December 30, 2013

World Cup Referees - Predictions for Africa

That's part 2 of the series in that I am trying to predict the composition of the referee team to be nominated for World Cup 2014. After having already concentrated on Asia, this text will now examine the situation in the African confederation CAF. The remaining confederations are supposed to follow so that a final list of predicted World Cup referees will emerge.

These men's flight are probably already booked (c) fifareferees

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December 27, 2013

World Cup Referees - Predictions for Asia

There have been contradictory announcements and rumours with regard to the date when Massimo Busacca and his crew decide on the 33rd team that will participate in 2014 FIFA World Cup. The referees and assistant referees are very likely going to be selected on 15 January. This means for us: time for predictions!

A safe bet for Brazil: Ravshan Irmatov
This text will focus on only one confederation - on the Asian Football Confederation. In the next days, the remaining confederations are supposed to follow so that a final list of predicted World Cup referees will emerge. In the following lists, you can find the cell "Community Vote". The percentages you can find there refers to our game "Your World Cup 2014" conducted at the beginning of this month. They hence equate the relative frequency of the respective referees' appearance in the community's World Cup lists. This means that this percentage shows in how many of your votes their name has appeared.

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December 26, 2013

The 3rd Team Referee of the Year 2013: Björn Kuipers

"From zero to hero" - that was a phrase issued by one member of this blog's community that perfectly circumscribes the past year 2013 for Dutch referee Björn Kuipers. He is today honoured by The Third Team and its community as the world's best Referee of the Year 2013.

Our No.1 in 2013: Björn Kuipers (NED)
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December 22, 2013

Unofficial Subcategories for UEFA's First Group

The following lists expose subcategories for UEFA's First Group of referees. Since they have abolished the former "Elite Development Group" and as they have promoted 14 referees from Second Group to First Group, there are now 68 referees who heavily differ from each other in their background, experience and future prospect. Therefore, we present you the following four subcategories as a means to determine the 68 referees' classification in a more precise way. 

Firat Aydinus is one of 68 First Group referees

It is unofficial and does not assert the claim to be totally correct. They are based on our analysis of their performances and chances within UEFA refereeing. You can use it as a tool while making predictions and to have a better overview on this quite large referee category.

Subcategories First Group
(Winter 2013)
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December 20, 2013

Late Challenges by Goalkeepers

Imagine a sliding tackle by a player in the midfield that is aimed at gaining possession of the ball in a fair manner but that is mistimed so that the opponent is obviously touched first - a compelling case, the referee has to award a direct free-kick in favour of the fouled player. Now imagine a goalkeeper coming out of his goal during a free-kick or corner kickin order to punch the high ball out of his penalty area. Instead of the ball, he however touches the opposite forward first. Is that still a compelling case? No, because there appear to exist different rules for goalkeepers.

Sometimes, goalkeepers don't touch the ball only (c)

This scenery circumscribed above is usually called "late challenge". Mostly, they can be categorized as careless tackles not mandatorily requiring a caution. Several situations at the highest level of football show that goalkeepers seem to savour a particular status, being kind of exception to the rule. Have a look at the following situations having occurred during the past months.

I. FC Augsburg - FC Bayern München (DFB Pokal, referee Felix Zwayer)


II. Steaua Bucuresti - FC Schalke 04 (UEFA Champions League, referee Bas Nijhuis)

Since UEFA is forbidding to upload videos of their competitions for educational purpose, please follow this link to find the respective match situation. It occured in match minute 68/69.

III. Bayer Leverkusen - Manchester United (UEFA Champions League, referee Svein Moen)

Since UEFA is forbidding to upload videos of their competitions for educational purpose, please follow this link to find the respective match situation. It occured in match minute 48.

IV. Borussia Dortmund - Arsenal London (UEFA Champions League, referee Björn Kuipers)

For this match situation, there is no video available. It was quite similar to the incidents given above. It was described like that by our blog observer: "Penalty appeal by away team. After a free-kick (foul) and a failed attempt by #1 (BVB) to play the ball, the GK fell on #6 (ARS) with a lot of force and without making an attempt to avoid his opponent. This situation is a penalty kick which wasn’t evaluated as such by the referee. AAR1 didn’t help him."

So in a nutshell: it seems to be an established phenomenon to grant goalkeepers an exceptional status in terms of late challenges. Personally, I have never seen a penalty whistled for such fouls by goalkeepers. And the question should be, why not? In all cases, the referees concerned did not even make a gesture to indicate that no foul has occurred. Thus, it is questionable whether they had any form of awareness for what had happened at all. In three of the four cases, the situations happened in the immediate and free line of sight of additional assistant referees. The system of additional assistant referees implies that they are referees themselves. Therefore, it is no surprise at all that they do not assist their teammate as it should be. Without any doubt, these situations go very quick; in most cases, there are fractions of a second between the contact with the opponent and the ball moving away which might arouse the impression that the goalkeeper had well cleared the ball. 
What referees on this level should become aware of is that goalkeepers are not moving in a holy area. They may not be allowed to do everything just because they are doing so in their goal area. Referees should ask their additional assistant referees, if available, to pay attention to such infringements. Awarding penalty kicks as consequences of such fouls might lead to astonishment. But they would be the correct decisions.
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December 19, 2013

Sandro Ricci appointed to handle 2013 CWC Final

Brazilian referee Sandro Meira Ricci has been appointed to handle the final match of the 2013 FIFA Club  World Cup, between FC Bayern München and Raja Casablanca, to be played on 21 December 2013 in Marrakech. He will be assisted by his countrymen Emerson de Carvalho and Marcelo Van Gasse.

Sandro Ricci at his first FIFA final (c)

A FIFA referee since 2011, he joined in 2013 the list of the preselected officials for 2014 WC. This is his second FIFA tournament, aftter the 2013 U20 WC held in Turkey, competition in which he officiated two group-stage matches, one quarterfinal and the third-place final. Prior to this assignment, the last CONMEBOL referee appointed for a FIFA final had been Martín Vázquez from Uruguay, which handled the FIFA U17 WC Final in 2009.  For Sandro Ricci, this will be the second match in the competition, after having refereed a quarterfinal.  To complete the officiating crew for this final, Mark Geiger will act as fourth official and Sean Hurd as reserve assistant referee.

