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.


  1. Great shame because Mazic and Marciniak!

  2. Also interesting to see that those journalists seem to have simply had a look at the Olympic Games referee list to choose some other officials from Asia, Africa and South America - but forgot to consider the final referee of the same tournament: Faghani of Iran. Maybe his nation may not appear in the ranking for political purpose, who knows.

  3. The significant number of typing errors in the list of the world's best referees seems to reflect the quality of IFFHS' ranking as a whole. ;-)

  4. Marciniak - 2
    Mazic - 1
    Velasco - 8

  5. This vote should be abolished because it is a disgrace to the profession!

  6. It is reported that the Chinese Super League wants to hire Clattenburg...

  7. Well, since these rankings are wholly subjective, I'd rather express my views about the upcoming appointments for UEFA Champions League last-16 fixtures.
    My predictions (also reflecting the decisions I'd make if I were in charge):

    Benfica - B. Dortmund ERIKSSON / ROCCHI

    Paris SG - Barcelona CLATTENBURG / MARCINIAK

    Real Madrid - Napoli ATKINSON / SKOMINA

    B. München - Arsenal RIZZOLI / KUIPERS

    Man. City - Monaco MATEU / ORSATO

    B. Leverkusen - A. Madrid COLLUM / SIDIROPOULOS

    Sevilla - Leicester KARASEV / HATEGAN

    Porto - Juventus KASSAI / BRYCH

    1. I must say your predictions really look very solid... Surely would make a nice set of appointments but I'm sure Mazic will feature somewhere 😉

    2. great work on the predictions.

    3. Thanks, folks!
      @Soham, I would place Mazic maybe in a CL QF clash, then reckon that signor Collina may well give him the EL final.

    4. @Steve Smith, I agree with you on this; Mazic would be a prime candidate for the EL final this time. In addition to this, I also personally feel that Atkinson won't be featuring much in CL knockouts considering his very poor performance in the CL group stage matches. So Atkinson getting Real Madrid v Napoli seems a bit unlikely to me so Mazic being put in there would be great 😎

    5. I've made some predictions as well, tell me what you think:

      Benfica - Dortmund: Collum (SCO) - Eriksson (SWE)
      Bayern - Arsenal: Mazic (SRB) - Mateu Lahoz (ESP)
      Leverkusen - Atlético: Rocchi (ITA) - Hategan (ROU)
      City - Monaco: Kuipers (NED) - Brych (GER)
      Real - Napoli: Kassai (HUN) - Clattenburg (ENG)
      Porto - Juventus: Çakir (TUR) - Aytekin (GER)
      Paris - Barcelona: Rizzoli (ITA) - Marciniak (POL)
      Sevilla - Leicester: Skomina (SVN) - Sidiropoulos (GRE)

      @Soham @Steve Smith: Concerning Mazic, I think we could even go further and consider him for a CL final candidate, given his very good form at the moment. Would you agree?

    6. Another time Brych for Monaco, Kuipers for City and Monaco,
      Clattenburf for Real, Aytekin for Juve, Çakir for Porto and
      Sidiropoulos for Leicester?

    7. Orsato repeat Manchester City?

    8. @Soham, I think Collina fully trusts Atkinson, otherwise the Committee would not keep him for 2017. At this stage, one thinks of referees who are a safe pair of hands and Atkinson is always a reliable choice in light of all his FIFA/UEFA/Premier League baggage. He's the kind of referee who does not crack in the face of pressure and strong emotions. It would be too odd to me seeing a tried and true official like Atkinson confined to EL.


      It could happen but I would definitely avoid assigning referees to matches involving teams they encountered during group stage. This would rule out Kuipers for City and Monaco, Çakir for Porto, Aytekin for Juventus, Clattenburg for Napoli, Sidiropoulos for Leicester. Regarding Mazic, I guess he's in with a chance of getting EL final. CL showdown still too much for Mazic in my view. Skomina deserves it this year.

      @alberto, Orsato had City in the CL play-off back in August, so no issue with that.

    9. @K.S. : I don't think Kuipers will do Manchester City v Monaco as he did both these teams in the group stage!! One team repeatations may well be possible like in case of Çakir, Sidiropoulos, Aytekin and others... Mazic may well get CL final but I personally feel it would be either Skomina or Brych depending on which teams are playing the final... Mazic and Marciniak seem to be the frontrunners for the El final to me 🙂

      @Steve Smith : The fact that Atkinson was made to referee Ludogorets v Basel itself shows he is not in a huge amount of favour at this moment... And so far from I've seen of Atkinson in Europe this season, I'll be very, very surprised if he gets more than a Round of 16 in CL... After that he shouldn't be getting anything more than el based on his performance this season 🙂

    10. @K.S. @Steve Smith
      I noticed that Kuipers has never done a Real Madrid home match and similarly Mazic has never done a Bayern Munich home match... So maybe this might be the time when Kuipers gets to visit Santiago Bernabeu and Mazic pays a visit to Allianz Arena... What are your thoughts??

