December 27, 2016

Mark Clattenburg elected as The World's Best Referee 2016 in IFFHS' Fiasco List

The IFFHS have released their annual referee ranking having chosen Mark Clattenburg as The World's Best Referee in 2016, followed by Nicola Rizzoli and Viktor Kassai.

"Selected editorial offices and experts", as the IFFHS writes, have made their votes resulting in the following list:

1 – Mark Clattenburg (England)            141 points
2 – Nicola Rizzoli (Italy)                            65 points
3 – Viktor Kassaï (Hungary)                     55 points

4 – Jonas Eriksson (Sweden)                   43 points
5 – Cuneyt Cakir (Turkey)                         28 points
5 – Björn Kuipers (Netherlands)             28 points
7 – Felix Brych (Germany)                        26 points
8 – Martin Atkinson (England)                20 points
9 – Damir Skomina (Slovenia)                 19 points
10 – Nestor Pitana (Argentina)                14 points
11 – Sandro Ricci (Brasil)                          12 points
12 – Carlos Vellasco Carballo (Spain)       8 points
13 – Grisha Gheas (Egypt)                          7 points
14 – Malang Diedhiou (Senegal)                5 points
14  – Cesar Ramos (Mexico)                       5 points
16 – Ovidiu Hategan (Romania)                 3 points
17 – Sergei Karasev (Russia)                       2 points
17     Clement Turpin (France)                    2 points
17     Simon Marciniak (Poland)                 2 points
17     William Collum (Scotland)                 2 points
21 –  Ryuji Sato (Japan)                               1 point
21      Milorad Mazic (Serbia)                       1 point

> women's ranking 

Congratulations to all officials on the list.

2016 has well shown that terms like "experts" and "the crowd's wisdom" have rarely been more misleading than nowadays. This list is another example of that - at least considering the middle and lower ranks.

"You can do what you want if you know what you do." 

We are convinced that the list is, based on objective criteria, completely irrealistic and the product of "Which referee do I know as a voting journalist?" instead of "Which referee has been good in 2016?"

We have therefore proposed an > own European ranking we believe to be more realistic and achievement-based.
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December 24, 2016

Referee Advent Calendar - Door 24: Christmas Laws of the Game Quiz - Reindeer FC vs Snowmen United with Santa Claus as the Referee (Solved)

Reindeer FC are meeting their rivals of Snowmen United in the decisive final of this year's Christmas Cup. The tournament's Referee Committee, headed by the notoriously demanding Chief Officer called 'Krampus', has selected 'Santa Claus' of the USA to officiate the game. He is accompanied by his assistant referees called 'Knecht Ruprecht' from Germany and 'Zwarte Piet' of the Netherlands. Conspiracy theories have been raised before the game as Santa Claus is believed to be affiliated to the reindeers, but this did not influence Krampus' appointment.

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Referee Advent Calendar - Door 23: 2016 UEFA Referee Assistance Programs including EURO 2016

Thanks to our user Hubert (Arbiter Café), we can provide you with the latest versions of UEFA's Referee Assistance Programs. The files are quite large as usual - if the first download does not work, try it again. It might be that you have to install a specific installer at first. But it is worth it.

UEFA usually analyzes relevant match situations from their major competitions illustrating recent guidelines and teaching their officials what to keep in mind in certain game scenarios.

> 2016.1

> 2016.2 (to be added, if there is one version at all)

> EURO2016

As for EURO2016 file, you should open videos and click on "Video Info" to check the decisions.
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Referee Advent Calendar - Door 22: Impeding the Progress of an Opponent

One of the changes to the Laws of the Game that was rather "flying under the radar" in the medial coverage of the IFAB's revision work concerns the type of offence called "impeding the progress of an opponent".

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December 21, 2016

Referee Advent Calendar - Door 21: Debriefing - Feedback for The3rdTeam (Questionnaire)

Feedback you always wanted to give us? Criticism you always had in your fingertips but never dared to write us? Positive things you would like to tell us or articles you would like to see intensified in future?

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Referee Advent Calendar - Door 20: May a Player Score a Goal Without Wearing His Shoe?

A player who has lost his shoe scores a goal with the respective foot - did you ever experience anything like that in your games? And what is the correct decision?

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December 19, 2016

Referee Advent Calendar - Door 19: Refereeing Trends for 2017

2016 is widely lying behind us - a year which brought immense changes in terms of refereeing. After the hugest revision of the Laws of the Game ever as well as the introduction of Video Assistant Refereeing, it will be interesting to see what trends will dominate 2017 with regard to officiating. A prediction of emerging trends, microtrends, macrotrends and megatrends.

