February 27, 2013

Pierluigi Collina will observe ManU - Real return match

UEFA has already defined the four referee observers who will be in charge of the match officials' observation and assessment in UEFA Champions League next week. As UEFA's chief officer in terms of refereeing, Pierluigi Collina, will go to Manchester's Old Trafford stadium, it is certain that Italian Nicola Rizzoli is unable to handle this match.

For Collina, it will be his fourth "nomination" for Manchester Utd. - Real Madrid. In 2000 and 2003, he whistled this match himself at Old Trafford (2:3 and 4:3). Last year, he furthermore returned onto the pitch taking charge of the Corazon Classic Match between Real Madrid and ManU in Santiago Bernabeu.

"PLC" (c) thescore.ie

UEFA Champions League, Round of 16, 2nd Legs

5 March 2013, 20:45 CET
Manchester United - Real Madrid
UEFA Referee Observer: Pierluigi Collina (Italy)*
UEFA Delegate: Rudolf Zavrl (Slovenia)
- no Italian and no Slovenian officials can handle this match, prediction: Cüneyt Cakir (Turkey)

Borussia Dortmund - Shakhtar Donetsk
UEFA Referee Observer: Peter Mikkelsen (Denmark)
UEFA Delegate: Jozef Kliment (Slovakia)
- Královec' team may not handle this match due to Roman Slysko, who comes from Slovakia, prediction: Damir Skomina (Slovenia)

6 March 2013, 20:45 CET
Juventus Turin - Celtic
UEFA Referee Observer: Zdravko Jokić (Serbia)
UEFA Delegate: Eduard Dervishaj (Spain)
- no Spaniards for this match, prediction: Firat Aydinus (Turkey)

Paris S.G. - Valencia
UEFA Referee Observer: David Elleray (England)*
UEFA Delegate: Geir Thorsteinsson (Iceland)
- no English referees and probably no Scottish referees either. Committee member Elleray indicates that Milorad Mazic (Serbia) or another ED referee could get this match.

* UEFA Referee Committee
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Prospective List of Referees for 2014 FIFA World Cup - February 2013

According to Árbitro Internacional, FIFA has updated the prospective list of referees for 2014 World Cup to be held at Brazil. Specially in CONMEBOL and UEFA zone, there are significant changes, such as Sandro Ricci going into the race to reach the World Cup in his home country, while Slovakian Roman Slysko now officially joins Czech Pavel Královec' World Cup team.

Sandro Ricci (BRA) (c) pop.com.br
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February 26, 2013

UEFA deploys Additional Assistant Referees at Under-21 Championship

Pursuant several sources, UEFA has decided to make use of the presence of additional assistant referees (AARs) at June's 2013 UEFA Under-21 European Championship to be held at Israel.

Ilias Spathas will work as AAR in Israel (c) Panionianea.gr

They are going to accompany six already chosen referees (Ivan Bebek - CRO, Serhiy Boiko - UKR, Antony Gautier - FRA, Pawel Gil - POL, Ovidiu Alin Hategan - ROU and Matej Jug - SVN) and eight assistant referees, who are until now unknown. In confiance with sure pieces of information, Greek Ilias Spathas has been confirmed as one of an unknown total number of AARs at the competition. Furthermore, it is said that Kenn Hansen (Denmark), Antti Munukka (Finland), Kristo Tohver (Estonia) and Miroslav Zelinka (Czech Republic) have been nominated, too.

First tested at an Under-19 championship in 2008, additional assistant referees have thus far joined more than 1.000 matches in UEFA's highest competitions, including UEFA Champions League, UEFA Europa League and 2012 UEFA European Championship. They depict the trial to avoid the usage of technological support in football as well as improving referees' decision-taking with the special target of efficiently solving situations on the goalline and in the penalty area in general functioning as a deterrent for possible infringements.