      By the way, wishing everyone here in the blog a very, very Happy and Prosperous New Year 2017... Here's hoping that the new year is filled with lots of joy, success and happy moments with family, friends and near and dear ones for everyone 🙂

    11. @Soham That was the reason why I predicted Mazic for Bayern. If he is considered as a CL final referee and if Bayern should go through to the final, he should have refereed them at least one. And I think that Bayern-Arsenal could fit to Mazic. What I realized as well is that Kuipers not only has never attended Santiago Bernabeu, but the final time he handled Real was in the CL final 2014. Real-Napoli with Kuipers does actually sound also quite sensible to me.

      Another question I was thinking of: what are the chances of Sidiropoulos and Turpin being appointed in a R16 clash, since both are preselected for 2018?

      By the way, happy new year to everyone!

    12. This is, what I would like / predict:
      ManCity-Monaco: Aytekin / Mateu
      Real-Napoli: Turpin (or Atkinson) / Kuipers
      Benfica-Dortmund: Hategan / Mazic
      Bayern-Arsenal: Kassai / Rizzoli
      Porto-Juventus: Eriksson / Brych
      Leverkusen-Atletico: Collum / Orsato (or Karasev)
      Paris-Barcelona: Marciniak / Clattenburg
      Sevilla-Leicester: Skomina / Cakir

      These are the top 18 in my opinion. If matches are "decided" after the first leg, others (e.g. Sidiropolous) might get a chance.
      I think, first leg Real-Napoli is one of the clearer games in terms of probable result, therefore I don't expect a very big name there. Could be a good opportunity to test someone, who should be pushed towards the WC. But I agree, Atkinson would fit there as well.
      Rocchi and Nijhuis are possible as well but rather unlikely looking at group stage performances/appointments. Even more unlikely are the 6 Elite referees, which I (and you)did not mention at all...
      Regarding appointments with teams already refereed in group stage, I think, it is not a real impediment. Last year it was the case for Rocchi, Moen, Cakir and Eriksson

    13. Regarding CL final, there should be five names on the shortlist: Brych, Eriksson, Marciniak, Mazic, Skomina
      Every other name would be a big surprise for nearly everyone, I think.
      The last three were more convincing recently, while Brych and Eriksson are more experienced and waiting longer. Therefore in my opinion the chances of the five right now are quite similar and the performances in the knockout stage should decide (in an ideal world...).

    14. @Soham, a Happy New year to you, man, and all the people here as well. I get your point but let's not forget Atkinson has already refereed a EL final and a CL SF too. Plus, Basel-Ludogorets in group stage was not a low-key affair, as both teams were fighting hard for a EL berth. Not to mention he was given PSV-A. Madrid. If I were in charge of the appointments, I'd want to protect the game and myself, so I would pick someone who's prepared for the big guns and big decisions on the big stage. Be that as it may, Collina always seems to have a surprise in store for us, so let's see how things will shake out.

      @Philipp S, it's happened in the past, it's true, but it's perfectly possible that referees do not repeat teams in last-16 games, so why not avoid repetition?

    15. @Steve Smith : That's something we would always expect with Collina... Something unexpected can happen with referee appointments at any round of any tournament when Collina is in charge... 😁Personally I now want Kuipers to pay a visit to Santiago Bernabeu and Mazic to pay a visit to Allianz Arena in the twilight of their careers to add these iconic venues to their already impressive CV 😇

  8. OT
    A player in Rwanda made something like a witchcraft in the goal of the opponents. A few minutes later, he scored a goal. Apart from the meaning of this story, it is interesting to point out that the referee (a FIFA referee from Rwanda, clearly shows the video) booked him for this act. It is not clear what he really did, it looks like a spray. Is YC a correct decision? Definitely, that's something you will never find in the LotG :D
    Moreover, I want to underline the reaction of the keeper, he really seems aware of what the opponent did. He starts a run, perhaps trying to attack him.
    I never saw something like that.

  9. Aston Villa FC - Leeds United AFC

    84' - Andrew Garratt (AR1) flags for a penalty, Roger East (R) gives a free kick to the other side but after a discussion between officials a right decision was made. Really bad behaviour of Leandro Bacuna (AVL) who was so upset with the primary decision that he charged into the referee... According to some sources, he was booked for that.

    1. #7 from Aston Villa deserved a straight red card for his behavior.

    2. Interesting that East, actually not so bad (but not perfect) positioned, misses the handball and the AR, far away positioned, signals it immediately. Correct decision and finally a good support by Garrat, even if my first thought was, that his flag signal was not really necessary as they have headsets.

