Referee Madden takes charge of Scottish Cup final in special circumstances

Football isn’t a matter of life and death. Scottish Cup Final referee Bobby Madden knows that better than anyone. Madden was diagnosed with thyroid cancer last April. By August, he was undergoing critical surgery.
For Madden, football paled into insignificance as he put his health and family first during a frightening ordeal. But as he prepares to take charge of his first Scottish Cup Final on Saturday, he admits the prospect of such days helped keep him going through a dark period. Madden said: “I was first told there was a problem in March 2016. I went to Monklands Hospital to have a lump on my neck checked and I thought I would only be there for ten minutes. It was the day of a game and I ended up there for four hours. The doctor told me he was 80 per cent sure I had thyroid cancer. It was a shock, and I didn’t tell my family for four weeks until it was confirmed because I didn’t want to alarm anybody. When I was driving up to the match that night, any time I got stopped in traffic I was looking for the signs of thyroid cancer. When I was signalling for a throw-in during the game, I was thinking, ‘Is that dry skin?’ The game that night didn’t go as well as I would have liked. I made an error. It just shows you. I thought, ‘I’ll deal with this’ but obviously it had an impact. When it was confirmed in April it was thyroid cancer the prognosis was quite positive. After the surgery to remove the thyroid I was to have radioactive iodine. So, there was no chemo or radiotherapy. It all went very well. I delayed it until after going up to the Euros. The biggest thing was getting back to a level of health to support the family and then hopefully back to refereeing. I was really focused to get back better than I was before. The doctor was unsure whether I would get back to refereeing, because I would need to take drugs to replace the thyroid. But it became clear that I would return. People are out longer with a calf strain. That is how I looked at it. I was just so focused on coming back. My first game back was Brechin v Livingston and then ten days later I was refereeing Portugal v Latvia in a World Cup qualifier. That was good, Ronaldo etc. It went well and then gradually I was put back in. I built my fitness up and everything else just fell in line.” Madden had only just given up his full-time job as a distribution manager for a publishing company a few months before he was hit with the diagnosis. That led to an initial worry, but the SFA were fully supportive of his desire to come back after his operation. He said: “John Fleming was one of the first to know, after my family. I wanted him to know what was going on. The SFA were very supportive, they told me to take as long as I needed before coming back. Pierluigi Collina sent me a very nice email, too, saying, ‘Don’t hurry back, UEFA will wait for you’. Hugh Dallas was phoning every week pretty much and that was great. It showed that people cared for me and wanted me to return. I still have one final full body scan to make sure all the cancer has been removed and hasn’t spread anywhere else. It was scheduled for the start of June but I go to the Under-21 finals in Poland for two weeks as a main referee and take a team of five Scottish referees there. I have delayed it until after that. I just need to come off the medication for a few weeks. I am very confident the news will be good but I don’t want any wee issues to distract me from that.”
Madden was fourth official for last year’s Scottish Cup Final and was hailed for his response during shameful post-match pitch battles. The whistler hopes for a quieter day this time and admits it’s the pinnacle, 14 years after he started as a ref. He said: “It’s a massive honour. When you start refereeing, you probably don’t think you will ever take charge of the Scottish Cup Final. But as you progress through your refereeing, even when you reach the Juniors, you start to wonder if one day you might get there. It’s probably only when you get to Category One that it becomes realistic, and then you need a lot of luck, some good performances along the way, too. Domestically, this is what you want to achieve. There are big games in our league, a lot of big games. But growing up, everyone has memories of the Cup Final, the last game of the season.” Madden had one Old Firm controversy involving Celtic this season when Leigh Griffiths was tackled by Clint Hill in the closing stages of the 1-1 March draw. But he stands by his decision not to award a spot-kick — and he denies asking the Hoops striker if he had been fouled. Madden said: “That’s incredible, you can see me on TV saying twice he played the ball. I was adamant he played the ball. Leigh maybe misquoted me! Yes, you can argue is the contact with the man first, but my thought process is that if you play the ball going in for a challenge then it’s okay. I saw the ball moved and I was comfortable with that”.

