UEFA U-17 Euro Final 2018: Meler (TUR)

20 May 2018 

Italy – Netherlands
Referee: Halil Umut Meler (TUR, photo)
Assistant Referee 1: Robert Steinacher (AUT)
Assistant Referee 2: Péter Kóbor (HUN)
Fourth Official: Horațiu Feșnic (ROU)
Referee Observer: Hugh Dallas (SCO)

Clattenburg reveals death threats, vile abuse and alcohol

Former FIFA referee Mark Clattenburg has told Independent.ie that he was on the receiving end of death threats as he revealed that his family were also abused during his time officiating in England’s top flight. Clattenburg’s lowest point came as he was accused of racially abusing Chelsea midfielder Jon Obi Mikel in a game against Manchester United in October 2012, in an incident that he admits forced him to consider his future in the game.
Now the official who has quit the Premier League last year to take up a new role in Saudi Arabia had opened up on the vile social media abuse that flowed his way in a career that saw him take charge of the FA Cup final, Champions League final and the decisive game of Euro 2016 between Portugal and France. “I’ve had death threats, my family have been threatened and it is not nice. People say what they are going to do to you, that they know where you live,” Paddy Power ambassador Clattenburg told Independent.ie. “The odds of them carrying out these threats are low, but your children can still read it and that is not nice. When it affects your family, it is a horrible situation and I wouldn’t wish that on anyone. The low point for me was clearly the Chelsea - Manchester United game in 2012 and the racism accusation that cause such a storm. After that, I wanted to quit, but I was not in a position to do that. “One day the whole truth will come out on what happened in that game and people will be surprised by that story. The incident on the day and what happened afterwards was not right and it left a lasting mark on me. It made me realise that football is not just a sport any more. There are bigger issues around; that was not a football incident. Sometimes things happen in life that make you stronger and I am probably a better referee after that incident than I was before it, but it was still a difficult situation to live through.” Clattenburg admits he was ready to walk away from refereeing for good after the racism accusations that were belatedly dropped by Mikel and Chelsea, but he suggests he was ‘trapped’ in a job he could not escape from. “At the time, I wanted to quit and the support is not there in that kind of situation, but what can you do?” he asks. “In refereeing, you are stuck in an industry you can’t get out of and that is a difficult place to be in. You cannot step away from referee once you are in it for a very good reason. I have a family, they need to be looked after. I have left my profession as an electrical engineer behind and there is nowhere to go if I walk away from refereeing. This is a unique job in many ways and not always for the right reason. If you are a player or a manager or even a journalist, you can always get a job somewhere else if something goes wrong, but you cannot do that in refereeing. Who is going to employ me in a job outside football given my profile and the like? That is why I had to take the offer to move to Saudi Arabia when it came my way, as it offered security to my family. People sometimes forget that referees are not there for a hobby or to live out the dream of being on the pitch as it is a job at the end of the day. Social media has probably not helped referees. It is not just the 90 minutes on the field any more as it is the backlash that follows if there is a controversial incident or a mistake that might have been made by the officials. That doesn’t just last for a few hours, it can go on for days and weeks and that is not easy. There are some nasty people out there and people who want to say things that they wouldn’t say to your face”. (Source: The Independent)
Clattenburg insists he quit England after getting fed-up of always being in the eye of the storm after bust-ups with players, and managers never apologising when they got it wrong. The ex-FIFA ref, now working in Saudi Arabia, said: “It’s a relief to get away from the Premier League. “The pressures inside your own country are sometimes more difficult than high-profile international games. It can affect your family. All the social media things that are written, it affects people who know you. If you make the same mistakes abroad, nobody seems to comment. I think more of our referees will go overseas. In the Premier League, people are criticising you constantly. That criticism is one of the catalysts for my decision to quit the Premier League. Is it worth doing this job? You make a right decision, you’re told it’s wrong, and you’re driving home hundreds of miles with that in your head. Managers never come out and apologise for it, or come into the dressing room privately and say they’ve made a mistake. The drama of it is unique, but I don’t miss the day-to-day Premier League”. Clattenburg says whenever he was involved in a flash point - once being cleared of a racist bust-up with Jon Obi Mikel - the only escape was to turn to drink. “How do you release the tension around refereeing big games?” said Clattenburg. “Drink lots of beer! I used to call my wife after a game, and she’d know by my voice if I’d had a bad game or not. When I got home, she’d be in the bed and the fridge would be full of beer if I had a nightmare. If I’d had a good game, she’d wait up. It’s horrible after a game if you’ve made a mistake – it would be a horrible drive home. If you had a good game, you would want to listen to the radio stations talking about the match. But, if you’d had a 'mare, you’d turn the Bluetooth on and play some music. The worst was when Chelsea played Manchester United, and I’d been accused of being racist by Jon Obi Mikel. I had to fly out of Heathrow and it was breaking news all over the world, having to deal with that and the aftermath while getting on the flight. I remember boarding and the guy sitting next to me said, ‘You’re the referee aren’t you? F***ing hell, you’ve made some headlines’. You realise then the impact football has. I couldn’t leave the house for the next week. To be accused of something you hadn’t done was difficult to deal with, because you get frustrated. You have to leave the investigations to run their course. They asked us to come back and referee and I wasn’t in the right state of mind for it for a while. I thought about quitting a lot after that, but the problem you’ve got as a professional is you’ve left your other industry for nine years. I was an electrical engineer, and I couldn’t go back to that because the game had changed. What could I do? I had a mortgage to pay, I had a family, I had a house. It becomes different when refereeing becomes your job. You have to think differently. There aren’t many alternatives”. (Source: Irish Mirror)

