English referee Atkinson earns more than the Prime Minister

The top flight official, who will represent Britain at Euro 2016, pockets £90,000-a-season basic, with some matches fetching him up to £4,000 a pop.
Martin Atkinson pocketed over £8,000 more than British Prime Minister David Cameron last season. The Premier League referee banked a mammoth £150,650 during the 2014-15 campaign. That's £8,150 more than Tory leader and PM Cameron, whose annual salary stands at £142,500. Top flight refs are paid £90,000 per season and receive match fees on top of that amount, with domestic games worth £450, and European and international ones worth an eye watering £4,000. During the 2014-15 season, Atkinson reffed six Champions League matches, two Europa League matches and three European Championship qualifiers, raking in £44,000 in the process. The 37 domestic games he officiated saw him earn £16,650. Fellow ref Mark Clattenburg also pocketed more than Cameron, coming away with £150,200 - just £450 less than Atkinson. Michael Oliver, another top flight official, placed third in the referees' money table. In December, Atkinson and Clattenburg were confirmed among the 18 referees appointed to officiate matches at the European Championship in France this summer. 

Source: The Mirror

UEFA referees face exciting challenges

UEFA has urged its top referees to reach even higher levels of excellence this spring and summer – and is showing young newcomers to the international list the qualities they need to progress along a successful career path. The European body's latest winter advanced and introductory courses for men and women referees in Limassol, Cyprus provide the key platform for briefing the match officials ahead of their coming assignments in, among others, the UEFA Champions League, UEFA Europa League and UEFA Women's Champions League. In addition, 18 elite men referees are stepping up their preparations for duty at UEFA Euro 2016 in France in June and July.
"The UEFA Referees Committee decided some years ago to offer courses which bring together elite men and women referees, and newcomers starting out on the international scene," Referees Committee chairman and UEFA first vice-president Ángel Villar Llona told the referees in Limassol. "This has brought excellent results. In particular, I would like to direct my words at the young referees who are new to the international game. It would be a shame to be among experienced international referees here, and not learn from them. Use every chance and every minute to learn from those with a lot of experience to offer." Villar Llona also congratulated the 18 match officials who have been selected to officiate at UEFA Euro 2016. "They face an important test this summer in taking charge of matches in the first EURO with 24 teams," he reflected. "This means that they can show the world how good they are, but it also carries a great responsibility in terms of preparation and training. And in February, already, the major European club competitions resume, and the success of these extraordinary events will also depend on the referees, men and women, who join the players as important actors in the matches. I urge everyone to prepare to face this challenge". The referees were also briefed about the UEFA Executive Committee's decision last month to introduce goal-line technology for UEFA Euro 2016, as well as for the 2016/17 UEFA Champions League from the play-offs onwards. The system will work alongside additional assistant referees, who will continue to monitor all activity in and around the penalty area.
UEFA chief refereeing officer Pierluigi Collina gave a presentation to the young international newcomers about what it takes to become a top referee. "You need talent, but talent is not enough," he explained. "Talent must be aligned to hard work, and courage, which is needed to take difficult decisions quickly under pressure in important matches with high stakes. You have to learn to cope with this pressure. Preparation is key", he added. "As an athlete, you must be in top physical condition. Tiredness means less lucidity and more chances to make a mistake, particularly at the end of a game. You should study the tactics of the teams you referee and the players who play for them. You must know the Laws of the Game and their correct interpretation. Learn from mistakes. Protect players from serious injury caused by reckless challenges, protect yourselves on the field, and protect the image of the game". 

