Referees for Champions League Playoffs, Wednesday August 20
Well, it certainly seems that UEFA front loaded the big names into Tuesday’s playoffs: Rizzoli, Eriksson, Mazic, Brych and Velasco.
Wednesday’s referees aren’t nearly as illustrious, with one notable exception: Bjorn Kuipers of Netherlands.
Kuipers (above) is, in my opinion, the most naturally gifted and talented referee out there, despite my undisputed love for Nicola Rizzoli. Had Netherlands not made it as far as they did in the World Cup, no doubt Kuipers – who managed the 2013 Champions League final – would have challenged Rizzoli for the World Cup final match.
He takes Lille v. Porto.
The other name most English fans are interested in would be Martin Atkinson. Atkinson, Mark Clattenburg’s counterpart at this level, will referee Aalborg BK v APOEL Nicosia.
Which will be a classic, no doubt.
Scotland’s Craig Thomson also gets a nod, as do the Czech Pavel Kralovec and the Portuguese workhorse Olegario Benquerenca.
Lille OSC – FC Porto
Referee: Björn Kuipers (NED)
Assistant Referee 1: Sander van Roekel (NED)
Assistant Referee 2: Erwin Zeinstra (NED)
Standard Liège – Zenit St Petersburg
Referee: Craig Thomson (SCO)
Assistant Referee 1: Graham Chambers (SCO)
Assistant Referee 2: Alan Mulvanny (SCO)
Aalborg BK – APOEL Nicosia
Referee: Martin Atkinson (ENG)
Assistant Referee 1: Michael Mullarkey (ENG)
Assistant Referee 2: Stephen Child (ENG)
NK Maribor – Celtic FC
Referee: Pavel Královec (CZE)
Assistant Referee 1: Roman Slyško (SVK)
Assistant Referee 2: Martin Wilczek (CZE)
Slovan Bratislava – BATE Borisov
Referee: Olegário Benquerença (POR)
Assistant Referee 1: Bertino Miranda (POR)
Assistant Referee 2: Paulo Soares (POR)