World Cup referee Al-Mirdasi banned for life for match-fixing attempt in Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia has banned referee Fahad Al-Mirdasi from football for life for a match-fixing attempt, weeks before he was due to fly to Russia to officiate at the 2018 World Cup, said the country's football federation [SAFF] in a statement.
Al-Mirdasi had confessed to offering to fix Saturday's King's Cup final on behalf of the Al Ittihad club, the SAFF said. It added that it had requested FIFA to hand him a lifetime global ban as well as removing him from the World Cup list. The 32-year-old referee made the approach to Al Ittihad chief Hamad Al-Senaie, who immediately handed over the WhatsApp messages to SAFF officials who in turn alerted the relevant government authorities, SAFF said. Al-Mirdasi was taken into police custody where he confessed to soliciting the corrupt payment, the statement from the SAFF Ethics Committee added. 
Al Ittihad played Al Faisaly in the King's Cup final at Jeddah's King Abdullah Sports City on Saturday, winning in extra-time in a game refereed by Mark Clattenburg, who was appointed Head of Refereeing at the SAFF last year, and stepped in to replace Al-Mirdasi on the eve of the game. Al-Mirdasi has been on the FIFA referees list since 2011 and officiated at last year's Confederations Cup in Russia. "FIFA notes the information that referee Fahad Al-Mirdasi has allegedly been banned from all football-related activities by the Saudi Arabian Football Federation (SAFF)", the world governing body told BBC Sport. 

Serbian referee arrested after penalty howler

Serbian referee Srdjan Obradovic has been arrested and questioned on abuse of power charges after awarding a wrongful penalty kick in Sunday's crucial top division soccer match, the country's interior ministry (MUP) said on Tuesday. 
"Obradovic is suspected of abusing his authority in the match between Spartak Subotica and Radnicki Nis to favour the home team against their rivals", MUP said. "He will be detained for 48 hours and handed over to the prosecutor in charge". Spartak won the match 2-0 to nose ahead of Radnicki into third place and a Europa League qualifying slot ahead of the last round of matches, courtesy of two penalties with the latter leaving viewers and the visitors perplexed. A Radnicki defender deflected an innocuous low cross from the right with his feet making no contact with any of the home players, but Obradovic awarded the spot-kick and gesticulated that the would-be offender had handled the ball. The howler also prompted Serbian FA chief Slavisa Kokeza to ask the soccer authorities to punish Obradovic accordingly and suspend him. 
Serbian media invariably vilified Obradovic after the incident and showed video clips of a long list of his poor decisions in previous matches, notably a Belgrade derby between Serbia's big two Red Star and Partizan in March 2017. Obradovic allowed play to go on after the ball had clearly gone out of play for Red Star's opener in a 1-1 draw, sparking bitter protests from Partizan's officials and supporters. Red Star won a record 28th Serbian league title earlier this month with games to spare ahead of second-placed Partizan, while Spartak and fourth-placed Radnicki, who are three points behind them, are battling it out for a Europa League berth.