Source: UEFA

Collina: “Assistant referees are checked for their shape”

Leading assistant referees have been in Cyprus this week for their latest UEFA course. UEFA's chief refereeing officer Pierluigi Collina tells us about the role and training of assistant referees.
- What is the reason for bringing the assistant referees to Cyprus this week?
- Pierluigi Collina: To prepare for matches in UEFA competitions in the second half of the season and because we consider the contribution of assistant referees to be crucial. It is obviously important that referees are on top form, but they need assistant referees to be at the top of their game as well for a good overall performance.
- Does assistant referee training have its own specific characteristics?
- Collina: Absolutely. The training of assistant referees compared with referees is different in terms of physical preparation. We have training programmes and fitness tests that are specific to assistants. The focus is more on speed, in particular over short distances, as well as acceleration, agility, changing direction and sideways running. We put particular emphasis on training for offside incidents. We have created a special computer-based system for the assistants when they are back home, in which offside situations have been set up and they can practise taking the correct decisions.
- Good communication and teamwork between referees, assistant referees and additional assistant referees is essential. What work do you do with assistant referees?
- Collina: The assistants use the communication system at matches and they have to work out a way to be very fast, on time, clear and convincing in their communication. We give them guidelines and criteria, and it is part of their pre-match preparation with the referee and additional assistants to agree on what works best for the team in terms of communication during a match.
- You ask referees to prepare for matches by studying teams' tactics and players' characteristics. Do you make the same request to assistant referees?
- Collina: Yes. They should be fully prepared in knowing how teams play, because the way teams play defensively, for instance, can make each match completely different, especially regarding offside situations. We ask them to study players and know what they are likely to do on the field. For example, a player may be good with his left foot, but not so good with his right, so it may be more difficult for that player to make a long pass with his right foot. If assistants know this, they can often predict what a player will do next. It is one of their tasks to look ahead and prepare for what happens next.
- In addition to the UEFA referee fitness team in Cyprus, Werner Helsen and Koen Put, you have brought four assistant referee experts – Leif Lindberg, Philip Sharp, Giovanni Stevanato and Maciej Wierzbowski.
- Collina: It is important to bring onboard people who have had many years of experience on the field of play. Frankly, myself and the UEFA referee officers here, Hugh Dallas and Marc Batta, while we coach the referees, we can't give fully specialist help to assistant referees. I've never been an assistant referee in my life! So it's good to have former top assistants with us who have the knowledge and who bring additional value to our work.
- How has the role of the assistant referee changed over the years, especially in the high-level game?
- Collina: The speed of the game is the main change. Everything is done faster. This, and the ability of players to do difficult things very quickly, has made the job of the referees and assistants more demanding. But I must say that we are pleased with what we see from the assistants at matches, in training and in the tests. If you compare today with six, seven years ago, there is a huge difference in terms of image. The assistant referees are checked for their shape. For example, they are tested for body fat percentage, because this is important. If you are five kilos overweight, it is difficult for an assistant referee to be fast in running the line. 
- Some of the assistant referees also face a challenging summer because they will be part of the refereeing team at UEFA Euro 2016. What's the programme between now and then?
- Collina: For Euro we will have 18 referee teams – each consisting of a referee, two assistant referees, two additional assistant referees, and one assistant referee on standby for any possible problem that might occur between the end of February, when we make the announcement about the full referee teams selected for Euro 2016, and the beginning of the competition in June. So we are now hard at work preparing the specific Euro course which will take place in France in the third week of April. All the referee teams – referees, assistants and additional assistants – will be there. They will undergo fitness tests and review the application of the technical instructions they have received.

Source: UEFA

Dallas: “Assistants are no longer just linesmen”

