June 23, 2016

EURO 2016 Refereeing: Who has to go?

Who has to go? Probably that is a question whose answer will follow in the course of today or tomorrow and that will maybe have caused a sleepless night for UEFA's Refereeing Officers. 

Reflecting the 36 group stage matches, the first interim-report can be done. With a few exceptions, the level of football has been weak. With a few exceptions, the level of refereeing has been quite good. We have seen numerous very good performances, some satisfying, some not satisfying performances.

My proposals for who should stay and who should go. Nikolay Levnikov told a Russian newspaper that 6 officials had to leave the tournament before the KO stage. Criteria to be kept in mind: Performances, big mistakes, experience and maybe also a bit regional politics.

Some match officials convinced in both games and therefore have to stay. This counts for Felix Brych, Mark Clattenburg, whose teams made the strongest impression so far from my point of view, as well as Jonas Eriksson and Nicola Rizzoli. Both had some mistakes in their matches, but both are absolutely needed for the top clashes UEFA will face.

Björn Kuipers did well in his first game and got the honour of a very important and problematic match (Croatia vs Spain) two days ago. Regardless whether UEFA deemed the penalty or its execution as wrong, I think he will definitely stay. Cüneyt Çakır did not convince me at all at this competition, also integrating his past performance level which was by far better. He still showed solid performances, but no top performances. And actually, one can expect top performances from top officials with a reputation like Cüneyt Çakır.

Viktor Kassai and Damir Skomina both had one good, expected level game without too many problems and one performance which did not fully meet the requirements each. However, both performances were not as bad as they would rule them out to my mind. And probably, all their big calls were supported. So I expect them in the KO stage roster.

Polish Szymon Marciniak showed two strong performances with full match control, a correct penalty kick and a low card average. But - he missed a relatively clear penalty in favour of Austria yesterday. Difficult to say whether this rules him out - probably not. Maybe this lowers his chances for bigger matches, but it should be enough for a Round of 16 tie.

Milorad Mažić's case is more difficult, as his assistant missed a goal resulting from an offside decision - but as elaborated in an article on the blog, I don't think that he can be blamed. Mažić himself showed ambivalent performances: On the one hand, full control and acceptance, pleasant game-management - on the other hand, he missed 4 clear and undeniable yellow cards and gave another rather wrong one taking both matches together, which lowered the overall image. He could be a name for England vs Iceland and therefore remained. Difficult case and a shaky candidate.

Same goes for Sergei Karasev, who fully convinced in Romania vs Switzerland, but who awarded a controversial, if not wrong, penalty in his second game (Iceland vs Hungary). However, the overall impression - also paying attention to how big the Russian team's chances were estimated before the tournament - they clearly exceeded the expectations and might be rewarded for that.

Now let's come to 7 officials who are more in danger.

Three officials who - in my view - have to go because everything else would be unfair to the high-performers of this competition are William Collum, Svein Oddvar Moen and Carlos Velasco Carballo.

The Scottish-Irish team started well into the tournament, but the first 60 minutes of Czech Rep. vs Turkey belong to the worst refereeing I have seen so far at this EURO (slightly lost the full control, no suitable approach, too, but not always predictable tolerant line, match becoming heated by that).

The Norwegian referee team did not fulfill the requirement in any of their games. It has to be said like that: Their performance level has been simply disappointing. Keeping in mind Moen's performances in Champions League over the last season(s), this circumstance has not totally come out of the blue though. Moen's idea of refereeing might have produced serious doubts about his capability of refereeing at the highest level to say the least.

Carlos Velasco Carballo might have had his personal final in Slovakia vs England some days ago. In both matches, he did not fully convince, at least one blatant crucial mistake with group-influencing character was made. He did not have a clear line and did not find the right approach in Albania vs Switzerland, the handball error and missed elbow in his second match did not really improve the rather first, not that positive impression.

Apart from them, there are several officials who have not convinced me in terms of body language, control, self-presentation, refereeing abilities in big games etc.: Pavel Královec and Clément Turpin. While Královec did not do a bad job - but simply was not at his colleagues' level - Turpin showed why he should not have been chosen for this EURO in his first game (Austria vs Hungary). Wide passages of that game and the complete Northern Ireland vs Germany (which was extremely easy) tie were quite good / Ok though. I nonetheless doubt that this is enough to make him stay at the tournament. Královec' Team, Turpin both do not possess the necessary experience, and both did not show the excellence needed to come into question for bigger games - which means that they are actually no option for the KO phase.