The Scottish Sun

FIFA U-20 World Cup – Group Stage (Matches 29-32)

27 May 2017

Uruguay – South Africa
Referee: Sergei Karasev (RUS, photo)
Assistant Referee 1: Anton Averianov (RUS)
Assistant Referee 2: Tikhon Kalugin (RUS)
Fourth Official: Szymon Marciniak (POL)
VAR 1: Svein Oddvar Moen (NOR)
VAR 2: William Collum (SCO)

Costa Rica – Zambia
Referee: Matthew Conger (NZL)
Assistant Referee 1: Simon Lount (NZL)
Assistant Referee 2: Tevita Makasini (TGA)
Fourth Official: Norbert Hauata (TAH)
VAR 1: Daniele Orsato (ITA)
VAR 2: Ryuji Sato (JPN)

Portugal – Iran
Referee: Roddy Zambrano (ECU)
Assistant Referee 1: Christian Lescano (ECU)
Assistant Referee 2: Byron Romero (ECU)
Fourth Official: Andres Cunha (URU)
VAR 1: Mauro Vigliano (ARG)
VAR 2: Gery Vargas (BOL)

Japan – Italy
Referee: Ghead Grisha (EGY)
Assistant Referee 1: Redouane Achik (MAR)
Assistant Referee 2: Waleed Ahmed (SDN)
Fourth Official: Bamlak Tessema (ETH)
VAR 1: Mehdi Abid Charef (ALG)
VAR 2: Malang Diedhiou (SEN)

FIFA U-20 World Cup – Group Stage (Matches 25-28)

26 May 2017

Guinea – Argentina
Referee: Viktor Kassai (HUN, photo)
Assistant Referee 1: Gyorgy Ring (HUN)
Assistant Referee 2: Vencel Toth (HUN)
Fourth Official: Ivan Kruzliak (SVK)
VAR 1: Felix Zwayer (GER)
VAR 2: Anastasios Sidiropoulos (GRE)

England – Korea
Referee: Cesar Ramos (MEX)
Assistant Referee 1: Marvin Torrentera (MEX)
Assistant Referee 2: Miguel Hernandez (MEX)
Fourth Official: Mario Diaz de Vivar (PAR)
VAR 1: Ricardo Montero (CRC)
VAR 2: John Pitti (PAN)

Mexico – Venezuela
Referee: Jonas Eriksson (SWE)
Assistant Referee 1: Mathias Klasenius (SWE)
Assistant Referee 2: Daniel Warnmark (SWE)
Fourth Official: Ahmed Al Kaf (OMA)
VAR 1: Danny Makkelie (NED)
VAR 2: William Collum (SCO)

Germany – Vanuatu
Referee: Walter Lopez (GUA)
Assistant Referee 1: Gerson Lopez (GUA)
Assistant Referee 2: Hermenerito Leal (GUA)
Fourth Official: Yadel Martinez (CUB)
VAR 1: Pavel Kralovec (CZE)
VAR 2: Nicholas Waldron (NZL)

Skomina honoured at final date

Damir Skomina is proud at being selected to take charge of the UEFA Europa League final, and the Slovenian referee says his team are determined to perform to the best of their ability. Skomina is treating his latest assignment – UEFA Europa League final between Ajax and Manchester United in Stockholm – with the focus that has taken him to the refereeing summits.
The 40-year-old father of two from Koper, on Slovenia's Adriatic coast, close to the borders with Italy and Croatia, described his appointment for the game as "a great honour". An international referee since 2003, Skomina will be joined at the Stockholm match by five compatriots – assistant referees Jure Praprotnik and Robert Vukan, additional assistant referees Matej Jug and Slavko Vinčić, and reserve assistant referee Tomaž Klančnik. Fourth official Gianluca Rocchi from Italy completes the refereeing team.
Skomina has been a regular in the UEFA Champions League and UEFA Europa League for several years, and is clearly used to big occasions. He took charge of the 2012 UEFA Super Cup match between Chelsea and Atlético Madrid, as well as the 2007 European Under-21 Championship final featuring the Netherlands and Serbia, and was fourth official at the 2013 UEFA Champions League final, which brought together German rivals Borussia Dortmund and Bayern München. In addition, he was in the refereeing team for UEFA Euro 2012 and UEFA Euro 2016. He began refereeing in 1992 at the age of 16. "I played football," he reflects, "but when I was 15, I was told by doctors to stop because they thought I had a health problem. But then, at the age of 21, they told me that they had made a mistake, and that I could play again if I wanted – but it was too late, I was already refereeing!"
The referee team will prepare for the UEFA Europa League final in the dressing-room with music playing in the background – "We have a choice of music that we like," Skomina says. Focus and motivation will be total as the kick-off approaches. "When I'm refereeing a match and I'm standing in the line [with the teams]," he adds, "I don't think of anything else – I'm focusing on the match to come." Part of a top referee's match preparation now involves studying team tactics and players' characteristics – an innovation that Skomina welcomes whole-heartedly. "If you prepare well like this," he stresses, "you give yourself a better chance of being successful." The referee team in Stockholm will also be very much aware that they will be helping to protect football's image on the field. "UEFA has had a strong slogan of Respect for some years now," Skomina explains, "and many young people watch the game. It is important to set an example to these young people." Skomina and his colleagues are determined to perform to the very best of their ability on Wednesday night. "We are a team along with the two teams playing," he emphasises. "We will be encouraging each other, and giving each other the feeling 'I'm there for you' – and we will be doing our very best to succeed as a team in this important match".


