UEFA Europa League – Semi-finals (Second Leg)

1 May 2014

Valencia – Sevilla
Referee: Milorad Mažić (SRB, photo)
Assistant Referee 1: Milovan Ristić (SRB)
Assistant Referee 2: Dalibor Djurdjević (SRB)
Additional AR 1: Danilo Grujić (SRB)
Additional AR 2: Dejan Filipović (SRB)
Fourth Official: Dejan Petrović (SRB)
Referee Observer: Herbert Fandel (GER)

Juventus – Benfica
Referee: Mark Clattenburg (ENG)
Assistant Referee 1: Simon Beck (ENG)
Assistant Referee 2: Stuart Burt (ENG)

Additional AR 1: Michael Oliver (ENG)
Additional AR 2: Anthony Taylor (ENG)
Fourth Official: Darren England (ENG)
Referee Observer: Bertrand Layec (FRA)

Copa Libertadores – Round of 16 (III)

29 April 2014
Defensor – The Strongest
Referee: Antonio Arias (PAR, photo)
Assistant Referee 1: Rodney Aquino (PAR)
Assistant Referee 2: Carlos Cáceres (PAR)
Fourth Official: Mario Diaz de Vivar (PAR)
Referee Observer: Ernesto Filippi (URU)

Vélez – Nacional
Referee: Sandro Ricci (BRA)
Assistant Referee 1: Emerson Carvalho (BRA)
Assistant Referee 2: Marcelo van Gasse (BRA)
Fourth Official: Marcelo Henrique (BRA)
Referee Observer: Abel Gnecco (ARG)

30 April 2014
Unión Española – Arsenal
Referee: Ricardo Marques (BRA)
Assistant Referee 1: Marcio Santiago (BRA)
Assistant Referee 2: Cleriston Barreto (BRA)
Fourth Official: Francisco Nascimiento (BRA)
Referee Observer: Patricio Basualto (CHI)

Cerro Porteño – Cruzeiro
Referee: Dario Ubriaco (URU)
Assistant Referee 1: Mauricio Espinosa (URU)
Assistant Referee 2: Carlos Changala (URU)
Fourth Official: Christian Ferreyra (URU)
Referee Observer: Ubaldo Aquino (PAR)

Gremio – San Lorenzo
Referee: Roberto Silvera (URU)
Assistant Referee 1: Carlos Pastorino (URU)
Assistant Referee 2: Nicolás Tarán (URU)
Fourth Official: Andrés Cunha (URU)
Referee Observer: Wilson Seneme (BRA)

1 May 2014
Atlético Mineiro – Atlético Nacional
Referee: Patricio Loustau (ARG)
Assistant Referee 1: Diego Bonfa (ARG)
Assistant Referee 2: Iván Núñez (ARG)
Fourth Official: Pablo Díaz (ARG)
Referee Observer: Alicio Peña (BRA)

UEFA Champions League – Semi-finals (Second Leg)

29 April 2014
Bayern Munchen – Real Madrid
Referee: Pedro Proenca (POR, photo)
Assistant Referee 1: Bertino Miranda (POR)
Assistant Referee 2: Tiago Trigo (POR)
Additional AR 1: Duarte Gomes (POR)
Additional AR 2: Joao Capela (POR)
Fourth Official: Paulo Soares (POR)
Referee Observer: Vaclav Krondl (CZE)

30 April 2014
Chelsea London – Atletico Madrid
Referee: Nicola Rizzoli (ITA)
Assistant Referee 1: Renato Faverani (ITA)
Assistant Referee 2: Elenito Di Liberatore (ITA)
Additional AR 1: Luca Banti (ITA)
Additional AR 2: Antonio Damato (ITA)
Fourth Official: Andrea Stefani (ITA)
Referee Observer: Zdravko Jokic (SRB)

Collina: “I went that extra mile”