Despite Pierluigi Collina's persistent adulation with regard to the additional assistant referees' application, their decisions' efficiency is in fact controversial.
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Lorenzo Manganelli escapes critical condition after car accident

Italian aspiring and talented FIFA assistant referee Lorenzo Manganelli (1974) has luckily escaped his critical health condition following a serious car accident in which he was involved along with three other cars and which claimed one fatal victim. 

Lorenzo Manganelli (c) La Nazione

Around 19:30 on Sunday, 24 February, he was returning home along with his colleague Filippo Bercigli and their girlfriends [...]. His car was involved in a terrible accident on the A1 stretch between Florence and Incisa. A dreadful collision where four cars, for reasons that are still to be determined, clashed in the chain. One of the occupants died instantly, while there were two seriously injured and five mild injured people. Among those in critical condition is Manganelli, who started an international refereeing career that took him to some of the most important matches of European football including several UEFA Champions League matches and friendlies such as Germany - France in 2012 and France - Germany in 2013. He is said to be the currently best Italian assistant referee, at least according to the shown performances.

Lorenzo Manganelli's condition is now stable, he is out of mortal danger. 
Let's hope that those who regret the loss of the accident's fatal victim are going to be able to cope with that severe and hard time as well as that Manganelli is going to regain his feet very soon. 

partial source: La Nazione
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February 24, 2013

Collum, Collina, Collaboration and Collars

40 matches of UEFA Champions League's Round of 16 and UEFA Europa League's Round of 32 respectively have been played, and - colloquially spoken - there are four "colls" to be outlined as kind of brief summary...

Grasped as a controversial manner of interpreting the Laws of the Game by most of the people, William Collum's policy of zero tolerance with regards to players who actively and unequivocally attempted to influence disciplinary sanctions in the match between Galatasaray and Schalke 04 has been one of my personal highlights of the last week. Clearly put forward at plenty of UEFA seminars, such as Rome's advanced course for UEFA Elite referees in 2007, referees must book players who either verbally or even physically demand yellow cards for their opponents. In the concrete example, Gala's goalkeeper Fernando Muslera demanded a yellow card to Schalke's Farfán for having kicked the ball away after an offside flag and the consequent whistle by the Scottish officials. Despite the fact that Muslera has proven a generally good knowledge of the Laws of the Game, he had seemingly forgotten that those who demand yellows are also "rewarded" with it. He was immediately cautioned by Collum. And although the RE teacher of Scotland had made clear his way to deal with such unsporting behaviour, Schalke's Jones made the same mischief having been tactically fouled by an opponent. While sitting on the ground, he looked up to Collum with an eager facial expression and simulated the gesture of issueing a card. Collum reacted in an even frustrated fashion and swiftly booked the Schalke midfielder, too. Having been observed by and having been in a pre-match-briefing with noone less than Pierluigi Collina, I doubt that this was no targeted policy in this match - although I would appreciate it if much more officials would be that consistent in future like Collum, who by the way showed a good performance in a partly tense match.

One week before his job in Istanbul, Collina had to explain a situation or even a surreal incident that had occured at Celtic Park between Celtic and Juventus to Italian forms of media. As this video depicts, the first shot by Matri had already crossed the line, before another Italian striker made sure that the goal would count. Neither AR2 Calvo Guadamuro nor AAR2 Muñiz Fernández made any gesture to indicate that they had recognized this fact. Alberto Undiano, the referee, whistled after this goal, which he normally does not. So it might be a sign that they were aware but merely a bit unsure about this incident. In his known manner, Collina made then clear in an interview that everything had been ok and seen by the officials in an appropiate manner. To be honest, everything else would have been surprising.

