February 28, 2015

Weekly News: IFAB's decision on the Triple Punishment, Chaos in Cypriot Refereeing and UEFA Observers & Delegates for UCL/UEL

The Third Team once again provides you with the latest news regarding European refereeing. At today's meeting at the Culloden Hotel in Craigavad, near Northern Ireland’s capital Belfast, IFAB has took some significant decisions about Triple punishment, 4th substitution, video support for match officials and sin-bins. Furthermore shocking news are coming from Cyprus after a bomb was placed under the car of an active FIFA referee.

Rizzoli sent's off Arsenal GK Wojciech Szczesny in last year's CL match.

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February 24, 2015

Europa League 2014/15 - Round of 32 - Referee Appointments (II)

UEFA has designated the following match officials for Europa League's Round of 32 second legs.  Among others, Slovenian Elite Damir Skomina will oversee the clash between Beşiktaş and Liverpool, while Turkish Cüneyt Çakır  will officiate his second match in a week, after PSG - Chelsea in the UEFA Champions League on last Tuesday. Five officials from Category 1 will make their bow in the KO phase of this competition: Kenn Hansen, Ruddy Buquet, Danny Makkelie, Ivan Kružliak and Martin Strömbergsson. UEFA Referees Committee's member Nikolay Levnikov will observe Anastasios Sidiropoulos.

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February 23, 2015

Champions League 2014/15 - Round of 16 - Referee Appointments (Week 2, Matchday 2)

Pavel Královec will take charge of Bayer Leverkusen - Atlético Madrid under the eyes of UEFA Chief Refereeing Officer Pierluigi Collina. Probably, this is the result of Královec's very sophisticated performances in this season's group stage. Furthermore, new German Elite official Deniz Aytekin will make his UEFA Champions League K.O. round bow at Emirates Stadium.

Wednesday, 25/02/2015, 20:45 CET
BayArena, Leverkusen (Germany)
Bayer Leverkusen - Atlético Madrid
Referee: Pavel Královec (CZE)
Assistant Referee 1: Roman Slyško (SVK)
Assistant Referee 2: Martin Wilczek (CZE)
Additional Assistant Referee 1: Radek Prihoda (CZE)
Additional Assistant Referee 2: Michal Patak (CZE)
Fourth Official: Tomas Mokrusch (CZE)
UEFA Referee Observer: Pierluigi Collina (ITA)
UEFA Delegate: Steen Dahrup (DEN)
Blog Referee Observer: Edward (GRE)

Wednesday, 25/02/2015, 20:45 CET
Emirates Stadium, London (England)
Arsenal FC - AS Monaco
Referee: Deniz Aytekin (GER)
Assistant Referee 1: Guido Kleve (GER)
Assistant Referee 2: Markus Häcker (GER)
Additional Assistant Referee 1: Tobias Welz (GER)
Additional Assistant Referee 2: Christian Dingert (GER)
Fourth Official: Christoph Bornhorst (GER)
UEFA Referee Observer: Sándor Piller (HUN)
UEFA Delegate: Jean Paul Mievis (BEL)
Blog Referee Observer: Nikitas (GRE)
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February 22, 2015

Champions League 2014/15 - Round of 16 - Referee Appointments (Week 2, Matchday 1)

Germany's UEFA Europa League 2014 final referee Felix Brych and new Spanish Elite official Antonio Mateu Lahoz have been appointed to be in charge of next Tuesday's UEFA Champions League ties in Manchester and Turin belonging to the top clashes of this season's Round of 16.

Tuesday, 24/02/2015, 20:45 CET
Etihad Stadium, Manchester (England)
Manchester City - FC Barcelona
Referee: Felix Brych (GER)
Assistant Referee 1: Mark Borsch (GER)
Assistant Referee 2: Stefan Lupp (GER)
Additional Assistant Referee 1: Bastian Dankert (GER)
Additional Assistant Referee 2: Marco Fritz (GER)
Fourth Official: Mike Pickel (GER)
UEFA Referee Observer: Bertrand Layec (FRA)
UEFA Delegate: Michele Uva (ITA)
Blog Referee Observer: Carter (AUS)

Tuesday, 24/02/2015, 20:45 CET
Juventus Stadium, Turin (Italy)
Juventus Turin - Borussia Dortmund
Referee: Antonio Mateu Lahoz (ESP)
Assistant Referee 1: Pau Cebrián Devis (ESP)
Assistant Referee 2: Roberto Díaz Pérez Del Palomar (ESP)
Additional Assistant Referee 1: Javier Estrada Fernández (ESP)
Additional Assistant Referee 2: Alejandro Hernández Hernández (ESP)
Fourth Official: Juan Carlos Yuste Jiménez (ESP)
UEFA Referee Observer: Jørn West Larsen (DEN)
UEFA Delegate: Jim Stjerne Hansen (DEN)
Blog Referee Observer: Maxi R. (GER)
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February 20, 2015

SPA and DOGSO - Part 2/4: Stopping a Promising Attack

Based on the previously published theoretical post, the following video clips illustrate typical match situations in terms of SPA (stopping a promising attack) and DOGSO (denying an obvious goal-scoring opportunity).

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Stopping a Promising Attack & Denying an Obvious Goal-Scoring Opportunity - Part 1/4

With top-flight football getting increasingly quicker and players becoming more adapt on a technical side, the idea is that there is more focus on dynamic attacking football than in the past. Against this background, it is vitally important for referees to constantly improve their skills in monitoring these attacks and penalizing offenders stopping promising attacks or even denying obvious goal-scoring opportunities. That's what this series of posts will be about.

Learning goals

1) What is Stopping a Promising Attack (SPA), what is Denying an Obvious Goal-Scoring Opportunity (DOGSO)?

2) What are the revelant criteria to penalize a player for SPA or DOGSO? Where are the differences between both types of offences?

3) How to create consistency in terms of SPA and DOGSO?

