May 14, 2014

Brych awaits final honour

UEFA Europa League final referee Felix Brych talks to about his mantra of taking one step at a time, the value of experience and a surprise phone call. He was the fourth official at last season's UEFA Europa League final and will be the man in the middle in Turin today – "the most important game" of his career and vindication for his step by step approach.

"When you start refereeing you create new goals every step of the way," the referee from Munich told on the eve of the 2014 decider. "First you want to be one of the top referees in your region, then you want to be in the Bundesliga, then you want to be a FIFA referee. Once you're a FIFA referee you begin to think about finals. Last year, I was fourth official for the final and of course the next step is to be in the middle."
That is exactly where Brych will be when Sevilla FC take on SL Benfica, and while it represents "the next step" he is confident that the two decades it took him to reach this stage means he is on terra firma. "Experience is vital for a game like this – you couldn't do it in the early stages of your career. I have something like 50 European matches to draw on, from all across Europe. You have to be physically fit and mentally strong, but experience is perhaps the biggest thing for games like this."
Brych cuts an assured figure as he surveys the scene from the mouth of the tunnel at the compact Juventus Stadium, its steep terracing meaning fans will be on top of the action this evening. He draws on that experience, relates it to something he knows. "This is my first time here but stadiums like these are typical for Germany, especially after the World Cup, so I'm used to this kind of setup," he says. "There won't be any surprises for me in that respect."
The 38-year-old has been studying the teams and players to ensure there are no shocks there, though he has learned to expect the unexpected. He was notable caught off-guard as he was checking into a hotel ahead of a Bundesliga assignment when his mobile phone rang. The voice on the other end, belonging to UEFA chief refereeing officer Pierluigi Collina, told him he had been selected for Turin.
It was the latest episode in a career which began with a disappointment. "I used to play and had an injury at the age of 18 but I always had interests in refereeing – I don't know why," Brych says. "Whenever I could, I always tried to do official matches at school – games between classes. It was always a special interest so when I got injured, I got the licence – an obvious first step." The first of many.

UEFA Europa League Final 2014
14 May 2014, 20:45 CET
Juventus Arena, Turin, Italy
Sevilla FC - Benfica SL
Referee: Felix Brych (Germany)
Assistant Referee 1: Mark Borsch (Germany)
Assistant Referee 2: Stefan Lupp (Germany)
Additional Assistant Referee 1: Tobias Welz (Germany)
Additional Assistant Referee 2: Bastian Dankert (Germany)
Fourth Official: Milorad Mažić (Serbia)
Reserve Assistant Referee: Thorsten Schiffner (Germany)
UEFA Referee Observer: Hugh Dallas (Scotland)
UEFA Delegate: Lloyd Hughes (Wales)
UEFA Referee Liaison Officer: Davide Garbini (Italy)
Blog Referee Observers: Edward (Greece), Thomas H. (Netherlands)

The jerseys (Sevilla GK, Sevilla players, Referee, Benfica Players, Benfica GK):

Please discuss the team's performance in this thread later this evening.


  1. Interesting proposal from Collina...

  2. Anonymous14/5/14 21:35

    Ok first half, but one incorrect YC in my view.

    /Swedish observer

  3. Anonymous14/5/14 21:40

    Overall a solid first half. Good strategy. Good body language. One or two decisions that can be discussed but to my opinion so far well done Regards RC

  4. Anonymous14/5/14 22:05

    Missed penalty involving Lima from SLB?

    1. good view from AAR1 (very hard to see for Brych), yes maybe penalty because of the contact that was there.
      But 3 excellent no penalty decisions, intense match, great positioning and fitness and control so far.

    2. Anonymous14/5/14 22:44

      For me it was contact, and penalty even though he fell theatricly. And i dont like that he whistled for end 2nd half after 2 min add time stipt even though 1 of the 2mins add. Time was wasted with injury

  5. Anonymous14/5/14 22:56

    Very bad match of Sevilla and Benfica. And Brych not too well.

  6. For me Brych did overall very well. Control was never a problem and in this match this was priority no.1. Furthermore staying 120 minutes alert in this crap match (sorry) was surely also a mental challenge. I agreed with all penalty area decisions even though the one mentioned above is of course worth to be discussed, 50-50 for me. The assistants were overall good but not faultless (Borsch). Warnings were sensibly chosen and the disciplinary control solid with one or two mistakes. Brych had some more subtle weaknesses IMO including advantage rule, backwards movement and prevention before set pieces. And as usual some points for consideration in the additional time management. But I am personally happy.

    1. Actually the first saved penalty was irregular..goalie stood 1-2 metres before the line. Also the second saved one was borderline. Call it common sense but ...

