This Week’s Champions League Referees: September 30
Some big games this week, and some equally big refereeing names to officiate. Because there is so much going on, I’m trying a slightly different format for this post.
CSKA Moskva – FC Bayern München
Referee: William Collum (SCO)
Assistant Referee 1: William Conquer (SCO)
Assistant Referee 2: Graham Chambers (SCO)
Collum’s actually been called on by UEFA quite a bit lately, though he tends to fly under the radar when compared to the more well-known referees from the Big Four leagues. His assignments are getting choicer, too; we may see a lot more of Collum in this tournament.
Plus, his AR is named William Conquer. How cool is that?
Manchester City – AS Roma
Referee: Björn Kuipers (NED)
Assistant Referee 1: Sander van Roekel (NED)
Assistant Referee 2: Erwin Zeinstra (NED)
Manchester City boss Manuel Pellegrini may blame all his troubles on the referees (especially Swedish ones), and Holland may not be a “big enough country” to referee his special little snowflakes. But it’s definitely a big enough referee. Kuipers (above) – who officiated the Champions League final last season – is quite possibly the best referee in the world (though Nicola Rizzoli might disagree). He’s alarmingly consistent, methodical and by the book, but also a terrific man manager, rarely needing to fall back on cards to maintain control.
Paris SG – FC Barcelona
Referee: Nicola Rizzoli (ITA)
Assistant Referee 1: Renato Faverani (ITA)
Assistant Referee 2: Andrea Stefani (ITA)
World Cup final match referee Rizzoli takes the other marquee match of this matchweek. Also a brilliant man manager, he has a completely different style than Kuipers: more free flowing and much more likely to use his formidable temper and excellent communication skills to keep the game in check.
APOEL – Ajax Amsterdam
Referee: Milorad Mažić (SRB)
Assistant Referee 1: Milovan Ristić (SRB)
Assistant Referee 2: Dalibor Djurdjević (SRB)
Mazic is an enigma. He’s clearly well thought of in UEFA and FIFA circles, but I’ve never been quite sure of him. He’s one of those referees who can have a brilliant day, or a really rotten day. When he’s good, though, he’s really, really good.
FC Schalke 04 – NK Maribor
Referee: Carlos Velasco Carballo (ESP)
Assistant Referee 1: Roberto Alonso Fernández (ESP)
Assistant Referee 2: Juan Carlos Yuste Jiménez (ESP)
It’s hard to talk about Velasco anymore without beating the dead horse of his awful, awful World Cup quarterfinal performance. Velasco is a highly experienced workhorse and despite his memorably rough stretches, he has been a solid choice for UEFA in the past, though not nearly as impressive as his fellow Spaniards Alberto Undiano and Antonio Mateu. The fact that this is considered a less important match can’t be overlooked in his appointment.
Sporting – Chelsea FC
Referee: Antonio Mateu Lahoz (ESP)
Assistant Referee 1: Pau Cebrían Devis (ESP)
Assistant Referee 2: Roberto Díaz Pérez Del Palomar (ESP)
Mateu is definitely the New Hotness in Spanish refereeing. He’s managed an El Clasico and the recent clash between Atletico Madrid and Real Madrid. He’s personable, consistent and has great foul detection. The more I see him the more I really, really like him, though he’s no Alberto Undiano – yet.
BATE Borisov – Athletic Club
Referee: Stéphane Lannoy (FRA)
Assistant Referee 1: Michaël Annonier (FRA)
Assistant Referee 2: Laurent Stien (FRA)
Lannoy is another face I’m a bit surprised to see. He missed out on the World Cup because of shaky performances, and his last outing left something to be desired. Unfortunately, no one has really stepped up to challenge him in France (though Clement Turpin is showing promise), so Lannoy it is.
Shakhtar Donetsk – FC Porto
Referee: Cüneyt Çakır (TUR)
Assistant Referee 1: Bahattin Duran (TUR)
Assistant Referee 2: Tarik Ongun (TUR)
Cakir is a solid choice for pretty much any match, and had a decent World Cup. He’s very strict, and though he doesn’t have the force of personality of say a Kuipers or a Rizzoli, he usually does an excellent job maintaining control.