UEFA's courage in terms of appointing Svein Moen for Arsenal - Bayern was in a way rewarded. Specially in the second half, the Norwegian talent clearly showed his skills and was able to show a very good performance. Unfortunately, his first half was certainly not that smooth and in the 55th minute, a critical mistake - but in UEFA's eyes no crucial mistake - happened. A shot by an Arsenal midfielder was blocked and deflected by one of his teammates and then crossed the goalline. This deflection was quite well visible to both, Svein Moen himself but also AAR2 Dag Vidar Hafsas. Moen however immediately and too quickly signalized that he awards a corner kick to Arsenal. The corner led to the 1:2 goal for the English side. In fact, there was a lack of consistency in the teamwork between both officials. It however does not matter who made which error at this moment, who was too swift. It's another tremendous example for the mere fact that the presence of additional assistant referees neither enhance the quality of decisions made on the goalline in critical goal/no-goal situations, nor improve the basic decision taking in the box. Fortunately, this example was that clear so that not even Pierluigi Collina was able to cherry-pick as usual.

Navas short-sleeved - brave, but sent off... (c) Eurosport

The Romanian referee crew headed by Ovidiu Alin Hategan was surely not to be envied on last Thursday. -14° C - football is not fun at such temperature levels in Moscow. One also may question the sense of playing matches in such circumstances at all; for the officials' health, collars and pants were the only small warranty. But be prepared, at World Cup 2022, there will be a temperature difference of - compared to Moscow - 60° C.
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February 19, 2013

UEFA Europa League - Round of 32 (II) - Referee Appointments

UEFA has released the referee appointments for Europa League's Round of 32, second legs, to be played on Thursday, 21 February. 
Jonas Eriksson (SWE) (c) Augsburger Allgemeine

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February 18, 2013

A Scottish Champions League Wednesday

UEFA has appointed an amount of twelve Scottish match officials to oversee Wednesday's matches in UEFA Champions League's Round of 16, First Legs. Being observed by Pierluigi Collina, William Collum will take charge of the clash between Galatasaray and Schalke 04. The other Scottish Elite referee Craig Thomson will attend the match AC Milan - FC Barcelona to be played at Stadio Giuseppe Meazza.

William Collum (34) (c) ZIMBIO

(TUR) Galatasaray
Schalke 04 (GER)
13 February 2013, 20:45 CET – Ali Sami Yen Spor Kompleksi, Istanbul, Turkey
William Collum (SCO)
Assistant Referee 1
Martin Cryans (SCO)
Assistant Referee 2
William Conquer (SCO)
Fourth Official
Alan Mulvanny (SCO)
Additional Assistant Referee 1
Robert Madden (SCO)
Additional Assistant Referee 2
John Beaton (SCO)
UEFA Referee Observer
Pierluigi Collina (ITA)
UEFA Delegate
Jacques Antenen (SUI)
UEFA Referee Liaison Officer

(ITA) AC Milan
FC Barcelona (ESP)
13 February 2013, 20:45 CET – Stadio Giuseppe Meazze, Milano, Italy
Craig Thomson (SCO)
Assistant Referee 1
Derek Rose (SCO)
Assistant Referee 2
Alasdair Ross (SCO)
Fourth Official
Graham Chambers (SCO)
Additional Assistant Referee 1
Steven McLean (SCO)
Additional Assistant Referee 2
Kevin Clancy (SCO)
UEFA Referee Observer
László Vagner (HUN)
UEFA Delegate
Mark Blackbourne (ENG)
UEFA Referee Liaison Officer
Gregorio Dall’aglio (ITA)

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February 17, 2013

Clattenburg and Moen to initiate CL Matchweek 2

UEFA has appointed Norwegian talent Svein Oddvar Moen and England's aspiring Mark Clattenburg to oversee next week's UEFA Champions League matches to be held on Tuesday, 19 February. While 1979 born Moen will return to Emirates Stadium, where he had already refereed twice, to handle the tie between Arsenal FC and Bayern München, Clattenburg will head the Iberian duel between FC Porto and Málaga CF.

