January 23, 2015

Pedro Proença has announced his immediate retirement

Portuguese referee Pedro Proença Oliveira Alves Garcia has announced his immediate retirement from refereeing both at national and international level. On a press conference, he confirmed previous rumours and reports and stressed that this decision had been "reflected and considered for months". Drawing a prompt line under his long and successful career, Proença emulates other top referees' deeds, such as Howard Webb, Massimo Busacca or Lubos Michel, who all finished their careers before the age limit of 45 years.

Renato Faverani (left) and Andrea Stefani (right) prior to Schalke-Basel

Having become an international referee in 2003, the financial director residing in Lisbon was kind of late high flyer. Although it took him some years to establish in the higher categories of UEFA officiating, among others attending the Under-21 European Championship in 2009, he took charge of both the UEFA Champions League final between Bayern München and Chelsea FC and European Championship final between Spain and Italy in 2012. For sure, his ability to control games with natural authority, charisma and good management skills have been the key factors that brought him to these achievements.

After this extra-ordinary year 2012, his career slowed down a little. Despite further big games and tournaments such as World Cup 2014, Proença's motivation apparently suffered from the huge achievements gathered within only a few weeks or months. In 2014, his former strength of keeping matches under control by a calm, composed and charismatic leadership style was not that visible anymore, at least in my personal opinion. In fact some of the recent matches got out of control. That's why Proença probably took a wise decision just in-time. However, this should not tarnish his success of previous years, but just belong to an entire picture of this referee, who definitely "was somebody" on the field of play.

"While acknowledging that some decisions might have been wrong [...], I am confident that I did everything in order to improve my skills and my performance, trying to counter inevitable human errors.", he stated.

Although Proença plans to focus on his occupation as manager for now, he expressed that he was open for new tasks in the area of refereeing: "I will always give my contribution to refereeing whenever requested." In the previous week, it was speculated whether Pierluigi Collina might support Proença's membership in the UEFA Referee Committee, which will be re-staffed next March.

However, Pedro Proença is not the only great of refereeing that has finished his career:

Olegario Benquerença, Stéphane Lannoy and Wolfgang Stark had to retire due to the age limit of 45. All three will stay in our mind, probably as referees who had their ups and downs, but who were personalities and partly extra-ordinary figures on the field of play. There is probably no other official whose style is as unique as Benquerença's has been and there is, to my best knowledge, no other referee in UEFA's circles who handled matches with such a consistent and authoritative zero tolerance strategy like Wolfgang Stark did. UEFA definitely lost a lot of experience last December.
Looking into other considerations, Marco Rodríguez refrained from using the chance to break a record of World Cup participations and finished his career, too. What some people might have missed is that World Cup 2014 opener referee Yuichi Nishimura decided to retire from officiating as well.

There were also some assistant referees who should be mentioned. Italian World Cup final assistant referees Renato Faverani and Andrea Stefani for example. Or English Darren Cann. Without any doubt, there are some referees whose success would have been inconceivable without their teammates - Nicola Rizzoli and Howard Webb belong to them. Whenever their names appeared, Faverani's, Stefani's and Cann's were not far away. Thus, Webb visited and surprised Darren Cann at his very last international match in Barcelona last December. The duo Webb & Cann is one that shows one of the great facets of refereeing: it has the potential to build friendships.

Same counts for many many other FIFA referees who have finished their careers last year. They all deserve respect and thanks for serving the game at the expense of plenty of sacrifices. 

Huge respect for their careers!


  1. Anonymous23/1/15 16:46

    Not unexpected, but still sad in a way that he bows out now. A fantastic career, no doubt.

    /Swedish observer

  2. Anonymous23/1/15 16:50

    Great career yes.....but I wonder if it was better to go right after Euro12.

  3. Respect to a great referee!All the best for his future!

  4. Anonymous24/1/15 14:39

    Thank you for many, many well-whistled games, especially around 2012 when he was the best in the world for sure.

    All the best, Pedro! It was great to see you whistling!

  5. Anonymous25/1/15 22:39

    Guys, do you know why Faverani and Stefani are still active in Italy? Both of them are over 45 year (both born in 1969). Is the age limit different in Italy?


    1. Hi,
      I confirm that here in Italy the age limit is 45, but it works in this way: prior to each season, who starts from 1 July, each referee (or assistant referee) who has not still reached the day of his 45th birthday, can stay in the roster for the whole season, until the end (30 June of the subsequent year). So both Stefani (15/10/69) and Faverani (25/11/69) are allowed to stay until 30/06/15.

    2. Anonymous31/1/15 22:57

      But since Fifa abolished age limit. If Faverani and Stefani still meet the performance level required and physical fitness, they can still choose to be active until they perform poorly right?

    3. I still don't know anything about this abolishment of age limits. It is only reported everywhere but nothing official.

    4. Anonymous1/2/15 11:04

      It is official because out on the FIFA website, more information only when FIFA send the instructions to the federations for the choice of FIFA 2016 referees.

    5. Ok thanks, so we will see.

  6. Anonymous31/1/15 16:08

    New on FIFA List 2015 Fábio José COSTA VERÍSSIMO (26/12/82) instead of Pedro PROENCA (Update Referee List Men by FIFA)

    1. A referee with only 5 matches in Primeira Liga.
      But... was this replacement possible now, at the end of January? I know that replacements on FIFA lists can be made only when there is the update at the end of the year. In all the other moments, is only possible to remove a referee, but without a replacement. So I guess FPF had already arranged that with FIFA, but keeping the "secret" on the official documents...


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