4) The role of co-operation and communication

What Law 12 says

The cautionable offence Stopping a Promising Attack is rather a UEFA terminology which does not exist in FIFA's and the IFAB's lawbook. Instead of SPA, Law 12 considers it as a "foul for the tactical purpose of interfering with or breaking up a promising attack" to be classified as unsporting behaviour requiring a yellow card.

Based on UEFA's guidelines, such a "foul" also includes offences like deliberately handling the ball when it prevents the opponent taking up an advantageous position or when it prevents a promising attacking move to develop.

Denying an Obvious Goal-Scoring Opportunity (or even denying a goal) is a sending-off offence and thus must be sanctioned with a red card. It includes infringements "denying an obvious goalscoring opportunity to an opponent moving towards the player's goal by an offence punishable by a free-kick or a penalty kick", such as tackles, holding offences but also deliberately handling the ball. 

Guidelines & Criteria

You, as referee, as usual, weigh up several different criteria to decide whether an offence has stopped a promising attack or not, or whether an offence has even denied an obvious goal-scoring opportunity.

But as you are no machine and as there are often more grey areas than black-and-white situations, it is your personal impression and assessment which counts to determine whether a promising attack was going on or not or whether an obvious goal-scoring opportunity has been denied or not. Players, supporters and even your colleagues might disagree with that - that is kind of natural.

That's why it is important to have a clear line during the game (which I call intra-consistency), but also from one game to the other, from one performance to the other and from one referee to the other in the same competition or league (inter-consistency).

Intra-consistency can only be achieved by the referee himself, who is asked to monitor his own decisions during the match and should succeed in finding a uniform line in evaluating such offences. Your decisions can be even wrong at times - frequently players accept them as long as they see that you do not apply double standards.

Inter-consistency is more difficult to achieve, since in most competitions and leagues, many different referees are officiating and comparing situations with each other is not always possible or easy.
Here, referee instructors (or blogs :-)) are asked to implement guidelines for orientation to form inter-consistency. UEFA's section "Aiming at Consistency" at their referee seminars is a good example of that. At World Cup 2014, we have seen that most referees ignored clear cases of stopping promising attacks as a consequence of misplaced instructions by their instructors. At least, they were consistent in that - nonetheless, this strategy was not accepted by players and supporters which underlines that consistency in weighing up criteria within a tournament or league is only one side of the coin - following the rulebook is the other side.

There are some voices to demand as little guidelines for the referees as possible. Top-down guidelines would create bigger problems than benefits. This perspective is surely valid taking into consideration topics like "handball" or "offside" and the torrent of confusing criteria referees and assistant referees have to cope with (let alone players and fans).
However, SPA/DOGSO is an issue that does not only crop up pretty often in the same game, but which is also more comparable like for example handball. So the media, fans and players are able to easily detect inconsistencies from one situation to another in the same game or even from one game to the other. That's why we definitely need clear guidelines here represented in criteria to be fulfilled to deem infringements as SPA or even DOGSO.

And these are the criteria to be taken into account when assessing SPA / DOGSO situations - keep then in mind when watching the video clips in the other posts:

Criteria for SPA

Position of the Offence
Was the attacker fouled close to the opponents' goal or penalty area? Or rather in the midfield? Or was it rather very deep in the attacking team's own half (in that case, SPA is mostly not occurring)?
The attacking player's chance of playing the ball
If the offence had not occurred, would the attacker have been able to a) reach b) control and c) play the ball?

Position, number and proximity of the opponents
Where? How many? How close? (the less and the farther away the opponents, the more promising the attack was)

Position of his teammates
Were there other teammates? (the more teammates and the more promising their position, the more promising the attack was)

Distance to the goal
A not that important criteria, since promising attacks can also occur in the attacker's own half. Nonetheless, if the goal is close, hindering a player to pull off a shot on it can already be enough to deem the defender guilty of stopping a promising attack (the closer the goal, the more promising an attack is).

Dynamic of the attack
The more dynamic, the higher the chance that a really promising attack has been stopped by an offence. Did the attacker really move dynamically towards the opponents' goal to start an attack? Or were the attacking players rather stationary, which would make it less probable that a really promising attack has been stopped?

Was the attack likely to develop in the next few seconds had it not been stopped by an offence?
Maybe a really promising attack was not visible at the moment of the offence. But, taking into account the whole attacking team's movement or direction towards the goal, it might be that a promising attack was very likely to initiate in a few moments.

Criteria for DOGSO

The attacker's likelihood of controlling the ball or getting in control of the ball
Was the attacker in full control? Yes - then DOGSO is possible. No? - then DOGSO still is possible, as long as the likelihood of getting in control of the ball is given and preferably high. Some of the video clips at the bottom illustrate such cases. If the likelihood of getting in control of the ball is low, this is an argument in favour of SPA and against DOGSO.

Position of the attacking player
Where was the attacker? Was his position very good for an obvious goal-scoring opportunity? Or was the angle of shooting at the goal rather bad?

Position of the defenders and their goalkeeper - did they have a chance to intervene fairly?
Often times, commentaries tend to say "He was the last man, so it is red!". That's of course not always correct, but mostly, and mirrors what is meant by this criterion. If there is no other defender who can intervene fairly, your decision should be DOGSO. If there are still defenders who are maybe on the same level like the attacker or even closer to the goal and have the chance to intervene in a fair way, DOGSO is not probable and SPA is more adequate.

Overall direction of the attacker's and the ball's movement
Was the attacker's movement directed towards the goal or penalty area? Or did he rather move towards the corner flag with very little chances to score a goal?
Where did the ball move? Towards the goal, close to the attacker's feet? Away from the goal? Maybe even towards the midfield or corner flag? Was the ball, at the moment of the offence, maybe even crossing the goalline?

Distance to the goal
The closer, the more likely an obvious goal-scoring opportunity. That's a quite easy formula, but there is a problem: imagine that in the last minute of the game, with Team A being 1:0 in front. Team B has a last corner-kick so that their goalkeeper decides to leave his goal and try to support his attackers. They however lose the ball after the corner and Team A's attackers are sprinting towards the empty goal of Team B and only stopped by an offence of the last defender 60 metres in front of the goal. Of course, they were denied a clear goal-scoring opportunity despite the very large distance to the goal (because there were no other defenders, the goal was empty....).
This shows: All these criteria are interdependent! You cannot consider one without the others.