Svein Oddvar Moen (Norway) (c) ZIMBIO

(ENG) Arsenal FC
Bayern München (GER)
19 February 2013, 20:45 CET – Emirates Stadium, London, England
Svein Oddvar Moen (NOR)
Assistant Referee 1
Kim Thomas Haglund (NOR)
Assistant Referee 2
Frank Andås (NOR)
Fourth Official
Sven Erik Midthjell (NOR)
Additional Assistant Referee 1
Ken Henry Johnsen (NOR)
Additional Assistant Referee 2
Dag Vidar Hafsås (NOR)
UEFA Referee Observer
Vítor Melo Pereira (POR)
UEFA Delegate
Jan Damgaard (DEN)
UEFA Referee Liaison Officer
John Edward Martin (ENG)

(POR) FC Porto
Málaga CF (ESP)
12 February 2013, 20:45 CET – Estádio do Dragão, Porto, Portugal
Mark Clattenburg (ENG)
Assistant Referee 1
Simon Beck (ENG)
Assistant Referee 2
Stuart Burt (ENG)
Fourth Official
Simon Long (ENG)
Additional Assistant Referee 1
Lee Probert (ENG)
Additional Assistant Referee 2
Mike Dean (ENG)
UEFA Referee Observer
Alfredo Trentalange (ITA)
UEFA Delegate
Bernd Barutta (GER)
UEFA Referee Liaison Officer
Antonio José Garrido Da Silva (POR)
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February 16, 2013

Nigerien Ibrahim Chaibou faces match fixing investigation

It was in the final minutes of a June 2011 soccer game between Nigeria and Argentina when the little green flags on computer screens in London started to change color. Nigeria was leading 4-0 in the exhibition match of little significance, and more and more money was being laid down around the world on the possibility that one of the teams would score another goal before the game was over. Monitors hired by the soccer governing body FIFA to detect deviations from expected betting patterns — helped by computer algorithms — spotted something fishy. The game's 90 minutes of regular time ended without another goal. Referee Ibrahim Chaibou (photo) ordered additional time added to the clock — normal in most soccer games to make up for stoppages in play throughout the contest for injuries or other minor delays. He added six minutes — a substantial amount for such a minor game. When that time ran out, the game continued, with the score still at 4-0. The clock reached 98 minutes. That's when Chaibou called Nigerian defender Efe Ambrose for touching the ball with his hand — an infraction that brought a penalty kick for Argentina. Ambrose couldn't believe it. Video replays showed the ball touching him halfway up his thigh, with his arm behind his back and his hand nowhere near the ball. The replay also suggested that Chaibou had a clear view of the play. But the referee pointed straight to the spot and patted his elbow twice as if to confirm his call beyond any doubt. Nigerian players crowded around him, one even laughing in bemusement. Argentina scored the penalty, and the game ended 4-1. Within days, both FIFA and the Nigerian Football Association announced they would look into the possibility that the match had been fixed.
Chaibou, a slim, bald 46-year-old from the West African country of Niger, is one of football's most-investigated international referees. Matches in which he officiated have been investigated by FIFA, the Nigerian Football Association and the South African Football Association. At least five of his matches have been flagged as suspicious by betting monitoring companies, an action that usually prompts FIFA and national football organizations to look into the possibility that it was fixed. None of those have resulted in formal charges or sanctions, and Chaibou denies any connection to match-fixing. He says he has retired from soccer and now works in Niger's military. In a telephone interview from his home in Niger's capital of Niamey, Chaibou acknowledged that soccer authorities have been questioning him about matches he officiated, including the Argentina-Nigeria game. "The people from FIFA have already asked me. ... They asked me all the questions about this goal. They asked around everywhere, a bit to everyone," he said. "I judged it to be a penalty, so I gave a penalty ... to make everyone happy. That's it." It wasn't the first time Chaibou had officiated a suspicious match. In 2010 and 2011, he was the referee at five exhibition matches between national teams in Africa, the Middle East and South America that were flagged by a leading betting monitoring company as potentially fixed, according to confidential company reports seen by the AP. Before the FIFA-South African investigation was completed, Chaibou turned 45 and was forced to retire from FIFA's approved international referee list in December 2011 due to age limits. That also automatically canceled the investigation, since FIFA investigates only active referees, and no sanctions were issued. "Ibrahim Chaibou left football before FIFA could launch any potential disciplinary action against him," the FIFA media department said in an email, adding that Chaibou "could of course be investigated again, should he return to soccer". Chris Eaton, a former security chief for FIFA, said the governing body's investigators tried and failed to question Chaibou in the six months before his retirement, a development he called disappointing. "People who have serious allegations of corruption against them ought to be properly investigated, if only to clear them of the allegations or confirm them", he said.