      Nevertheless: YC really needed? What for? SPA would be the only possibility and I have some doubts on.

    3. Basically it seems to me East at the current moment is quite out of favour and not in the best shape, so honestly it is no surprise for me to see AR1 Garratt flag for handball as East has doubts.
      Roger East is one good referee on his best day

  10. Manchester United FC - Middlesbrough FC and Zlatan Ibrahimović' goal disallowed by Lee Mason. What do you think?

    1. Where is the foul? Ibrahimovic kicks the ball before keeper's coming! Clearly a crucial mistake by Mason.

    2. There is no kick or try to kick an opponent, so no direct free kick. Difficult to answer the question whether it's a dangerous play or not. It all depends on whether Valdes restrained himself from normal intervention because of concern of his safety.

    3. For me, it is not a dangerous play by Ibrahimovic, Valdes is not impeded by the raised leg, he tries a save, but he is late. In addition, Ibrahimovic fairly lowers his leg before a possible contact with the opponent and nothing happens. I would have allowed the goal for common sense, if "dangerous play" is the interpretation of referee, it is very, very harsh, if we don't want to say wrong.

    4. Honestly especially in England that is a bigger mistake that at UEFA, CONMEBOL etc

  11. Very quick work by FIFA this time, you can already find on all the new lists for 2017.

    1. There is indeed a new FIFA referee for Andorra, Luis Miguel DO NASCIMENTO TEIXEIRA, but for some reasons he was missing a few days ago.

    2. Congratulations to Kosovo: a referee, two assistant referees, a woman, two futsal referees, very remarkable. A very good start, they were more than ready for this important step.

    3. It seems as Margaret Domka (USA), preselected for 2019 WC, has been removed from FIFA list.

    4. On the Andorran referee: He wasn't missing Chefren, but he was listed as Portuguese first. Probably he was born in Portugal, but the UEFA lists indeed listed him for Andorra.

    5. Thanks Niclas, indeed it was strange!

  12. Predictions AFCON MD1:
    GAB-GNB: Jiyed, Achik (both MAR), Tan, Dembele (both CIV)
    BFA-CMR: Nampiandraza (MAD), Samba (SEN), Range (KEN), Gassama (GAM)
    ALG-ZIM: Weyesa (ETH), Nguegoue (CMR), Baba (NGA), Alioum (CMR)
    TUN-SEN: Grisha, El Sadat (both EGY), Mekouande (CMR), Bondo (BOT)
    CIV-TOG: Otogo-Castane (GAB), Marengula (MOZ), Doumbouya (GUI), Sikazwe (ZAM)
    COD-MAR: Bennett, Siwela (both RSA), dos Santos (ANG), Keita (MLI)
    GHA-UGA: Camille (SEY), Hmila (TUN), Ali (SDN), Lemghaifry (MRI)
    MLI-EGY: Charef, Etchiali (both ALG), Camara (SEN), Essrayri (TUN)

    1. Predictions MD1:
      GAB-GNB: Grisha (EGY), El Sadat (EGY), Mahamadou (NIG), Sikazwe (NIG)
      BFA-CMR: Gassama (GAM), Doumbouya (GUI), Tan (CIV), Essrayri (TUN)
      ALG-ZIM: Weyesa (ETH), Ahmed (SDN), Ibrahim (SDN), Nampiandraza (MAD)
      TUN-SEN: Otogo-Castane (GAB), Vinga (GAB), Kabene (COD), Dembele (CIV)
      CIV-TOG: Camille (SEY), Marenguela (MOZ), Birumushahu (BDI), Bennett (RSA)
      COD-MAR: Keita (MLI), Menkouande (CMR), Nguegoue (CMR), Bondo (BOT)
      GHA-UGA: Charef (ALG), Etchiali (ALG), Achik (MAR), Lemghaifry (MTN)
      MLI-EGY: Diedhiou (SEN), Camara (SEN), Samba (SEN), Jiyed (MAR)


  13. Today in England, City-Burnley not red card.
    Sunderland-Liverpool, not penalty.

    1. And then a red card for Serious Foul play in Manchester U - West Ham, WHM#7 by Michael Leslie Dean....

    2. Dean's Red card was wrong IMO... Mason's red card to Fernandinho was absolutely spot on and a very brave and correct decision... Penalty appeal in Sunderland v Liverpool I didn't see so can't comment!!

    3. I agree with Soham. Manchester City - Burnley: clear red card.
      West Ham - Manchester United: mmh...

    4. In the Sunderland v Liverpool game the first penalty awarded to Sunderland was very, very soft but acceptable call by Taylor... The 2nd penalty for Sunderland was a fairly clear one... Many people have reported that Taylor missed one stonewall penalty for handball during the 2nd half for Sunderland... Unfortunately I couldn't find any video of the incident so can't comment on it at all

    5. Sunderland AFC - Liverpool FC (Anthony Taylor)

      1) Sunderland's first penalty

      2) Handball penalty-appeal

      3) Penalty-appeal

      4) Sunderland's second penalty

    6. 1: simple foul=penalty
      2:ball to hand, short distance, arm tucked in. No foul.
      3:acceptable play on ball, no foul.