Match 8 - Final
21 December 2013, 20:30 CET (Marrakech)
FC Bayern München - Raja Casablanca
Referee: Sandro Ricci (BRA)
Assistant Referee 1: Emerson De Carvalho (BRA)
Assistant Referee 2: Marcelo Van Gasse (BRA)
Fourth Official: Mark Geiger (USA)
Reserve AR: Sean Hurd (USA)

A few hours earlier, the third place final will be played in the same stadium, between Guangzhou Evergrande FC and Atletico Mineiro. The referee selected by FIFA for this clash is the Iranian Alireza Faghani, at his second match in this tournament, after a quarterfinal. Néant Alioum will take the duties of fourth official.

Match 7 - Third Place Final
21 December 2013, 17:30 CET (Marrakech)
Guangzhou Evergrande FC - Atletico Mineiro
Referee: Alireza Faghani (IRN)
Assistant Referee 1: Hassan Kamranifar (IRN)
Assistant Referee 2: Reza Sokhandan (IRN)
Fourth Official: Néant Alioum (CMR)
Reserve AR: Peter Edibi (NGA)

Thanks, as always, to our source Árbitro Internacional for the  whole coverage of the appointments for this tournament.
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December 18, 2013

International Referees and Assistant Referees 2014 (UEFA)

Please find the full referee and assistant referee lists for the European zone governed by UEFA in the pdf-documents attached.

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December 17, 2013

UEFA Referee Categories - 2013/14 (Winter)

These are the updated referee categories determined on 17 December 2013. Several promotions, demotions and re-categorizations have been conducted, while Elite Development Group has been abandoned. We welcome all new FIFA referees, whose names are written in bold, in the international world of football refereeing and goodbye those who make place for young officials or have reached the age limit!

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David Fernández Borbalán promoted to Elite Group

Spanish referee David Fernández Borbalán has emerged to be the only referee promoted to Elite Group as a result of the committee's meeting. Additionally, it seems as if UEFA has decided to abandon the Elite Development Group.

Further information to follow.
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December 15, 2013

FIFA CWC Morocco 2013 - Bakary Gassama and Carlos Velasco Carballo to handle semifinals

The Gambian official has been appointed for his second match in this CWC. He will officiate the first semifinal of the tournament, to be played between Guangzhou Evergrande  and  Bayern München.
Carlos Velasco Carballo has been appointed for the second semifinal. This will be the first game ever in a FIFA tournament for the Spanish official.
Furthermore, Mark Geiger will handle the match for the fifth place.

Carlos Velasco Carballo, appointed for a semifinal (c)

Match 4 -  Semifinals
17 December 2013, 20:30 CET (Agadir)
Guangzhou Evergrande FC - FC Bayern München
Referee: Bakary Gassama (GAM)
Assistant Referee 1: Angesom Ogbamariam (ERI)
Assistant Referee 2: Evarist Menkouande (CMR)
Fourth Official: Néant Alioum (CMR)
Reserve AR: Peter Edibi (NGA)

Match 6 -  Semifinals
18 December 2013, 20:30 CET (Marrakech)
Raja Casablanca - Atletico Mineiro
Referee: Carlos Velasco Carballo (ESP)
Assistant Referee 1: Roberto Alonso Fernández (ESP)
Assistant Referee 2: Juan Carlos Juste Jimenez (ESP)
Fourth Official: Alireza Faghani (IRN)
Reserve AR: Hassan Kamranifar (IRN)

Match 5 - Fifth Place Match
18 December 2013, 17:30 CET (Marrakech)
Al Ahly SC - CF Monterrey
Referee: Mark Geiger (USA)
Assistant Referee 1: Sean Hurd (USA)
Assistant Referee 2: Joe Fletcher (CAN)
Fourth Official: Sandro Ricci (BRA)
Reserve AR: Emerson De Carvalho (BRA)

The appointments for  the upcoming matches will follow soon, thank as always to our source Árbitro Internacional
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December 14, 2013

A message to Graham Poll

In view of the occasion...

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UEFA's Elite Pressure Group

Maybe some of you remember the revolution in UEFA's referee category system a bit more than two years ago. In June 2011, just before "PLC" came into office, UEFA's referee committee and administration decided to abandon the former system consisting of an Elite Group, a Premier Development Group, a Premier Group and the categories 2, 3 and 4. Instead of that, the current pattern was implemented to establish a broad Elite Development Group including young and promising match officials who should be accompanied on their way up to Elite - as the term already suggests. If further evidence was needed to recognize that this decision was fatally wrong, just focus on this Champions League 2013/14 group stage.

Considering the performances shown by some - but definitely not all (e.g. Mažić is a positive example) - Elite Development referees during the past two seasons, it is clearly visible that most of them are lacking in experience, mental stability and security. All these aspects are linked with each other. At the same time, there is no doubt that many of them are highly talented and originally deserved to have their place in this group. Assumed that the men in charge of the selection process, that brought these officials into their current category, did well when choosing referees like Tom Harald Hagen, Bas Nijhuis or Marijo Strahonja, the reasons for struggling at the highest level must have different reasons than their mere quality. The referee named first is a perfect example of that.

Norwegian Tom Hagen became an international referee in 2009. During the first two and a half years, he passed the lowest three groups including Cat. 4, 3 and 2 in order to become promoted to First Group in June 2011. He was given exactly four months to develop before he was appointed for his first Champions League match. And that was not in Plzen, Cluj or somewhere else. That was in Stadio Giuseppe Meazza in Milan. In January 2012, he was then qualified for the next promotion as one of many officials who were included in the new Elite Development Group - he is there since today. The problems started then. For example, his team committed three crucial mistakes in Valencia-BATE underlined by UEFA's official match situation analysis given to their referees at a seminar in January 2013. A violent conduct was missed, a wrong penalty kick was awarded following a foul that clearly happened outside the penalty area and another clear penalty was missed directly in front of him. This season, our reports again captured three 7.8 performances for unfortunately inconsistent performances due to crucial mistakes. It was furthermore pointed out that we considered Hagen as a good referee in theory, but as one who has problems to cope with difficult matches and to approach a match with a self-confident and assured personality. Finally, last week, he was then assigned to handle Real Sociedad - Bayer Leverkusen under the observation of Pierluigi Collina. On the assumption that PLC does not plan him for a final, this circumstance probably means that Hagen might face a demotion (or a promotion, which is however not likely). This match under Collina's monitoring was one of those with a crucial mistake - in this case, it was a missed red card for serious foul play.