Assistant referees have gone home from the UEFA winter course in Cyprus with a wealth of advice and have been left in no doubt about the growing importance of their role in the game.
Europe's top assistant referees have been encouraged to keep up the high standards shown at their winter training course in Cyprus when they return to action in UEFA's major competitions this month – with a number of them anticipating the challenge of being part of UEFA Euro 2016. More than 50 assistants were provided with expert coaching in the various facets of their crucial job over three days on the Mediterranean island. "We want you to have a consistent approach in applying the Laws of the Game and meet the high standards that UEFA expects of you in our top competitions," they were told by UEFA refereeing officer Hugh Dallas. Offside – a core element of an assistant's job – teamwork and effective communication with their colleagues, awareness of the game, mental toughness, maintaining top physical condition, concentration and focus were among the central points of the practical and theoretical training.
Former FIFA World Cup final assistant referees Leif Lindberg and Philip Sharp, together with experienced colleagues Giovanni Stevanato and Maciej Wierzbowski, provided specialist input. "It's not only a privilege to have you here in Cyprus," Dallas explained, "but it's also a privilege for you to receive such expert analysis and advice from your former colleagues." In addition, Dallas's UEFA referee officer colleague Marc Batta and physical fitness experts Werner Helsen and Koen Put joined UEFA chief refereeing officer Pierluigi Collina in forming a tried and trusted expert team for the assistants' winter course. Dallas urged the assistants to think like referees, saying. "You are not a linesman anymore – those days are over. You are now assisting the referee in making accurate decisions, in particular on incidents that happen within your area of responsibility. Be ready to offer assistance to the rest of the referee team and remain calm, confident and composed in doing so." The assistants have been told to streamline communication with their fellow match officials in order to facilitate accurate decision-making. "Take time and make sure you are clear," said Dallas. "It's not a conversation. Communication should be short, sharp and accurate, with discussions kept to a minimum as per UEFA's clear guidelines."An awareness of game situations is considered key. "Pay attention to changes in a match, such as when a substitution is made and when a goal is scored," instructed Dallas. "The tempo in a match might increase, tactics might suddenly change – and these are changes that can affect you, so you must remain focused and concentrated".
The full referee teams for UEFA Euro 2016 will be chosen at the end of February, with two assistant referees being assigned to each of the 18 referees along with two additional assistant referees, whose task will be to assist the referee in judging incidents in and around the penalty area. Dallas said the qualities shown in Cyprus augured well for future assignments. "I haven't ever seen a group of assistant referees that were so fit and full of desire, and I congratulate you," he concluded. "This was something that was clearly evident during the various physical activities on the training field."

Source: UEFA

Copa Libertadores – Preliminary Round (First Leg)

2 February 2016
River Plate – Universidad de Chile
Referee: Patricio Loustau (ARG, photo)
Assistant Referee 1: Gustavo Rossi (ARG)
Assistant Referee 2: Lucas Germanotta (ARG)
Fourth Official: Silvio Trucco (ARG)
Referee Observer: Martin Vazquez (URU)

Huracan – Caracas
Referee: Patricio Polic (CHI)
Assistant Referee 1: Carlos Astroza (CHI)
Assistant Referee 2: Christian Schiemann (CHI)
Fourth Official: Claudio Puga (CHI)
Referee Observer: Luis Pasturenzi (ARG)

3 February 2016
Cesar Vallejo – Sao Paulo
Referee: Roddy Zambrano (ECU)
Assistant Referee 1: Luis Vera (ECU)
Assistant Referee 2: Juan Macias (ECU)
Fourth Official: Vinicio Espinel (ECU)
Referee Observer: Antonio Arnao (PER)

Puebla – Racing
Referee: Daniel Fedorczuk (URU)
Assistant Referee 1: Miguel Nievas (URU)
Assistant Referee 2: Carlos Pastorino (URU)
Fourth Official: Jonathan Fuentes (URU)
Referee Observer: Gilberto Alcala (MEX)

4 February 2016
Independiente del Valle – Guarani
Referee: Juan Soto (VEN)
Assistant Referee 1: Jorge Urrego (VEN)
Assistant Referee 2: Carlos Lopez (VEN)
Fourth Official: Marlon Escalante (VEN)
Referee Observer: Miguel Erazo (ECU)

Oriente Petrolero – Santa Fe
Referee: Pericles Cortez (BRA)
Assistant Referee 1: Kleber Gil (BRA)
Assistant Referee 2: Rodrigo Correa (BRA)
Fourth Official: Dewson Freitas (BRA)
Referee Observer: Hebert Aguilera (BOL)