What makes a good referee? He must be genuine, according to Pierluigi Collina, who lifts the lid on the secrets of his success.
- Mr. Collina, how does a referee achieve celebrity status?
- Pierluigi Collina: I’m afraid I don’t have an answer to that question. 
- You were the first and only referee in the history of the game to become a star. Surely you must have a few tips for your colleagues who are set to officiate at the World Cup in Brazil? 
- What I always tried to do was take my job as seriously and work as conscientiously as possible.
- You were named FIFA’s Referee of the Year on six consecutive occasions – an all-time record. What did you do better than the rest?
- I went about my work very professionally from the outset. Maybe I just did more than was absolutely necessary. At the end of the ’90s, referees had to know the rulebook inside out and be physically fit. Those were the only requirements, but I went that extra mile. Before a game, I would find out everything I could about the teams and the individual players. Before the 2002 World Cup Final in Japan and Korea, I spent a lot of the time in my hotel room with my colleagues watching videos of the teams. I studied their moves and peculiarities and discussed them with my team. If you’ve done your homework, you can’t be taken by surprise.
- So a good referee must never leave anything to chance?
- Definitely not. A good referee is always a step ahead of the game. He must be able to anticipate what’s going to happen. Only a referee who knows how a game will unfold can be in the right place at the right time, spot incidents and consequently make the right decisions. A referee who fails to keep up with proceedings will eventually lose the plot. 
- Is a good referee lenient or is he strict? 
- A good referee is right. I always set great store by giving my all and being fair to everyone. I’m convinced that those are the attributes of a good referee. 
- Did you ever make any incorrect decisions which you subsequently regretted? 
- Regret is the wrong word. Rather, I was sorry about making a wrong decision. 
- How did you react? 
- I analysed it at length and asked myself why I had made the wrong decision. For every mistake, there’s an explanation. Why did I make that mistake? Did I not prepare well enough? Those were the questions I asked myself. After that, it’s important to forget about an incorrect decision. You mustn’t let it get the better of you. After making a wrong decision, it’s vital to return to the pitch stronger than you were before. 
- Should a good referee have to apologise for making a wrong decision? 
- Why should I apologise? I only apologise if I’ve done something on purpose. After all, I tried my best, tried to do the right thing, and I made a mistake.
- What’s your strongest attribute?
- I commit myself completely to a task and always try to give my best.
- And your greatest weakness?
- I find it very difficult to admit to mistakes. If a player misses a penalty, he’s consoled by his team-mates. If tens of thousands of people are shouting abuse at the referee, he has nobody to turn to. It’s true that a referee needs a thick skin. That’s one of the prerequisites if you want to become a referee in the first place. You have to be able to put a certain distance between yourself and what happens or can happen on the pitch if you want to survive in the job. You definitely have to be able to cope with stress. 
- Some referees fail to cope with the pressure and are forced to quit. 
- In every walk of life, there are certain people who cope better with stress than others. If a referee is officiating at a high level, he’s already proven he can cope with stress. 
- How did you keep calm when you knew you’d be officiating a match in front of not only 80,000 spectators in the stadium, but also billions of people watching on television? 
- You can’t allow that thought to enter your head. A referee has to learn to cope with the significance of a game. I always tried to approach every match as if it were just a normal game and handle every game as if it were a World Cup final. The latter is obviously more difficult. 
- So you basically have to go against your natural instincts?
- I always tried to officiate with complete concentration. I once refereed a match between Manchester United and Real Madrid on a Wednesday and a Serie B match in Italy three days later. It’s easy to find the necessary concentration for the first one, but it’s more difficult for the - 
- Who are the better actors? The players or the referee? 
- The referee mustn’t be an actor – he has to be genuine. If a referee pretends to be something he’s not, you notice it straight away. 
- What’s the worst thing a player can do on the football field? 
- Definitely simulation, by which I mean achieving an objective through deceit. You’re not only cheating the referee and the opposition, but also the fans. Deliberately distorting a result has nothing to do with winning. This aspect of the game deserves more attention. 
- Doesn’t it make your blood boil when you see a player dive on multiple occasions during a match? 
- No, you mustn’t let your blood boil, but the player must be shown a yellow card.
- When I looked you up for our first interview ten years ago, your name was still in the phone book. It’s become a lot more difficult to contact you these days.
- I know and I regret that, but certain circumstances have made this necessary.
- What circumstances?
- Unfortunately, I suffered the unpleasant experience of receiving anonymous threats when bullets were sent to me. I was then placed under police protection and all my movements were closely monitored. 
- Your protection in Italy was similar to that of a state prosecutor who is conducting investigations into gang warfare. 
- More or less. It wasn’t a pleasant experience. It’s not nice walking out of the house flanked by two police officers. 
- Who threatened you? 
- The culprits were never caught. The threats eventually stopped, but it’s sad that something like that can happen in football. 
- You became a star among referees, but because officials in Italy don’t work professionally – as is the case in most other countries – you also had another job. 
- I worked for many years as a freelance financial advisor for a bank, which was compatible with my job as a referee. 
- A referee has to be just as fit as the players on the pitch. Statistics have shown that a player runs between 10 and 11 kilometres per game, while referees run between 10 and 12. The main difference is that players train every day, while many referees are stuck in an office. Is that fair? 
- Referees need time to prepare, not just physically. In most countries, referees are paid per match. In some countries they get more, in others less, but it’s important that a referee has enough time to prepare for a match as best he can. Obviously, preparation starts well before a match, and it goes without saying that a referee must also be paid sufficiently for the time he spends preparing for a game. 
- You’re now 54 years old, but still seem incredibly fit. 
- I try to stay in shape, but it’s not always easy with all the travelling I do. It’s not as though you give up physically and let yourself go. I live by the sea and love to go jogging on the beach. 
- You’ve since become the head of the UEFA Referees Committee. Does that lead to rivalry with former colleagues, such as Massimo Busacca, who is FIFA’s Head of Refereeing Development? 
- Not at all. Massimo and I had and still have a great relationship with each other. We even used to go on holiday together with our families. That makes it a lot easier to exchange views with him nowadays. I’m very happy about that.
- Are there still loopholes in the referees’ rule book that could be amended?
- There are certain loopholes.
- Could you describe one of them?
- Let’s say a player commits a foul and receives a yellow card. In committing the foul, he’s also injured an opposition player who has to leave the field to receive treatment. As soon as he has left the field, the game restarts and the team that committed the foul has a numerical advantage. In a sporting sense, that isn’t fair. The team that committed the foul is essentially rewarded as they can play on with an extra man. It would make more sense to change the rules so the offending player has to leave the pitch until the injured player is able to return to the field with him again. 
- Why are many referees so fussy about the correct way to take a throw-in? Hardly anyone throws the ball with both feet on he ground and their hands behind their heads. 
- The rules are quite clear. Sometimes, referees can be a little less strict in these situations, as a throw-in is not regarded as a particularly important moment in a match. 
- So a referee needs to have an exceptional ability to interpret the rules of the game correctly. 
- Yes, he does. 
- In addition, a good referee must possess complete self-control and an understanding of other people’s faults. 
- That’s correct. 
- Does that mean a good referee has to be the perfect psychologist? 
- That’s exaggerating things a little, but as a referee you do need a certain insight into human nature. You have to be able to read players’ body language and know how to treat people properly. For example, if I stand too close to a player or even touch them, I’m encroaching on his personal space. If anything, that’s likely to be counter-productive, so I make sure I don’t stand too close to a player. 
- Did you study psychology? 
- No, I studied economics, but I’ve read a few books on the subject.
- Can a referee afford to be sensitive?
- Yes, as long as that doesn’t mean that the referee is isolated. If, by sensitive, you mean that the referee shows passion then yes, he has to be sensitive.
- Can you explain why anyone with all these qualities would be prepared to accept a modest wage and be exposed to major stress on a regular basis?
- There’s no need to dwell on the pressures facing referees. Let’s talk a bit about the advantages of the job. Many aspects are extremely enjoyable. I shared a pitch with some fantastic players and had the privilege to officiate top matches. After the World Cup final between Brazil and Germany in 2002, I received a medal from FIFA President Joseph Blatter. For a referee, that’s equivalent to winning the World Cup as a player. 
- It’s hard to imagine someone choosing to be a referee of his own free will. 
- That’s not what I did. I was a footballer myself and when I was 17, several people told me I had a talent for refereeing. They thought I had an extraordinary ability to make split-second decisions and to justify these to older players. To this day, I am very grateful to the people who gave me that tip. 
- Thanks for not losing your patience during this interview. That’s what must have made you the world’s most famous referee. 
- Can I be honest? 
- Please do. 
- It wasn’t easy. 