In a couple of days, we'll see what will happen with officials like Hagen. He is only one referee of many who were "burnt" by UEFA's category system. UEFA's referee convention clearly states that "possibilities for fast-track promotions should be made possible". That is a problem. Instead of a pace-based strategy, UEFA should pay more attention to an experience-based and quality-based strategy. Haste makes waste. Referees like Hagen (or Nijhuis etc.) were never given a real chance to develop due to the immense pressure arousing from this Elite Development Group. You normally stay approximately two years in this category status. You won't get many chances to convince the committee of your abilities. So you must do well, you must get a good mark. Instead of focussing on the match, you might focus on your mark average. Once a 7.8 occurred, that may not happen again. And then, it happens again and, oh God, Collina or Dallas is sitting in the stadium next time. This pressure lies in the system and overshadows the referees' concentration on the real task - handling a football match as good as possible and still enjoying this task. I don't know whether you ever watched a Champions League match refereed by Bas Nijhuis. His facial expressions and appearance suggest everything, but not joy for his task. However, one should say in all clarity that some performances really suggest that the official concerned is not able to cope with the highest international level for whatever reason. With all due respect, fairness commands that this phenomenon also seems to be apparent in broad parts of the Elite Group and even Champions League final referee teams. Anyway, in my opinion, the Elite Development Group has come to a dead end. It sets wrong incentives and is psychologically critical.

Elite Development Group has come to a dead end

Strong rumours have been raised that UEFA would soon abandon the Elite Development Group and extend their Elite Group to a higher number of officials. Upon The Third Team's request, UEFA neither wanted to confirm nor to refute that. Personally, I hope that a category change will come for the reasons mentioned above. Additionally, keeping the current system would mean several demotions if UEFA is consistent with their reports and marks. However, in First Group, there are not enough referees ready for a promotion to Elite Development. They need time (Kruzliak, Liany, Makkelie, Marciniak, Oliver, Zwayer etc.) to avoid what happened to Hagen et al. With a new system, referees like Aytekin, Bebek, Fernández or Orsato maybe move up (also due to their nationality). They would be given some sort of safety in this group, would have some seasons to develop in Champions League, to collect experience, to gain mental confidence and thus would not always face the typical promotion-or-demotion-process. Others would be demoted or re-categorized. And this is a fine difference: it would be very hard to explain someone like ,for example, Matej Jug or Sergei Karasev, who were promoted only last June, that they have to go back into First Group again. They have shown two good last seasons and would not deserve a "demotion". This must be sold and conducted as a "re-categorization" then.

Such a system change has also consequences in terms of payment, i.e. salaries. So it is definitely not a thing that can be decided in a moment. I am very sure that Collina, Infantino and co. will, as usual, consider the "big whole" and come to a good conclusion.
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December 12, 2013

FIFA CWC Morocco 2013 - Quarterfinals appointments

Thank to Árbitro Internacional we know the officials appointed by FIFA for quarterfinals matches of 2013 Club World Cup. Both games will be played on 14 December, in Agadir.

Iranian Alireza Faghani (c)

Match 2 - Quarterfinals
14 December 2013, 17:00 CET (Agadir)
Guangzhou Evergrande FC - Al Ahly SC
Referee: Sandro Ricci (BRA)
Assistant Referee 1: Emerson Carvalho (BRA)
Assistant Referee 2: Marcelo Van Gasse (BRA)
Fourth Official: Néant Alioum (CMR)
Reserve AR: Peter Edibi (NGA)

Match 3 - Quarterfinals
14 December 2013, 20:30 CET (Agadir)
Raja Casablanca - CF Monterrey
Referee: Alireza Faghani (IRN)
Assistant Referee 1: Hassan Kamranifar (IRN)
Assistant Referee 2: Reza Sokhandan (IRN)
Fourth Official: Néant Alioum (CMR)
Reserve AR: Peter Edibi (NGA)
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December 10, 2013

Gambian Bakary Gassama appointed for the 2013 CWC opener match

According to Árbitro Internacional, Gambian official Bakary Gassama has been appointed by FIFA for the opener match of 2013 CWC, to be played between Raja Casablanca (MAR) and Auckland City (NZL) on 11 December 2013. The match will be a play off for the qualification to quarterfinals. Despite of the fact that a tean from the African confederation will be involved, FIFA has immediately broken the confederations criterion, which might have not allowed a referee from CAF to handle this match.
In addition to that, Evarist Menkouande from Cameroon will join the CAF trio as AR2, due to the injury suffered by the preselected assistant Felicien Kabanda from Rwanda. This is another significant change in FIFA referees policy, since in the past years, due to an injury, the whole trio was forced  to stay out from a certain competition.

Bakary Gassama  (c)

The officiating crew will be completed  by Carlos Velasco Carballo from Spain, acting as fourth official, and his countryman Roberto Alonso Fernández as reserve assistant referee.

2013 FIFA CLUB WORLD CUP  - Play off for quarterfinals
11 December 2013, 20:30 CET (Agadir)
Raja Casablanca - Auckland City FC
Referee: Bakary Gassama (GAM)
Assistant Referee 1: Angesom Ogbamariam (ERI)
Assistant Referee 2: Evarist Menkouande (CMR)
Fourth Official: Carlos Velasco Carballo (ESP)
Reserve AR: Roberto Alonso Fernández (ESP)
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December 9, 2013

UEFA Europa League 2013/14 - Referee Appointments - MD6

UEFA has revealed all the officials appointed for the last Matchday of 2013-14 UEFA Europa League.  Among the other names, Dutch Elite official Björn Kuipers will take control of the clash between Dinamo Kyiv and Rapid Wien, meanwhile the Category 2 referee Steven McLean will have his debut in this phase of the tournament. 