AFC U-23 Championship Final 2016: Al-Jassim (QAT)

30 January 2016

Japan – Korea
Referee: Abdulrahman Al-Jassim (QAT, photo)
Assistant Referee 1: Taleb Al-Marri (QAT)
Assistant Referee 2: Mohamed Al-Hammadi (UAE)
Fourth Official: Mohammed Abdulla (UAE)
Reserve AR: Wang Dexin (CHN)

CONCACAF Referee of the Year 2015: Aguilar (SLV)

The Confederation of North, Central America and Caribbean Association Football (CONCACAF) announced the 2015 CONCACAF Male and Female Referees of the Year, as winners in the annual CONCACAF Awards. In an equally-weighted vote among Member Association women’s and men’s national team coaches/captains, media and fans, both referees won for the first time in the three-year history of the honours:

CONCACAF Male Referee of the Year
1. Joel Aguilar (SLV, photo)
2. Roberto Garcia (MEX)
3. Fernando Guerrero (MEX)

CONCACAF Female Referee of the Year

1. Kimberly Moreira (CRC)
2. Lucila Venegas (MEX)
3. Carol Anne Chenard (CAN)

The CONCACAF Awards are designed to honour the year’s outstanding performers and achievements in confederation-sanctioned competitions involving national teams at all levels and age categories, including FIFA World Cup matches and qualifying for both genders. Performances also eligible for recognition included those achieved in professional club football leagues within the CONCACAF Member Associations, as well as the CONCACAF Champions League. The votes of three important stake-holding segments within the Confederation were counted in compiling the results. Member Associations’ national team coaches and captains (women’s and men’s), accredited media and fans each accounted for one third of the final vote. A semi-final list of maximum 10 nominees in each category was determined by a vote of Technical Directors from each of CONCACAF’s 41 Member Associations and the CONCACAF Technical Study Group, which analyzes tactics and rates performances at all official CONCACAF tournaments.


IFFHS World’s Best Woman Referee 2015: Monzul (UKR)

Monzul won huge support from football experts in 50 countries around the world in the 4th Annual IFFHS Women’s Awards after being placed among the top five referees in voting over the last three years. She scored a total of 114 points to win by 79 points in relegating Bibiana Steinhaus, winner of the two past years, who could only poll 35, just one ahead of Swiss Esther Staubli in third place.
Monzul, sho is 34, began her international career in 2005 and made such progress that she was given control of the final of the World Cup 2015 in Canada between USA and Japan, one year after the final of the UEFA Champions League. Esther Staubli has been regularly elected in the Top 5 since 4 years. The surprise in the voting was the selection of New Zealand’s Anna Marie Keighley, who began her international career only in 2010 and is already in the World’s Top 4. 

IFFHS World’s Best Women Referees 2015
1. Kateryna Monzul (UKR, photo) - 114 p
2. Bibiana Steinhaus (GER) - 35 p
3. Esther Staubli (SUI) - 34 p
4. Anna Marie Keighley (NZL) - 25 p
5. Carina Vitulano (ITA) - 22 p
6. Pernilla Larsson (SWE) - 20 p
7. Teodora Albon (ROU) - 15 p
8. Carol Anne Chenard (CAN) - 15 p
9. Jana Adamkova (CZE) - 13 p
10. Claudia Umpierrez (URU) - 12 p