    2. Yes, first saved penalty was irregular. Additional time a bit too short, but generally: very good performance.

    3. Anonymous14/5/14 23:49

      Personally i think brych was just average and not "very good", but its almost impossible to be very good in a very bad match.... 8.3/8.4 for brych (or even 7.9)because the keeper who went forward with penalties are strictly even 2 crucial mistakes. They had to be taken over at least the first of the two, and it decided the outcome... I know its strict but still crucial....DD

    4. Anonymous15/5/14 00:04

      2 crucial mistakes at least! We can't overlook there's still a handball Mr. Brych has also missed!

  7. Anonymous15/5/14 00:00

    First saved penalty is BLATANTLY IRREGULAR. How is it possible that no one in the refereeing time saw the foul??? This clearly stains Brych's work. At this level, in the finals of the competition, this sort of irregularity cannot happen at all and the referee should have detected it! No mitigating circumstances! It's unforgivable. Not to mention that Brych missed at least 1 penalty during the match. Terrible performance on the whole because his mistakes impact on the final outcome!

  8. Anonymous15/5/14 00:14

    It's CRIMINAL to not see a first penalty fault! Common sense? Please...

    Brych was overally 8.4, but he missed much: penalty for Benfica for foul on Lima is 100% foul, never 50/50 (as always, non-existing AAR in German team), missed YC for very dangerous play in 70'. Correctly non-whistled penalty for handball and in that situation at the end of first half. It's 7.9 in this stage. But as I mentioned, it's a criminal to allow this irregular save, so 7.4.

    Well performance, but crowned by two big mistakes, really big...

  9. I think that UEFA should give instructions about that. I can't believe that both AARS evaluated the save as regular. Ok, AARS are there just to check goal / no goal situations, they are not ARs. But this was too blatant. PSO were decided in favor of Sevilla, thank to this lack of alertness. Sevilla was already lucky to be there after Cariolato mistake in semifinal. They didn't deserve to win the cup, in my opinion.

    About the rest of the match: a very good approach in first half and a firm control of the match, but in second half I think that the penalty in favor of Benfica, right in front of AAR1, had to be given. Brych waited for a help but AAR1 was silent. Then, further several and important points for improvement until the end of extra time. Overall, the performance wasn't poor, but Brych seems to be always in trouble when he could make the "jump" from GOOD to EXCELLENT.
    Very difficult to talk about the mark, but I would say 8.3 if we don't consider the possible crucial mistakes (the missed penalty and the first irregular save in PSO).

    Finally, a question, do you think that in WC referees will allow such saves by keepers during PSO?

    1. Anonymous15/5/14 00:36

      Never, they will be taught after this mistake and we can even experience very meticulous approach with that during WC.

      It's not much to say about mistakes, they were very clear. Foul on Lima must be whistled and it's mainly AAR1 mistake. As for penalty saved by Beto, as someone above said, it was a referee-criminal. One can talk about missed handball, but I see arguments for penalty as well as against pointing for the spot. I only ask. Why no one told Brych he is definitely too quick to finish match (second half and second half of extra-time). Why does he want to quit stadium so early? And it's very big point for improvement, visible also (even more) in Bundesliga matches. I think that "additional time by Brych" disappoints many people regularly, but nothing changes.

      And I agree, Chefren, Sevilla was very lucky to gain an advantage from referees' mistakes, but today Benfica was cruelly "robbed" indirectly or directly by German officials (Welz). All in all, those clear mistakes make this performance below standards.

    2. Anonymous15/5/14 02:13

      It's 7.9 in my view. That irregular save is too flagrant!!! Sevilla's goalkeeper takes THREE STEPS FORWARD. This is unbelievable. And the penalty in favour of Benfica was clear as well. Huge mistakes spoiling a bit the final. The German refereeing team was in fact way below par! I was expecting a solid performance but they didn't rise to the occasion. Not in the least!

    3. Anonymous15/5/14 02:19

      7.4 better said.

    4. Anonymous15/5/14 09:25

      Rewatched the match now and i have to say thatActually its very difficult to give a mark for this match i think because who is to blame for which mistake?! I think brychs general level was 8.4 but there are lots of points to improve. I can understand that niclas and jens as germans did find it very good. But it really wasnt. I will be biased too looking at bjorn in lisbon as a dutchman.But rethinking about it the mark must be 7.9 if not even lower. .. And thats a pity. I Expected more alertness of 3!people watching psos being taken to decide a final!! That makes the penalty mistakes unforgivable and really blatant. Hopefully bjorns team wont disappoint us as much as herr doctors team did disappoint me. DD

