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Guessing Champions League final referee 2012/2013

Guessing the Champions League final referee: who will officiate this European top match? A prediction, based on previous tournaments.

Wembley stadium, venue of the 2012/2013 Champions League Final.
Wembley stadium, venue of the 2012/2013 Champions League Final.
Last few years Martin from blog “Law 5 – The Referee” made good predictions about the CL final, but he stopped with his refereeing blog. So I thought, why not make my own prediction on who will officiate the CL final between Bayern Munich and Dortmund at Wembley.

Reasons te eliminate referees for getting the final:

  • The referee should be on Uefa’s Elite List. That leaves us with 22 referees who are available. Check Uefa’s international referee lists.
  • Uefa has never appointed a referee who also officiated during a semi-final. Bjorn Kuipers, Viktor Kassai, Damir Skomina and Howard Webb got these matches so they will not be available for the final.
  • UPDATE: Kuipers also got appointed for the Europa League final, so he won’t be available for the CL final at all.
  • No German referee will officiate the match between Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund. It sounds like a possibility at first glance, but what you might not know is that Felix Brych and Wolfgang Stark are both from the Munich area and do not officiate Bayern Munich in German Bundesliga.
  • Some referees just did not get enough matches during this Champions League season. Olegario Benquerenca (1), Stephane Lannoy (1), Martin Atkinson (2).

That leaves us with the following 12 referees remaining:

Cuneyt Cakir (TUR), Mark Clattenburg (ENG), William Collum (SCO), Jonas Eriksson (SWE), Pavel Kralovec (CZE), Svein Oddvar Moen (NOR), Pedro Proenca (POR), Nicola Rizzoli (ITA), Gianluca Rocchi (ITA), Paolo Tagliavento (ITA), Craig Thomson (SCO), Alberto Undiano Mallenco (ESP), Carlos Velasco Carballo (ESP).

Referees should also have performed well during this Champions League season The referees who officiated in the last finals all had great season as referee. Experience is less important. Viktor Kassai, who got the 2010/2011 CL final, only officiated 13 CL matches in total before he got the appointment for the final.

But who made some crucial mistakes?

  • Pavel Kralovec referee the quarter final between Bayern Munich and Arsenal. After a 1-3 win in London, Bayern lost it’s home match with 0-2. Kralovec’s assistant ruled this as offside, which could have led to another Arsenal goal. Kralovec got a Europa League semi-final by the way in which gave a debatable penalty to Basel against Chelsea.
  • Craig Thomson missed two crucial offsides – also Dortmund’s winner in 93th minute – in the match Dortmund Malaga.

Pedro Proença during tv interview: he already officiated the 2012 CL final.
Pedro Proença during tv interview: he already officiated the 2012 CL final.
No crucial mistakes by the following referees, but I think they won’t make a chance for different reasons.

  • I think Uefa will not select a referee who’s not on the prospective list of referees for the 2014 World Cup. That will rule out Paolo Tagliavento and William Collum.
  • Jonas Eriksson already got an Europa League semi-final.
  • Uefa never appointed a referee for the CL final twice: this rules out Pedro Proenca.

These men are still available:
Cuneyt Cakir (TUR), Mark Clattenburg (ENG), Nicola Rizzoli (ITA) Gianluca Rocchi (ITA), Alberto Undiano Mallenco (ESP), Carlos Velasco Carballo (ESP).

Further analysis to pick the Champions League final referee.

  • Would Uefa pick the second best referee of a country as Champions League final referee? In my opinion Velasco Carballo is better than Undiano Mallenco. But Carballo was not having a top performance when failing to give Ribery a red card.
  • Gianluca Rocchi has not been appointed since November in CL. I know, Lubos Michel also had only done group stage when he got the 2008 final, but he’s the only referee in the last ten years. Michel, the Slovakian referee, was also more experienced than Rocchi. He officiated 49 CL matches before he got the final, Rocchi only 10. Both got 4 qualification matches for the biggest tournament in Europe. I also do think Rizzoli will be a better candidate than Rocchi.
  • Mark Clattenburg was not sublime at Bayern Munich – Juventus. I’ve not seen the match, but according to The Guardian he failed to give Vidal a yellow card which would have led to a suspension for the next match.

Champions League trophy.
Champions League trophy.
Then we’ve got only Cuneyt Cakir and Nicola Rizzoli left. I can’t choose one at the moment.

The Turkish referee sent off Nani. Some referees would say that was a good call, others would only have booked the Manchester United player. Uefa will not comment on referee decisions in public, so we’ll never know for sure how they judged the situation. Even if he gets the appointment as Champions League final referee, Uefa could have seen it as a wrong call, but not a major mistake to not get him the final. Cakir had a good season and made lots of progress the last years. He also got the Fifa World Club Final.

And then Rizzoli. Rizzoli wrongly ruled out a goal by Saviola in Malaga’s win over Porto during this season. This did however not effect the match result, but could have been crucial. We should also take into account that Rizzoli is an experienced referee who already got the Europa League final. Esspeccially now there’s no Italian team in the final, he’s a good candidate.

That are my views on who will be the Champions League final referee. But what do you think? Who will get the final?

Uefa confirmed today that the final referee will be announced on Monday 20th of May.

UPDATE: Turkish FA just confirmed Firat Aydinus as referee of Wednesday’s Cup Final. Cakir not available due the CL final? We’ll hear it today.


    • Niclas

      Cakir in fact had three very good group stage performances, a very good European Championship and many good performances last CL season (including the semifinal Barcelona-Chelsea). Clattenburg with a good Olympic tournament, but problems in the K.O. phase: Beck wrongly allowed Porto’s goal in the round of 16 (offside), in Bayern-Juventus, he again missed an offside goal (very very tight though), Clattenburg missed a clear red card to Ribery after a serious foul on Vidal. So I think this does not qualify him to get Wembley final.

  • Mehmet Erdogan

    Cuneyt Cakir is having a terrible season in Turkey, he nearly changed the course of every game he officiated in Turkish Super League. In CL second rounds, he sent off Nani and eliminated one of the best teams in CL. Senes Erzik is the reason he is still officiating games in CL.

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