Source: FIFA World

OFC Champions League – Semi-finals (First Leg)

26-27 April 2014

Ba FC – Amicale FC
Referee: Kader Zitouni (TAH, photo)
Assistant Referee 1: Paul Ahupu (TAH)
Assistant Referee 2: Philippe Revel (TAH)
Fourth Official: Ravistesh Behari (FIJ)

Auckland City – AS Pirae
Referee: Bruce George (VAN)
Assistant Referee 1: Mahit Chilia (VAN)
Assistant Referee 2: Michael Joseph (VAN)
Fourth Official: Nick Waldron (NZL)

UEFA Europa League – Semi-finals (First Leg)

24 April 2014

Benfica – Juventus
Referee: Cüneyt Çakir (TUR, photo)
Assistant Referee 1: Bahattin Duran (TUR)
Assistant Referee 2: Tarık Ongun (TUR)
Additional AR 1: Hüseyin Göçek (TUR)
Additional AR 2: Barış Şimşek (TUR)
Fourth Official: Mustafa Eyisoy (TUR)
Referee Observer: Manuel Mejuto González (ESP)

Sevilla – Valencia
Referee: Damir Skomina (SVN)
Assistant Referee 1: Bojan Ul (SVN)
Assistant Referee 2: Gianluca Cariolato (ITA)
Additional AR 1: Slavko Vinčić (SVN)
Additional AR 2: Roberto Ponis (SVN)
Fourth Official: Jure Praprotnik (SVN)
Referee Observer: Roberto Rosetti (ITA)

CONCACAF Champions League Final 2014 (Second Leg)

23 April 2014

Toluca – Cruz Azul
Referee: Marco Rodriguez (MEX, photo)
Assistant Referee 1: Marvin Torrentera (MEX)
Assistant Referee 2: Marcos Quintero (MEX)
Fourth Official: Fernando Guerrero (MEX)
Referee Observer: Rodolfo Sibrian (SLV)

Copa Libertadores – Round of 16 (II)

23 April 2014
San Lorenzo – Gremio
Referee: Enrique Osses (CHI, photo)
Assistant Referee 1: Carlos Astroza (CHI)
Assistant Referee 2: Sergio Roman (CHI)
Fourth Official: Jorge Osorio (CHI)
Referee Observer: Abel Gnecco (ARG)

Bolívar – León
Referee: Adrián Vélez (COL)
Assistant Referee 1: Wilson Berrio (COL)
Assistant Referee 2: Rafael Rivas (COL)
Fourth Official: Wilson Lamouroux (COL)
Referee Observer: Oscar Ortube (BOL)

Santos Laguna – Lanús
Referee: Dario Ubriaco (URU)
Assistant Referee 1: Mauricio Espinosa (URU)
Assistant Referee 2: Nicolás Tarán (URU)
Fourth Official: Christian Ferreyra (URU)
Referee Observer: Raymundo Sánchez (MEX)

Nacional – Vélez Sarsfield
Referee: Heber Lopes (BRA)
Assistant Referee 1: Marcio Santiago (BRA)
Assistant Referee 2: Cleriston Barreto (BRA)
Fourth Official: Witon Sampaio (BRA)
Referee Observer: Juan Bernabe (PAR)

Atlético Nacional – Atlético Mineiro
Referee: Martín Vázquez (URU)
Assistant Referee 1: Miguel Nievas (URU)
Assistant Referee 2: Carlos Changala (URU)
Fourth Official: Fernando Falce (URU)
Referee Observer: Pablo Montoya (COL)

24 April 2014
Arsenal – Unión Española
Referee: Víctor Carrillo (PER)
Assistant Referee 1: Johnny Bossio (PER)
Assistant Referee 2: Cesar Escano (PER)
Fourth Official: Henry Gambetta (PER)
Referee Observer: Carlos Coradina (ARG)

UEFA Champions League – Semi-finals (First Leg)

22 April 2014
Atlético Madrid – Chelsea London
Referee: Jonas Eriksson (SWE, photo)
Assistant Referee 1: Mathias Klasenius (SWE)
Assistant Referee 2: Daniel Wärnmark (SWE)
Additional AR 1: Stefan Johannesson (SWE)
Additional AR 2: Markus Strömbergsson (SWE)
Fourth Official: Daniel Gustavsson (SWE)
Referee Observer: Jaap Uilenberg (NED)

23 April 2014
Real Madrid – Bayern München
Referee: Howard Webb (ENG)
Assistant Referee 1: Michael Mullarkey (ENG)
Assistant Referee 2: Darren Cann (ENG)
Additional AR 1: Martin Atkinson (ENG)
Additional AR 2: Anthony Taylor (ENG)
Fourth Official: Stephen Child (ENG)
Referee Observer: Pierluigi Collina (ITA)

UEFA Women’s Champions League – Semi-finals

First Leg, 19 April 2014

Birmingham – Tyreso
Referee: Teodora Albon (ROU, photo)
Assistant Referee 1: Petruta Iugulescu (ROU)
Assistant Referee 2: Mihaela Gomoescu (ROU)
Fourth Official: Cristina Dorcioman (ROU)

Potsdam – Wolfsburg
Referee: Efthalia Mitsi (GRE)
Assistant Referee 1: Androniki Nioti (GRE)
Assistant Referee 2: Chrysoula Kourompylia (GRE)
Fourth Official: Eleni Antoniou (GRE)

Second Leg, 27 April 2014

Tyreso – Birmingham
Referee: Carina Vitulano (ITA)
Assistant Referee 1: Romina Santuari (ITA)
Assistant Referee 2: Lucia Abruzzese (ITA)
Fourth Official: Valentina Garoffolo (ITA)

Wolfsburg – Potsdam
Referee: Esther Staubli (SUI)
Assistant Referee 1: Belinda Brem (SUI)
Assistant Referee 2: Susann Kung (SUI)
Fourth Official: Desiree Grundbacher (SUI)