FIFA U-20 World Cup – Group Stage (Matches 21-24)

25 May 2017

France – Vietnam
Referee: Norbert Hauata (TAH, photo)
Assistant Referee 1: Philippe Revel (TAH)
Assistant Referee 2: Bertrand Brial (NCL)
Fourth Official: Ryuji Sato (JPN)
VAR 1: Daniele Orsato (ITA)
VAR 2: Malang Diedhiou (SEN)

New Zealand – Honduras
Referee: Diego Haro (PER)
Assistant Referee 1: Jonny Bossio (PER)
Assistant Referee 2: Raul Lopez (PER)
Fourth Official: Mario Diaz de Vivar (PAR)
VAR 1: Gery Vargas (PER)
VAR 2: Jose Argote (VEN)

Ecuador – Saudi Arabia
Referee: Alioum Alioum (CMR)
Assistant Referee 1: Evarist Menkouande (CMR)
Assistant Referee 1: Elvis Noupue (CMR)
Fourth Official: Bamlak Tessema (ETH)
VAR 1: Mehdi Abid Charef (ALG)
VAR 2: Eric Otogo-Castane (GAB)

Senegal – USA
Referee: Andres Cunha (URU)
Assistant Referee 1: Nicolas Taran (URU)
Assistant Referee 2: Mauricio Espinosa (URU)
Fourth Official: Roberto Garcia (MEX)
VAR 1: Mauro Vigliano (ARG)
VAR 2: Wilton Sampaio (BRA)

Italy mourns former referee Farina

Italy's former international referee Stefano Farina, who took charge of the 2006 UEFA Super Cup match, has passed away at the age of 54. He was ill for some time but his family wanted to protect his privacy. A distinguished career brought Farina assignments in major European competitions, including the UEFA Champions League, and he was appointed to take charge of the 2006 UEFA Super Cup match between FC Barcelona and Sevilla FC at the Stade Louis II in Monaco. Born in Ovada in 1962, Stefano Farina took up refereeing at the age of 16. He made his debut in Serie A in January 1995 and became an international referee in 2001.
The news was announced on the website of the Italian Association of Referees (AIA): "At the age of 54, the former international referee and current Head of CAN B, Stefano Farina, has left us. He made his debut in Serie A in January 1995, refereeing 236 Serie A and 117 Serie B matches. He has refereed two Italian Supercoppa finals”. In a 27-year career, he has refereed several high-profile matches in Serie A and the UEFA Champions League, including the 2006 UEFA Super Cup in Monaco. During this time, he also had an appearance in the movie Goal 2 as the referee of the fictional Champions League final between Real Madrid and Arsenal. Farina officiated in qualifiers for the 2004 and 2008 European Championships, as well as preliminary matches for the 2002 and 2006 World Cups. He is known to have served as a FIFA referee during the period from 2001 to 2007. He retired internationally in 2007 after reaching the mandatory retirement age of 45 and became UEFA referee observer.

The AIA President, Marcello Nicchi, posted an open letter on their website:

Dear Stefano,
Your game, the most important one, ended in an unexpected way, prematurely, without giving you the opportunity to recover. It is very hard, in these moments, to write or say something... even more so for those who, like me, have had the opportunity to share a life long experience with you. We will remember you as we have known you: a meticulous professional, a very good referee and a great manager, a master of training. An exemplar father, husband and friend. Your family and the refereeing family lose a point of reference. The world of football loses a great sports man.
Ciao "Principe"!

The Italian Football Federation (FIGC) has asked for a minute of silence to be observed in memory of Farina at all matches in Italy over the coming days. Referees will also wear black armbands, along with Italy’s national teams. Italy play San Marino in a senior friendly in Empoli next Wednesday.