  10. Anonymous15/5/14 09:28

    I would analyse it in a different manner:
    First of all, AR2 Lupp with IMO great onside calls!
    Brych himself with a good performance... The critical points of the match are influenced by his team as I see it:
    - Third yellow card was not necessary, IMO it was not a foul either. With regard to Brych's behaviour, I would say he wanted to let the game go on, but either AR1 or Mazic told him to whistle (very late whistled by Brych)
    - Penalty appeal by Benfica... First of all, hard to detect because forward seems to slip; and in slipping there is a contact. I support Niclas in a 50/50 call because I see arguments for both sides ( slipping vs contact). If we evaluate it as Penalty, we must take into consideration that the slow motion shows the contact only in the angle of AAR1. So with respect to the perspective of Brych and the fact that we see the contact in slow motion 2, we should not blame him but only AAR1.
    - Of course Cardoso's Penalty should have been repeated. But, honestly: Brych has to observe the shoot and we have two members of the team on goal line. In this case, they MUST see the incorrect behaviour by Beto, Brych can or should see it. But in such a case, I expect that one person on goal line is focussed on goal line and the other one on goalie (remember: in league matches without AAR's, AR observes goal line and goalie).

    I would say 8,3/8,1/8,5/8,0/8,2 and fourth official 8,2 or 8,3

    Best regards

  11. What surprises me is that many anonymouses (or maybe even always the same?) did not mention in one word that Brych had an active approach which led to full match control. And this match was everything but easy.

    And of course it was no deliberate handball. Try to return to reality here. I know some people's approach that every handball leads to a penalty because certain guidelines are misunderstood, but it is simply wrong.
    For me the 1st saved penalty is the biggest problem in the performance. I would like to know the guidelines by UEFA btw. In many cases, and also this one, the attacker delayed the execution and stopped before kicking the ball during the running-process. Can we expect goalkeeper to stay on the goalline? I mean you do not suspect an attacker stopping the running-up (?). But still this was clearly blatant. I observed the same in two matches in group stage on which I reported - Vad in Atlético-Austria and another match that does not come to my mind. In both cases, the goalkeepers were standing 2 metres in front of the goallines and of course the AARs or referees did nothing. So I fear this is sth UEFA actively deems as irrelevant. Otherwise I cannot explain this frequency of clearly missed encroachments.

    The 3rd YC was technically wrong as well, as Phil outlined, I have the feeling that Brych at first did not even want to give a free-kick. Tactically this YC was sensible though. Sevilla's players and supporters got a bit crazy after their two early YCs and some correctly not given ones on the other side.

    For sure this performance was not perfect but given the circumstances and difficulty and high level of match control resulting from a good approach, I am a bit stunned by this unidimensional feedback (and irrealistic marks) issued by many of you here. I wait for Thomas' and Edward's report though.

    1. btw we are not playing Scotland Yard, anonymous, referee decisions are not "criminal"...

    2. my impressions...
      1. foul detection and control were at average level during all 120 min. Disciplinary measures were not always at the best level and is some to improve.
      2. First minutes of first half were a bit difficut to deal with for any ref with one "orange" situation, but in the end no big deal because the players cool down after those first minutes.
      3. 45+1 penalty appeal. For me is obvious the contact and the limitation of progression. So penalty and mandatory disciplinary action were missed. Brych had a good position so we can't blame the assistants alone...
      4. Situation Lima vs. Moreno in the box seems to be almost unanimous ruled as an error by the ref's team, and I agree.
      5. added time ... i understand the way Brych deals with it. So for me no mistake or bad management.
      6. PSO... we all know the rules so Cardozo penalty should be repeated and yc for Beto.
      obviously the performance overall was not awfull but we were on a FINAL... with some mistakes that could have influence in the outcome...

      Brych: 7.8 (8.2)
      AR: 8.1/8.3
      AAR: 8.0/8.2
      4o: 8.2

    3. Niclas, we all know Brych is your favourite referee and you are biased. Brych had a very good approach and control, but it's a FINAL, I expect top-class performance by top-class officials in top-class match. It wasn't the case. And yes, I said it was a "referee-criminal", it's common saying and fully illustrates how much Benfica was robbed in this match by inept officiating. Handball is 50/50, but no crucial mistake, as I said above. If you want to see this performance as very good one, OK, you have a right to do so, but don't attack people for having different opinions, calling them 'unidimensional feedback (and irrealistic marks)'. IMO, your thinking about this performance is irrealistic (common sense to miss such obvious encroachment and trying to justify everything by good control level). Calm down a bit please and try to understand people are appalled by mistake that shouldn't have happened in a park game... Please, don't attack others for having different opinions, again...

      And, of course, you will not have a say in Thomas' and Edward's reports ;)

      OK, if you want to know my name, it's not a problem for me, but I always think that it's opinion that really matters rather than man who writes it...

      However, the best movement is deleting anonymous function because someone said some bad words about your favourite referee's performance...