Ibrahim Chaibou (NIG)

In 2010, Chaibou was hired for matches in South Africa, Bahrain, Bolivia and Ecuador and small tournaments played in Egypt. Many of them were organized by Wilson Raj Perumal, who has been convicted of match-fixing in Finland for Asian crime syndicates, and wrote about the fixes in a series of jailhouse letters to a Singaporean journalist in which he linked Chaibou to suspicious matches in South America. After serving his sentence and being released, Perumal has been helping law enforcement authorities in Hungary and Italy uncover rigged games. He has given testimony that is considered a major breakthrough in uncovering match-fixing in Europe. Perumal's company hired Chaibou to officiate at two games in 2010 — South Africa-Guatemala and Bahrain-Togo. The first was investigated by FIFA and the South African soccer federation; the second involved a team of impostors. Eaton said that when Perumal was arrested in Finland in February 2011, he had Chaibou's number on his phone. Chaibou also officiated two other games in South America — Bolivia-Venezuela and Ecuador-Venezuela — in October and November 2010, respectively, according to documents provided by FIFA. Both of those matches raised flags with betting monitors, according to confidential betting reports. In a letter written from jail, Perumal claimed the Bolivia match was "sold to an investor in China" — a euphemism for Asian crime gangs. In Ecuador, the home team won 4-1, helped by penalties scored by both teams that were "similarly questionable," according to a confidential betting monitoring report. When asked by the AP whether he knew Perumal, Chaibou became combative. "You already asked me this question last time. I told you I don't know him. I don't know him!" he said, his voice rising. "I told you I don't know these people." In two previous calls to Chaibou, AP had not mentioned the name.
In 2010, Bahrain's soccer federation hired Perumal to arrange an exhibition match between its national team and that of Togo. But when the match was played in the Bahraini capital of Manama in September of that year, the rag-tag team from Togo contained none of the players from its national squad. Its coach was not that of the Togolese team, but rather Tchanile Bana, who was serving a two-year ban by Togo for a previous soccer scam. Bahrain won 3-0, but its coach still complained angrily after the game; the score would have been even more lopsided if officials had not nullified several Bahraini goals on offside calls. The referee was Chaibou. From his prison cell in Finland, Perumal wrote to a Singaporean journalist that "Ibrahim Chaibo (sic) was put in charge of this match to keep the score as low as possible." Perumal said he wagered "against the current" of other Singapore bettors who knew about his ties to the Togo game and who put down money on the Africans losing by a lot. Chaibou denied that anyone influenced the match: "These are refereeing decisions. That's all." Asked whether Perumal had dictated the outcome, Chaibou hung up. He did not answer further calls from the AP. FIFA did not investigate because there was no formal complaint by either national federation about the match, which has become notorious in the soccer world for hurting the image of international exhibitions.
Two weeks before the 2010 World Cup in South Africa, Chaibou refereed another game that caught the eye of journalists as well as betting monitors, who watch information from 300 betting agencies. The South African Football Association had hired the Football4U agency, later linked to Perumal, to arrange a string of exhibitions, including a May 31 match against Guatemala. Chaibou was the referee. The monitoring systems noted suspiciously strong pre-match backing for a South African victory, despite the fact the team was resting several regulars, and for at least three goals to be scored in the game, according to a confidential monitoring report. South Africa won 5-0, with two of the goals coming from the three handball penalties awarded by Chaibou. The first was called on defender Gustavo Cabrera, who replays showed was clearly standing outside the penalty area. Guatemala was awarded a penalty in the 50th minute when South Africa defender Lucas Thwala blocked a shot with his chest; the South African goalkeeper made the save on the ensuing penalty kick. Chaibou gave South Africa another penalty kick four minutes later, and the team scored. The South African Football Association immediately became suspicious and dropped all of Perumal's referees, canceling Chaibou's plans to officiate its next game against Denmark. Chaibou denied that anyone had pressured him to influence the outcome of the match.
On Dec. 15, 2012, the South African Football Association announced that a FIFA report found "compelling evidence" that one or more of its games was fixed in 2010. It said referees hired by Perumal were thought to have manipulated its exhibition games before the World Cup for betting purposes, adding that no players were thought to have been involved. It did not name the referees. It has not imposed sanctions but the investigation continues.
Eaton, who has since joined the Qatari-funded International Centre for Sport Security, said he will continue to investigate Chaibou. It is his responsibility, he said, "to protect all sport from the influence of criminals infiltrating sport and corrupting individuals within sport. The allegations against referee Chaibou mean he is a person of interest to the ICSS Integrity Unit and its investigators," Eaton said. Chaibou insists he has never fixed a match. "It's got nothing to do with me," he said. "I refereed my matches and went home peacefully. End of story."