Scottish official Steven McLean at his debut in EL group stage (c)

Group A, 12 December 2013, 19:00 CET
Stadium: Estadi de Mestalla, Valencia (ESP)
Valencia - Kuban
Miroslav Zelinka  (CZE)
Assistant Referee 1: Ondřej Pelikán  (CZE) 
Assistant Referee 2: Patrik Filipek  (CZE)
Additional Assistant Referee 1: Petr Ardeleanu  (CZE) 
Additional Assistant Referee 2: Michal Paták  (CZE)
Fourth Official: Krystof Mencl  (CZE)
UEFA Referee Observer: Fritz Stuchlik  (AUT)
UEFA Delegate: Gabriel Weiss  (SVK)

Group A, 12 December 2013, 19:00 CET
Stadium: Arena St Gallen, St Gallen (SUI)
St Gallen - Swansea
Referee: Liran Liany  (ISR)
Assistant Referee 1: Shabtai Nahmias  (ISR)
Assistant Referee 2: David Elias Biton  (ISR)
Additional Assistant Referee 1: Alon Yefet  (ISR)
Additional Assistant Referee 2: Daniel Bar Natan  (ISR)
Fourth Official: Oren Borneshtain  (ISR)
UEFA Referee Observer: Roberto Rosetti (ITA)
UEFA Delegate: Nebojša Ivkovic  (SRB)

Group B, 12 December 2013, 19:00 CET
Stadium: Stadion Maksimir, Zagreb (CRO)
Dinamo Zagreb - Ludogorets
Referee: Vladislav Bezborodov (RUS)
Assistant Referee 1: Nikolai Golubev  (RUS)
Assistant Referee 2: Vyacheslav Semenov  (RUS)
Additional Assistant Referee 1: Aleksei Eskov  (RUS)
Additional Assistant Referee 2: Mikhail Vilkov  (RUS)
Fourth Official: Aleksei Lebedev  (RUS)
UEFA Referee Observer: Markus Nobs  (SUI)
UEFA Delegate: Kazimierz Oleszek  (POL)

Group B, 12 December 2013, 19:00 CET
Stadium: PSV Stadion, Eindhoven (NED)
PSV - Chornomorets Odesa
Referee: Carlos Gómez  (ESP)
Assistant Referee 1: Javier Rodriguez  (ESP)
Assistant Referee 2: Pau Cebrian Devis  (ESP)
Additional Assistant Referee 1: Antonio Mateu Lahoz  (ESP)
Additional Assistant Referee 2: Fernando Teixeira  (ESP)
Fourth Official: Roberto Díaz Pérez del Palomar  (ESP)
UEFA Referee Observer: Stephen Lodge  (ENG)
UEFA Delegate: Alessandro Lulli ITA)

Group C, 12 December 2013, 19:00 CET
Stadium: Stadion Salzburg, Salzburg (AUT)
Salzburg - Esbjerg
Referee: Bülent Yıldırım  (TUR)
Assistant Referee 1: Serkan Gençerler  (TUR)
Assistant Referee 2: Ekrem Kan  (TUR)
Additional Assistant Referee 1: Barış Şimşek  (TUR) 
Additional Assistant Referee 2: Mustafa Ilker Coskun  (TUR)
Fourth Official: Bahattin Duran  (TUR)
UEFA Referee Observer: Haim Jakov  (ISR)
UEFA Delegate: Octavian Goga  (ROU)

Group C, 12 December 2013, 19:00 CET
Stadium: Stade Maurice Dufrasne, Liege (BEL)
Standard Liège - Elfsborg
Referee: Steven McLean  (SCO)
Assistant Referee 1: Martin Cryans  (SCO)
Assistant Referee 2: William Conquer  (SCO)
Additional Assistant Referee 1: Brian Colvin  (SCO) 
Additional Assistant Referee 2: Andrew Dallas (SCO)
Fourth Official: Graham Chambers  (SCO)
UEFA Referee Observer: Nuno Castro (POR)
UEFA Delegate: David Mcdowell  (SVN)

Group D, 12 December 2013, 19:00 CET
Stadium: Jan Breydelstadion, Bruges (BEL)
Zulte Waregem - Rubin
Referee: Paolo Silvio Mazzoleni (ITA)
Assistant Referee 1: Riccardo Di Fiore (ITA)
Assistant Referee 2: Lorenzo Manganelli (ITA)
Additional Assistant Referee 1: Mauro Bergonzi (ITA)
Additional Assistant Referee 2: Andrea Gervasoni (ITA)
Fourth Official: Massimiliano Grilli (ITA)
UEFA Referee Observer: Johannes Reijgwart  (NED)
UEFA Delegate: Alan Mcrae  (SCO)

Group D, 12 December 2013, 19:00 CET
Stadium: Stadion Ljudski vrt, Maribor (SVN)
Maribor - Wigan
Referee: Szymon Marciniak (POL)
Assistant Referee 1:
Paweł Sokolnicki  (POL)  
Assistant Referee 2: Tomasz Listkiewicz  (POL)
Additional Assistant Referee 1: Paweł Raczkowski  (POL) 
Additional Assistant Referee 2: Tomasz Musiał  (POL)
Fourth Official: Radosław Siejka  (POL)
UEFA Referee Observer: Costas Kapitanis  (CYP)
UEFA Delegate: Yoav Strauss  (ISR)

Group E, 12 December 2013, 19:00 CET
Stadium: Stadio Artemio Franchi, Florence (ITA)   
Fiorentina - Dnipro
Referee: Artur Dias (POR)
Assistant Referee 1:
Rui Tavares  (POR)
Assistant Referee 2: Ricardo Santos  (POR)
Additional Assistant Referee 1: Manuel De Sousa  (POR) 
Additional Assistant Referee 2: Hugo Miguel  (POR)
Fourth Official: Nuno Pereira  (POR)
UEFA Referee Observer: Michel Piraux  (BEL)
UEFA Delegate: Wolfgang Thierrichter  (AUT)

Group E, 12 December 2013, 19:00 CET
Stadium: Cluj Arena, Cluj-Napoca (ROU)
Pandurii - Paços Ferreira
Referee: Simon Lee Evans  (WAL)
Assistant Referee 1: Philip Thomas  (WAL)  
Assistant Referee 2: Gareth Wyn Jones  (WAL)
Additional Assistant Referee 1:  Mark Steven Whitby  (WAL) 
Additional Assistant Referee 2: John Dean  (WAL)
Fourth Official: Edward King (WAL)
UEFA Referee Observer: Leif Sundell  (SWE)
UEFA Delegate: Tervel Zlatev  (BUL)