Geiger: “The best e-mail of my life”

Football made huge strides in my country after we hosted the 1994 World Cup. The sport now has financial backing, the players are of a high standard and the fans are enthusiastic. Consequently, Major League Soccer has become the perfect working environment for me and refereeing has become a dream job. I officiated my first match at the age of 13, and like so many other American kids, I loved to play football. Soccer is one of the most popular sports among young kids in the USA before they turn to American football, baseball or basketball in their teenage years. Back then, I needed a job and wanted to earn a bit of money, but it became so much more than that. 
I received the e-mail with FIFA’s offer to go to the World Cup in Brazil at 2:24am. It’s difficult to describe what went through my mind at that moment. I was speechless, thrilled, moved and proud. My dream was coming true. By the time the alarm clock rang at 6.30, I’d already received several text messages from friends congratulating me. The reaction from fans, players and coaches was generally fantastic, and it gave me encouragement in my everyday work too. About a year ago, I gave up my dream job as a maths teacher to concentrate fully on my refereeing career. There are many parallels between teaching and officiating. You have to constantly adapt your style to suit the class or players in front of you; you have to be able to work well with people and be able to respond to them. On the pitch, we’re much more than someone who blows a whistle and shows cards – we’re managers. We have to use communication to help 22 players to play their game; we have to provide a framework and protect the players, and that’s not always straightforward. Football is all about emotions and these can sometimes boil over. Body language is important too: whether it’s the way I move my hands or the tone of my voice, these things make all the difference when not everybody on the pitch speaks the same language. The most important thing before any match is preparation. We have to know the coaches’ tactics, the line-ups and the character of each of the players. The support I get from my assistants Joe and Sean is hugely important, and I wouldn’t be where I am today without them. We complement each other perfectly - the chemistry is 100 per cent right. Now we’ve got to oversee our first World Cup match. We’d love to progress through the tournament, ideally all the way to the Final on 13 July. In that respect, we’re no different from the players.

Source: FIFA Weekly

Copa Libertadores – Round of 16 (I)

16 April 2014
Leon – Bolívar
Referee: Carlos Amarilla (PAR, photo)
Assistant Referee 1: Hugo Martinez (PAR)
Assistant Referee 2: Juan Zorrilla (PAR)
Fourth Official: Ulises Mereles (PAR)
Referee Observer: Jorge Gasso (MEX) 

Cruzeiro – Cerro Porteno
Referee: Daniel Fedorczuk (URU)
Assistant Referee 1: Carlos Pastorino (URU)
Assistant Referee 2: Gabriel Popovits (URU)
Fourth Official: Andres Cunha (URU)
Referee Observer: Jose Eugenio (BRA)

Lanus –Santos Laguna
Referee: Patricio Polic (CHI)
Assistant Referee 1: Francisco Mondria (CHI)
Assistant Referee 2: Juan Maturana (CHI)
Fourth Official: Eduardo Gamboa (CHI)
Referee Observer: Abel Gnecco (ARG)

17 April 2014
The Strongest – Defensor Sporting
Referee: Marcelo Henrique (BRA)
Assistant Referee 1: Kleber Gil (BRA)
Assistant Referee 2: Fabricio Vilarinho (BRA)
Fourth Official: Pericles Cortez (BRA)
Referee Observer: Marcelo Ortube (BOL)

CONCACAF Champions League Final 2014 (First Leg)

15 April 2014 

Cruz Azul – Toluca
Referee: Roberto Garcia (MEX, photo)
Assistant Referee 1: Jose Camargo (MEX)
Assistant Referee 2: Alberto Morin (MEX)
Fourth Official: Cesar Ramos (MEX)
Referee Observer: Neftali Recinos (SLV)

UEFA Youth League Final 2014: Zelinka (CZE)

14 April 2014 

SL Benfica – FC Barcelona 
Referee: Miroslav Zelinka (CZE, photo)
Assistant Referee 1: Ondřej Pelikán (CZE)
Assistant Referee 2: Krystof Mencl (CZE)
Fourth Official: Stephan Klossner (SUI)
Referee Observer: Marc Batta (FRA)

Referees continue World Cup preparations

Referees and assistant referees from Africa, South America and CONCACAF have been meeting for a week-long seminar at the Home of FIFA in Zurich in preparation for the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil. This is the second collection of referees to go through the seminar, after a group from Europe, Asia and Oceania went through their paces in March.
Between 7 and 11 April, the 16 referees and 27 assistant referees underwent several medical, physical and technical checks, in order to give them an impression of their current status. The technical side of training was approached from a new angle, with video analysis of match situations used with the aim of offering uniformity and consistency, as well as showcasing changing mentalities towards tactics. The referees also had a chance to express their views, share opinions on reading the game and understanding different mentalities. 
"Uniformity and consistency is really what it's all about," explained Mark Geiger, a referee from USA. "Referees come in from all over the world with many different styles and personalities, so it's important for us to be on the same page when the tournament starts in June. We need to see the game the same way so that, no matter what referee is on the pitch, the game will be refereed the same way." U-18 and U-17 players from FC Zurich were used to practice and emulate several game scenarios for match officials as they sought to find uniformity in their decision-making process and positioning. FIFA’s Head of Refereeing, Massimo Busacca - a highly regarded former FIFA World Cup referee himself - conducted the intense seminar, which involved numerous theoretical and practical sessions. 
Sandro Ricci, who flew in from Brazil for the seminar, was full of praise for the level of preparation it provided. He said: "It's a great opportunity for us all to exchange experiences. We 've all been preparing ourselves for this World Cup - it's a once in a lifetime opportunity - so we've been talking a lot and learning a lot together. I'm sure my colleagues and I will be well prepared for this challenge." 
Similar to the first session in March, fair play was the main focus as one of the seminar's key components. More specifically, protecting players and the image of the game were made top priorities throughout the week. Busacca stressed this area is a key point going into the World Cup: “For me, it’s one of the most important messages we have to give to the world and the players,” he said. “We are going to Brazil, one of the most famous and important football countries. "We need fair play, we need respect. Situations happen in less than one second for the referees, sometimes they don’t have the right angle, so it’s important to collaborate. Players have to understand that football is something you have to enjoy, not destroy. Sometimes for the referee, if there’s no fair play, it’s very difficult to make the right decision”.

