cerro Grande (ESP)
4th Official: Raúl Cabañero Martínez (ESP)
UEFA Referee Observer: Francesco Bianchi (SUI)
UEFA Delegate: Christian Schmölzer (AUT)
Referee Liaison Officer: David Pugh (ENG)
The 3rd Team Referee Observer:

20:45 CET - Estadio Santiago Bernabeu, Madrid (ESP)
Real Madrid
Real Madrid CF
VfL Wolfsburg
VfL Wolfsburg

Referee: Viktor Kassai (HUN)
Assistant Referee 1: György Ring (HUN)
Assistant Referee 2: Vencel Tóth (HUN)
Additional Assistant Referee 1: Tamás Bognar (HUN)
Additional Assistant Referee 2: Adam Farkas (HUN)
4th Official: István Albert (HUN)
UEFA Referee Observer: Terje Hauge (NOR)
UEFA Delegate: Jacques Antenen (SUI)
Referee Liaison Officer: Manuel Díaz Morales (ESP)
The 3rd Team Referee Observer: Edward (GRE)

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April 8, 2016

UEFA Referee Observers & Delegates for Quarterfinal 2nd Legs

Exclusive information: UEFA has appointed the eight Referee Observers and Match Delegates for next week's return legs of the Champions League and Europa League Quarterfinals. Among others, English Michael Riley has been chosen to observe the officiating team that will be in charge of the Spanish encounter in Vicente Calderón.

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April 5, 2016

Europa League 2015/16 - Referee Appointments for Quarterfinals (I)

These are the referees appointed by UEFA for EL Quarterfinals, to be played on 07/04/16. Among others, English Mark Clattenburg will officiate the Spanish derby between Athletic Bilbao and Sevilla, while Spanish Velasco Carballo will control the sonorous clash Borussia Dortmund - Liverpool.  
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April 4, 2016

Champions League 2015/16 - Mažić and Rocchi in charge of Wednesday's clashes

UEFA has revealed the choices made for Wednesday's CL Quarterfinals. Serbian Milorad Mažić has been appointed for Paris SG - Manchester City, while Italian Gianluca Rocchi will officiate Wolfsburg - Real Madrid.

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April 3, 2016

Champions League 2015/16 - Felix Brych and Szymon Marciniak to kick-off the Quarterfinals

Big task for Germany's Felix Brych: The 40-year old UEFA Elite Referee will take charge of the all-Spanish Champions League duel between FC Barcelona and Atlético Madrid under the eyes of Pierluigi Collina. At the same time, Poland's Szymon Marciniak has been rewarded for his good performance in Real Madrid - AS Roma and will oversee Bayern München's quarterfinal against SL Benfica.

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April 2, 2016

German Daniel Siebert to take charge of UEFA Youth League Final 2016

UEFA has appointed 31-year old Daniel Siebert of Germany to take control over this season's UEFA Youth League Final to be played in Nyon on 18 April. 

Swedish Andreas Ekberg and Italian Davide Massa have been chosen to oversee the semifinals three days earlier under the eyes of Pierluigi Collina and Marc Batta.

Residing in Berlin, Daniel Siebert has already refereed this season's Youth League Play-Off for the K.O. phase between Ajax Amsterdam and Sevilla CF. The 31-year old sport scientist who replaced Wolfgang Stark on the FIFA list back in January 2015 will handle his 39th Bundesliga match later today (Ingolstadt-Schalke). His modest but at the same time modern refereeing style probably attracted UEFA's attention. He will be assisted by UEFA CORE-experienced Rafael Foltyn (1985) and Jan Seidel (1984). Christian Dingert (1980) will function as fourth official. Suisse Cyril Zimmermann has been appointed as UEFA Referee Observer.

The teams that will join the final depend on the results of the semifinals played in Nyon on 15 April.

Swedish Andreas Ekberg will control Chelsea FC vs RSC Anderlecht observed and assessed by UEFA's Chief Refereeing Officer Pierluigi Collina. The 30-year old will be assisted by Fredrik Nilsson (1972) and Stefan Hallberg (1981). Bojan Pandzic (1982) will take care of the benches and team officials. The Swedish already took charge of 3 Europa League matches, the UEFA's Under-17 Euro 2014 Final and a UEFA's Under-19 Euro 2015 Semifinal.

A bit later, Italian Davide Massa (34) will referee the sonorous duel between Real Madrid and Paris Saint-Germain. Assisted by Fabiano Preti (1978) and Alberto Tegoni (1979), the Western-Italian will be observed by Vice Refereeing Officer Marc Batta of France. Marco Guida (1981) will be the fourth official.



15 April 2016, 13:00 CET - Nyon
Chelsea FC - RSC Anderlecht
Referee: Andreas Ekberg (SWE)
Assistant Referee 1: Fredrik Nilsson (SWE)
Assistant Referee 2: Stefan Hallberg (SWE)
Fourth Official: Bojan Pandžić (SWE)
UEFA Referee Observer: Pierluigi Collina (ITA)
UEFA Delegate: Eugène Westerink (NED)

15 April 2016, 17:00 CET - Nyon
Real Madrid - Paris SG
Referee: Davide Massa (ITA)
Assistant Referee 1: Fabiano Preti (ITA)
Assistant Referee 2: Alberto Tegoni (ITA)
Fourth Official: Marco Guida (ITA)
UEFA Referee Observer: Marc Batta (FRA)
UEFA Delegate: Eugène Westerink (NED)


18 April 2016, 17:00 CET - Nyon
Chelsea FC/RSC Anderlecht - Real Madrid/Paris SG
Referee: Daniel Siebert (GER)
Assistant Referee 1: Rafael Foltyn (GER)
Assistant Referee 2: Jan Seidel (GER)
Fourth Official: Christian Dingert (GER)
UEFA Referee Observer: Cyril Zimmermann (SUI)
UEFA Delegate: Eugène Westerink (NED)
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