Group F, 12 December 2013, 19:00 CET
Stadium: Frankfurt Stadion, Frankfurt am Main (GER)
Eintracht Frankfurt - APOEL
Referee: Stephan Studer  (SUI)  
Assistant Referee 1:  Sandro Pozzi  (SUI)
Assistant Referee 2: Jean-Yves Wicht  (SUI)
Additional Assistant Referee 1: Stephan Klossner  (SUI) 
Additional Assistant Referee 2: Nikolaj Hänni  (SUI )
Fourth Official: Johannes Vogel  (SUI)
UEFA Referee Observer: Christer Fällström  (SWE)
UEFA Delegate: Campbell Ogilvie  (SCO)

Group F, 12 December 2013, 19:00 CET
Stadium: Bloomfield, Tel Aviv (ISR)
M. Tel-Aviv - Bordeaux
Referee: Serhiy Boiko  (UKR)
Assistant Referee 1: Serhiy Bekker  (UKR) 
Assistant Referee 2: Volodymyr Volodin  (UKR)
Additional Assistant Referee 1: Yevhen Aranovskiy  (UKR) 
Additional Assistant Referee 2: Anatoliy Abdula  (UKR)
Fourth Official: Oleksandr Korniyko  (UKR)
UEFA Referee Observer: Manuel Mejuto González  (ESP)
UEFA Delegate: Rudolf Zavrl  (SVN)

Group G, 12 December 2013, 21:05 CET
Stadium: NSK Olimpiyskyi, Kyiv (UKR)
Dinamo Kyiv - Rapid Wien
Referee: Björn Kuipers  (NED)
Assistant Referee 1: Sander van Roekel  (NED)
Assistant Referee 2:
Erwin Zeinstra (NED)
Additional Assistant Referee 1:  Pol van Boekel  (NED)
Additional Assistant Referee 2: Richard Liesveld  (NED)
Fourth Official: Angelo Boonman  (NED)
UEFA Referee Observer: Guy Goethals  (BEL)
UEFA Delegate: Milos Markovic  (SRB)

Group G, 12 December 2013, 21:05 CET
Stadium: Arena Thun, Thun (SUI)
Thun - Genk
Alexandru Dan Tudor  (ROU)
Assistant Referee 1:  Cristian Nica  (ROU) 
Assistant Referee 2: Aurel Onita  (ROU)
Additional Assistant Referee 1: Ovidiu Haţegan  (ROU)
Additional Assistant Referee 2: Cristian Balaj  (ROU)
Fourth Official: Octavian Sovre  (ROU)
UEFA Referee Observer: Leslie Irvine (NIR)
UEFA Delegate: Mike Foster (ENG)

Group H, 12 December 2013, 21:05 CET
Stadium: Freiburg Stadion, Freiburg (GER)
Freiburg - Sevilla
Referee: Tony Chapron (FRA)
Assistant Referee 1: Cyril Gringore  (FRA) 
Assistant Referee 2: Eric Dansault  (FRA)
Additional Assistant  Referee 1: Said Ennjimi  (FRA) 
Additional Assistant Referee 2: Wilfried Bien  (FRA)
Fourth Official: Fredji Harchay  (FRA)
UEFA Referee Observer: Rodger Gifford  (WAL)
UEFA Delegate: Sune Hellströmer  (SWE)

Group H, 12 December 2013, 21:05 CET
Stadium: António Coimbra Da Mota, Estoril (POR)
Estoril - Liberec
Referee: Halis Özkahya  (TUR)
Assistant Referee 1:  Çem Satman  (TUR)
Assistant Referee 2: Kemal Yilmaz  (TUR)
Additional Assistant Referee 1: Tolga Özkalfa  (TUR) 
Additional Assistant Referee 2: Süleyman Abay  (TUR)
Fourth Official: Mustafa Eyisoy  (TUR)
UEFA Referee Observer: Paul Allaerts  (BEL)
UEFA Delegate: Patrick Mcgrath  (IRL)

Group I, 12 December 2013, 21:05 CET
Stadium: Benito Villamarín, Seville (ESP)
Betis - Rijeka
Referee: Danny Makkelie (NED)
Assistant Referee 1: Davie Goossens  (NED)
Assistant Referee 2: Bas van Dongen  (NED)
Additional Assistant Referee  1: Kevin Blom  (NED)  
Additional Assistant Referee 2: Serdar Gözübüyük  (NED)
Fourth Official: Patrick Langkamp  (NED)
UEFA Referee Observer: Donald Mcvicar (SCO)
UEFA Delegate: Khennet Tallinger  (SWE)

Group I, 12 December 2013, 21:05 CET
Stadium: Estádio D. Afonso Henriques, Guimaraes (POR)
Guimarães - Lyon
Referee: Matej Jug  (SVN)
Assistant Referee 1: Marko Stančin  (SVN)
Assistant Referee 2: Andrej Kokolj  (SVN)
Additional Assistant Referee 1: Dragoslav Perič  (SVN)
Additional Assistant Referee 2: Dejan Balažić  (SVN)
Fourth Official: Tomaž Klančnik  (SVN)
UEFA Referee Observer: Siegfried Kirschen  (GER)
UEFA Delegate: Paolo Rondelli  (SMR)

Group J, 12 December 2013, 21:05 CET
Stadium: GSP Stadium, Nicosia (CYP)
Apollon - Legia
Referee: Robert Schörgenhofer  (AUT)
Assistant Referee 1: Alain Hoxha  (AUT)
Assistant Referee 2: Matthias Winsauer  (AUT)
Additional Assistant Referee 1:  Harald Lechner  (AUT) 
Additional Assistant Referee 2:  Rene Eisner  (AUT)
Fourth Official: Roland Brandner  (AUT)
UEFA Referee Observer: Aleh Chykun  (BLR)
UEFA Delegate: Johan Van Kouterik  (NED)

