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. 

The 41-year old official from Newcastle upon Tyne has officiated two major finals this year: The Champions League final between Real Madrid and Atlético Madrid in Milan and the final of UEFA EURO 2016 between Portugal and France in Saint-Denis.

Throughout the entire year, Mark Clattenburg, who was ranked as no. 5 last year, has impressively convinced in most of his games and excelled in the areas of decision-taking, game-management, control and communication. He represented a modern way of interpreting the Laws of the Game and succeeded in combining to maintain a certain distance and authority on the one hand, but to stay approachable and empathic for the players on the other hand.

Congratulations, Clatts, for a remarkable refereeing year 2016.

Poland's Szymon Marciniak (l.) and Damir Skomina (r.) from Slovenia have been chosen as numbers 2 and 3 behind Clattenburg mirroring that 2016 has been a very successful year for both of them. While Marciniak (2015: no. 6) is clearly UEFA's new star referee at the moment and obviously made the biggest jump of all Elite referees in 2016, Skomina (2015: no. 11) has managed to return to his old, good form that once made him reach UEFA refereeing's top in past years. Both officials convinced at EURO 2016 and in practically all notable Champions League or Europa League ties.

Italy's Nicola Rizzoli, who landed shortly behind Skomina, is heading places 4 to 15 of our ranking.

European Ranking

01.  Mark Clattenburg - England - born in 1975 - 110 points
02.  Szymon Marciniak - Poland - born in 1981 - 86 points
03.  Damir Skomina - Slovenia - born in 1976 - 70 points
04.  Nicola Rizzoli - Italy - born in 1971 - 68 points
05.  Viktor Kassai - Hungary - born in 1975 - 64 points
06.  Milorad Mažić - Serbia - born in 1973 - 46 points
07.  Cüneyt Çakır - Turkey - born in 1976 - 43 points
08.  Felix Brych - Germany - born in 1975 - 38 points
09.  Björn Kuipers - Netherlands - born in 1973 - 29 points
10.  Jonas Eriksson - Sweden - born in 1974 - 19 points

Other officials mentioned by our voters: Ovidiu Hategan (Romania), Sergei Karasev (Russia), Gianluca Rocchi (Italy), Danny Makkelie (Netherlands), Deniz Aytekin (Germany), Tasos Sidiropoulos (Greece), Martin Strömbergsson (Sweden), Carlos Velasco Carballo (Spain)

Previous Annual Rankings:
2015: 01. Çakır - 02. Rizzoli - 03. Brych
2014: 01. Kuipers - 02. Rizzoli - 03. Pitana
2013: 01. Kuipers - 02. Webb - 03. Ricci
2012: 01. Çakır - 02. Roldán - 03. Proença

The3rdTeam's Rising Referee Star Award 2016

For the first time, we also like to honour a referee we are considering as a rising star on 'UEFA's Refereeing Heaven'. It is given to a referee who managed or initiated his breakthrough (only) in the past year 2016 and is deemed as a very talented official with a bright future inside European refereeing.

The 2016 winner is: Aliyar Aghayev of Azerbaijan. 

Born in 1987, the 29-year old Second Group referee from Baku has made an impressive development over the last months and has established as a talented, courageous and reliable official in UEFA Europa League. His personal highlight probably was being appointed for UEFA Under-19 EURO 2016 in Germany and handling the final match between France and Italy, where he totally convinced. We wish him good luck for the future!

Other Confederations

In former times, we created world rankings on the basis of not too many matches we have seen. For the first time, we would like to highlight one referee from each confederation outside UEFA (except OFC) who has had a very successful year 2016 and can be regarded as the year's best official on the respective continent.

Asia (AFC): Alireza Faghani from Iran (r. in the picture). The 1978 born referee impressed at the Olympic Games in Brazil. On the basis of an excellent fitness and game-understanding, he was rightfully rewarded with officiating the final game between Brazil and Germany in Maracana. From our point of view, he has the potential to follow Ravshan Irmatov's footsteps by reaching a lot at the coming World Cup.

Africa (CAF): Bakary Gassama. He once again delivered convincing performances throughout the year, in particular in CAF's Champions League final return game.

North- and Central America & Caribbean (CONCACAF): Roberto García Orozco of Mexico. The 1974 born official residing in Mexico City has, among others, managed the first leg of the CONCACAF Champions League and convinced at Copa América, where he took charge of USA-Colombia and a quarterfinal game.

South America (CONMEBOL): Patricio Loustau from Argentina. Although not pre-selected, Loustau has been reported as the most consistent and best referee in South America's top competitions in 2016 including the Copa América where only Argentina's presence in the last games avoided his appointment for the final. Here we gratefully rely on the rankings of Árbitro Internacional.