source: NY Daily News 

Related Item: Europol announces hugest match fixing scandale in football's history
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Champions League Referee Appointments - Prognoses for Matchweek 2

After an unexpected 100% prediction of last week's Champions League referee appointments, I will chance my luck again. This time, it is definitely much harder: We do not know which officiating crews will get one of the four matches and in addition, there are far more opportunities for the clashes this time, which also makes it more exciting. Therefore, I am sure that I'll have not even one hit this time..

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February 12, 2013

UEFA Europa League - Round of 32 - Referee Appointments (I)

Like her bigger sister - UEFA Champions League - UEFA Europa League's K.O. round will commence this week as well. UEFA has released the full appointments for the sixteen first legs of the Round of 32, involving Antonio Mateu Lahoz, Pedro Proenca and István Vad in top-class matches.

István Vad (Hungary) (c) ZIMBIO

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February 11, 2013

Brych and Webb get Champions League top clashes

After having already shown a very good performance in last year's semifinal decided between Chelsea FC and FC Barcelona, German top class referee Felix Brych has been now appointed to be in charge of this Champions League Round of 16's top match between Real Madrid and Manchester United, while UEFA assigned Englishman and experienced final referee Howard Webb to oversee the other duel of the evening between Shakhtar Donetsk and Borussia Dortmund.

Felix Brych, Germany's new no.1 (?) (c) ZIMBIO

Brych's so far only appearance at Santiago Bernabéu

(ESP) Real Madrid
Manchester Utd. (ENG)
13 February 2013, 20:45 CET – Estadio Santiago Bernabéu, Madrid, Spain
Felix Brych (GER)
Assistant Referee 1
Mark Borsch (GER)
Assistant Referee 2
Stefan Lupp (GER)
Fourth Official
Thorsten Schiffner (GER)
Additional Assistant Referee 1
Marco Fritz (GER)
Additional Assistant Referee 2
Tobias Welz (GER)
UEFA Referee Observer
Bertrand Layec (FRA)
UEFA Delegate
Janis Mežeckis (LVA)
UEFA Referee Liaison Officer
Raúl Masso Zambudio (ESP)

(UKR) Shakhtar Donetsk
Borussia Dortmund (GER)
13 February 2013, 20:45 CET – Donbass Arena, Donetsk, Ukraine
Howard Webb (ENG)
Assistant Referee 1
Mike Mullarkey (ENG)
Assistant Referee 2
Darren Cann (ENG)
Fourth Official
Stephen Child (ENG)
Additional Assistant Referee 1
Michael Oliver (ENG)
Additional Assistant Referee 2
Andre Marriner (ENG)
UEFA Referee Observer
Jean Lemmer (LUX)
UEFA Delegate
Adonis Procopiou (CYP)
UEFA Referee Liaison Officer
Sergii Prystupa (UKR)
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