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Where does refereeing at FIFA tournaments go?

historic matches

Refereeing a game is a virtue in itself and officials should do so impartially without external influence. Although this has always somewhat been a myth, since FIFA WC 2014 political correctness seems to be more the measurement of referee performances than the laws of the game. Milorad Mazic dismissed a portugese player in the first match against Germany and was widely criticized for it. This time, he punished an ellbow to the head of an opponent by a mere yellow.

The ref is not the man he used to be...

... as there was a shadow hanging over him. This shadow of the missed red card was heavily haunting him afterwards as his control of the game slipped and his authority severely suffered. Obviously, FIFA does not like refs to dismiss players unless it is absolutely necessary and to book only if the game gets completely out of hand. Jara ellbowed Werner on the outside line with a swing of an ellbow which even in Rugby terms would have been a swinging arm to the head resulting in a sending off. He looked on the screen and after long three minutes produced a caution.


Refs and great matches

historic matches

It's so easy for an experienced ref to drown in such a match: Be too strict, you kill the game, be too tame players do as they please. So it was interesting to see how Felix Brych would rise to the occasion. In summary: He didn't. So his performance was a mixed message: Not great, but not a complete disaster in my opinion.

The first 30 minutes

Brych started really well with a clear line and he showed no fear towards issueing warnings and cards. He diffused tensions between some of the hot pundits on the field in a very effective manner. Germans refs are usually disliked because they have a rather authoritative approach and don't like to discuss with half a dozen players around them. Brych is not as stern as Wolfgang Stark who retired this summer, but he's from the Bavarian school of rather direct and harsh communication. I personally believe, in a match with an Italian and a Spanish team who like to complain about almost everything this is per se not a bad thing. He took no "nonsense" and made it clear who made the decisions. So in this field, full marks from me.



historic matches

Oliver is certainly best of the English pack. As for the teams, had it stayed at just 3-1, it would have had flattered the Israeli squad as they were in shambles through the entire encounter.

Ref and ars

Not much to criticize when you a ree. "feeling" the game and its spirit. That said, I wonder how Ben Chaim (12, Israel) got away without being booked, although he personally committed most Israeli fouls in the first half (a very nasty one in the 43rd minute). The second caveat is about Oliver getting it wrong in the 75th minute: Refaelov grabbed Pique's arm from behind, but the ref. awarded the free-kick to Israel, which resulted seconds later in the consolation goal. As with Oliver, for me Beswick is the best English ar since Sharp's retirement. Both are almost in the same stature, and Beswick is as alert and as committed as Sharp (e.g. 52'). Ar Collin was also vey good.


Pavel Orel

referee/ bio

Pavel Orel started refereeing in the year 2002 and refereed his first league match on 9.5.2012 at the age of 23. He is a FIFA International since 2016.


Some question marks

historic matches

It was Mak's game. The Slovak midfielder scored twice and and then delivered a corner-kick which Nemec headed in for a third goal.

The Swedes

Mr. Strombergsson is rated second to mr. Eriksson (whom I don't rate highly) among the Swedish referees, and has just been promoted to officiate at CL. However his performance in Trnava raises some question marks. It was a typical Scandinavian too lenient attitude. There was just one yellow card (Sabo, 15') in an encounter which was hard fought, and not always in fair sportsman-like methods. The Slovaks were the more aggressive side, sometimes on the verge of violence, and there were occasions the Scots repeated in kind. Calm was restored in the last 25 minutes when the game had already been wrapped up. The most obvious and crucial mistake was made in the 17th minute - Durica (it's inconceivable how he managed to get to the end without at least being shown the yellow card) barged into Fletcher outside the home-team's penalty-area, letting another Slovak to take possession of the ball. The foul was blatant, the ref must have seen it, but turned a blind eye or, more strangely, didn't assess it as a foul (in defence of such a policy, which can only being interpreted as a total misunderstanding of players' intentions - a few minutes before, a Scottish player body-checked an opponent, thus letting his team-mate get possession withot penalising Scotland). Then Slovakia built an attack which ended in Mak scoring theur opening goal (18'). It didn't lift the Swedish team's performance which left me to aspire for a better one in the CL matches they are going to officiate.


About WorldReferee, Sepp Blatter and his sponsors


Four years ago Sepp Blatter started his fourth term as president promising to reform FIFA, promising to fight corruption and promising not to seek a fifth term. During FIFA's congress last week it's become clear reform has not taken place, corruption inside FIFA is worse than ever and 79-year old Blatter won a fifth term.
There is no expectation left that in the next four years FIFA will change it's course. FIFA is Blatter and Blatter is FIFA and as long as they are glued together nothing will change.
The current situation is very sad, chances of national federations leaving FIFA are growing and a split up of worldwide football community seems likely.

WorldReferee has it's origins in sportsmanship. Sportsmanship should be the basis of every sport. Sport should unite, should create enjoyment and bring the better things of people into their communities.
FIFA now is only united by money. Grey old men, most of them even unable to shoot a ball, are craving for money in backroom chambers. Most money is supplied by FIFA's sponsors. Therefore WorldReferee has called on the eight main sponsors of FIFA to withdraw their support for Blatter. We call on every supporter of football to do the same. Press the money providers that are facilitating the shameful business that is conducted in the name of sport. If nothing changes WorldReferee will support a new organization that provides a real basis for the love of football.
The top FIFA sponsers you'll find here.

Consequently we had contact with Visa Inc. We have not heard anything from the others, but we keep on following them closely. We like to share Visa Inc's response here:
"From the Office of the CEO, Visa Inc.

Thank you for reaching out to me regarding Visa’s sponsorship of the Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA). As stewards of the Visa brand, my management team and I take seriously our responsibility to reinforce with Visa’s sponsorship partners the need to operate in a transparent and ethical manner. You will see that reflected in our public statement, which we issued earlier this week. Please know that we greatly appreciate hearing your voice and perspective on this important issue, and will work hard to ensure that the Visa brand continues to reflect the core values that have fueled its industry leadership for nearly 60 years.

Charles W. Scharf
Chief Executive Officer, Visa Inc"

Dutch referee Gözübüyük named in matchfixing case


Gözübüyük is named inside a justice case in Bochum, Germany, by a man called 'Rooie Paul' (Red Paul).

According to the German justice department Red Paul is a key player in a big match fixing case. In the hope of reduced sentences Red Paul started talking to the justice deparment. During his interrogatation Red Paul seems to have admitted that he and Gözübüyük did meet each other in the canteen of Haarlem football club Young Boys. This canteen was closed in 2011 when it came into the open that it was used for illegal poker tournaments by criminals. Two matches are suspected: Jupiler League-games Veendam-Helmond Sport (0-0) en Fortuna Sittard-SC Cambuur (1-2), both played in september 2009. Both games attracted huge amounts of gamble money.

Earlier in 2011 anonymous sources named Gözübüyük taking part in nightly poker sessions with soccer players. The case never came alive because all involved denied.

Gözübüyük denies all charges about match fixing. The Dutch football association KNVB is convinced of the integrity of the Gözübüyük. KNVB calls Red Paul an unreliable source and is not happy with all this publicity damaging Gözübüyüks career. This weekend Gözübüyük is taking charge of the championship game between PSV and Heerenveen.
sources: De Volkskrant,,

Howard Webb retires


Today the Premier League announced that Howard Webb has retired as a active match referee.

Howard becomes technical director of PGMOL (England referee commission)

the WorldReferee team