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Referee Advent Calendar - Door 18: Player gives up Penalty Kick to the Benefit of Fairplay

Although these situations occur at times, they still do so too rarely: In a German amateur league, a player, who was allegedly tackled inside the penalty area making the referee award him a penalty kick, apparently knew the referee had been wrong and therefore gave up the penalty kick as he was not touched by his opponent.

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December 17, 2016

The3rdTeam Referee Awards 2016: Mark Clattenburg elected as Europe's No.1

English Elite Referee Mark Clattenburg has been elected as The3rdTeam's European Referee of the Year 2016 followed by Polish rising star Szymon Marciniak and Slovenia's Damir Skomina on places 2 and 3. 

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Janny Sikazwe selected to handle 2016 CWC Final

Janny Sikazwe has been appointed to handle the final match of the 2016 FIFA Club  World Cup, between  Real Madrid and Kashima Antlers, to be played on 18 December 2016 in Yokohama.
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December 15, 2016

Referee Advent Calendar - Door 15: And the Video Assistant Refereeing Confusion goes on

In today's FIFA Club World Cup Semifinal between America and Real Madrid, Video Assistant Refereeing was again deployed following yesterday's penalty award by Viktor Kassai. Paraguayan Enrique Cacéres was involved as the main referee with in the following situation.

video by

(Admittedly Leading) Questions:

1) Did the Video Assistant Refereeing input make anything clearer on the field of play?

2) Was this a situation where Video Assistant Referees should have intervened? Or in clearer words: Why the hell did they intervene in a situation which should be ultimately clear to AR2?

3) Was a competent Assistant Referee - in the sense of "competent about offside" - part of the Video Assistant Refereeing team behind the scenes? (same goes for yesterday's situation)

4) With all understanding for this experiment being in a learning process - is not this situation simply ridiculous and seriously undermining the referee's authority?

5) Were the Laws of the Game violated? The referee actually may not change his decision (offside) once play has been re-started (America started a counterattack, the ball was in play). 

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December 14, 2016

History made: Viktor Kassai awards the first Penalty Kick ever following Video Assistant Refereeing in an International Match

History has been made: Viktor Kassai has awarded the first penalty kick ever using Video Assistant Refereeing in an international match. Following the advice of his Video Assistant Referees (VAR), the Hungarian Elite official checked video replays close to the sideline and pointed to the spot in the Club World Cup game between Atlético Nacional and Kashima Antlers - despite an offside position of the attacker fouled.

++ First ever penalty kick awarded thanks to Video Assistant Refereeing ++

++ Referee spots foul inside the penalty area upon video review and gives a penalty ++

++ However, the attacker fouled was in an offside position - it is up to interpretation whether the offside became punishable before the foul or at the same time like the foul ++

++ If offside and the foul happened at the same time, penalty would be correct. If the offside became punishable before the foul, then a penalty kick may not be given. Instead, the offside must be whistled. ++

During a high free-kick into the penalty area, Antlers fullback Daigo Nishi was tripped by Atletico’s Orlando Berrio which got missed by both Kassai and his assistant referee Vencel Tóth. Thanks to the input of the Video Assistant Referees Bakary Gassama (Gambia), Danny Makkelie (Netherlands) and Damir Skomina (Slovenia), Kassai got aware of a potentially match influencing situation he should better re-check himself on a video board close to the sideline.

Having checked the video material, Kassai immediately pointed to the spot and made clear that the decision was made by Video Refereeing by using the hand gesture indicating a screen - which however did not really lower the complaints of Atlético Nacional's players.

Interestingly, though, the decision appears to be incorrect as the tackle was made after an offside position of the attacker fouled. At the moment of the free-kick, the attacker is in an offside position and has previously sought physical contact with the defender, which should be deemed as impeding or challenging an opponent for the ball. But was the ball in play at that moment?

On the one hand, you can argue that the offside becomes an offence before the defender trips the opponent. If you follow this interpretation, offside (indirect free-kick) would be the correct decision. It would have been different if the offside offence had become punishable at the same time like the foul (Why is this so? See this article!).

On the other hand, a large part of this interference with the defender happens when the ball is not in play yet. It depends on your individual judgment whether the offside offence happens before the foul at the moment of the free-kick and when the ball gets into play first. We rather tend to think that in the period when the ball was in play, the attacker did not challenge the opponent for the ball.

Therefore, we tend to deem the offside as not punishable and to support the penalty kick decision.

