Fifa Ballon d’Or: Who’s your referee of 2012?

Fifa will be releasing awards on the 7th of January for the best player (Ballon d’Or), best coach, most beautiful goal, a lifetime achievement and fair play.

Fifa Ballon d'Or award for best player.

Fifa Ballon d’Or award for best player.

In the end the worth reading blog World Of Football Refereeing elected Cuneyt Cakir as referee of 2012. Their verdict: “Çakır’s semifinal appearance in UEFA Champions League (FC Barcelona – Chelsea), at EURO 2012 having been one of the best officials of the tournament and finally his FIFA Club World Cup final were reasons enough for the majority to vote for him.”

Yes, he’s a very good referee. Can’t argue with that. But the referee who surprised me the most was Jonas Eriksson during the European Championship match between The Netherlands and Germany. I don’t remember the full match or specific details (yes, the Dutch lost – don’t remind me of that), but I really liked the way Eriksson let the players do their job, sometimes with much effort to get the ball. Loved that. He’s my referee of 2012.

Who is your referee of the year 2012? Or what is the best performance you’ve seen? And why?

‘The colour of Eriksson’s hair makes Holland win’

Netherlands has a good chance to beat Germany at tonight’s Euro 2012 clash in group B. At least, if we base our conclusions on referee’s hair stats of previous matches between the two teams.

Dutch graphic design student Bart Corré analysed all previous 38 matches between the two teams for his graduation thesis (pdf). Germany scored 56 points in them, Holland 44. The Netherlands will also not win based on the nationality of the referee: both teams scored totally 7 points each with a Swedish referee. Tonight’s referee is Jonas Eriksson and this important clash in group B is his first match of the tournament.

It’s also not the colour of the referee’s shirt which makes Holland win. Actually, the Germans have won more games (out of 35) with a man in black on the pitch. It’s not the age of Eriksson, who became 38 years old on the 28th of March this year. The average age of referees in matches Holland won is 42.

None of that all. It’s the colour of the referee’s hair which ‘proves’ that Holland is going to win. Eriksson’s brown hair should bring my country some luck. Germany has just won 4 out of 14 matches with a brown-haired referee, compared to six victories for The Netherlands. That’s the best Holland can rely on, or maybe their quality will do …

Photo description: Orange dot means Dutch victory. Black dot means German victory. Grey dot means draw. Variable: hair colour of the referee.

Some other remarkable stats:
– Holland has never won with a bald referee.
– Holland vs. Germany 24 – 16 (in yellow cards)
– Holland vs. Germany 3 – 1 (in red cards)
– England has the most referees with a match between Germany and Holland, resulting in 9 points for Holland and 15 for Germany.

Reactions from referees who’ll go to EC 2012

Uefa has selected twelve referees for the European Championship 2012 in Ukraine and Poland.

You can find the Uefa list with twelve referees and the fourth officials here. I’ve searched the internet for reactions from each appointed referee, which you can find below.

European referee boss Pierluigi Collina on

“The 12 are all referees from the elite group, so they are the top referees in Europe. They have all refereed UEFA Champions League matches during the past two seasons. What they can guarantee are two main elements – quality and experience. And only one referee, Howard Webb, was at UEFA EURO 2008. So there has been significant turnover.”

Cüneyt Çakır from Turkey was appointed after a lapse of sixteen years without a Turkish referee at a European Championship. The Turkish FA the selection of Çakır a “historic achievement“.

Jonas Eriksson from Sweden on the website of the Swedish FA:

“I am extremely proud, happy and grateful to be one of the twelve referees who will go to the European Championship finals and can enjoy this tournament. I want to send a big gratitude to everyone in Swedish football: from refereeing colleagues and observers to the players and coaches who all in different way have developed me as a soccer referee.”

Hungarian FA praises their referee Viktor Kassai as ‘one of the best referees in the world’. And called it ‘no surprise’ that their fellow countryman is elected for the tournament in Ukraine and Poland.

Bjorn Kuipers was pretty happy he got called personally by Pierluigi Collina to tell him the good news. “A very nice conversation.” Watch the interview Dutch media had with the referee from The Netherlands:

Stéphane Lannoy from France got much support from his national referee chief Marc Batta.

“This is clearly a confirmation of the skills of Stéphane, you do not qualify for a World (2010) and a European Championship without proof of quality. But after enjoying this appointment, Stéphane will have to continue to work hard to prepare for this next stage.”

Pedro Proença from Portugal was selected instead of fellow countryman Olegario Benquerenca. Referee boss Vítor Pereira thinks Portugese referees are all good quality: “This appointment seems to be a reflection of the overall quality of the Portuguese arbitrators and arbitration, their commitment and dedication to refereeing.”

Nicola Rizzoli from Italy has been chosen as one of the twelve, but has not made a statement yet. Neither has the Italian referee organisation.

Damir Skomina from Slovenia had not talked to the media yet.

German referee boss Herbert Fandel congratules Wolfgang Stark with his place at Euro 2012.

“Wolfgang Stark to the Elite of European referees. He has represented the German referees excellently at the World Cup in South-Africa. The nomination for the EC is a confirmation of his constant performance in latest years.”

Scottish FA’s latest news is about Renfrewshire referees who show their respect for veterans. Hope for them they didn’t miss Craig Thomson appointment for Euro 2012.
UPDATE: John Fleming, Scottish referee boss is delighted: “Firstly, I am absolutely delighted for Craig. He is a tremendously hard-working referee and this is great news for all referees in this country.”

Carlos Velasco Carballo from Spain is very happy with his appointment.

“For me, the choice of UEFA and the possibility of being in the Euro Ukraine and Poland is a very special emotion and above all, a dream come true.”

Howard Webb completes the list of twelve. A picture of him got uploaded on long before the list was online, but until the final list was published there was still some doubt among British people on Twitter wether Martin Atkinson would be chosen from the UK.
UPDATE: British FA congratulates mr. Webb with some words of David Elleray, Chairman of The FA’s Referees Committee: “We are delighted that following the Champions League Final and World Cup Final appointments, Howard has once again been appointed to a major international tournament.”