Was the attack likely to produce a goal had it not been stopped by an offence?

Special Considerations for DOGSO

Basically, there is no difference between an offence committed by a goalkeeper or common player. In both cases, the consequence of denying an obvious goal-scoring opportunity is a red card.

When a goalkeeper commits an offence in a 1-vs-1-situation with the attacker, the mostly appropiate sanction is a red card. There are exceptions though: When the attacker is moving into a direction or is in a position from where it is very unprobable that he will score a goal, a yellow card for SPA is enough.

What is important?

1. In order to come to a decision for a complex SPA / DOGSO decision, you need criteria to weigh up. Sometimes one set of criteria is fulfilled while the other is not. Sometimes most criteria are fulfilled but one criteria is so important that it should be enough to prevail over the other ones. There is no clear rule, so that by means of video education and guidelines referees depend on developing a feeling for the correct application of these criteria.

2. For the weighing-up process, you require accurate pieces of visual information. Specially in DOGSO cases, the position of the players is decisive, but can change quickly after some parts of a second, since some players move more quickly than others or slow down their movement having anticipated the foul. This means: you have to keep in mind the position of the players just at the moment of the infringement. You can succeed in that by kind of freezing your mental image. That's something quite common in offside situations as well and can support you in ensuring the correctitude of the information that underlies your later decision.
This video shows an example where this was the problem: The referee had to rely on his assistant referee's perception concerning the question whether another defender would have been able to intervene fairly (or whether the offender was the "last man"). If he had freezed his mental image correctly, the assistant referee would have probably advised his boss to send the player off for denying an obvious goal-scoring opportunity.

The red frame shows the moment of the contact / foul. The AR must freeze this moment in his mind to answer the question: "Did he deny an obvious goal-scoring opportunity?" (in this case equivalent to: "Was he the last man?")

3. This situation shows another issue: as the main referee, maybe being in a full sprint following a quick counterattack, you do not always have the best visual angle to determine whether a defender was the "last man" or whether there was maybe another defender that could have intervened with fair means. Luckily, you can use the visual information seen by four, sometimes even six eyes - co-operation is the key word here!
Some decisions are thus trivial and easy to take that you do not need your colleagues. But some of the video clips I will present you show that referees often have no chance to assess the relevant criteria given a poor visual angle. Assistant referees and additional assistant referees should be encouraged to provide the referees with accurate pieces of information, as they often savour insights into situations the referee can only dream of. It's like putting some pieces of a puzzle together - at the end, the outcome should fit. This might take some time though.

4. For the weighing-up process, you need this time. It needs some time to conduct complex tasks and come to good solutions. Furthermore, before taking a vital decision (DOGSO decisions are always key decisions with the power to change games), co-operation in the referee team often is necessary. It is therefore no problem to such decisions with some seconds delay - quality counts.

5. Communication! Refereeing is not just about taking a decision and that's it. You should sell your decision per verbal and non-verbal communication. Some video clips will show situations where referees well used hand gestures to demonstrate "Man, that was a 100% clear goal-scoring opportunity, I have no other chance!" or "The ball went towards the corner flag, so no DOGSO!" or "There was still a defender who could have intervened!" etc. Players, but specially supporters are thus able to easily understand your decision and its acceptance might increase (not necessarily though).
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February 18, 2015

UEFA's Vanishing Spray Protocol fooled by David Luiz

Cüneyt Çakır's vanishing spray undoubtfully played the lead in an otherwise pretty eventless first half of yesterday's Champions League match between Paris SG and Chelsea FC. After having lost his spray bottle close to the penalty area for several minutes at the start of the game, the Turkish referee was cheekily deceived by Paris defender David Luiz. Reasons enough to have a look at this and another situation and present you UEFA's official "Vanishing Spray Protocol".

Caught by the bird's-eye-view: David Luiz cheating at a free-kick

At first, check the following two videos. The first shows the situation mentioned above, while the second clip is taken from the group stage match between Benfica and Zenit refereed by Svein Moen.

David Luiz apparently thought that his teammate Zlatan Ibrahimović would benefit from another position of the ball a bit closer to the centre of the field. Although he changed the ball's position only by maybe 20 or 30 cms, these centimetres are often enough and have huge effects on the probability of scoring a goal from free-kicks close to the penalty area.

That's why referees are instructed to keep an eye on the correct position of the ball at free-kicks for many years. But as attackers went on to show this misconduct, which was often times missed by the match officials, the problem was supposed to be solved by the use of the vanishing spray implemented by UEFA at the start of the season.

These are the guidelines with regard to the vanishing spray UEFA passed to their match officials:

"Vanishing Spray Protocol


Only the referee will use the vanishing spray. The fourth official shall ensure he has three spare containers in his possession in order to allow him to replace the referee's container if required.
Where the competition has the Additional Assistant Referee system implemented, each AAR as well as the fourth official will bring along with him one spare container each.

How to use

At the beginning of the match the referee will ensure he is in possession of one new container of vanishing spray. Depending on how many times the spray will be used during the first half (one full container normally allows 6-7 marks of 3-4m each), the referee will replace the container before the start of the second half.

Following the award of the free-kick and assuming the referee decides to use the vanishing spray, he shall:
1) Identify the correct spot where the free-kick will be taken from and mark it by using the spray (20-30cm line or small circle).
2) Measure (by counting the steps) the correct minimum distance where the defender or the defensive wall will be positioned.
3) Position the defender(s) at the required minimum distance and then mark the line where they should be positioned behind.

As the line will clearly indicate the required minimum distance measured by the referee, it is important that the referee is accurate in measuring this distance.

When it should be used

The vanishing spray should only be used in the following circumstances:
1) To mark the spot where the free-kick will be taken from, when required
2) To confirm the position of the defending player(s), when required

The spray should only be used when free-kicks are being managed by the referee and those that will be taken in the proximity of the penalty area.