  1. 17/12/16 18:17
    OT:Again controversies in Croatian footballl;

    I wanna ask what do you think,was there a foul on player in white jersey before goal,90+3 min.?

    1. Hello from my personal view, no clear foul here, so you can easily back to ref's decision. No obvious mistake. Agree with play on.

    2. For me you can whistle it but no mandatory foul (I'm coming from England ;-))
      Seriously though even being harsh no more than -0.2, for me not a clear missed foul. One can imagine how that was taken out of context.
      On many levels would you agree awful situation in Croatia, only made worse after Strahonja had to retire. After Bebek, only Ante Vučemilović-Šimunović, Zebeć and Jović really options for big matches. And the national opinion to Bebek couldn't be more different to Mažić in Serbia...

    3. Well,situation in Croatia is awful pretty much because refs are making decisions in favor of Dinamo Zagreb and favoring them,while Hajduk and Rijeka mostly are the ones who complain.
      In that circumstances,every small mistake by the ref in Croatia is crucial,there have been plenty of refs that didn't want to handle this match between Hajduk and Dinamo,Bebek also was one of them,he said he doesn't want to be appointed for Hajduk's matches because they put so much pressure on him,even tho he is the best Croatian referee ,I say that because of his international experience.

      And Mazic is way more aprecciated in Serbia than Bebek is in Croatia,that's for sure.

      We in Croatia should look up to Slovenia;They have 1 great and 2 pretty god refs:Skomina,Jug and Vincic,their refereeing system is way better than in Croatia.

  2. Very good match for young Croatian FIFA referee, very good, big potential, for my view no foul

    1. I agree with you,very good performance from Zebec.

  3. OT: David Fernández Borbalán is injured and has been replaced for the matches he had tomorrow and on Wednesday.

    1. Juan Martinez Munuera will replace him tommorow.


  4. Bayern-Leipzig for Felix Zwayer. Good match,good referee.

  5. No comments about the list? I'll give mine.
    1. Clattenburg - excellent whole last season, especially first half of the year 2016. Second half was so-so. Many big games, not only two finals, and deserved first place. Pity that his AR1 wrongly allowed Real's goal from offside in CL final.
    2. Marciniak - referee that makes almost no mistakes (at least in international competitions). He will be the best ref in years that are coming, I am sure. I adore the way he handles the matches and problematic situations. Excellent and reliable team, as well.
    3. Skomina - very good, calm, but has several very problematic decisions, and IMO mistakes, so third place is maybe undeserved. I would put him on 5th-6th place ( I understand his high place, because he was in charge of CL and also EL semifinal, and whistled 4 matches in EURO).
    4. Rizzoli - I am fan of him and his style. Very calm, ref for tense matches. One big mistake when whistled FK instead of PK in favor of Barca in 90', and beacause of that mistake Barca was out (and because of that Rizzoli was out from CL/EL semis/finals, too). Except that, very, very good year.
    5. Kassai - back on old tracks, with some mistakes here and there. Very solid year.
    6. Mazic - very good year overall. He payed for problematic situations in PSG-City (two penalty situations and PSG's second goal, which Collina said it was offside due to Ibrahimovic's influence on GK - I strongly disagree with that, because GK wasn't covered at all and Ibra was far away from the ball) . Because of that, he was out from semis/finals. Excellent refereeing in EURO brought him Super Cup. Very strong second part of the year with important matches. For me, at the moment in the best form along with Marciniak (from August till now).
    7. Cakir - extraordinary first half of the year until 90th minute of second CL semifinal, when whistled PK for Atletico and the foul was outside the box. Two CL semis, outstanding really. But, after that match, he totally lost himself. Very poor performances in EURO, and nothing special second part of the year. He simply lost his edge.
    8. Brych - not the best year for him. After mistakes in Barca-Atletico we didn't see him in most important games afterwards. He had several (important?) mistakes throughout whole season. I expected much more from Dr. Brych.
    9. Kuipers - Far away from his best level from 2013 and 2014, but he was ok. Some important decisions correctly taken.
    10. Eriksson - the ref that got much more this year than he deserved. EL final and plus EURO semifinal was undeserved IMO. Ok, EL final was expected (he was favorite for CL final for a long time), but he made at least two, probably three crucial mistakes in that match (penalties for Liverpool) and decided the winner of the trophy. Unacceptable. In EURO - again mistakes, nothing special from him. I expected him to be way, way better.

  6. It`s a good choise.

  7. Nice article great post comment ,thank for your sharing.

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