UEFA U-17 Euro 2018 – Semi-finals

17 May 2018

England – Netherlands
Referee: Horațiu Feșnic (ROU, photo)
Assistant Referee 1: Robert Steinacher (AUT)
Assistant Referee 2: Vlad Lifciu (MDA)
Fourth Official: Tihomir Pejin (CRO)
Referee Observer: Vlado Svilokos (CRO)

Italy – Belgium
Referee: Vilhjalmur Thorarinsson (ISL)
Assistant Referee 1: Péter Kóbor (HUN)
Assistant Referee 2: Georgi Doynov (BUL)
Fourth Official: Robert Harvey (IRL)
Referee Observer: Marc Batta (FRA)

CFU Club Championship Final 2018: Aguilar (SLV)

13 May 2018

Atletico Pantoja – Arnett Gardens
Referee: Joel Aguilar (SLV)
Assistant Referee 1: Juan Zumba (SLV)
Assistant Referee 2: Corey Rockwell (USA)
Fourth Official: Jair Marrufo (USA)

OFC Champions League Final 2018 (First Leg)

13 May 2018

Wellington  Lautoka
Referee: Abdelkader Zitouni (TAH, photo)
Assistant Referee 1: Tevita Makasini (TGA)
Assistant Referee 2: Bernard Mutukera (SOL)
Fourth Official: Mederic Lacour (NCA)

Copa Libertadores – Group Stage (Matchday 7)

15-17 May 2018

Defensor Sporting – Cerro Porteño
Referee: Nestor Pitana (ARG, photo)
Assistant Referee 1: Diego Bonfa (ARG)
Assistant Referee 2: Gabriel Chade (ARG)
Fourth Official: Fernando Espinoza (ARG)
Referee Assessor: Claudio Puga (CHI

Delfin – Atletico Nacional
Referee: Victor Carrillo (PER)
Assistant Referee 1: Jonny Bossio (PER)
Assistant Referee 2: Coty Carrera (PER)
Fourth Official: Joel Alarcon (PER)
Referee Assessor: Sergio Cristiano (BRA)

Monagas – Gremio
Referee: Fernando Rapallini (ARG)
Assistant Referee 1: Gustavo Rossi (ARG)
Assistant Referee 2: Cristian Navarro (ARG)
Fourth Official: German Delfino (ARG)
Referee Assessor: Jose Buitrago (COL)

Colo Colo – Bolívar
Referee: Sandro Ricci (BRA)
Assistant Referee 1: Emerson De Carvalho (BRA)
Assistant Referee 2: Marcelo Van Gasse (BRA)
Fourth Official: Luiz Oliveira (BRA)
Referee Assessor: Dario Ubriaco (URU)

Boca Juniors – Alianza Lima
Referee: Mario Diaz de Vivar (PAR)
Assistant Referee 1: Rodney Aquino (PAR)
Assistant Referee 2: Roberto Cañete (PAR)
Fourth Official: Jose Mendez (PAR)
Referee Assessor: Juan Lugones (BOL)

Palmeiras – Junior
Referee: Enrique Caceres (PAR)
Assistant Referee 1: Eduardo Cardozo (PAR)
Assistant Referee 2: Juan Zorrilla (PAR)
Fourth Official: Arnaldo Samaniego (PAR)
Referee Assessor: Francisco Mondria (CHI)

Flamengo – Emelec
Referee: Diego Haro (PER)
Assistant Referee 1: Raul Lopez (PER)
Assistant Referee 2: Victor Raez (PER)
Fourth Official: Miguel Santivañez (PER)
Referee Assessor: Carlos Torres (PAR)

Libertad – Atletico Tucumán
Referee: Wilton Sampaio (BRA)
Assistant Referee 1: Kleber Gil (BRA)
Assistant Referee 2: Guilherme Camilo (BRA)
Fourth Official: Rodolpho Toski (BRA)
Referee Assessor: Imer Machado (COL)

Peñarol – The Strongest
Referee: Andres Rojas (COL)
Assistant Referee 1: Humberto Clavijo (COL)
Assistant Referee 2: Wilmar Navarro (COL)
Fourth Official: Nicolas Gallo (COL)
Referee Assessor: Nelson Moncao (BRA)

Millonarios – Independiente
Referee: Roberto Tobar (CHI)
Assistant Referee 1: Claudio Rios (CHI)
Assistant Referee 2: Raul Orellana (CHI)
Fourth Official: Cesar Deischler (CHI)
Referee Assessor: Alberto Tejada (PER)

Deportivo Lara – Corinthians
Referee: Andres Cunha (URU)
Assistant Referee 1: Mauricio Espinosa (URU)
Assistant Referee 2: Nicolas Taran (URU)
Fourth Official: Esteban Ostojich (URU)
Referee Assessor: Carlos Herrera (ECU)