Group J, 12 December 2013, 21:05 CET
Stadium: Stadio Olimpico, Rome (ITA)
Lazio - Trabzonspor
Referee: Clément Turpin  (FRA)
Assistant Referee 1:  Frédéric Cano  (FRA)
Assistant Referee 2: Nicolas Danos  (FRA)
Additional Assistant Referee 1: Nicolas Rainville  (FRA)
Additional Assistant Referee 2: Benoit Bastien  (FRA)
Fourth Official: Stephan Luzi  (FRA)
UEFA Referee Observer: Peter Fröjdfeldt  (SWE)
UEFA Delegate: Martin Sturkenboom  (NED)

Group K, 12 December 2013, 21:05 CET
Stadium: Stadionul Sheriff, Tiraspol (MDA)
Sheriff - Tromsø
Referee: Sébastien Delferiere  (BEL)  
Assistant Referee 1: Yves De Neve  (BEL) 
Assistant Referee 2: Frederick Stalport  (BEL)
Additional Assistant Referee 1: Luc Wouters  (BEL) 
Additional Assistant Referee 2: Jonathan Lardot  (BEL)
Fourth Official: Frank Bleyen  (BEL)
UEFA Referee Observer: Nikolay Levnikov  (RUS)
UEFA Delegate: Giorgi Pirtskhalava  (GEO)

Group K, 12 December 2013, 21:05 CET
Stadium: White Hart Lane, London (ENG)
Tottenham - Anji
Referee: Stefan Johannesson  (SWE) 
Assistant Referee 1:  Mehmet Culum  (SWE)  
Assistant Referee 2: Daniel Gustavsson  (SWE)
Additional Assistant Referee 1:  Martin Strömbergsson  (SWE) 
Additional Assistant Referee 2: Andreas Ekberg  (SWE)
Fourth Official: Magnus Sjöblom  (SWE)
UEFA Referee Observer: Jon Skjervold  (NOR)
UEFA Delegate:Alvaro Albino (POR)

Group L, 12 December 2013, 21:05 CET
Stadium: Stadio Toumba, Salonika (GRE)
Referee: Michael Oliver  (ENG)
Assistant Referee 1: Stuart Burt  (ENG)  
Assistant Referee 2: Darren England  (ENG)
Additional Assistant Referee 1: Anthony Taylor  (ENG)
Additional Assistant Referee 2: Jonathan Moss  (ENG)
Fourth Official: Gary Beswick  (ENG)
UEFA Referee Observer: Manuel Lopez Fernandez  (ESP)
UEFA Delegate: Michel Pralong  (SUI)
Group L, 12 December 2013, 21:05 CET
Stadium: Itztadion Kiryat Eliezer, Haifa (ISR)
M. Haifa - Shakhter
Referee: Gediminas Mažeika  (LTU)
Assistant Referee 1:  Vytautas Šimkus  (LTU) 
Assistant Referee 2: Saulius Dirda  (LTU)
Additional Assistant Referee 1: Sergejus Slyva  (LTU)  
Additional Assistant Referee 2: Nerijus Dunauskas  (LTU)
Fourth Official: Dovydas Sužiedėlis  (LTU)
UEFA Referee Observer: Marinus Koopman  (NED)
UEFA Delegate: Márton Esterházy  (HUN)
Continue Reading...

Kyros Vassaras stays in UEFA Referee Committee

Contrary to the latest piece of news that Greek Kyros Vassaras was about to leave UEFA's referee committee, which was previously issued here on the basis of an official UEFA document dealing with the composition of the federation's bodies and committees, it has now turned out that Vassaras will definitely stay in the referee committee.

Upon The Third Team's request, UEFA confirmed that "the name of Mr. Vassaras was not included in the list by mistake". They regretted this error and will update the document in due course.
So nothing has changed in the committee's composition. It still consists of the following members:

Angel Maria Villar Llona (ESP)

Deputy Chairman
Senes Erzik (TUR)

Chief Refereeing Officer
Pierluigi Collina (ITA)

Refereeing Officers
Marc Batta (FRA), Hugh Dallas (SCO)

Dagmar Damkova (CZE), David Elleray (ENG), Herbert Fandel (GER), Bo Karlsson (SWE), Nikolay Levnikov (RUS), Jozef Marko (SVK), Vlado Sajn (SVN), Jaap Uilenberg (NED), Kyros Vassaras, Kurt Zuppinger (SUI)
Continue Reading...

Champions League - Referee Appointments - Matchday 6 (Wednesday)

UEFA has released the second package of referee appointments for the final matchday of this season's Champions League group stage. Among others, Aleksandar Stavrev from Macedonia will face a vitally important test in Vienna being observed by UEFA Committee member David Elleray.

Group E, 11 December 2013, 20:45 CET
Stadium: Veltins Arena, Gelsenkirchen (GER)
FC Schalke 04 - FC Basel
Referee: Paolo Tagliavento (ITA)
Assistant Referee 1: Andrea Stefani (ITA)
Assistant Referee 2: Renato Faverani (ITA)
Additional Assistant Referee 1: Paolo Valeri (ITA)
Additional Assistant Referee 2: Andrea De Marco (ITA)
Fourth Official: Nicola Nicoletti (ITA)
UEFA Referee Observer: Athanassios Briakos (GRE)
UEFA Delegate: Karl-Erik Nilsson (SWE)
Blog Referee Observer: Thomas H. (NED)

Group E, 11 December 2013, 20:45 CET
Stadium: Stamford Bridge, London (ENG)
Chelsea FC - Steaua Bucuresti
Referee: Gianluca Rocchi (ITA)
Assistant Referee 1: Elenito Di Liberatore (ITA)
Assistant Referee 2: Gianluca Cariolato (ITA)
Additional Assistant Referee 1: Luca Banti (ITA)
Additional Assistant Referee 2: Antonio Damato (ITA)
Fourth Official: Alessandro Giallatini (ITA)
UEFA Referee Observer: Kaj Natri (FIN)
UEFA Delegate: José Luis López Serrano (ESP)
Blog Referee Observer: Nur H. (ENG)

Group F, 11 December 2013, 20:45 CET
Stadium: San Paolo, Napoli (ITA)
SSC Napoli - Arsenal FC
Referee: Viktor Kassai (HUN)
Assistant Referee 1: György Ring (HUN)
Assistant Referee 2: Vencel Tóth (HUN)
Additional Assistant Referee 1: Tamás Bognar (HUN)
Additional Assistant Referee 2: Sandor Andó-Szabó (HUN)
Fourth Official: Robert Kispál (HUN)
UEFA Referee Observer: Konrad Plautz (AUT)
UEFA Delegate: Jozef Kliment (SVK)
Blog Referee Observer: Edward (GRE)