Source: FIFA

UEFA Youth League – Semi-finals

11 April 2014

Real Madrid – Benfica
Referee: Radu Petrescu (ROU, photo)
Assistant Referee 1: Radu Ghinguleac (ROU)
Assistant Referee 2: Ovidiu Artene (ROU)
Fourth Official: Alain Bieri (SUI)
Referee Observer: Marc Batta (FRA)

Schalke – FC Barcelona
Referee: Paweł Raczkowski (POL)
Assistant Referee 1: Marcin Borkowski (POL)
Assistant Referee 2: Paweł Sokolnicki (POL)
Fourth Official: Adrien Jaccottet (SUI)
Referee Observer: Marc Batta (FRA)

FIFA Women’s World Cup 2015 Qualifiers

9-10 April 2014

Belgium – Norway
Referee: Bibiana Steinhaus (GER, photo)

Russia – Croatia
Referee: Sofia Karagiorgi (CYP)

Portugal – Greece
Referee: Anastasia Pustovoitova (RUS)

France – Austria
Referee: Rhona Daly (IRL)

Wales – Ukraine
Referee: Séverine Zinck (FRA)

Macedonia – Spain
Referee: Kateryna Zora (UKR)

Malta – Iceland
Referee: Sjoukje de Jong (NED)

Bosnia – Scotland
Referee: Stéphanie Frappart (FRA) 

Montenegro – Belarus
Referee: Marte Soro (NOR)

Romania – Italy
Referee: Morag Pirie (SCO)

Finland – Hungary
Referee: Amy Rayner (ENG)

Germany – Slovenia
Referee: Sandra Bastos (POR)

Netherlands – Albania
Referee: Yuliya Medvedeva-Keldyusheva (KAZ)

Switzerland – Denmark
Referee: Cristina Dorcioman (ROU)

Faroe Islands – N. Ireland
Referee: Gordana Kuzmanović (SRB)

UEFA Europa League – Quarter-finals (Second Leg)

10 April 2014

Valencia – Basel
Referee: Viktor Kassai (HUN, photo)
Assistant Referee 1: György Ring (HUN)
Assistant Referee 2: Vencel Tóth (HUN)
Additional AR 1: Tamás Bognar (HUN)
Additional AR 2: Sándor Andó-Szabó (HUN)
Fourth Official: Robert Kispál (HUN)
Referee Observer: Nuno Castro (POR)

Benfica – Alkmaar
Referee: Pavel Královec (CZE)
Assistant Referee 1: Roman Slyško (SVK)
Assistant Referee 2: Martin Wilczek (CZE)
Additional AR 1: Radek Příhoda (CZE)
Additional AR 2: Michal Patak (CZE)
Fourth Official: Antonin Kordula (CZE)
Referee Observer: Rune Pedersen (NOR)

Sevilla – FC Porto
Referee: Gianluca Rocchi (ITA)
Assistant Referee 1: Elenito Di Liberatore (ITA)
Assistant Referee 2: Mauro Tonolini (ITA)
Additional AR 1: Daniele Orsato (ITA)
Additional AR 2: Paolo Valeri (ITA)
Fourth Official: Riccardo Di Fiore (ITA)
Referee Observer: Peter Fröjdfeldt (SWE)

Juventus Turin – Olympique Lyon
Referee: Alberto Undiano Mallenco (ESP)
Assistant Referee 1: Raúl Cabañero Martínez (ESP)
Assistant Referee 2: Juan Yuste Jiménez (ESP)
Additional AR 1: Fernando Teixeira Vitienes (ESP)
Additional AR 2: Javier Estrada Fernández (ESP)
Fourth Official: José Fernández Miranda (ESP)
Referee Observer: Michael Riley (ENG)

CONCACAF Champions League – Semi-finals (Second Leg)

8 April 2014
Deportivo Toluca – LD Alajuelense
Referee: Enrico Wijngaarde (SUR, photo)
Assistant Referee 1: Ricardo Morgan (JAM)
Assistant Referee 2: Ramon Louisville (SUR)
Fourth Official: Javier Santos (PUR)
Referee Observer: Donald Campos (NCA)

9 April 2014
Cruz Azul – Tijuana Xolos
Referee: Paul Delgadillo (MEX)
Assistant Referee 1: Hector Delgadillo (MEX)
Assistant Referee 2: Juan Rangel (MEX)
Fourth Official: Jorge Perez (MEX)
Referee Observer: Jose Pineda (HON)

Copa Libertadores – Group Stage (Matchday 8)

8 April 2014
Cerro Porteño – Deportivo Cali
Referee: Dario Ubriaco (URU, photo)
Assistant Referee 1: Mauricio Espinosa (URU)
Assistant Referee 2: Nicolas Taran (URU)
Fourth Official: Enrique Caceres (PAR)
Referee Observer: Manuel Bernal (PAR)

Vélez Sarsfield – Universitario
Referee: Carlos Ulloa (CHI)
Assistant Referee 1: Juan Maturana (CHI)
Assistant Referee 2: Marcelo Barraza (CHI)
Fourth Official: Silvio Trucco (ARG)
Referee Observer: Juan Crespi (ARG)

The Strongest – Atletico Paranaense
Referee: Roddy Zambrano (ECU)
Assistant Referee 1: Luis Vera (ECU)
Assistant Referee 2: Edwin Bravo (ECU)
Fourth Official: Gery Vargas (BOL)
Referee Observer: Marcelo Ortube (BOL)

O'Higgins – Lanus
Referee: Wilton Sampaio (BRA)
Assistant Referee 1: Alessandro Rocha (BRA)
Assistant Referee 2: Marcio Santiago (BRA)
Fourth Official: Jorge Osorio (CHI)
Referee Observer: Pablo Pozo (CHI)

Union Española – Independiente Del Valle
Referee: Julio Quintana (PAR)
Assistant Referee 1: Carlos Caceres (PAR)
Assistant Referee 2: Eduardo Cardozo (PAR)
Fourth Official: Eduardo Gamboa (CHI)
Referee Observer: Guido Aros (CHI)