In case of an infringement

Referees must ensure the defender(s) respect the correct measured distance before allowing the free-kick to proceed.

1) If the free-kick has not been taken and the player(s) did not respect the correct minimum distance already marked by the vanishing spray, then the referee will delay the restart of play and caution the player(s) for unsporting behaviour.

2) If the free-kick has already been taken (with the infringement occurring before the ball was in play), the referee shall stop play (with the exception of a possible advantage) and caution the player(s) who did not respect the correct distance already marked by the vanishing spray for unsporting behaviour. The free-kick will be retaken."

As you can see, there is no point in the protocol that concerns the scenario seen at Paris yesterday. However, as David Luiz has shown no respect for the correct position of the free-kick and, what is more serious, has clearly deceived the referee by undermining his authority visible for most supporters in the stadium (let alone those in front of the TV), he should have received a yellow card for unsporting behaviour. 
Unfortunately, the referee team absolutely missed this situation. It is understandable that Çakır did not notice Luiz' misconduct - he was about to position the wall by accurately counting the 9,15m by stepping forward towards the goal having the free-kick takers in his back (= not in his visual control). But there is a solution for this typical game scenario and that is teamwork in the sense of distributing responsibilities efficiently.

How you can distribute responsibilities better

While you are positioning the wall, marking the vanishing spray line in front (and please not onto!) the defender(s)' feet and instructing them to not move forward and mind their hands, your teammates should control the free-kick takers and correct position of the ball. Specially in matches where AARs are used, this is no problem.

If the free-kick position is located in the right half of the field close to the penalty area, Assistant Referee 1 can maintain visual contact to the ball, while the referee is positioning the wall. But as he should put his entire focus on the 2nd last defenders, there could be colliding responsibilities. That's why in many referee teams the fourth official fulfills this task. Therefore referees should encourage their teammates at the benches to be actively involved in play and keep an eye on the free-kick takers.

If the free-kick position is however rather in the left side of the field, the fourth official, AR1 and AAR1 are no help anymore. Here, you can ask your Assistant Referee 2 on the other sideline to fulfill this job. As in most free-kick situations, the 2nd last defender of the attacking team is waiting at the midfield line, AR2s are mostly positioned at the cross of their sideline and the midfield line. This means that they are often times only 20-30 metres away from a free-kick position where the spray is used. Thus, they can contribute to the referee's free-kick management in a direct way.

That's why Çakır cannot be blamed for missing this incident which indeed undermined his authority. But what he and his team could have done better - and that's a matter of pre-match-discussion - is distributing responsibilities at free-kicks more efficiently. To ensure eye-contact to your teammates, you should furthermore position the wall from the left side.

In the second clip, Svein Moen accurately positioned the defensive wall and another defending player at the required minimum distance. However, he did not continue to monitor the wall's behaviour after the line had been drawn. 
Based on the Vanishing Spray Protocol, he should have delayed the restart of play (i.e. the free-kick execution) and should have cautioned one of the players. It is important that only one of the players forming the defensive wall can be punished (and not three or four players..). Mostly you should either choose the player who moved forward most significantly or, if all players were on a similar level, you should choose the exteriorly positioned player in the defensive wall. Officials interested in the good of the game should furthermore not pick a player who has already been cautioned. Selling a sending-off for such an "easy" offence should better be avoided.

So, as pointed out in a previous post, you should  not completely rely on the spray as the referee. Drawing a white line on the turf does not release you from your duty to control players at free-kicks with your personality and keeping an eye on these players to detect possible infringements. This demands decisiveness, visual control and - if you don't have this visual control as the referee - an efficient distribution of responsibilities in your team.
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February 17, 2015

Europa League 2014/15 - Round of 32 - Referee Appointments (I) with a female AR

UEFA has designated the following match officials for Europa League's Round of 32 first legs. Three Elite referees have been appointed: Jonas Eriksson, Paolo Tagliavento and Carlos Velasco Carballo. Furthermore, Szymon Marciniak will attend Anfield Road under the eyes of Roberto Rosetti. With Alon Yefet and Aleksandar Stavrev, two experienced First Group officials have been nominated to take charge of probably intense and important matches.

With Chrysoula Kourompylia of Greece, UEFA has assigned a female assistant referee for the first time for many years. She is frequently appointed in Greece's Super League since 2009 and accompanied Michael Koukoulakis as fourth official in Dinamo Zagreb - Salzburg earlier this season. Usually, she is Thalia Mitsi's assistant referee and is a candidate for FIFA Women's World Cup 2015.

19 February 2015

19:00 CET, Stade de Suisse, Berne (SUI)
BSC Young Boys  - Everton
Referee: Manuel de Sousa (POR) * replaces Aleksei Kulbakov (BLR)
Assistant Referee 1: Bertino Miranda (POR)
Assistant Referee 2: Alvaro Mesquita (POR)
Additional Assistant Referee 1: Carlos Taborda Xistra (POR)
Additional Assistant Referee 2: Marco Ferreira (POR)
Fourth Official: Rui Tavares (POR)
UEFA Referee Observer: Zbigniew Przesmycki (POL)
UEFA Delegate: Jan Damgaard (DEN)
Blog Referee Observer: Edward (GRE)

19:00 CET, Stadio Olimpico, Turin (ITA)
Torino FC - Athletic Club
Referee: Michael Koukoulakis (GRE)
Assistant Referee 1: Michael Karsiotis (GRE)
Assistant Referee 2: Chrysoula Kourompylia (GRE, photo)
Additional Assistant Referee 1: Andreas Pappas (GRE)
Additional Assistant Referee 2: Athanassios Giachos (GRE)
Fourth Official: Christos Baltas (GRE)
UEFA Referee Observer: Marian Ruzbarsky (SVK)
UEFA Delegate: Peadar Ryan (IRL)
Blog Referee Observer: Nur (ENG)