Source: AIA

Copa Libertadores – Group Stage (Matchday 8)

23 May 2017
Santa Fe – The Strongest
Referee: Enrique Caceres (PAR, photo)
Assistant Referee 1: Eduardo Cardozo (PAR)
Assistant Referee 2: Milciades Saldivar (PAR)
Fourth Official: Arnaldo Samaniego (PAR)
Referee Assessor: Carlos Herrera (ECU)

Nacional – Lanus
Referee: Ulises Mereles (PAR)
Assistant Referee 1: Roberto Canete (PAR)
Assistant Referee 2: Dario Gaona (PAR)
Fourth Official: Eber Aquino (PAR)
Referee Assessor: Dario Ubriaco (URU)

Chapecoense – Zulia
Referee: Gustavo Murillo (COL)
Assistant Referee 1: Alexander Guzman (COL)
Assistant Referee 2: Christian De la Cruz (COL)
Fourth Official: Juan Ponton (COL)
Referee Assessor: Claudio Cerdeira (BRA)

Santos – Sporting Cristal
Referee: Jose Mendez (PAR)
Assistant Referee 1: Juan Zorrilla (PAR)
Assistant Referee 2: Carlos Caceres (PAR)
Fourth Official: Julio Quintana (PAR)
Referee Assessor: Ednilson Corona (BRA)

24 May 2017
Palmeiras – Tucuman
Referee: Wilmar Roldan (COL)
Assistant Referee 1: Eduardo Diaz (COL)
Assistant Referee 2: Alexander Leon (COL)
Fourth Official: Luis Sanchez (COL)
Referee Assessor: Francisco Mondria (CHI)

Penarol – J. Wilstermann
Referee: Michael Espinoza (PER)
Assistant Referee 1: Coty Carrera (PER)
Assistant Referee 2: Victor Raez (PER)
Fourth Official: Miguel Santivanez (PER)
Referee Assessor: Joel Ruiz (PAR)

25 May 2017

Emelec – Melgar
Referee: Leodan Gonzalez (URU)
Assistant Referee 1: Gabriel Popovits (URU)
Assistant Referee 2: Horacio Ferreiro (URU)
Fourth Official: Esteban Ostojich (URU)
Referee Assessor: Juan Lugones (BOL)

River Plate – Medellin
Referee: Raphael Claus (BRA)
Assistant Referee 1: Rodrigo Correa (BRA)
Assistant Referee 2: Bruno Boschilia (BRA)
Fourth Official: Wagner Magalhaes (BRA)
Referee Assessor: Ubaldo Aquino (PAR)

Gremio – Zamora
Referee: Juan Albarracin (ECU)
Assistant Referee 1: Ricardo Baren (ECU)
Assistant Referee 2: Flavio Nall (ECU)
Fourth Official: Guillermo Guerrero (ECU)
Referee Assessor: Roberto Perassi (BRA)

Guarani – Iquique
Referee: Fernando Rapallini (ARG)
Assistant Referee 1: Gustavo Rossi (ARG)
Assistant Referee 2: Ezequiel Brailovsky (ARG)
Fourth Official: Diego Abal (ARG)
Referee Assessor: Jorge Larrionda (URU)

Atletico Nacional – Barcelona
Referee: Juan Nelio (BOL)
Assistant Referee 1: Juan Montano (BOL)
Assistant Referee 2: Jose Antelo (BOL)
Fourth Official: Victor Hurtado (BOL)
Referee Assessor: Jose Buitrago (COL)

Estudiantes – Botafogo
Referee: Eduardo Gamboa (CHI)
Assistant Referee 1: Marcelo Barraza (CHI)
Assistant Referee 2: Claudio Rios (CHI)
Fourth Official: Carlos Ulloa (CHI)
Referee Assessor: Rodolfo Otero (ARG)

FIFA U-20 World Cup 2017 – Group Stage (Matches 17-20)

24 May 2017

Zambia – Iran
Referee: Antonio Mateu Lahoz (ESP, photo)
Assistant Referee 1: Pau Cebrian Devis (ESP)
Assistant Referee 2: Roberto Diaz Perez (ESP)
Fourth Official: Yadel Martinez (CUB)
VAR 1: Svein Oddvar Moen (NOR)
VAR 2: Anastasios Sidiropoulos (GRE)

South Africa – Italy
Referee: Roddy Zambrano (ECU)
Assistant Referee 1: Christian Lescano (ECU)
Assistant Referee 2: Byron Romero (ECU)
Fourth Official: Julio Bascunan (CHI)
VAR 1: Mauro Vigliano (ARG)
VAR 2: Wilton Sampaio (BRA)

Costa Rica – Portugal
Referee: Abdulrahman Al Jassim (QAT)
Assistant Referee 1: Taleb Al Marri (QAT)
Assistant Referee 2: Saoud Al Maqaleh (QAT)
Fourth Official: Ivan Kruzliak (SVK)
VAR 1: Pavel Kralovec (CZE)
VAR 2: Nicholas Waldron (NZL)