      Come one! It's a nice day, must we have a war again? :D

    4. :)
      Please don't measure me by your own standards. Germany is a country with little collectivism and much individualism. I am the last one who pays some value to patriotism. I have no personal use of any nature to be biased and thus give my opinions neutrally. You should be quite careful with what you say, I don't own a site funded by DFB..
      As for the rest, you surely agree that it is a blurred circumstance if the same anonymous makes more than triple-comments within a couple of minutes, gives opinions without accountability by using the anonymous lable and thus arouses the impression that MANY people would support this view, right?.
      As for the situations, we can always discuss...

    5. BTW one remark as I think this was misunderstood:
      my initial comment summarized the match time. It was written before the penalty shoot-out - because I did not expect what came then. So for me the 120 minutes were 8.5 level. But of course the penalty shoot-out changes things - my comment "call it common sense, but...." meant that I would NOT call this common sense but a clear technical mistake.. or rather a doubt targeting at hearing your reactions. So surely I would have expected more in this final by all of them. Referees and players. :)

    6. Maybe IP addresses will show it - I posted two comments. One at 12:14 and second as answer for Chefren's comment at 12:36. Do you think it's too much?

      And about favourite referee - you have/had Brych as such at some times ago, so my feeling was understandable, but things often change ;)

      OK, we can say Brych was really good and the one who must be blame much is AAR1 for missed penalty and the referee who was responsible for observing GK (I guess they must have share responsibility at pre-match debriefing), but only observer could evaluate who was it.

      That 7.4 is more for the whole team. We shouldn't have much doubts there were two crucial mistakes that were both against Benfica. Brych could and maybe even should escape such mark, but my question is: can we fully justify him? It's the same with Stark in MU-Olympiacos - AARs made many crucial mistakes there in their area of responsibility, but shouldn't we expect Stark to be more alert in this match?

      8.1 seems to be an adequate mark for main referee (one missed YC, one wrong YC, missed things in not his area of responsibility, additional time)
      Welz with clear 7.9 for missed penalty, he was the only one with perfect view and should've forced whistling a penalty.
      And the referee who was responsible for missing the encrouchment with crucial mistake if the tasks were share before the game at debriefing, but again it's observer who could evaluate who was it...

  12. There are several things that needs to be examined about this match. I won't say anything about the match until the report is done.

  13. Anonymous15/5/14 19:15

    I have to say that I would assess the overall performance of Byrch at expected level. Match strategy was good, match control was good, fitness and positioning was good and application of LotG was overall good (see for PSO below). And yes we can discuss the third YC and yes we can discuss the penalty issue (hands) but both these decisions were acceptable from a strategic point of view (YC) or positioning point of view (penalty). The only serious omission was the PSO issue. Indeed a serious one. One that could have been and should have been avoided. But in marking the performance of Byrch that should not be leading. We should label it and take into account. More important for Byrch is to assess how this could happen. Some people made reference to Kuipers. Let I be honest... Kuipers is good but he is only no 1 because of his team. Years of practice and empowering his AR's and AAR's to have the courage to make important calls..... to take risks..... And never play the "blame game". The team performs well or the team goes under... Its all in the game. In the case of Byrch and the PSO issue it was not Byrch that failed... It was the team that failed. I would mark Byrch 8.4 with correction to 7.9 for the PSO issue.

    Word of caution to some of this community..... you will be judged as you are judging others...

    Regards RC

    1. Anonymous15/5/14 19:49

      RC you are right.. Also about the fact that the team does well or goes under. But since the points system that is used here we still play a bit of a blame game! This would be a match in which a "team point" would be better. I hope that the willshow (again) how to ref a good final. Brychs team did show how to do it for 120 mins. But they also showed how to mess up 120 mins of hard work! And that s a pity for them all! DD

    2. Anonymous15/5/14 20:02

      Brych did fail in the PSO! It was so so blatant that everyone in the stadium and at home detected the irregularity! The main responsibility lies in the AAR's but Brych was over there, a few metres away from the goal line. Either he wasn't able to detect it or he didn't have enough courage to make the call. Both are worrying!

    3. Anonymous15/5/14 20:11

      DD indeed the sad thing is they will be remembered by the wider public for the PSO issue and not for 120 minutes hard and good work. But let we, as self proclaimed experts, at least take the 120 minutes of hard work into account and give Brych some well deserved credits... Regards RC

    4. 100% agreed, RC. The mark is suitable and your conclusions adequate.

  14. Anonymous15/5/14 19:37

    I only posted two comments as anonymous. Niclas, you're actually biased as far as Brych is concerned. And that really discredits your take on Brych's performances. Everyone is already up on it!

  15. Anonymous15/5/14 19:39

    Everyone has already picked up on it!*


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