19:00 CET, VfL Wolfsburg Arena, Wolfsburg (GER)
VfL Wolfsburg - Sporting Clube de Portugal
Referee: Alon Yefet (ISR)
Assistant Referee 1: Nissan Davidy (ISR)
Assistant Referee 2: Amihay Yesohua Mozes (ISR)
Additional Assistant Referee 1: Liran Liany (ISR)
Additional Assistant Referee 2: Eli Hacmon (ISR)
Fourth Official: Dvir Shimon (ISR)
UEFA Referee Observer: Raymond Ellingham (WAL)
UEFA Delegate: Jaroslav Dudl (CZE)
Blog Referee Observer: Nikitas (GRE)

19:00 CET, NSK Olimpiyskyi, Kyiv (UKR)
FC Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk - Olympiacos FC
Referee: Robert Schörgenhofer (AUT)
Assistant Referee 1: Mathias Winsauer (AUT)
Assistant Referee 2: Roland Brandner (AUT)
Additional Assistant Referee 1: Dominik Ouschan (AUT)
Additional Assistant Referee 2: Rene Eisner (AUT)
Fourth Official: Richard Hübler (AUT)
UEFA Referee Observer: Jan Carlsen (DEN)
UEFA Delegate: Orkhan Huseynzade (AZE)
Blog Referee Observer: Chefren (ITA)

19:00 CET, Hüseyin Avni Aker Stadyumu, Trabzon (TUR)
Trabzonspor - SSC Napoli
Referee: Vladislav Bezborodov (RUS) * replaces Manuel De Sousa
Assistant Referee 1: Nikolay Golubev (RUS)
Assistant Referee 2: Maksim Gavrilin (RUS)
Additional Assistant Referee 1: Aleksei Eskov (RUS)
Additional Assistant Referee 2: Sergei Ivanov (RUS)
Fourth Official: Valeriy Danchenko (RUS)
UEFA Referee Observer: Jan W. Wegereef (NED)
UEFA Delegate: Wolfgang Thierrichter (AUT)
Blog Referee Observer: Niclas (GER)

19:00 CET, Stadio Olimpico, Rome (ITA)
AS Roma - Feyenoord
Referee: Ovidiu Alin Hategan (ROU)
Assistant Referee 1: Octavian Sovre (ROU)
Assistant Referee 2: Sebastian Eugen Gheorghe (ROU)
Additional Assistant Referee 1: Alexandru Tudor (ROU)
Additional Assistant Referee 2: Sebastian Coltescu (ROU)
Fourth Official: Radu Ghinguleac (ROU)
UEFA Referee Observer: László Vagner (HUN)
UEFA Delegate: Luis Cuervas Del Real (ESP)
Blog Referee Observer: Mike (AUT)

19:00 CET, PSV Stadion, Eindhoven (NED)
PSV Eindhoven - FC Zenit
Referee: Paolo Tagliavento (ITA)
Assistant Referee 1: Mauro Tonolini (ITA)
Assistant Referee 2: Alessandro Costanzo (ITA)
Additional Assistant Referee 1: Antonio Damato (ITA)
Additional Assistant Referee 2: Davide Massa (ITA)
Fourth Official: Matteo Passeri (ITA)
UEFA Referee Observer: Jean Lemmer (LUX)
UEFA Delegate: Milovan Djukanovic (MNE)
Blog Referee Observer: Maxi R. (GER) 

19:00 CET, Aalborg Stadion, Aalborg (DEN)
Aalborg BK - Club Brugge KV
Referee: Tom Harald Hagen (NOR)
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: Magnus Lundberg (NOR)
UEFA Referee Observer: Francesco Bianchi (SUI)
UEFA Delegate: Ionel Piscanu (ROU)
Blog Referee Observer: Howard M. (GER)

21:05 CET, Constant Vanden Stock Stadium, Brussels (BEL)
RSC Anderlecht - FC Dynamo-Moscow
Referee: Felix Zwayer (GER)
Assistant Referee 1: Thorsten Schiffner (GER)
Assistant Referee 2: Marco Achmüller (GER)
Additional Assistant Referee 1: Tobias Stieler (GER)
Additional Assistant Referee 2: Robert Hartmann (GER)
Fourth Official: Tobias Christ (GER)
UEFA Referee Observer: Donald McVicar (SCO)
UEFA Delegate: Christian Kofoed (DEN)
Blog Referee Observer: Edward (GRE)

21:05 CET, Anfield, Liverpool (ENG)
Liverpool FC - Beşiktaş JK
Referee: Szymon Marciniak (POL)
Assistant Referee 1: Pawel Sokolnicki (POL)
Assistant Referee 2: Tomasz Listkiewicz (POL)
Additional Assistant Referee 1: Pawel Raczkowski (POL)
Additional Assistant Referee 2: Tomasz Musial (POL)
Fourth Official: Radoslaw Siejka (POL)
UEFA Referee Observer: Roberto Rosetti (ITA)
UEFA Delegate: Christian Schmölzer (AUT)
Blog Referee Observer: Maxi R. (GER)

21:05 CET, White Hart Lane, London (ENG)
Tottenham Hotspur FC - ACF Fiorentina
Referee: Carlos Velasco Carballo (ESP)
Assistant Referee 1: Roberto Alonso Fernández (ESP)
Assistant Referee 2: Juan Carlos Yuste Jiménez (ESP)
Additional Assistant Referee 1: Carlos Del Cerro Grande (ESP)
Additional Assistant Referee 2: Jesús Gil Manzano (ESP)
Fourth Official: Javier Aguilar Rodríguez (ESP)
UEFA Referee Observer: Zoran Petrović (SRB)
UEFA Delegate: Rudolf Zavrl (SVN)
Blog Referee Observer: Giovanni (ITA)

21:05 CET, Celtic Park, Glasgow (SCO)
Celtic FC - FC Internazionale Milano
Referee: István Vad (HUN)
Assistant Referee 1: István Albert (HUN)
Assistant Referee 2: Peter Berretyán (HUN)
Additional Assistant Referee 1: Tamás Bognar (HUN)
Additional Assistant Referee 2: Sandor Andó-Szabó (HUN)
Fourth Official: László Viszokai (HUN)
UEFA Referee Observer: Wilfried Heitmann (GER)
UEFA Delegate: Ronald Zimmermann (GER)
Blog Referee Observer: Thomas (NOR)