Group F, 11 December 2013, 20:45 CET
Stadium: Stade Vélodrome, Marseille (FRA)
Olympique Marseille - Borussia Dortmund
Referee: Marijo Strahonja (CRO)
Assistant Referee 1: Siniša Premužaj (CRO)
Assistant Referee 2: Igor Krmar (CRO)
Additional Assistant Referee 1: Ante Vučemilović-Simunović jr. (CRO)
Additional Assistant Referee 2: Igor Pristovnik (CRO)
Fourth Official: Ivica Modrić (CRO)
UEFA Referee Observer: Gylfi Thor Orrason (ISL)
UEFA Delegate: Armen Minasyan (ARM)
Blog Referee Observer: Nur H. (ENG)

Group G, 11 December 2013, 20:45 CET
Stadium: Estadio Vicente Calderón, Madrid (ESP)
Atlético Madrid - FC Porto
Referee: Deniz Aytekin (GER)
Assistant Referee 1: Markus Häcker (GER)
Assistant Referee 2: Holger Henschel (GER)
Additional Assistant Referee 1: Bastian Dankert (GER)
Additional Assistant Referee 2: Daniel Siebert (GER)
Fourth Official: Marco Achmüller (GER)
UEFA Referee Observer: Terje Hauge (NOR)
UEFA Delegate: Barry Bright (ENG)
Blog Referee Observer: Chefren (ITA)

Group G, 11 December 2013, 20:45 CET
Stadium: Ernst-Happel-Stadion, Wien (AUT)
Austria Wien - Zenit St.Petersburg
Referee: Aleksandar Stavrev (MKD)
Assistant Referee 1: Marjan Kirovski (MKD)
Assistant Referee 2: Dejan Kostadinov (MKD)
Additional Assistant Referee 1: Dimitar Meckarovski (MKD)
Additional Assistant Referee 2: Dejan Jakimovski (MKD)
Fourth Official: Nikola Karakolev (MKD)
UEFA Referee Observer: David Elleray (ENG)
UEFA Delegate: Pertti Alaja (FIN)
Blog Referee Observer: Niclas (GER)

Group H, 11 December 2013, 20:45 CET
Stadium: Camp Nou, Barcelona (ESP)
FC Barcelona - Celtic Glasgow
Referee: Sergei Karasev (RUS)
Assistant Referee 1: Tikhon Kalugin (RUS)
Assistant Referee 2: Anton Averianov (RUS)
Additional Assistant Referee 1: Maksim Layushkin (RUS)
Additional Assistant Referee 2: Vitaly Meshkov (RUS)
Fourth Official: Dmitry Mosyakin (RUS)
UEFA Referee Observer: Stefan Ormandjiev (BUL)
UEFA Delegate: Rotem Kamer (ISR)
Blog Referee Observer: Thomas H. (NED)

Group H, 11 December 2013, 20:45 CET
Stadium: Estadio Giuseppe Meazza, Milano (ITA)
AC Milan - Ajax Amsterdam
Referee: Howard Webb (ENG)
Assistant Referee 1: Michael Mullarkey (ENG)
Assistant Referee 2: Darren Cann (ENG)
Additional Assistant Referee 1: Mike Dean (ENG)
Additional Assistant Referee 2: Michael Jones (ENG)
Fourth Official: Peter Kirkup (ENG)
UEFA Referee Observer: Ryszard Wójcik (POL)
UEFA Delegate: Georges Lüchinger (LIE)
Blog Referee Observer: Hagi (GER)
Continue Reading...

December 8, 2013

Champions League - Referee Appointments - Matchday 6 (Tuesday)

Big pressure for Tom Harald Hagen: UEFA Refereeing Chief Officer Pierluigi Collina will observe his performance in next Tuesday's Champions League match between Real Sociedad and Bayer Leverkusen. Furthermore, David Fernández Borbalán has the honour to take charge of a top clash in Munich. Finally, Damir Skomina's assistant referee Matej Žunič seems to have been replaced following the incidents in the World Cup Play-Off match in France. These are the complete appointments:

Group A, 10 December 2013, 20:45 CET
Stadium: Old Trafford, Manchester (ENG)
Manchester United - Shakhtar Donetsk
Referee: Milorad Mažić (SRB)
Assistant Referee 1: Milovan Ristić (SRB)
Assistant Referee 2: Dalibor Djurdjević (SRB)
Additional Assistant Referee 1: Danilo Grujić (SRB)
Additional Assistant Referee 2: Miodrag Gogić (SRB)
Fourth Official: Milan Minić (SRB)
UEFA Referee Observer: Sergey Zuev (RUS)
UEFA Delegate: Paul Krähenbühl (SUI)
Blog Referee Observer: Edward (GRE)

Group A, 10 December 2013, 20:45 CET
Stadium: Anoeta, San Sebastian (ESP)
Real Sociedad - Bayer Leverkusen
Referee: Tom Harald Hagen (NOR, photo)
Assistant Referee 1: Dag-Roger Nebben (NOR)
Assistant Referee 2: Jan Erik Engan (NOR)
Additional Assistant Referee 1: Dag Vidar Hafsås (NOR)
Additional Assistant Referee 2: Ola Hobber Nilsen (NOR)
Fourth Official: Leif Erik Opland (NOR)
UEFA Referee Observer: Pierluigi Collina (ITA)
UEFA Delegate: István Huszár (HUN)
Blog Referee Observer: Edward (GRE)

Group B, 10 December 2013, 20:45 CET
Stadium: Ali Sami Yen Spor Kompleksi, Istanbul (TUR)
Galatasaray - Juventus Turin
Referee: Pedro Proença (POR)
Assistant Referee 1: Bertino Miranda (POR)
Assistant Referee 2: Tiago Trigo (POR)
Additional Assistant Referee 1: João Capela (POR)
Additional Assistant Referee 2: Duarte Gomes (POR)
Fourth Official: Venâncio Raposo Tomé (POR)
UEFA Referee Observer: Sándor Piller (HUN)
UEFA Delegate: Bernd Barutta (GER)
Blog Referee Observer: Niclas (GER)