Uruguay – Japan
Referee: Szymon Marciniak (POL)
Assistant Referee 1: Pawel Sokolnicki (POL)
Assistant Referee 2: Tomasz Listkiewicz (POL)
Fourth Official: Cuneyt Cakir (TUR)
VAR 1: Danny Makkelie (NED)
VAR 2: William Collum (SCO)

FIFA U-20 World Cup 2017 – Group Stage (Matches 13-16)

23 May 2017

England – Guinea
Referee: Joel Aguilar (SLV, photo)
Assistant Referee 1: Juan Zumba (SLV)
Assistant Referee 2: William Torres (SLV)

Fourth Official: Mario Diaz de Vivar (PAR)
VAR 1: Roberto Garcia (MEX)
VAR 2: John Pitti (PAN)

Venezuela – Vanuatu
Referee: Kim Jong-Hyeok (KOR)
Assistant Referee 1: Yoon Kwang-Yeol (KOR)
Assistant Referee 2: Kim Young-Ha (KOR)
Fourth Official: Ahmed Al Kaf (OMA)
VAR 1: Muhammad Bin Jahari (SIN)
VAR 2: Nawaf Shukralla (BHR)

Korea – Argentina
Referee: Cüneyt Cakir (TUR)
Assistant Referee 1: Bahattin Duran (TUR)
Assistant Referee 2: Tarık Ongun (TUR)
Fourth Official: Ghead Grisha (EGY)
VAR 1: Felix Zwayer (GER)
VAR 2: William Collum (SCO)

Mexico – Germany
Referee: Janny Sikazwe (ZAM)
Assistant Referee 1: Jerson Dos Santos (ANG)
Assistant Referee 2: Zakhele Siwela (RSA)
Fourth Official: Mohammed Abdulla (UAE)
VAR 1: Mehdi Abid Charef (ALG)
VAR 2: Eric Otogo-Castane (GAB)

Referees step up Women's Euro preparations

Europe's women referees are ready for UEFA Women's EURO 2017 after meeting in the Netherlands to fine-tune their preparations, and they can also feel the growing excitement about this summer's event. Almost 40 match officials who will act as either referee, assistant referee, fourth official or reserves have been at the outstanding Royal Netherlands Football Association (KNVB) campus in Zeist this week for their EURO preparatory workshop.
The agenda featured briefings, practical sessions and a fitness test to make sure that the match officials are all primed for the main event from 16 July to 6 August. Both UEFA and the referees are confident that the first Women's EURO finals to feature 16 teams will set new standards for women match officials – in tandem with the standard of football that will be evident on the pitch. The workshop in Zeist has raised the anticipation another important notch. "You can feel the excitement everywhere, and I hope the referees can feel it too," said UEFA Referees' Committee member and experienced former top referee Dagmar Damková who, together with fellow committee member Bo Karlsson, has been leading the three days of preparations. "I think that after the fitness test and conclusion of the workshop, everyone is going to feel that we are ready for the EURO. This event has given motivation to everybody." Damková welcomed the opportunity to gather the match officials shortly before the finals, especially as a team-bonding exercise. "I absolutely support the idea,"she stressed, "and I'm particularly happy for the assistant referees, because it brings them together with the referees onto the same page in terms of what to expect." UEFA's care in preparing women referees is also reflected in the differences that Damková herself now sees since the time that she was taking charge of major women's European and world matches. For example, a referee fitness team has been present in Zeist under the leadership of Belgian expert Jean-Baptiste Bultynck – they put the referees through their fitness paces, and will be constantly in contact with the officials, giving invaluable advice and instructions in the weeks up to the big kick-off. "I reflect on how lucky the referees are today," she said. "They are provided with material and other things that we didn’t have. They have so many opportunities to learn through online studies, practical sessions and [video] examples, as part of the general process of helping them to get better".
Referees who will be taking charge of the 31 matches at seven Dutch venues range from experienced officials to newcomers who will be savouring their first taste of the EURO atmosphere. Ukraine's Kateryna Monzul will be taking part in her third Women's EURO. She told us about what goes through her mind when she lines up with the teams and hears the national anthems: "It's a really strong feeling. You can't compare it with anything. At that moment, there’s only that moment and that time." Riem Hussein from Germany is going to her first EURO, and recalled the moment when she heard that she would be part of the refereeing team. "I was very surprised and a little bit shocked," she admitted, "because I never thought it could be possible. I’m proud to be part of this." Another first-timer is Sweden's Pernilla Larsson: "You can really feel that the tournament is getting closer. Not many referees get to go to a EURO – it’s like a fairy tale to know that I'm one of them".

Source: UEFA