FIFA's official reading of the situation is:

"Prior to that, the assistant referee had correctly applied the ‘wait and see’ technique with regard to the offside position of the player who was fouled. The offside offence never materialised because the player was unable to challenge the opponent for the ball, and the Hungarian referee subsequently pointed to the penalty mark, judging from the replay that Daigo Nishi had been tripped inside the penalty area by Atletico’s Orlando Berrio. Shoma Doi successfully converted the penalty kick, with the host club going on to win 3-0."

At any rate, as Kashima won by 3:0 after full time with the score having been 0:0 at the moment of the offence, this example at least shows that the availability of Video Assistant Refereeing might have immense, game-changing influence on the course of a match.

This has been a historical moment for sure, although a comparable situation already happened once in the USA.

With this blueprint incident having occurred, it is hard to imagine that FIFA's decision-makers will not use Video Assistant Refereeing in the coming years including 2018 FIFA World Cup. Even though, in our view, it also suggests that Video Assistant Refereeing will not lead to completely clear decisions without any room for debate - something which even the supporters of the VAR project admit and do not claim, by the way.
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Referee Advent Calendar - Door 13: When you should not issue Yellow Cards for Stopping a Promising Attack inside the Penalty Area anymore

Half a year after the revision of the Laws of the Game, UEFA and the IFAB are considering some subsequent adaptions to the topic DOGSO / SPA. In future, stopping a promising attack inside the penalty area with the possibility and clear intention to play the ball will not be penalized with a yellow card anymore.

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December 13, 2016

Referee Advent Calendar - Door 12 (delayed): SPA (?) inside the penalty area

Door 12 focuses on some cases where promising attacks have been stopped (SPA = stopping a promising attack) or even obvious goal-scoring opportunities have been denied (DOGSO = denying an obvious goal-scoring opportunity). Keeping the Laws of the Game changes in mind, what disciplinary sanctions would you issue?

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December 12, 2016

Prospective List of FIFA World Cup 2018 Referees (UEFA zone)

Please find the current list of prospective match officials pre-selected by FIFA to take charge of games at World Cup 2018 in Russia. Assistant referees are included. Among others, Italy's World Cup 2014 Final Referee Nicola Rizzoli has been removed from the list - as far as we have heard, there has been some form of opposition inside FIFA against a World Cup referee who would be 47 years old in 2018.

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December 10, 2016

UEFA Referee Categories (Men, Women, Futsal) and The3rdTeam Subcategories (2016.2)

Door 10: Please find the official documents comprising the UEFA Referee Categories for men, women and futsal officials below. Additionally, we have created unofficial subcategories for the men's Elite, First and Second Group. 

Our unofficial subcategories might be useful to classify match officials in a finer way than the UEFA Categories do it and might help to early identify talents and high potentials.

> UEFA Referee Categories: Men

> The3rdTeam Subcategories (2016.2)

> UEFA Referee Categories: Women

> UEFA Referee Categories: Futsal

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December 9, 2016

Referee Advent Calendar - Door 9: Throwing a second ball at the main ball

Door 9 contains another video example that illustrates the need to always expect the unexpected as a referee on the one hand and which curious and slapstick-like situations might happen even in your games!

One of those situations happened in the Turkish 1st league some seasons ago:

How would you decide in a) this concrete situation and b) if this specific type of offence was not made by a defending player, but the defending team's goalkeeper?


a) Penalty Kick & Yellow Card

In this concrete situation, the correct answer is: Penalty Kick & Yellow Card. Hitting the ball with a thrown object (boot, shinguard, etc.) is regarded as handling the ball in the Laws of the Game. As deliberately handling the ball requires a direct free-kick or a penalty kick (inside the penalty area), this also counts here.

b) Indirect Free-Kick & Yellow Card

The goalkeeper is allowed to take the ball with his hands in his own penalty area and can therefore not be penalized for deliberately handling the ball by throwing an object. However, throwing an object at the ball is clearly unsporting and must be dealt with appropriately: A yellow card must be issued and an indirect free-kick should be given.

Your responses

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December 8, 2016

FIFA International Referees, Assistant Referees & UEFA Referee Categories for 2017

Surprise surprise: In their today's meeting, UEFA's Referee Committee have decided against significant changes to the Referee Categories. No promotions or demotions until June! 

However, the new international match officials are ready to be released. Congratulations to all officials involved and all the best to those who have left the international panel!

It seems as if UEFA will only change the categories once a year from now on - in June.

> FIFA International Referees and Assistant Referees for 2017 (UEFA zone) &
UEFA Referee Categories 

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Europa League 2016/17 - Referee Appointments - Matchday 6

These are the choices made by UEFA Referees Committee for the last matchday of 2016-17 Europa League's group stage. 

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December 7, 2016

2017 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON 2017) - Referees Selected



Assistant referees

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