Group B, 10 December 2013, 20:45 CET
Stadium: Parken Stadium, Copenhagen (DEN)
FC København - Real Madrid
Referee: Felix Brych (GER)
Assistant Referee 1: Mark Borsch (GER)
Assistant Referee 2: Stefan Lupp (GER)
Additional Assistant Referee 1: Marco Fritz (GER)
Additional Assistant Referee 2: Robert Hartmann (GER)
Fourth Official: Tobias Christ (GER)
UEFA Referee Observer: Neale Barry (ENG)
UEFA Delegate: Charles Schaack (LUX)
Blog Referee Observer: Chefren (ITA)

Group C, 10 December 2013, 20:45 CET
Stadium: Estádio da Luz, Lisbon (POR)
SL Benfica - Paris SG
Referee: Mark Clattenburg (ENG)
Assistant Referee 1: Simon Beck (ENG)
Assistant Referee 2: Stephen Child (ENG)
Additional Assistant Referee 1: Lee Probert (ENG)
Additional Assistant Referee 2: Lee Mason (ENG)
Fourth Official: Simon Long (ENG)
UEFA Referee Observer: László Vagner (HUN)
UEFA Delegate: Panagiotis Chatzialexiou (GER)
Blog Referee Observer: Niclas (GER)

Group C, 10 December 2013, 18:00 CET
Stadium: Georgios Karaiskakis Stadium, Piraeus (GRE)
Olympiacos - RSC Anderlecht
Referee: Wolfgang Stark (GER)
Assistant Referee 1: Jan-Hendrik Salver (GER)
Assistant Referee 2: Mike Pickel (GER)
Additional Assistant Referee 1: Tobias Welz (GER)
Additional Assistant Referee 2: Tobias Stieler (GER)
Fourth Official: Detlef Scheppe (GER)
UEFA Referee Observer: Adrian Casha (MLT)
UEFA Delegate: Christian Schmölzer (AUT)
Blog Referee Observer: Johnny (SRB)

Group D, 10 December 2013, 20:45 CET
Stadium: Allianz Arena, Munich (GER)
Bayern München - Manchester City
Referee: David Fernández Borbalán (ESP)
Assistant Referee 1: Jesús Calvo Guadamuro (ESP)
Assistant Referee 2: José Fernández Miranda (ESP)
Additional Assistant Referee 1: César Muñiz Fernández (ESP)
Additional Assistant Referee 2: Jesús Gil Manzano (ESP)
Fourth Official: Raúl Cabañero Martínez (ESP)
UEFA Referee Observer: Alan Snoddy (NIR)
UEFA Delegate: Süheyl Onen (TUR)
Blog Referee Observer: Thomas H. (NED)

Group D, 10 December 2013, 20:45 CET
Stadium: Štruncovy Sady Stadión, Plzen (CZE)
Viktoria Plzen - CSKA Moskva
Referee: Damir Skomina (SVN)
Assistant Referee 1: Primož Arhar (SVN)
Assistant Referee 2: Bojan Ul (SVN)
Additional Assistant Referee 1: Slavko Vinčić (SVN)
Additional Assistant Referee 2: Roberto Ponis (SVN)
Fourth Official: Robert Vukan (SVN)
UEFA Referee Observer: Stephen Bennett (ENG)
UEFA Delegate: Michail Kassabov (BUL)
Blog Referee Observer: Nur H. (ENG)
Continue Reading...

December 7, 2013

Kyros Vassaras to leave UEFA Referee Committee

It seems as if there has been a change in the constellation of UEFA's Referee Committee. Former EURO 2008 referee Kyros Vassaras of Greece is not appearing in the updated list of the committee's members of the 5th December 2013.

Having been specially responsible for youth tournaments, where he was frequently present as coordinator and observer, Vassaras seems to have quit the committee for so far unknown reasons. According to the document issued by Europe's football governing body, there is nobody replacing him. A statement by UEFA is awaited and will be communicated here as soon as issued.

UEFA Document
Continue Reading...

December 6, 2013

Your World Cup 2014 Referee List and Appointments

With today's FIFA drawing at Brazil's Bahia, Árbitro Internacional and The Third Team will start to intensely follow the road to World Cup 2014. As a starting shot for feeling the spirit of the next World Cup, we ask you! 

Feel free to assemble your personal refereeing team you would nominate for the biggest football event of the world - naturally with a few limitations and restrictions in terms of the amount of match officials to be selected per confederation. In a second step, you will find an overview about the matches drawn tonight. Based on the referees selected by you, you can assign these officials to these matches. In a final step, you can compare your ideas with those of other members of the community. Your lists and fictive appointments will be integrated into our blogs' analyses coming during the next months.

Enjoy the game!

Individual Lists
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Italy coach Cesare Prandelli has called for timeouts at next summer's World Cup

Italy coach Cesare Prandelli has called for timeouts at next summer's World Cup to ensure players remain hydrated.
Prandelli is concerned about how the climate in Brazil will affect players, with temperatures and humidity expected to be high across a number of the cities.
"I'd like to propose timeouts for rehydration breaks," he said. "There are two big problems in Brazil and that is the heat and the humidity, which are worryingly high in certain cities and we felt that during the Confederations Cup."

Italy struggled with tiredness and cramps during last summer's dress rehearsal tournament in Brazil, learning what to expect in 2014 and how to prepare better.
Prandelli feels everybody would benefit from having additional breaks during matches, although simply placing bottles of water behind the goals, like last summer, is not the solution.
"If you look at the video footage [of the Confederations Cup], you see that everybody was dashing for a drink every time there was a corner," Prandelli said at a news conference in Rome on Tuesday, prior to the departure for Friday's draw in Brazil.
"The risk is people will start kicking the ball out for a corner just to have a drink. Timeouts would be better. If we want to provide the world with a spectacle, then we need to give the players the chance to provide it."
FIFA General Secretary Valcke has insisted on the referees' duty to decide on that by declaring that timeouts will remain at the referees' discretion. If the referee or the stadium's medical responsible feel that timeouts are necessary for climatic reasons, they might be included in the match time, as "they have to decide whether the conditions are adequate and how many breaks are needed".
Continue Reading...
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