21:05 CET, Roudourou, Guingamp (FRA)
EA Guingamp - FC Dynamo Kyiv
Referee: Slavko Vinčić (SVN)
Assistant Referee 1: Jure Praprotnik (SVN)
Assistant Referee 2: Tomaž Klančnik (SVN)
Additional Assistant Referee 1: Mitja Žganec (SVN)
Additional Assistant Referee 2: Bojan Mertik (SVN)
Fourth Official: Bojan Ul (SVN)
UEFA Referee Observer: Neale Barry (ENG)
UEFA Delegate: Luca Zorzi (SUI)
Blog Referee Observer: Chefren (ITA)

21:05 CET, Estadio El Madrigal, Villarreal (ESP)
Villarreal CF - FC Salzburg
Referee: Robert Madden (SCO) 
Assistant Referee 1: Alastair Mather (SCO)
Assistant Referee 2: Douglas Ross (SCO)
Additional Assistant Referee 1: John Beaton (SCO)
Additional Assistant Referee 2: Andrew Dallas (SCO)
Fourth Official: Graham Chambers (SCO)
UEFA Referee Observer: Stefano Farina (ITA)
UEFA Delegate: Roland Coquard (FRA)
Blog Referee Observer: Niclas (GER)

21:05 CET, Amsterdam ArenA, Amsterdam (NED)
AFC Ajax  - Legia Warszawa
Referee: Jonas Eriksson (SWE)
Assistant Referee 1: Mathias Klasenius (SWE)
Assistant Referee 2: Daniel Wärnmark (SWE)
Additional Assistant Referee 1: Stefan Johannesson (SWE)
Additional Assistant Referee 2: Markus Strömbergsson (SWE)
Fourth Official: Daniel Gustavsson (SWE)
UEFA Referee Observer: Stefan Ormandjiev (BUL)
UEFA Delegate: Alan McRae (SCO)
Blog Referee Observer: Howard M. (GER)

21:05 CET, Estadio Ramón Sánchez Pizjuán, Seville (ESP)
Sevilla FC - VfL Borussia Mönchengladbach
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: Goce Petreski (MKD)
UEFA Referee Observer: Dani Koren (ISR)
UEFA Delegate: Pertti Alaja (FIN)
Blog Referee Observer: Hagi (GER)
Continue Reading...

February 16, 2015

Champions League 2014/15 - Round of 16 - Referee Appointments (Week 1, Matchday 2)

Two English match officiating teams have been appointed to take charge of wednesday's UEFA Champions League Round of 16 first legs in Gelsenkirchen and Basel respectively being observed by members of UEFA's Referee Committee.

Wednesday, 18/02/2015, 20:45 CET
Veltins Arena, Gelsenkirchen (Germany)
FC Schalke 04 - Real Madrid
Referee: Martin Atkinson (ENG, photo)
Assistant Referee 1: Michael Mullarkey (ENG)
Assistant Referee 2: Stephen Child (ENG)
Additional Assistant Referee 1: Andre Marriner (ENG)
Additional Assistant Referee 2: Craig Pawson (ENG)
Fourth Official: Darren Jon England (ENG)
UEFA Referee Observer: Jaap Uilenberg (NED)
UEFA Delegate: Metin Kazancıoğlu (TUR)
Blog Referee Observer: Chefren (ITA)

Previous matches and our reports in 2014/15

Play-Offs (UCL):
Aalborg 1:1 APOEL (8.4/8.4/8.5/8.4/8.4/8.4); UEFA obs. Francesco Bianchi (SUI)

Group Stage (UCL):
Bayer Leverkusen 3:1 Benfica SL (8.4/8.3/7.9/8.4/7.9/8.4); UEFA obs. Sándor Piller (HUN)
Juventus Turin 3:2 Olympiakos (8.4/7.9/8.4/8.4/8.4/8.4); UEFA obs. Ilkka Koho (FIN)
FC Barcelona 3:1 Paris SG (8.4/8.2/8.5/8.4/8.4/8.4); UEFA obs. Leif Sundell (SWE)

Wednesday, 18/02/2015, 20:45 CET
St. Jakob-Park, Basel (Switzerland)
FC Basel - FC Porto
Referee: Mark Clattenburg (ENG)
Assistant Referee 1: Simon Beck (ENG)
Assistant Referee 2: Stuart Burt (ENG)
Additional Assistant Referee 1: Anthony Taylor (ENG)
Additional Assistant Referee 2: Kevin Friend (ENG)
Fourth Official: Gary Beswick (ENG)
UEFA Referee Observer: Marc Batta (FRA)
UEFA Delegate: Scott Struthers (SCO)
Blog Referee Observer: Nikitas (GRE)

Previous matches and our reports in 2014/15

Super Cup Final:
Real Madrid 2:0 Sevilla CF (8.4/8.5/8.4/8.5/8.4/8.4); UEFA obs. Donald McVicar (SCO)

Group Stage (UCL):
Zenit St Petersburg 0:0 AS Monaco (8.4/8.4/8.4/8.4/8.4/8.4); UEFA obs. Zdravko Jokić (SRB)
Malmö FF 0:2 Atlético Madrid (7.8/8.2/7.9/8.4/8.4/8.4); UEFA obs. Karen Nalbandyan (ARM)
Shakhtar Donetsk 0:1 Athletic Club (8.3/8.4/8.5/7.9/8.4/8.4); UEFA obs. Jean Lemmer (LUX)
Continue Reading...

February 14, 2015

Champions League 2014/15 - Round of 16 - Referee Appointments (Week 1, Matchday 1)

Cüneyt Çakır from Turkey and Spanish Alberto Undiano Mallenco will initiate this season's Champions League knockout-stage. The insurance agent from Istanbul will take charge of the remake between Paris SG and Chelsea FC who already met each other last year, while Alberto Undiano will take control over Shakhtar - Bayern at Arena Lviv.