Collina: AARs and GLT at Euro 2016

UEFA's chief refereeing officer Pierluigi Collina explains the background as the Executive Committee prepares to discuss introducing goal-line technology in UEFA competitions.
- Why is UEFA looking at implementing goal-line technology?
- UEFA is constantly monitoring ways in which it can improve the matches taking place in its competitions. I can tell you there has been a long internal consultation process regarding goal-line technology (GLT). For years, we have been analysing hundreds of matches, gathering data on a variety of situations during games. As you know, at our request, in 2012 the International Football Association Board (IFAB) approved the introduction of additional assistant referees (AARs) to increase the officials' visibility and control of the penalty area. This system has worked very well and provided clear benefits. At the same time, we have followed the evolution of GLT, which is complementary with the AAR's job. As a matter of fact, we have already seen that in Italy's Serie A, where AARs and GLT are used in perfect harmony.
- Why are you making a decision on this now?
- This did not happen overnight. It was well over a year ago that UEFA President Michel Platini proposed that we investigate the possibility of having goal-line technology working side-by-side with additional assistant referees to further improve results on the field. Mr. Platini told us at the time that the opinion of the Referees Committee would be decisive for the introduction of GLT at UEFA competitions, and he is on the record saying he was always open to the idea of GLT if the referees felt it was a good solution. Regarding the specific timing, we are comfortable for the Executive Committee to make the decision now, because our review of the process has just concluded, and we also feel that with UEFA Euro 2016 around the corner, it is a good opportunity for UEFA to introduce GLT at a big tournament.
- Does implementing GLT mean that AARs are now not relevant anymore?
- The additional assistants' main task is not to control the goal line and decide whether a ball has crossed it. Rather, they are responsible for monitoring everything that is happening in the penalty area overall, aiding the main referee in making important decisions in the box. Of course, the AARs try to do their best relating to goal-line decisions as well, and what we have noticed is that in order to be prepared to judge goal-line incidents, they need to focus on the goal line before the ball arrives… therefore, they can miss something occurring at the same time in another place in the area. This may reduce the effectiveness of the assistance they are expected to offer the referee. With goal-line technology, the additional assistants are released from this demanding task and can focus exclusively on the control of other incidents on the field.
- How do you evaluate the impact of additional assistant referees (AARs) to date?
- The penalty area is the most crucial zone of the field. Actions there have a decisive influence on matches. The density of players, especially in situations like free kicks and corner kicks, makes it impossible for a single pair of eyes to take control of all that happens on the numerous set-piece plays every match. The aim of implementing the AARs has simply been to give the referees support in controlling the most important incidents on the field of play. Many people in the media and general public may not appreciate all that AARs do during the game, because these officials do not have a flag or a whistle, but it is a fact that they have been crucial in helping make the right decisions at the right time during our matches.

Source: UEFA

AFC U-23 Championship 2016

Qatar, 12-30 January 2016

1. Christopher Beath (AUS, photo)
2. Ma Ning (CHN)

3. Alireza Faghani (IRN)
4. Ali Al-Qaysi (IRQ)
5. Ryuji Sato (JPN)
6. Adham Makhadmeh (JOR)
7. Kim Jong Hyeok (KOR)
8. Mohd Bin Yaacob (MAS)
9. Ahmed Al Kaf (OMA)
10. Abdulrahman Al-Jassim (QAT)
11. Fahad Al-Mirdasi (KSA)
12. Dmitrii Mashentsev (KGZ)
13. Hettikankanamge Perera (SRI)
14. Abdulla Mohamed (UAE)
15. Ilgiz Tantashev (UZB)

Standby referee
Fahad Al-Marri (QAT)

Assistant Referees

1. Nawaf Moosa (BHR)
2. Wang De Xin (CHN)
3. Hsu Min-Yu (TPE)
4. Reza Sokhandan (IRN)
5. Hasan Al-Mahri (UAE)
6. Otsuka Haruhiro (JPN)
7. Ahmad Al-Roalle (JOR)
8. Yoon Kwangyeol (KOR)
9. Ismailzhan Talipzhanov (KGZ)
10. Mohd Bin Muhamad (MAS)
11. Abu Al Amri (OMA)
12. Taleb Al-Marri (QAT)
13. Saoud Almaqaleh (QAT)
14. Mohammed Al-Abakry (KSA)
15. Abdulah Al-Shalwai (KSA)
16. Palitha Hemathunga (SRI)
17. Mohamed Al-Hammadi (UAE)
18. Jakhongir Saidov (UZB)