Best referees of the 2012-2013 season: an overview per country

Who are the best referees of the 2012-2013 season in your country? An overview of the best football match officials.

I’ll update the blog post if other referees are names by their association or in a newspaper or football magazine as referee of the season. Let me know who was elected in your country and I’ll add it below.

Logo KNVB.The Netherlands
Referee Bas Nijhuis has won the trophy as best referee in Dutch Eredivisie. The Uefa Elite Development referee scored just enough points to keep in front of Björn Kuipers. Kuipers had also a top season because he refereed the Europa League final last week. Both refs were also amongst the best referees of the 2012-2013 season in another “referee table”. Former international referee Mario van der Ende scores the Dutch referees each weekend and Nijhuis was also here the number one, followed again by Kuipers.

Logo KVBVBelgium
Jérôme Efong Nzolo has been chosen by Belgian professional football players (288 of them voted) as referee of the season. It is the fourth time he wins this trophy. The previous wins were in 2007, 2008 and 2009.

Felix Brych was named referee of the year in Germany. He could celebrate this title with an appointment at the Confederations Cup this summer. Herbert Fandel, German referee boss, about Brych: “He is one of the European top referees.”

Female referee of the year in Germany is Riem Hussein. Fandel about the female winner: “Riem Hussien belongs to the best referees in Women’s Bundesliga to the best referees. That’s what she has confirmed last season. She also impresses with constanly high level performances in international women’s matches.”

2012-2013 final referees ready for their top matches

The 2012-2013 final referees are announced by Uefa and they are all really looking forward to their appointments in European finals.

Referee Uefa Women’s Champions League

Referee Teodora Albon, happy during tv interview after being appointed as Uefa Women's Champions League final referee.

Referee Teodora Albon, happy during tv interview after being appointed as Uefa Women’s Champions League final referee.

Romanian referee Teodora Albon is appointed as the UEFA Women’s Champions League final between VfL Wolfsburg and Olympique Lyonnais. The match will be played Thursday 23rd of May at Stamford Bridge. She’s really looking forward to her final match and talked about it with a Romanian sports tv channel. Translated with some help from Google Translate: “I live a wonderful dream. It’s the first final in our life, and I hope it’s not the the last time I’ll be in a final.” She also added that refereeing is changing now in her country Romania. “Arbitration has unfortunately been tarnished lately by issues that have emerged in our country.” In the past years referees and coachen in Romanian football were accused of match-fixing.

Referee UEFA European Under-17 Championship final

Next Friday Anastasios Sidiropoulos will take charge of the UEFA European Under-17 Championship final. “It is an honour to be selected. It feels good because you know that all the hard work you put in to get here finally pays off and you can reap the rewards”, says a happy Sidiropoulos to, where you can read the full interview. It’s a multicultural team for the final between Italy and Russia. Greek referee Anastasios Sidiropoulos will be helped by assistant referees Dejan Kostadinov from Macedonia and Richard Storey from Northern Ireland. The fourth official Ivaylo Stoyanov comes from Bulgaria. “uring the tournament we have had excellent cooperation on and off the field and all of them are experienced international officials, who have been officiating at the top level in their own countries.”

Read more about Björn Kuipers’s appointment as referee for last weeks Europa League final.

“All referees deserve a compliment” (+ more stories)

Herbert Fandel in an advert asking for more referees. Advert by German FA (DFB).

Herbert Fandel in an advert asking for more referees. Advert by German FA (DFB). Now he’s the referee boss.

Referees in the media will be published at the beginning of the week on the Dutch Referee Blog and provides remarkable or interesting quotes and links to articles worth reading.

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German referee boss Herbert Fandel is very delighted with the appointment for Felix Brych as referee at the Confederations Cup.

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Former West Germany player Hans-Peter Briegel praises the German referees in his weekly opinion article. He specifically names Jochen Drees, who made three key decisions, all right. Good to hear that former players appreciate referees too (sometimes).

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Kyros Vassaras, member of the Uefa referee committee, compares young referees with young players with potential. The referees ares selected for the 2013 UEFA European Under-17 Championship in Slovakia. Read more about the refereeing team at the u17 in Slovakia.

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Dutch Referee Björn Kuipers got appoited as Europa League final referee and is very happy with it.

Björn Kuipers to referee Europa League final 2012/2013

Kuipers doing a warm-up: he needs to get ready for the Europa League final now.

Kuipers doing a warm-up: he needs to get ready for the Europa League final now.

Björn Kuipers will officiate the Europa League final in Amsterdam, says KNVB (Dutch FA).

