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Sándor Puhl, Keith Hackett, John Paul Motta

historic matches

The game of Quarterfinals WC 2018, a CONMEBOL - UEFA clash involving Brazil and Belgium, has been always under the full control of Milorad Mazic. We have appreciated for sure the experience of the Serbian, who has also managed with charisma very 'difficult' players from both teams, by never losing control, and being always respected in his choice. He correctly rejected some penalty appeals by Brazilian side. Milovan Ristic and Dalibor Djurdjevic: 'Hawk-Eye's'! VAR- support and respect for Daniele Orsato. Well done!


About penalty incident on Jesus. When first contact is made, ball is still in play, but that is not enough for penalty-kick. Foul is made when Kompany raises his foot but at that point ball has already crossed goal line (Law 9 and 12 LotG)!


A double premiere

historic matches

Andres Cunha used VAR technology twice in the first match to make the right decisions. He gave France a correct penalty kick after VAR intervention and used goalline technology to award the second French goal. The pace of the game was not great: France looked sluggish and Australia too harmless to put pressure towards the Goal of Hugo Lloris for most of the time.

The three big decisions and goals

58'' foul on Griezman inside the box (VAR technology reveals the contact) 62'' Umtiti handles the ball above the head (correct penalty for Australia) 81'' Behich tries to clear and hits the crossbar into his own goal (goalline technology shows that the ball has clearly crossed the line)


Control through cards

historic matches

Janny Sikazwe showed no hesitation to book players early (Meunier 14'') and issued an astonishing eight cautions in an not so unfair match. The average number of yellow cards at this tournament was 3,4 after the group stage, so his approach seems a bit over the top. His body language fitted this slightly overmotivated line perfectly - fuzzy and a bit too theatrical for my liking.

Decision making

The foul detection was not at all bad and also the general decision making was in line with the general level at this tournament. In critical situations, the refs at this WC 2018 tolerate a lot of dissent and where I thought more cards at the right time would calm things down, FIFA seems to again have the position that booking for dissent is not desired. Sikazwe ignored these guidelines to a great extent and booked very easily which stood out even more compared to his colleagues. De Bruyne received an "orange" yellow for a kick near the stomach, but I would have ruled accidental contact myself and thought a red card too harsh.


Boss on the field

historic matches

Szymon Marciniak caught my attention first at Euro 2016 in France where his performance in the Iceland versus Austria game didn't impress me at all. In this game (Icelandic Huhhuhuhs again) though, he tried to impose himself with a strong performance but maybe caused controversies by actively overruling VAR help available in a critical situation of the game.

What did he do?

At a WC, it is virtually impossible to watch all the matches. The ones I did see (e.g. IRN versus MAR or FRA versus AUS) had a very slow pace, players entangled in physical duels in midfield and the referees had to stop play very often. A lot of pushing, talking and delaying happened and especially in the Friday game, it was very difficult for the ref to cope with that without looking overwhelmed. Szymon Marciniak had an interesting solution to this: He whistled not for every contact as refs usually do at this occasion, but picked out the big things. He was patient but firm - and surprisingly it worked. Even with Argentina.


Definitely different style than UEFA refs

historic matches

Worldcups are invaluable as they open up the view to a worldwide perspective - not only in footballing terms but also in refereeing. Alireza Faghani is not a new man in the center circle as the many reports on this site suggest, but for me it was a first. He has a completely different style than UEFA refs, but we'll come to that a little later.

More generous than at the last three World Cups

2006, 2010 and 2014 - many refs resorted to call every little contact to slow games down and to maintain control after FIFA told them than cards are only to be used in emergency. In this WC, we are back to a more generous approach which I like much better. Match flow seems to be more important than whistling absolutely everything. Faghani applied this rule in a frantic and chaotic beginning of the match where Germany was all over the place and Mexico pressed very hard pushing the limits quite far.


World Cup Referees Russia 2018


Today FIFA announced their referee selection for the WorldCup 2018 in Russia:

Mehdi Abid Charef
Joel Aguilar
Fahad Al Mirdasi
Julio Bascunan
Felix Brych
Enrique Caceres
Cüneyt Cakir
Matthew Conger
Andres Cunha
Malang Diedhiou
Alireza Faghani
Bakary Gassama
Mark Geiger
Ghead Grisha
Norbert Hauata
Ravshan Irmatov
Sergei Karasev
Björn Kuipers Szymon Marciniak
Jair Marrufo
Antonio Mateu Lahoz
Milorad Mazic
Mohammed Abdullah Mohamed
Ricardo Montero
Néstor Pitana
John Pitti
César Ramos
Sandro Ricci
Gianluca Rocchi
Wilmar Roldán
Ryuji Sato
Nawaf Shukrallah
Janny Sikazwe
Damir Skomina
Bamlak Tessema
Clément Turpin

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,,

the WorldReferee team