Saudi Arabia World Cup referee placed under investigation

Fahad Al-Mirdasi's involvement at the World Cup has been thrown into major doubt after he was dramatically stood down from Saturday's King's Cup final and placed under investigation. Saudi's top referee was due to officiate the match at King Abdullah Sports City between Al-Ittihad and Al-Faisaly, but the Saudi Football Federation (SAFF) announced on Friday night that the 32-year-old would no longer be taking charge of the game. "The Saudi Arabian Football Federation, with the blessing of the Saudi Olympic Committee, has decided to remove referee Fahad Al-Mirdasi from refereeing the King's Cup final and to refer him to the General Investigations Bureau," read the SAFF's official Twitter account. "Mark Clattenburg has been appointed to referee the final instead". Al-Mirdasi was also removed from the AFC Champions League match Jeonbuk Motors - Buriram United, where he will be replaced by Nawaf Shukralla.
Al-Mirdasi (photo) is one of three Saudi match officials selected for next summer’s tournament by FIFA, but his participation must now be in some jeopardy. FIFA, who have named 36 referees for the tournament in Russia, are likely to want clarification surrounding the exact reasons for the SAFF's decision to suspend and then place one of Asia's top referees under investigation. Al-Mirdasi was set to become the fourth Saudi referee to officiate at the World Cup, following in the footsteps of Falaj Al-Shannar, Abdulrahman Al-Zeid and Khalil Jalal. Having previously taken charge of the 2015 AFC Asian Cup quarterfinal as well as matches in the 2016 Olympic Games and the 2017 FIFA Confederation Cup, Al-Mirdasi is one of Asia’s most experienced referees. SAFF President Adel Ezzat said in March that the selection of Al-Mirdasi - along with assistant referees Abdullah Al-Shalawi and Mohammed Al-Abkari - was a proud moment for the Kingdom. “The three officials won FIFA’s trust after officiating at the highest levels of continental and international football,” said Ezzat in a statement published on the SAFF Twitter account. “It is a reward for them to be at the greatest of all football competitions. They deserve congratulations as they have earned their places among the elite of the refereeing world. To have three match officials at the World Cup is a great motivation for us at the SAFF to enhance our work in developing Saudi referees. I wish them success in Russia and we will be looking forward for them to do us proud”. 

Source: Arab News

Frappart looking forward to officiating on home soil

Top French referee Stephanie Frappart is one of the 15 female match officials, who will officiate games at the FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup France 2018 in August. She is looking forward to refereeing in her home country and to showing the world how excited France is to celebrate women’s football at the FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup this year, and of course next year, at the FIFA Women’s World Cup France 2019.
- FIFA.com: Congratulations on your selection for the FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup France 2018. What does it mean for you as a French woman to officiate at FIFA World Cup matches in your home country?
- Stephanie Frappart: I am very proud, of course. I am really looking forward to this competition. It is a big honour to represent France in France. It is a highlight for me. It is great recognition and a token of appreciation for all of the work I have done so far, for the experience I gained over the past years. I am very pleased and I want to thank everyone, who has made this possible.
- France is organising two important women’s competitions. Next year, the FIFA Women’s World Cup will be played in France. The U-20 competition in August is a kind of sample for what’s coming up next year, when FIFA’s flagship tournament in women’s football will be played. How are the preparations going so far? 
- The French Football Federation has prepared this tournament very well. It will be a big test for everyone before the FIFA Women’s World Cup France 2019. Everyone is focused and ready. The whole region of Brittany is excited to welcome all of the teams and fans. The FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup will be a great gauge for next year’s competition.
- Considering that the level of the U-20 women is very good, are there opportunities for the match officials to make improvements in their own World Cup preparations?
- Absolutely. It is a great opportunity for us and it is a great opportunity for the players. We both have an important competition, after which all of us can be recommended for the World Cup, if we have good performances. So, there is a lot at stake for all of us.
- You are known for leaving nothing to chance and planning everything down to the last detail. What are your preparations like over the next few days, weeks and months?
- It is actually an ongoing process. The World Cup preparations have not just started. We actually started planning and preparing for France 2019 immediately after the FIFA Women’s World Cup 2015 in Canada. It is more a next, important step towards the next big highlight. It will be an intense, but exciting time. We are challenged and encouraged. It is an important stopover in our World Cup preparations. We still have a lot of work to do and we must keep up the pace. The exchanges with our instructors will be very valuable and also officiating games at a high level is, of course, very important for us.
- What exactly can we look forward to in your country this year and next year? 
- This summer, it’s the FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup, and next year, it’s the FIFA Women’s World Cup, the best women’s football tournament anywhere! I am sure that both competitions will be a big success for the development of women’s football. This FIFA Women’s World Cup 2019 is coming at just the right time for the women’s game in France. Our FA’s development programme is paying off. More and more people are watching women’s football matches on TV, and the French national women’s team play in front of packed stadia. There’s a genuine passion for the game, and it’s growing all the time.

Source: FIFA