Tuesday, 17/02/2015, 20:45 CET
Parc des Princes, Paris (France)
Paris SG - Chelsea FC
Referee: Cüneyt Çakır (TUR, photo)
Assistant Referee 1: Bahattin Duran (TUR)
Assistant Referee 2: Tarik Ongun (TUR)
Additional Assistant Referee 1: Hüseyin Göçek (TUR)
Additional Assistant Referee 2: Barış Şimşek (TUR)
Fourth Official: Mustafa Emre Eyisoy (TUR)
UEFA Referee Observer: Bo Karlsson (SWE)
UEFA Delegate: Martin Sturkenboom (NED)
Blog Referee Observer: Niclas (GER) - REPORT

Previous Matches and our marks in 2014/15

Play-Offs (UCL):
Athletic Club 3:1 SSC Napoli (8.2/8.7/8.5/8.4/8.4/8.4); UEFA obs. Zdravko Jokić (SRB)

Group Stage (UCL):
Shakhtar Donetsk 2:2 FC Porto (8.2/8.4/7.9/8.5/8.5/8.3); UEFA obs. Kyros Vassaras (GRE)
Bayern München 2:0 AS Roma (8.4/8.4/8.4/8.4/8.4/8.4); UEFA obs. Donald McVicar (SCO)

For Çakır, it will be his first Champions League K.O. phase match after 2 years (ManU-Real).

Tuesday, 17/02/2015, 20:45 CET
Arena Lviv, Lviv (Ukraine)
Shakhtar Donetsk - FC Bayern München
Referee: Alberto Undiano Mallenco (ESP)
Assistant Referee 1: Roberto Díaz Pérez Del Palomar (ESP)
Assistant Referee 2: Raúl Cabañero Martínez (ESP)
Additional Assistant Referee 1: Carlos Clos Gómez (ESP)
Additional Assistant Referee 2: Javier Estrada Fernández (ESP)
Fourth Official: Pau Cebrián Devis (ESP)
UEFA Referee Observer: Paul Allaerts (BEL)
UEFA Delegate: Adonis Procopiou (CYP)
Blog Referee Observer: Gitzlo (AUT)

Previous Matches and our marks in 2014/15

Play-Offs (UCL):
Ludogorets 6:5 pso Steaua Bucuresti (no report); UEFA obs. Sergey Zuev (RUS)

Group Stage (UCL):
Bayern München 1:0 Man.City (7.8/8.4/8.4/8.4/7.9/8.1); UEFA obs. Oguz Sarvan (TUR)
Zenit St Petersburg 1:2 Leverkusen (8.2/8.3/8.4/8.4/8.4/8.4); UEFA obs. Horst Brummeier (AUT)
Borussia Dortmund 1:1 RSC Anderlecht (8.1/8.3/8.4/8.5/8.2/8.1); UEFA obs. Rodger Gifford (WAL)
Continue Reading...

February 11, 2015

UEFA Referee Kits 2015/16 (adidas)

After the farce of this season's UEFA Champions League matchday 1 related to the match officials' grey trousers, when the idealistic term "the invisible referee" was attributed a truly new meaning, adidas has made public the referee kits for the Champions League 2015/16 campaign.

UEFA Champions League referee will soon handle their games in the traditional colours black ('night navy', yellow ('yellow), red ('bright red') and blue ('bright cyan') similar to the REFEREE 14 jerseys. The trousers will be coloured in 'night navy' as well.
And that's how they look:

Do you like them?

source: http://issuu.com/eurosport1/docs/15q3_571-fussball-eur (page 50/51)
Continue Reading...

February 6, 2015

Bakary Gassama assigned for AFCON 2015 Final, Grisha with 3rd Place Match

35-year-old Gambian rising officiating star Bakary Papa Gassama has been appointed by CAF to take charge of the 30th African Cup of Nations' final match between Côte d'Ivoire and Ghana. This was communicated by refereesfifa.blogspot.com.

Gambian Bakary Gassama (photo above) was a real discovery at AFCON 2012. The 1979 born official was very inexperienced then and did not handle important matches save some at minor CAF competitions. As a starting match, he was then assigned to take control over the hosting nation Gabon's decisive match against Morocco. Apart from one significant error without impact on the result, he showed a very concentrated and sophisticated performance, maybe the best of the entire competition. A quarterfinal followed where several crucial decisions were taken correctly, too. This was the starting shot for an already stunning career: just a few months after this tournament, he suddenly appeared on the pre-list for World Cup 2014, which he later attended as one of three African main referees.

It will probably stay the biggest mystery of the entire World Cup 2014 why Suisse FIFA Refereeing Officer Massimo Busacca has appointed Gassama for one match only. Having performed well in Netherlands - Chile, he would have been an option for more games. However, performing well was apparently a part of the criteria to be excluded from further assignments at this surely special World Cup in terms of refereeing. Instead, Algerian Djamel Haimoudi received four appointments and blew it in the end.

CAF has recognized the huge success and merit of Gassama and, following his nomination for the CAF Champions League final, honoured him as Africa's Best Referee in 2014.

At AFCON 2015, Gassama has already taken charge of the opener match between Equatorial Guinea and Congo Rep., where he definitely did not have his best evening. The two subsequent matches were much better (Congo DR - Tunisia and the quarterfinal between Algeria and Côte d'Ivoire). In Bata, Gassama will meet "Les Éléphants" again against Ghana. He will be supported by assistant referees from Senegal and Sudan: Djibril Camara, who was a standby official at World Cup 2014 (e.g. in Germany-Portugal) and Waleed Ahmed Ali will run the lines. Zambia's Janny Sikazwe has been chosen as the fourth official.

The 3rd place final will be refereed by Egyptian Ghead Grisha (above), supported by Nigerian Peter Edibe (who will have his last AFCON match there) and Burundi's Jean-Claude Birumushahu. Senegalese Malang Diedhiou will serve as the fourth official. For Grisha, it is his second 3rd place final of an AFCON edition in his career after Ghana's loss against Mali in 2012.

