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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.


A nice man

historic matches

Twq totally opposite halves characterized this game. By the 16th minute Israel already led by two goals to nill, and seemed to be sailing for an easy victory as Liectenstein looked nervous and forlorn. But things changed completely at the start of the second half. Liechtenstein came on fighting, scored early (49') and then kept attacking a fading Israeli team, though unable to net the ball for a second time.

REf and ars

Mr. Pisani was very affable, kept smiling, and had a soothing effect on the players. However he was sometimes harsh upon the visiting team - most obviously in two cases: 36' - robbing Burgmeier of a goal-scoring opportunity by awarding a dubious free-kick against him; 61' - penalising Hasler with a free-kick and a yellow card as actually he had been fouled first before the committing foul he was punished for (and I think it happened as he was already losing balance as he had been impeded). Between the two ars, Camilleri had a better evening than Spitery.


It was all over after 11minutes

historic matches

When the official clocked ticked 11 (minutes) the score-board indicated Romania leading by three goals to zero.

Ref and ars

Bezborodov was the Russian leading referee at the beginning of the decade. During two seasons (2010-2012) he was in involved in Champions League matches. Then he was demoted to the Europa League never being given another chance at the CL. I didn't see him that much to judge the UEFA Referees' Committee decisions regarding him. However' on the evening, Bezborodov started very convincingly, awarding Romania a penalty-kick less than three minutes into the game (a correct decision for hand-ball, which included a personal dimension - sending Malakyan off the field for preventing a goal-scoring opportunity). Romania converted the penalty-kick and added two goals by the 11th minute. The referee and his ars (Gavrilin and Danchenko) made some mistakes here and there - none too crucial. Strangely, their worst period was between the 69th minute and the final whistle (when the scoreline was already 5-0). The arguably incorrect decisions: minutes 69', 82' 88' 90+1.


On a high

historic matches

Macedonia were the better team, but Israel, through two counter-attacks in the first half, took a convincing lead. The home-side couldn't close the gap by the end, though being awarded a penalty-kick in stoppage time, which they didn't convert (Jahovic) and ended trailing by one goal to two.

The last hurrah

As I mentioned not a long time ago (August 2016), Marriner hasn't been rated highly either by UEFA or by POGMOL. But in the few months since the current season has started, we are witness to a kind of rehabilitation or corrigendum. He got a nomination for a crucial final match of the preliminary rounds preceding the group stage of the Champions League and in the EPL handled the "big one" between Tottenham Hotspur and Manchester City, and his next appointment is to officiate the Chelsea vs. Leicester City encounter. As for the Macedonia-Israel game, it most probably was his last official Inter-States match, as he is 45 years old. And he managed to provide an impeccable performance, its pinnacle being deep in stoppage time, when he awarded a penalty-kick to Macedonia at 1-2, compounding it with sending the culprit, Tibi, off the field for a second bookable offence (both decisions perfectly correct). Except for not using the advantage rule when Bitton (Israel) committed a foul in the middle of the field, while Macedonia kept possession of the ball (Marriner did it in order to book the Israeli player - he probably wasn't sure then if Bitton had already received a yellow card before or not). The ars also had a very good evening concerning the detection of offside/onside situations. One can blame them just for trifles, which Collin should burden more than Beswick.


Representing Russia

historic matches

Since the dissolution of the Soviet Union' Russia hasn't produced great referees. On the big world stage, it was represented by the weak Levnikov and by Ivanov who crumbled in WC 2006. Since then - deep void. Now, Eufa tries hard to prepare someone for WC 2018, which will take place in Russia. They threw a relatively novice, Sergei Karasev, into the mix of Euro 2016 referees, and the outcome was unsatisfactory. In Haifa, Israel they started testing him for the bigger occasion in 2018. And he was found wanting.

Kasarev and his assis

There are crucial mistakes and there are insignificant or minor ones. Unfortunately Kasarev made two crucial one, and both should be attributed to bad luck more than to bad understanding or refereeing. First, there was a penalty-kick awarded to Italy (30'). On first sight wherefrom the ref saw the incident (about 7-8 metres behind the two players), it looked like Ben Bitton's foot clipped the one of Bonaventura's heels. The referee immediately pointed towards the penalty-sport. Replays suggested nothing of the kind (very unfortunate, as Kasarev was very close to the action and in a perfect position). Then came the marchin' orders to Chiellini for a second bookable offense (after 54 minutes). The incident happened off the ball, and the decision was kind of guesswork (which happens in many cases). The ref saw Hemed bundled to the ground, and was sure (and correctly so) that it had to do with Chiellini who was behind him. He made his mind very quickly, and the Italian went off the pitch. Replays showed that as Hemed and Chiellini crossed each other's path, it was obvious the one who came from behind the other had to push slightly in order to prevent an "accident" (however, the first yellow was 'well deserved' - an 'orange foul', kicking deliberately an opponent's shin [27']). Nobody else was either booked or sent off, though Veratti's behavior was really irritating - nasty fouls, arguing and quarreling with opponents, and whining and complaining to the ref. Kayal was second to none but Veratti in these kinds of shenanigans. The minor ones: Kayal's shirt was torn by an opponent, in front of both the ref and ar Averianov, who didn't react (8'), Antonelli lifted one leg twice, when taking a throw-in (38', 45') on Averianov's touch-line without being penalized, Kalugin raising his flag very late indicating an Italian offside which never was (27'), and the referee reacting very late to a correct offside flag against Israel (Averianov, 43'). In the second half, after Chiellini had been sent-off, there were some five minutes where the referee penalized Israeli players for trifles. But to sum it up fairly: bad luck, more than anything else, hampered the referee's performance.


The underrated Englishman

historic matches

Gladbach had a fabulous evening, Raffael and Hazard above all - each of them scoring a hat-trick.

The ref

The last round of the CL preliminaries is generally reserved to Elite Referees or to young and upcoming tested before the "Gates of Cl" are opened to them. Andre Marriner is neither-nor. At 45 years of age he already sees the finishing line of his international career. They never provided him with too many chances to shine on the world's stage (as a matter of fact, he isn't regarded too highly in the EPL either). But surprise, surprise, he got a gem of a game to demonstrate his abilities. Alas. Gladbach obliterated Young Boys very early in the game (3-0 at half-time), leaving Marriner with an easy task instead of a challenging one. And he provided us with a solid performance.


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