Referees Top 10 - 2009
Number 1: Sergio Pezzotta
Born in Rosario, Santa Fe, Sergio Fabián Pezzotta is an international top referee and one of the most severe referees in the AFA League. He tends to show red cards whenever the rules allow him to. He started refereeing in Argentina´s 1st division in 1999.
He used to be a CONMEBOL Elite Category referee until he retired in 2012 because of his age.
Number 2: Massimo Busacca
Born in the town of Belinzona in 1969 Massimo Busacca, who used to play football in a lower division in Ticino, started his career as a referee in 1990 and made it to the first division in 1996 . He got his FIFA badge in 1999 and was an Elite Category referee until June 2011 when he decided to retire after having seen it all and having been offered a good job.
Number 3: Claus Bo Larsen
It came as a bit of a shock for everybody in Denmark (and himself), when it turned out Claus Bo Larsen, who did pass the fitness test and was on the long list of 44, was not selected to officiate at the 2006 World Cup finals in Germany. The same happened for Euro 2008, and again for WC 2010. The Danes must be very bad lobbyists. Larsen was a UEFA Elite Category referee until he retired at the end of 2010.
Number 4: Carlos Chandía
Chilean referee Carlos Chandía started playing football at the age of 5 and almost made it as a professional playing 5 years for a team called Nublense. He quit mainly for economical reasons and started a career in refereeing and a family. The number one referee in Chile made it to the 2006 World Cup finals albeit as a substitute and didn't get to officiate a match. He retired in at the end of 2009, the year he turned 45.
Number 5: Olegario Benquerenca
Whatever you say about Olegario Benquerenca, you can't say he is boring. The Portuguese 2010 World Cup quarter-final referee who often ends up on both our best and worst referees list, has a style of his own. Whether it's on TV or on the field, Olegario is always a little campy.
Number 6: 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 7: Carlos Torres Núñez
Torres started refereeing for Paraguay's top federation APF in 1990 and received his FIFA badge in 1998. His father Juan and his brother Luis were also referees. He officiated matches in all South-American cups and in the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens. His heroes are Horacio Elizondo ('the only one in history to officiate both the opening match and the final in a World Cup'), Juan Francisco Escobar ('A big personality on the field') and of course his father, Juan Anselmo Torres, a man he's always tried to emulate. He lives with his parents in the Sajonia area of Asuncion.
Number 8: Frank de Bleeckere
A third generation referee, Belgian Frank de Bleeckere started as a football player, but too often injured he decided to change his career. Belgian's World Cup record holder with 7 matches had to retire at the end of 2011 because of the age limit.
Number 9: Bjorn Kuipers
As a son of a referee Bjorn Kuipers decided early in his life to become a referee as well.
Number 10: Howard Webb
The career of UEFA Elite Category referee Howard Webb hasn't gone that smoothly, still it didn't take him long to reach the top. And the top was in 2010 with not only the CL final but also the final of the World Cup.
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Bummer! Just outside our top 10: Wolfgang Stark
Bank employee Wolgang Stark from Bavaria already knew he wanted to become a referee when he was 14. In 1994 he reached the highest level in Germany, and in 1999 he got his FIFA license, at almost 30.
He is a UEFA Elite Category referee.