The latter also counts for Ovidiu Alin Hategan, who performed well in his first game, but - according to what our observers reported - did not do well in his second game yesterday evening. So - difficult, but I rather think he will be sent home and can focus on the Olympic Games then. He was the youngest and maybe most inexperienced referee before the tournament, so that this would not come totally unexpected.

The biggest ? is Martin Atkinson in my opinion. Hardly satisfying in Germany vs Ukraine, but absolutely good and solid in Hungary vs Portugal, with very good assistant referee performances in both games. I personally do not see matches where he comes into question and with Clattenburg waving England's flags in the KO stage for sure, it could become difficult for UEFA to find matches for both officiating crews. Difficult.

I think, UEFA will keep the following officials for sure:

Felix Brych (GER), Cüneyt Çakır (TUR), Mark Clattenburg (ENG), Jonas Eriksson (SWE), Viktor Kassai (HUN), Björn Kuipers (NED), Szymon Marciniak (POL), Nicola Rizzoli (ITA) & Damir Skomina (SVN)

Shaky Candidates, with a tendency to stay:

Sergei Karasev (RUS), Milorad Mažić (SRB)

Shaky Candidates, with a tendency to be sent home:

Martin Atkinson (ENG), Ovidiu Alin Hategan (ROU)

I think, UEFA will send the following officials home for sure:

William Collum (SCO), Pavel Královec (CZE), Svein Oddvar Moen (NOR), Clément Turpin (FRA), Carlos Velasco Carballo (ESP)

Based on that, predictions (assumed that Atkinson will stay):

Switzerland vs Poland: Milorad Mažić (SRB)

Wales vs Northern Ireland: Nicola Rizzoli (ITA)

Croatia vs Portugal: Felix Brych (GER)

France vs Ireland: Szymon Marciniak (POL)

Germany vs Slovakia: Sergei Karasev (RUS)

Hungary vs Belgium: Damir Skomina (SVN)

Italy vs Spain: Cüneyt Çakır (TUR)

England vs Iceland: Viktor Kassai (HUN)


  1. Good analyses! I think your ''going home names'' are correct and that also Hategan will be sent home.

    Don't you think a more experienced refereeing team will be needed in France-Ireland after 2009?

    1. You are actually right and I would like to see Team Kuipers there. On the other hand, Marciniak did well in the big picture and I think he would do well there (tbh, I did not find another suitable game for him).

    2. And Germany-Slovakia for Marcinak?

    3. Possible - but what match might Karasev get then?

    4. @Niclas
      Maybe no match for Karasev? :)

    5. @RefRef

      Karasev is leaving.

  2. Very good analysis. I almost agree with all the names you mentioned, but with an exception: I think that Velasco could get a match in round of 16, perhaps, I'm not convinced he will be sent home after group stage. I think we will see Karasev and Marciniak again.

    My prediction for Saturday are:
    Switzerland - Poland
    Kassai (HUN)

    Wales - Northern Ireland
    Karasev (RUS)

    Croatia - Portugal
    Brych (GER)

    1. To be honest, I expect Clatts in SUI-POL. But then I had difficulties to find a match for Mazic.

  3. Very good analysis as well; it's a pleasure to read it !
    let me explain my poor comments: Fully agree "to promote" Clattemburg, Brych, Kassai, Skomina, Kuipers, Eriksson, Marciniak and Rizzoli. No doubts on overall good perfomances.
    Really surprised about cakir; we all expect outstanding performances from a top referee like him, but at this tournaments he was a little bit low the expectation. I don't know why it could happen, but for sure I think he will stay.
    I'll keep Mazic, also; he is expert and I didn't see big mistakes.
    Suprised by your judgment on Kralovec; I never saw him in this tournaments so I cannot say nothing but I was convinced that did rather well.
    Amazed by velasco; same comment like for Cakir, we were expecting high level performances, while he was very poor; lower and lower than Cakir, but for political reason I think he will got a 16th match
    Again for only political reason I think that Atkinson will leave, due to Clatts' attendance.
    No doubts about Moen, Collum, Hategan, Karasev and Turpin. Expected.