3RD PLACE: Saturday, 07 February 2015, 20:00 CET/WAT in Malabo
Equatorial Guinea - DR Congo
Referee: Ghead Grisha (Egypt)
Assistant Referee 1: Peter Edibe (Nigeria)
Assistant Referee 2: Jean-Claude Birumushahu (Burundi)
Fourth Official: Malang Diedhiou (Senegal)

FINAL: Sunday, 08 February 2015, 20:00 CET/WAT in Bata
Côte d'Ivoire - Ghana
Referee: Bakary Papa Gassama (Gambia)
Assistant Referee 1: Djibril Camara (Senegal)
Assistant Referee 2: Waleed Ahmed Ali (Sudan)
Fourth Official: Janny Sikazwe (Zambia)
Continue Reading...

February 4, 2015

Weekly News: Rajindraparsad Seechurn suspended, Collina's message to new FIFA referees, UEFA observers for CL Round of 16

The 3rd Team once again provides you with the latest news about refereeing. Mauritius referee of AFCON 2015 Rajindraparsad Seechurn is suspended and demoted by CAF after his handling of the QF Tunisia - Eq. Guinea. Furthermore UEFA Chief of Refereeing Pierluigi Collina has advised all the new international referees at the UEFA Referee's Course in Athens.

Rajindraparsad Seechurn suspended by CAF.

According to an official announcement by CAF, the referee of the quarter-final Tunisia - Eq. Guinea for AFCON 2015 Rajindrapasard Seechurn from Mauritius has been suspended by CAF following his performance. Apart from the dubious penalty call for the host nation (see here), the referee managed to lose control of the match and as a consequence he was attacked by angry Tunisian players after the end of the match (see here). It's not the first time that CAF suspends a referee after a controversial performance in an AFCON. World Cup 2006 Referee Koffi Codjia from Benin was suspended back in 2010 after his failure to report a head-butt he received by Fawzi Chaouchi the Algerian GK in the Semifinal against Egypt on 28 January 2010. The referee only cautioned the GK and sent him off later with a second YC (see here). Moreover 2 years ago, World Cup pre-listed referee Slim Jedidi from Tunisia was suspended for an indefinite period of time after his performance in the AFCON 2013 semifinal between Burgina Faso and Ghana (see here).

Collina to New International Referees: "Protect the players and the game!".

UEFA's Chief refereeing officer advised new international referees for the qualities needed to be successful.

"The referee's job is a difficult one," he stressed. "You have less than half a second to take a decision, often under heavy pressure and the scrutiny of the public and media. Your decisions can affect not only sporting results but may have an economic impact. So a referee has to embrace responsibility. You have to know yourself, your strengths and your weaknesses. You must seek to improve until your very last refereeing assignment – and stay open to changes."

Collina emphasized just how important it is for a leading referee to prepare properly, in terms of keeping fit – "today's top referee must be an athlete," he said – and with respect to being aware of the teams they are refereeing. "If you study the teams' tactics, and individual players' characteristics, you can stay one step ahead in being able to make decisions in match situations. It is not simply the will to win that makes the difference – it is the will to prepare. If you fail to prepare, you prepare to fail."

Physical fitness is a key element of a top official's armour in the high-intensity, high-pressure football of today. "Players make mistakes at the end of matches because they are tired," Collina reflected, "and this can also happen to referees. You must be able to remain lucid even in the very closing stages of a match because you don't know what will happen," he added, recalling his own experience as referee of the memorable 1999 UEFA Champions League final, when Manchester United FC's two goals in the dying moments earned them a remarkable success over FC Bayern München in Barcelona.

Collina urged the referees to protect the game as well as the players – and to protect themselves. "We do not want to see players' careers endangered because of a risky tackle by an opponent, nor can we accept the mobbing of a referee by players," he underlined. Another essential aspect of a referee's need to prepare was to ensure thorough knowledge of the Laws of the Game. "On the field, the referee is the person who guarantees that a match is being played in accordance with the rules," Collina explained, "and you must know the rules and their updated interpretation to be able to take correct decisions."

How should referees react to making an error? "You need to think forward and forget [an error] during the match," was Collina's advice. "The moment is gone. After the match, learn from the mistake, find the reason behind it – try and turn a negative moment into a positive experience, it will make you stronger."

The crucial ingredient of teamwork, mutual motivation and support between a referee and his assistants was a vital component in successful performances, with the UEFA newcomers asked to always bear in mind that a referee is not in a position to deal with a match alone. Talent, Collina said, may win games, but teamwork was central to winning championships.

"You must be self-confident and trust in yourself," Collina said in concluding his presentation to the new European referees. "Congratulations on coming this far – you have dreams of being a top referee ... and UEFA is here to try and help you achieve that dream."

source: UEFA.com

UEFA Referee Observers for Champions League Round of 16.

17 February 2015, 20:45 CET (Paris)
Paris SG - Chelsea FC
UEFA Referee Observer: Bo Karlsson (SWE)
UEFA Delegate: Martin Sturkenboom (NED)

17 February 2015, 20:45 CET (Lviv)
Shakhtar Donetsk - FC Bayern München
UEFA Referee Observer: Paul Allaerts (BEL)
UEFA Delegate: Adonis Procopiou (CYP)

18 February 2015, 20:45 CET (Gelsenkirchen)
FC Schalke 04 - Real Madrid
UEFA Referee Observer: Jaap Uilenberg (NED)
UEFA Delegate: Metin Kazancioglu (TUR)

18 February 2015, 20:45 CET (Basel)
FC Basel - FC Porto
UEFA Referee Observer: Marc Batta (FRA)
UEFA Delegate: Scott Struthers (SCO)
Continue Reading...

February 2, 2015

Alioum and Otogo-Castane in charge of AFCON 2015 semifinals

CAF has appointed the following officials in order to oversee AFCON 2015 semifinals, to be played respectively on 4 and 5 February 2015.

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