    7. 1) Soft call, it is more the attacker looking for the contact than a real foul by defender, however supportable call. No mistake.
      2) Penalty can be given because the arm is quite open, but at the same time the short distance and the fact that the ball came unexpected could be arguments in favor of Taylor's decision. We are in this case in a grey area. Strictly according to UEFA guidelines, however, I think this should penalty because for UEFA it is enough if you have the arms in that position.
      3) Correct decision, no foul.
      4) A clear penalty, deliberate movement of the arm looking for the ball in the wall.

    8. 1) Totally correct for me. Careless trip, stupid foul.
      2) I cannot say that the defender handled the ball clearly deliberately, but for sure he did not genuinely try to pull the hand away either. His hand's movement away from the ball looks a bit like an alibi to me. He seems to be aware of controlling the ball somehow - I would understand both decisions and I believe both can be supported.
      3) Maybe there was a contact, but impossible to judge even with replays.
      4) Clear one, also correct to issue a yellow card. Good example of when being centrally positioned at a free-kick can be the best position possible.

      By the way: From this year on, you are going to find national leagues appointments in weekly posts. This will be the place for you to comment or place videos from now on. Several users asked us to do so in the evaluation and we hope this will contribute to both a better overview and more fruitful discussions on what happens in Europe's top leagues - of course also feel free to post situations from other leagues there.

  14. West Ham United FC - Manchester United FC (Michael Dean)

    1) good cooperation with AR, advantage at offside

    2) red card to Feghouli (WHU) for SFP

    3) missed offside and use of GLT

    4) missed YC (obligatory?)

    5) positioning and missed card - yellow or red?

    6) missed offside at Manchester United's second goal

    7) handball (obligatory YC)?

    8) YC or RC?

    1. 1) Nice advantage - well done.
      2) I'm really struggeling to take a final decision. On the one hand Feghouli clearly jumped into his opponent without having control of his body - he could have been and maybe was aware of a possible collision, on the other hand he tried to catch the ball and simply came too late, hitting point is really low and no excessive force was used, in my opinion. Furthermore the sliding tackle of the defender, who played the ball, was quite risky too. I'd say this is borderline to SFP but for me rather reckless by the attacker. However, I don't want to speak of a (clear) mistake.
      3) Close offside position missed by AR2, I think he didn't expect this cross pass - lack of concentration. Of course it is great to have GLT.
      4) Missed YC, reckless challenge. Actually an easy decision for Dean and AR1 - both were able to judge this incident correctly but unfortunately they didn't do so.
      5) Weak positioning and then a missed YC. No SFP because he played the ball with his stretched feet and he didn't hit the opponent - 'just' reckless. Otherwise this would have been a clear straight RC.
      6) Missed offside due to a not really good positioning by AR1. Not an easy situation for AR1 but he could and should have detected the offside position.
      7) Handball - of course - and missed YC for SPA.
      8) Correct YC. High hitting point but no excessive force and just a light contact - reckless challenge.

    2. 2) is no red card for me either. Both players are jumping into the duel with intensity and the only thing really differing both sliding challenges is that #4 played the ball and that Feghouli did not suffer as much as pain as his opponent. Maybe you can support the red card for having been a tackle without body control. Very difficult.

      What I find problematic is that Dean apparently did not have any visual angle to judge this incident (maybe he got some information from his assistants, who however were too far away) and was already looking somewhere else at the moment of the real contact. The red card came quite late, too. The whole decision appears to me as being based on intuition by 99%.

  15. comedy

    1. Maybe the player told something inappropriate to the referee?

    2. This comment has been removed by the author.

  16. Many interesting scenes occured in the AFC Bournemouth - Arsenal FC game refereed by Michael Oliver:

    Brilliant advantage and penalty awarded:

    Disallowed Bournemouth's goal due to deliberate handball:

    Third Bournemouth's goal - was there an illegal push like in the penalty incident?

    Red card to Francis (BOU) for SFP

    - - - some other incidents - - -

    Two penalty-appeals rightly(?) waived away:

    AR2's missed wait-and-see?

    Deliberate stamp?

    Another great advantage:

    1. The disallowed goal because of handball should not be called as a foul. He has both his arms tucked in and tries to avoid the ball as much as possible and it is not deliberate. That's just a call a referee makes because the players and crowd don't know the rules. Anywhere else on the field if he got a ball shot at him like that Oliver wouldn't blow the whistle.

  17. something irrelevant: i think for the final ECL 2017
    Brych or Skomina


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