9 April 2014
San Lorenzo – Botafogo
Referee: Juan Soto (VEN)
Assistant Referee 1: Carlos Lopez (VEN)
Assistant Referee 2: Luis Murillo (VEN)
Fourth Official: Pablo Diaz (ARG)
Referee Observer: Abel Gnecco (ARG)

Flamengo – León
Referee: Diego Abal (ARG)
Assistant Referee 1: Gustavo Rossi (ARG)
Assistant Referee 2: Ivan Nunez (ARG)
Fourth Official: Pericles Cortez (BRA)
Referee Observer: Sergio Cristiano (BRA)

Bolívar – Emelec
Referee: Mauro Vigliano (ARG)
Assistant Referee 1: Ariel Scime (ARG)
Assistant Referee 2: Cristian Navarro (ARG)
Fourth Official: Johnny Cuellar (BOL)
Referee Observer: Oscar Ortube (BOL)

Cruzeiro – Real Garcilaso
Referee: Adrián Vélez (COL)
Assistant Referee 1: Wilson Berrio (COL)
Assistant Referee 2: Rafael Rivas (COL)
Fourth Official: Ricardo Marques (BRA)
Referee Observer: Alicio Pena (BRA)

Defensor Sporting – Universidad de Chile
Referee: Patricio Loustau (ARG)
Assistant Referee 1: Diego Bonfa (ARG)
Assistant Referee 2: Ezequiel Brailovsky (ARG)
Fourth Official: Andres Cunha (URU)
Referee Observer: Jorge Nieves (URU)

10 April 2014
Atletico Mineiro – Zamora
Referee: Roberto Tobar (CHI)
Assistant Referee 1: Francisco Mondria (CHI)
Assistant Referee 2: Raul Orellana (CHI)
Fourth Official: Ricardo Marques (BRA)
Referee Observer: Jose Eugenio (BRA)

Nacional – Santa Fé
Referee: Martín Vázquez (URU)
Assistant Referee 1: Carlos Pastorino (URU)
Assistant Referee 2: Gabriel Popovits (URU)
Fourth Official: Ulises Mereles (PAR)
Referee Observer: Cecilio Bejarano (PAR)

Peñarol – Deportivo Anzoategui
Referee: Diego Haro (PER)
Assistant Referee 1: Johnny Bossio (PER)
Assistant Referee 2: Braulio Cornejo (PER)
Fourth Official: Christian Ferreyra (URU)
Referee Observer: Ernesto Filippi (URU)

Arsenal – Santos Laguna
Referee: Marcelo Henrique (BRA)
Assistant Referee 1: Kleber Gil (BRA)
Assistant Referee 2: Fabricio Vilarinho (BRA)
Fourth Official: Fernando Rapallini (ARG)
Referee Observer: Abel Gnecco (ARG)

Newell's Old Boys – Atletico Nacional
Referee: Antonio Arias (PAR)
Assistant Referee 1: Dario Gaona (PAR)
Assistant Referee 2: Milciades Saldivar (PAR)
Fourth Official: Diego Ceballos (ARG)
Referee Observer: Carlos Coradina (ARG)

Gremio – Nacional
Referee: Óscar Maldonado (BOL)
Assistant Referee 1: Efrain Castro (BOL)
Assistant Referee 2: Wilson Arellano (BOL)
Fourth Official: Leandro Vuaden (BRA)
Referee Observer: Luis Martins (BRA)

UEFA Champions League – Quarter-finals (Second Leg)

8 April 2014
Chelsea FC – Paris SG
Referee: Pedro Proença (POR, photo)
Assistant Referee 1: Bertino Miranda (POR)
Assistant Referee 2: Tiago Trigo (POR)
Additional AR 1: João Capela (POR)
Additional AR 2: Duarte Gomes (POR)
Fourth Official: Paulo Santos (POR)
Referee Observer: Jozef Marko (SVK) 

Borussia Dortmund – Real Madrid
Referee: Damir Skomina (SVN)
Assistant Referee 1: Bojan Ul (SVN)
Assistant Referee 2: Gianluca Cariolato (ITA)
Additional AR 1: Slavko Vinčić (SVN)
Additional AR 2: Roberto Ponis (SVN)
Fourth Official: Jure Praprotnik (SVN)
Referee Observer: Alan Snoddy (NIR) 

9 April 2014
Bayern München – Manchester United
Referee: Jonas Eriksson (SWE)
Assistant Referee 1: Mathias Klasenius (SWE)
Assistant Referee 2: Daniel Wärnmark (SWE)
Additional AR 1: Stefan Johannesson (SWE)
Additional AR 2: Markus Strömbergsson (SWE)
Fourth Official: Daniel Gustavsson (SWE)
Referee Observer: Juan Fernández Marín (ESP)

Atlético Madrid – FC Barcelona
Referee: Howard Webb (ENG)
Assistant Referee 1: Michael Mullarkey (ENG)
Assistant Referee 2: Darren Cann (ENG)
Additional AR 1: Michael Oliver (ENG)
Additional AR 2: Anthony Taylor (ENG)
Fourth Official: Jake Collin (ENG)
Referee Observer: Wilfried Heitmann (GER)

