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.

Referees in the media (week 25 – 29)

‘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.

Because of my honeymoon an overview of the last four weeks.

“I think in the future we will not stop the match, but we will give information to the referee, the (match) delegate and the clubs, and say that we suspect that this match has been fixed, and that we will be monitoring this match even more closely.”

Norwegian FA president Yngve Hallen told Reuters about informing a referee when they suspect a match result is going to be fixed. As Reuters wrote: “The FA then took the unprecedented step of cancelling the game between Ullensaker/Kisa and Ham Kam.

“I am not just wholly against goal-line technology, I am against technology itself because then it is going to invade every area of football.”

Uefa president Michel Platini still fears a ‘flood of other forms of technology’ after goal-line camera’s are introduced.

“I know that Portugal’s Pedro Proença refereed the 2004 UEFA European Under-19 Championship final and he went on to take charge of the UEFA Champions League and UEFA EURO 2012 showpieces, so that is all the inspiration I need.”

Danny Makkelie is inspired by Pedro Proença. Next week he’ll make his debut in the Champions League.

“I played football for five years before I had to choose between playing and refereeing. I felt I had more chance of reaching the top level as a referee so I went for that.”

French female referee Stéphanie Frappart thinks it’s possible to climb up to Ligue 1, French highest level, although that would be a ‘very difficult and huge step up’.

Referees in the media (week 19)

‘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.

“If you had bad luck, the players first needed to remove shit from the field, because the cows were walking there the day before.”

Herman Efftink from Dutch town Delden tells about the first years of is long career. He has been honoured by the Dutch FA for being a match official for 50 (!) years. Newspaper Tubantia didn’t mention if he will continue his career after more than 3.500 matches half a century.

Als je pech had moesten de spelers eerst de stront van het veld halen omdat de koeien er de dag ervoor nog liepen.”

“We have huge problems by finding new referees. Next season in region Bayern we have for the first time not enough referees in the lowest leagues.”

Wolfgang Stark, referee of the Europa League final, sees that the number of referees in German is decreasing.

“Not everybody here speaks English and the challenge of communicating with the other officials and players can at times be interesting but most of the time you get your message across.”

Referee Ross Haswell about refereeing in a different country where not everybody speaks English. ‘He is in Ukraine as a member of the CPISRA football committee and to referee at the classification competition ahead of the London 2012 Paralympics’, explains the Scottish FA Referee Development Blog.

“A talent doesn’t mean that you have achieved something,” he added. “It means we think that you have the possibility to achieve something. You must turn the potential that you have into the real thing.”

David Elleray, UEFA Referees’ Committee member, during training session with talented referees. They altogether discussed incidents and team tactics of the Europa League final.

“I have been instructed by Uefa not to talk.”

Portugese Pedro Proenca wouldn’t comment on the fact that Antena 1 named in as referee for the Champions League final.

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.”

What would you decide: kippah celebration

Remarkable situation in last week’s Champions League qualifiers: Itay Schechter, striker of Israelian team Hapoel Tel Aviv, got a yellow card after he put a kippah on his head and started praying.

Watch the goal and the celebration first:

This is what the Fifa Laws Of The Game 2010/2011 mention about religious signs: “Players must not reveal undergarments showing slogans or advertising. The basic compulsory equipment must not have any political, religious or personal statements.”

I e-mailed UEFA, this is was their initial response: “In his (Pedro Proença was referee of the match Salzburg – Hapoel Tel Aviv, jan) report the referee of the match mentions that he gave the player a yellow card for “unsporting behaviour”.”

Uefa added this: “The referee’s decision is certainly based on Decision 1, page 20, of the FIFA Laws of the Game.” That’s the text I mentioned above.

Fifa has forbidden to wear headscarves. That’s the reason the Iranian girls team was banned from the Youth Olympics. Maybe that’s why a kippah is not allowed too.

But what about making a cross sign with your hand, I wondered. These days many players do it, even referee Massimo Busacca does. So what are players (not) allowed to do? Uefa reacted: “The referee has interpreted the goal celebration of the player as an unsporting behaviour, which might well not be linked to any religious sign or action.” Does this mean they withdraw their first message?

What would you’ve done? How do you interpret that particular rule in the LATG?