    So my prediction for selected referee is:
    Brych, Clattemburg, Rizzoli, Cakir, Kassai, Skomina, Velasco, Marciniak, Eriksson, mazic, Kralovec, Kuipers and fro 16th matches:

    Switzerland vs Poland: Milorad MAZIC (Srb)

    Wales vs Northern Ireland: Nicola RIZZOLI (ITA)

    Croatia vs Portugal: Viktor KASSAI (HUN)

    France vs Ireland: Szymon MARCINIAK (Pol)

    Germany vs Slovakia: Jonas ERIKSSON (Swe)

    Hungary vs Belgium: Damir SKOMINA (Svn)

    Italy vs Spain: Cüneyt ÇAKIR (TUR)

    England vs Iceland: Carlos VELASCO CARBALLO (Spa)

  4. I cannot imagine Velasco has to fly back home. He was not so bad in SVK-ENG despite the crucial mistake but Velasco is simply Velasco: A big name, an expierienced referee from a big country, in his last big tournament. I expect a last game for him, in my opinion it would be only fair after so many years at the highest level of refereeing and I'm sure, we'll see him again in France.

    Turpin, Collum, Moen, Hategan are imo sure bets for flying home - then I expect Karasev too und probably also Atkinson.

    1. Well, I respectfully disagree with Velasco. It's the 3rd major tournament that Velasco fails. Surely he had a very promising start as an Elite referee even though his EL final came too soon. He may be experienced but PLC's insist on him is not justified IMO. The handball incident on SVK-ENG should be the last one he missed.

  5. Team Kuipers future in EURO 2016 will depend on how Spain will perform in the next match. If Spain goes on in to QF/SF I think Kuipers EURO 2016 will be over for him. For that reason I think PLC and Co might indeed consider Team Kuipers the right team to handle France - Ireland.

    I think to keep maximum flexibility one of the England teams has to go. Against all odds that could be Clattenburg based on were Atkinson is in his career compared to Clattenburg.

  6. I don't think Turpin will go home. We have to keep in mind that he's from France and it doesn't really matter whether he's at home or still in the hotel. Probably he won't get any further match as referee but I can imagine that they keep them for being fourth official at least.

    1. I agree that he will stay. I think he might even get a match. I think we are too harsh on him. Overall is not in the top 5 but I think he is making good progress and actually he will get there.

    2. I would agree with that his 2nd game was promising. The question then is: Who, instead of him, should go?

    3. I think Karasev will go home. It's never good for the referee if you're constantly in the media - of course the penalty in the first match was correct but I don't agree with the penalty in the second match. Maybe this crucial mistake will send him home. (It is also clear that Levnikov says nothing negative about Karasev and his decisions, we know that from the past...)

    4. Turpin is also leaving.

  7. Be prepared for TOTALLY unexpected appointments.

    1. I agree with you for the FULL 100% Niclas!

  8. This comment has been removed by the author.

  9. One of the most respectful and well informed journalist in Spain about refereeing has posted on Twitter that Velasco will handle Portugal - Croatia in the KO stage

    1. That wouldn't surprise me at all!

    2. Maybe he reads the blog;) see the new post.

    3. I think both the blog and journalist have same source. Post on Twitter has been done at 10:48 and on this blog at 10:57. Fun fact

    4. 10:48 is realistic ;)

  10. As said here many times, the marks given by the blog observers are just their impressions, and don't necessarily have to match with those given by UEFA. That said, any prediction based on crucial mistakes on matches might not be accurate, as maybe UEFA didn't consider them so.

    Taking this into account, this means some of us are quite biased in our thoughts by what has been reported here, and, as Niclas has said, we might find ourselves quite surprised when something else comes through.

    1. Well biased or not, which would be human: the crucial mistake in SVK-ENG is a crucial mistake - this cannot be denied.

      I think many of us including myself underestimated Velasco's political power (Villar Llona?) and the meaning of the circumstance that UEFA probably does not want to send Velasco in his retirement with a 7.9 performance and with being sent home from a tournament.

    2. Or it means that sometimes UEFA tends to hide mistakes under the rug. Just saying...

    3. Indeed, that is a crucial mistake. But you don't know what Velasco saw when he waived away (the live impression I saw didn't seem a handball at all) and what he explained later. Of course, "you cannot ignore the images", as said in the EURO 2008 video. But in this case, as well as the other crucial mistake in the first match, I have not seen a lot of talk on the press about that. All in all, given also the political influence and his career, you cannot say that this was unexpected at all.

      Of course, as humans we are all biased by something.

  11. Hategan is not the youngest, Turpin is and Marciniak is second youngest

  12. I think your picks are good, Clattenburg has really look good through all his games. Cüneyt Çakır will stay, based on reputation only he has been very poor and probably should have gone home after the Ireland game. He looked asleep and allowed a lot of dangerous play to go unchecked, not to mention missed penalties. He was poor again today Italy Spain


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