February 15, 2014

Declaration on Confidential Referee Appointments

Dear readers of the blog,

I would like to make an announcement on the public revelation of confidential UEFA referee appointments on this blog. 

It has already happened three times that anonymous users placed comments underneath a respective blog post unveiling a referee appointment for a match on UEFA Champions League or UEFA Europa League level. Yesterday, it happened again.
While I well understand the passion to share exciting and exclusive information with the community, there is a borderline of confidentiality we should not cross for multiple reasons. 
UEFA usually publishes referee appointments 2 days before the kick-off of the match concerned. Actually, there is a 48h-limit, but mostly, UEFA.com officially provides us with referee appointments about 60 hours before the kick-off. With some narcism I may say that the blog has frequently managed to get and publish these appointments even one or two hours earlier to satisfy the curiosity all of us have got in terms of who will referee an important UEFA match. Posting referee observers is legitimate, as their assignments do not reveal the exact referee appointments, but make us able to exclude some referees, to speculate, to enjoy the tension before the referee appointments are officially published.
The reason why I am against publicly sharing referee appointments too early has little to do with curiosity or suspense though. It rather has the potential to put the referee teams concerned into danger. Match fixing is an urgent issue UEFA and we all should be very much interested in. In order to make it impossible and to ban it out of football. That's the actual reason why UEFA and most national associations are deploying a 48h-limit at all. With my - and your - blog, I do not want to support match fixing in any way. I even want to exclude the very possibility that there could be consequences of that kind. So, if you don't want that referees could potentially fear negative consequences, don't post confidential referee appointments please. Endangering colleagues should not be in the interest of any honest referee. 
If this remark is ignored, I will delete every comment putting referees into danger in future. For sure, there is also a difference to what could be - quite suitably in terms of refereeing - described as "whistleblowing". Breaking confidentiality would, in this case, mean that things are rendered problematic, discussed and improved. This blog understands itself as an independent power that is open to lead such discussions. So don't mix that up please.
If you feel the urgent need to share referee appointments or such issues with us, you can do so via mail. I ensure maximum confidentiality.

Thank you for your attention.
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