Referees Top 10 - 2005
Number 1: Jorge Larrionda
This referee, full name Jorge Luis Larrionda Pietrafiesa, was born 9 March 1968. Jorge was a football player himself, as striker he made it into the sixth division. As referee he made his debut in the first division in 1993 and was an international referee since 1998. He was seen by many as the very best referee in South America.
Larrionda retired at the end of 2011.
Number 2: Roberto Rosetti
Roberto Rosetti was widely believed to be one of the world's best referees of his time. He was known as a strict man - the regulations were his bible - but also as a good communicator. He talked a lot to the players and had no problem getting his points across.
Number 3: Alain Sars
Alain Sars was one of the most experienced European referees. His international debut was in 1993 at the early age of 32.
He officiated his first match when he was only 14 years old. Sars claims a good referee should be courageous, fair and impartial. Furthermore a referee should be a good psychologist, should not be impressed by his surroundings and act in the spirit of the regulations instead of merely working by the book.
Number 4: Konrad Plautz
Retired UEFA Elite Category referee Konrad Plautz passed his referee's exam in 1984. He was an assistant referee in the Austrian Bundesliga from August 1989 till July 1991. Since August 1991 he is one of the regular officials in Austria's top league, the Bundesliga.
He received his FIFA badge in 1996, and from the year 2000 he was listed as one of the 30 'UEFA Top Class Referees'. He retired (nationally and internationally) at the end of 2009.
Number 5: Valentin Ivanov
Already 36 when he started his career as a referee, teacher Valentin Ivanov officiated his first international match two years later. But he was internationally active much earlier than that: having been to the 1994 World Cup as a linesman.
Number 6: Eric Poulat
The French Referee of the year 2004 Eric Poulat was born in in 1963 in the town of Chaponost. He is active in the French competition since 1991 and internationally since 1999.
Number 7: Graham Poll
From 1996 until 2007 Graham Poll was active at a number of international tournaments. Euro 2000, World Cup 2004 and World Cup 2006, the 2000 FA Cup final and in 2005 the UEFA Cup final. An enormous list of important matches, but he will be remembered, tragically, for one match only and what happened there in extra time.
Number 8: Iouri Baskakov
Baskakov is referee from 1986. From 1996 he is active in the Russian First Division and he was a FIFA ref from 1998 until the end of 2009. He was an Elite Category referee.
Number 9: Markus Merk
Markus Merk, born March 15, 1962 in Kaiserslautern, Germany, has been a referee for over 21 years. He was born very near the stadium at Kaiserslauern, the Fritz-Walter Stadium, which he still describes as 'a very emotional place'. He was 12 when he first started going to games and was immediately 'impressed by the way the referees and their assistants worked'.
Number 10: Luis Medina Cantalejo
Refereeing runs in the family of Medina Cantalejo, Luis' father and grandfather were also referees. When young Luis Medina Cantalejo was a football player in the Spanish third division, and when playing took too much of the time he needed to study, he decided to change to refereeing as well.
His first Primera Division match was in 1998.
He was an Elite Category referee and retired internationally in 2009.
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Bummer! Just outside our top 10: Vladimir Hrinak
Hrinak started refereeing in 1982 and became an international in 1993.
He refereed a great number of UEFA Cup matches, a few Champions League matches and qualifiers for big tournaments. He retired at 45 at the end of 2009. He died suddenly in 25. July 2012.