Collina reveals the key to successful refereeing

Close to 200 people got an insight on how retired referee Pierluigi Collina became football’s most famous and successful official. Speaking at the talk entitled “The Art of Decision Making: Transform and Stay on Top of Your Game” conducted by the Singapore Institute of Management, the Italian, who is now head of referees at European football’s governing body UEFA, said a key to being successful is adaptability. “There is always something to be learnt, and it is important to keep learning,” he said at the SingTel Comcentre theatrette today. “The one who survives is not the strongest, but the one who reacts fastest and the best to change, and looking at change as an opportunity and not something to be afraid of.”
Collina, who retired in 2005, is a six-time FIFA Referee of the Year. He is perhaps best known for officiating the 1999 Champions League final where Manchester United beat Bayern Munich 2-1 in dramatic fashion at the Camp Nou, and the 2002 World Cup final in Yokohama where Brazil beat Germany 2-0.
Lasting over an hour, the talk, which is part of SIM’s 50th anniversary learning series, also saw the 54-year-old discuss areas like decision making, his own career and the challenges faced by referees and their assistants. “The referee has less than a second to decide, and everybody knows that a referee’s job is very difficult,” he said. “But everybody also forgets that and starts complaining about the referee’s decision.” If there is one thing that gets under the skin of Pierluigi Collina, it is a lack of understanding and patience towards referees. Collina admitted to being frustrated at the amount of flak that referees get. “This is a pity, because a referee takes 100 decisions in a match and nobody cares about the 99 he takes correctly, unfortunately. It is quite strange,” said the 54-year-old with a shrug of the shoulders on his 1.88m-tall frame. “But it motivates me to always be better. This is what I’ve to do. I cannot fight against people looking for mistakes. The only way to fight is to be better, to try and avoid these mistakes.” Recent controversial incidents included the retirement of former Swedish referee Anders Frisk after being subjected to death threats for sending off former Chelsea forward Didier Drogba in a Champions League game in 2005. Last month, Englishman Andre Marriner was sharply criticised for wrongfully dismissing Arsenal defender Kieran Gibbs in a case of mistaken identity during a Premiership match against Chelsea.
Although football is now a results-driven, multi-billion-dollar business — for last season’s Champions League, UEFA distributed €910 million (S$1.58 billion) across 32 participating clubs — Collina, who retired as a referee in 2005, said people know but often forget the difficulties referees face in having to make split-second decisions under intense pressure. “What can I do? The only thing I can do, as chief refereeing officer with UEFA, is to try to better prepare the referees to improve their quality,” he said. “This is the only thing I can do. I cannot tell anyone to stop talking.” Using the analogy of Spanish bullfighting, he added: “It’s completely different being in front of a bull inside the ring and being seated (as a spectator) and commenting about the matador.” But Collina, who counts former Manchester United captain Roy Keane as one of the toughest characters he has dealt with, remains one of the few referees still widely respected by many of football’s leading figures. Dressed in a white shirt, dark blazer, blue jeans and leather shoes, the Bologna-born, basketball-loving, economics-trained former financial adviser cut an imposing figure as he shared his experiences with close to 200 people at yesterday’s talk, highlighting the importance of being prepared, always predicting what may happen and staying adaptable to change as formulas for success. Now a revered figure and celebrity — he has appeared in commercials for brands such as Adidas — Collina spent about 20 minutes posing for photos and signing autographs. “Of course, there are moments you want your privacy, but you can never say no to someone who asks for a picture or autograph,” he said. “But I’m thankful for being able to do what I love and given important assignments like the World Cup final. I would have paid to be the World Cup final referee, every referee would!”

Collina Fact File
Honours (selected): Six FIFA Referee of the Year titles (1998 to 2003), Italian Football Hall of Fame (2011).
Major assignments: 1996 Olympic final, 1999 Champions League final, 2002 World Cup final, 2004 UEFA Cup final. 

Source: TodayOnline

FIFA U-17 Women's World Cup Final 2014: Venegas (MEX)

5 April 2014 

Japan – Spain
Referee: Lucila Venegas (MEX, photo)
Assistant Referee 1: Enedina Caudillo (MEX)
Assistant Referee 2: Lixy Enriquez (MEX)
Fourth Official: Marianela Araya (CRC)
Reserve AR: Kimberly Moreira (CRC)

FIFA Women’s World Cup 2015 Qualifiers

4-5 April 2014

Ireland – Germany
Referee: Carina Vitulano (ITA, photo)

Turkey – Wales
Referee: Aneliya Sinabova (BUL)

England – Montenegro
Referee: Elia Martinez (ESP)

Ukraine – Belarus
Referee: Sharon Sluyts (BEL)

Russia – Slovenia
Referee: Olga Zadinová (CZE)

Bulgaria – Austria
Referee: Knarik Grigoryan (ARM)

Hungary – Finland
Referee: Riem Hussein (GER)

Italy – Spain
Referee: Esther Staubli (SUI)

Switzerland – Malta
Referee: Vesna Budimir (CRO)

Albania – Belgium
Referee: Lilach Asulin (ISR)

Greece – Netherlands
Referee: Petra Chudá (SVK)  

Scotland – Poland
Referee: Zuzana Kováčová (SVK) 

Israel – Iceland
Referee: Monika Mularczyk (POL)

Faroe Islands – Bosnia
Referee: Simona Ghisletta (SUI)

N. Ireland – Sweden
Referee: Gyöngyi Gaál (HUN)

France – Kazakhstan
Referee: Hilal Tuba (TUR)

Webb: “The 2010 World Cup Final changed my life”