The referee from The Netherlands will also go to the Confederations Cup in Brazil this summer. Kuipers will work the final with assistant referees Sander van Roekel and Erwin Zeinstra. He works with them each match during the Dutch football season as a real refereeing team. The extra assistants will be Pol van Boekel and Richard Liesveld. German referee Felix Brych will be the fourth official in the final which will be held in the Amsterdam Arena. It’s the first “home match” for a Champions League final referee.

I tried to get in touch with Björn Kuipers but he personally told me he would give no interviews to the press before the final. The Dutch FA also said it is not allowed to talk with journalists before the match.

UPDATE: I’ve added some quotes of Kuipers, who could not talk to the media, but has spoken with

Kuipers is very happy with the appointment for him and his team. “I was at the beach when I got the call. I was doing some training on the coast of Holland, and Pierluigi Collina was calling me. I was very proud”, he says at “I was happy for my team, happy to give them the news that we had the final. I was also thinking about the people who helped me to reach this: my coaches, the people at UEFA, the people at the Dutch FA, my team. It’s been hard work, but we got some bonus.”

Kuipers is the 14th Dutch referee who gets an international club match final, says Voetbal International, a Dutch football magazine. The last final referee from The Netherlands was Dick Jol, who got appointed in the 2000/2001 final between Bayern Munich and Valencia, won after penalty kicks by the Germans.

Kuipers is an Elite Referee from Uefa and he has officiated 64 international matches including 23 in the Champions League. He refereed five Champions League matches this season: a quarter final between Barcelona and Paris Saint Germain and then a semi-final first round between Borussia Dortmund and Real Madrid.

But how do referees prepare for such a final? Kuipers: “We have been preparing for a long time. It’s never just about one day. If we get an appointment we clear our schedules,” he says. “We prepare in everything: fitness, we analyse the teams and we analyse our previous matches. It’s not a one-hour job, it takes a long time to prepare for a match like this. And I always say it is not all about me. I am the referee and the end responsibility is mine, but I never act alone. I need my team, I need everyone around me. I am very happy with my team – we have performed very well over the past year.”

You can read the full interview with Kuipers on here.

The Dutch Referee Blog wishes Kuipers all the best for the final.

Referees in the media (week 42)

Referees in the media will be published at the beginning of the week on the Dutch Referee Blog and provides remarkable or interesting quotes and links to articles worth reading.

“In Berlin, there’s luckily everything: big, small, fat, thin, black, white, ugly, pretty. Nevertheless, a midget is still attracting more attention.”

Cem Yazirlioglu, with 1m38 the smallest referee in German leagues, who wants to climb up the German referee ranks.

“It’s nice with all the countries represented and the different thinking and different attitudes, it’s really interesting. It’s not always easy to get people from all these different backgrounds thinking along the same lines, but Sonia (Denoncourt, jth) does the job very well.”

Sports psychologist Esther Muller about Sonia Denoncourt, who coordinates the young female referees at the u17 Women’s World Cup.

Fifa World Cup 2014 logo.

“The road to Brazil started with a Fifa course in Zürich, for which 52 referees from the whole world, all from the shortlist, were invited.”

The road to get a place at the 2014 World Cup has begun for referees, says Bjorn Kuipers from The Netherlands.

Referees in the media (week 33)

‘Referees in the media’ will be published at the beginning of the week on the Dutch Referee Blog and provides remarkable or interesting quotes and links to articles worth reading.

“I very seldom have trouble. I find it is all about being able to respect players but operate control, instead of diving into your pockets for yellow and red cards. It is quite simple, really.”

John Leeman (79), honoured for 65 years of refereeing. And he’s still out on the pitch most weekends.

With the increased tempo, heat and pressure in Serbia it was clear what toll that takes on your body and how important it is to put the training in.”

Bobby Madden on the importance of a recovery training after a matchday, even if you have a busy schedule.

“I’m talking to you, zebra.”

Tony Soprano is never polite to the referees in the HBO series (S1E9).

“It’s my goal for next season to get an international semi-final, hopefully in Champions League.”

Bjorn Kuipers sets his goals straight at the start of the season.

“Our goal is to limit real foul play. Thanks not only a task for the referees, but players and coaches as well.”

Dutch referee boss Dick van Egmond at the presentation of the referees for 2012/2013.

See the Dutch referees in action during the pre-season test. In Dutch, but lots of video content of LATG test, condition test, etc.

New referee kits for season 2012/2013: Netherlands and France

Football referees on national top level will all appear in their new outfit the next weeks. Brands made all some new referee kits for the 2012/2013 season.

2012/2013 Nike referee kits

Willy Loos, a sports shop in Groningen, has published some photo’s of the new Nike referee kit. Nike is supplier for the Dutch and French national referees. I’m not sure whether referees dare to wear one colour during the season. Björn Kuipers played it safe during last weekend’s Dutch Supercup with a grey shirt and black short and socks.

I’m still a bit surprised by the vertical zipper.

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