Upon meeting Howard Webb, it is hard to believe that the down-to-earth Englishman, smiling and openly answering questions, is the same man who officiated the 2010 FIFA World Cup Final between Spain and the Netherlands. The 44-year-old, a father of three teenagers - “I think are proud of what I do, even if they don’t show it much” - was in Zurich to take part in a seminar in the build-up to Brazil 2014, where he and his assistants will once again be present. FIFA.com chatted to Webb on a wide range of topics, including how he started out as a referee, his memories of that tempestuous Final in Johannesburg and the dilemma that he and his colleagues will face in June: being torn between who he wants to go further at the tournament, his refereeing team or the national side.
- FIFA.com: How did your passion for refereeing start? After all, most children dream of becoming footballers, rather than match officials.
- Howard Webb: I dreamed of becoming a footballer too. If you speak to any of the referees here, they’ll all tell you that football is their passion. That’s why we do this job. It’s true that children dream of being footballers and we’re no different to them. I worked hard to try and make it but I simply didn’t have the necessary talent.
- What position did you play in?
- I was a big centre-back. I could read the game well but I was never very good in the air, I suppose I just wasn’t good enough. I used to believe that referees were bald old men, which is why I didn’t really consider it as an option when my father [a semi-professional referee] suggested it to me. I thought, ‘No, that’s not for me’. Now that I think about it, maybe that’s what children nowadays think about me too! (Laughs) But my dad encouraged me and when I was 17 I decided to try it, along with a friend from school. That decision ended up taking me to the Final of the 2010 World Cup. Maybe I was there in a different capacity to what I had dreamt of, but I was there. I’ve travelled to 44 countries in five different continents. It’s incredible and has definitely been worth it. 
- So you would recommend it as a career path? 
- Of course. Anyone who’s passionate about the game should consider it as an opportunity. Not everyone has enough natural talent to reach the top but if they have the right attitude, are willing to work hard and love the game, they can find a way to make it. It’s hugely satisfying to leave the stadium knowing there were no difficulties. You go home feeling on top of the world. 
- As a player, how did you use to treat referees? 
- I used to just concentrate on my own game. Sometimes I ask myself how some footballers can comment on my performance when they should be focusing on playing. I was always very respectful towards referees. But do you know what? The current relationship between players and officials is very good. They trust the more experienced referees because they know them, have had matches with them several times and they understand that sometimes we do make mistakes. That’s part and parcel of the game as well. 
- If you had to pick the best and worst thing about being a referee, what would it be? 
- The best thing is being in the perfect position to enjoy the game we love. We don’t say this very often but it’s true: people pay for a ticket to go to a match, but I don’t. I just go. Of course I work hard when I’m there but I’ve got the best seat in the house. The worst part is living with the inevitable mistakes you make. It’s difficult. The last thing I want people to think is that we referee a match, head home and think ‘right, that’s done and dusted now’. It hurts every time we make mistakes, and it can have an impact on the fate of a team, a player, a coach or even our own reputation. 
- Match officials do not have fans cheering them on and only appear in the headlines if mistakes are made. Does it require a special kind of character to become a referee? 
- Yes. The other day I read a report about a match I officiated and at the end they put my name and gave me a grade. There were only two words - “anonymously competent” - and I thought, ‘That’s perfect’. That’s what we want to be as referees: anonymously competent. Matches don’t always pan out in a way that means we can stay in the background, sometimes we have to raise our profile. But it’s hugely satisfying to leave the stadium knowing there were no difficulties. You go home feeling on top of the world. If nobody is talking about you, you know did a good job. 
- What do you remember most about the final in Johannesburg between Spain and the Netherlands? 
- Walking towards the pitch, picking up the golden Jabulani ball and going past the World Cup Trophy. I’d seen it many times before, both on television and in replicas, but there I was next to the real thing. It was the shiniest piece of metal I’ve ever seen in my life: a golden statue with a globe on top and a green base. It’s incredible. 
- Were you tempted to pick it up? 
- Yes! (Laughs) It had been a dream of mine. It was a great honour to be there. Even speaking about it now my hairs - not the ones on my head as I don’t have any - but the ones on the back of my neck stand up on end! It was fantastic. That Final completely changed my life. 
- How many times have you watched the game since then? 
- Just once. And I waited four weeks to do so. I sat down and watched the whole match with a friend. I wanted to keep the memory of what I had experienced alive which is why I haven’t seen it again. It was a difficult game and I think it turned out better than I thought it had at the time. I was extremely focused on my job that night. Now it lives on in my mind and in my heart. 
- You must have a lot of stories from that match. Are there any you would like to share? 
- There are several, yes… [pauses to think]. I remember leaving the pitch and going to look for my father, who was in the stands. He got me started as a referee and he had an English flag with the words ‘Can’t play but can ref’ on it. It was great. (Laughs) 
- After you watched the replay of the Final, were there any decisions you would have liked to change? 
- Maybe one or two but at the time you have to make decisions according to the information you have and the position you’re in. It was a very tough game and you learn from experiences like that. I would have preferred for us not to be so involved in the match. We always want people to talk about how great the game was and the goals that were scored, but that was a very tight, intense game. You have to deal with what’s in front of you and do what you think is best with the right intentions. That’s what we did. 
- If England do well in Brazil, your chances of officiating in the latter stages of the competition would decrease. How do you deal with those sorts of conflicting feelings during a tournament? 
- We’re passionate about football and it’s only logical that we want our national team to go far. We know that if that happens, if England win the World Cup, the positive impact on our game would be huge. The best way of coping with it is to put it to the back of your mind because it’s not something we can control. It’s a win-win situation though. If England have a good tournament I’ll be happy, but if not then it’ll be a good opportunity for us. We’re going to Brazil hoping England go as far as possible, we really are. If they do and we have to go home, as long as we’ve done a good job we’ll be satisfied. 

Source: FIFA

UEFA Europa League – Quarter-finals (First Leg)

3 April 2014

FC Porto – Sevilla CF
Referee: Wolfgang Stark (GER, photo)
Assistant Referee 1: Jan-Hendrik Salver (GER)
Assistant Referee 2: Mike Pickel (GER)
Additional AR 1: Marco Fritz (GER)
Additional AR 2: Robert Hartmann (GER)
Fourth Official: Christoph Bornhorst (GER)
Referee Observer: Michel Vautrot (FRA)

FC Basel – Valencia CF
Referee: Martin Atkinson (ENG)
Assistant Referee 1: Stephen Child (ENG)
Assistant Referee 2: Darren England (ENG)
Additional AR 1: Anthony Taylor (ENG)
Additional AR 2: Craig Pawson (ENG)
Fourth Official: Jake Collin (ENG)
Referee Observer: Stefan Ormandjiev (BUL)

AZ Alkmaar – Benfica SL
Referee: Svein Oddvar Moen (NOR)
Assistant Referee 1: Kim Haglund (NOR)
Assistant Referee 2: Frank Andas (NOR)
Additional AR 1: Ken Henry Johnsen (NOR)
Additional AR 2: Svein-Erik Edvartsen (NOR)
Fourth Official: Sven Erik Midthjell (NOR)
Referee Observer: Nikolai Levnikov (RUS)

Olympique Lyon – Juventus Turin
Referee: William Collum (SCO)
Assistant Referee 1: Martin Cryans (SCO)
Assistant Referee 2: William Conquer (SCO)
Additional AR 1: Robert Madden (SCO)
Additional AR 2: John Beaton (SCO)
Fourth Official: Gavin Harris (SCO)
Referee Observer: Zdravko Jokić (SRB)