Praise for the ref

by

July 05, 2016
File Mark Clattenburg

PARIS (AP):

No tantrums, no screaming and shouting, no condemnation by TV jury. No calls for them to be sent home and fired from their jobs.

What's gone wrong with referees at the European Championship?

Well, nothing. In fact, with just three games to play, everything's going right.

The referees' performances in the 48 games played so far in France have received top marks.

Football pundits have been forced to describe the action rather than berating the man in the middle and his assistants.

And there have been so many top performances by referees that UEFA will struggle to select the man to take charge of Sunday's final in Paris.

Will it be England's Mark Clattenburg, Germany's Felix Brych or Hungary's Viktor Kassai, all of whom have turned in impressive performances?

"Mark Clattenburg must have a great chance of that huge honour of taking the Champions League final and a major international final in the same season, now that the rules allow you to do so," said former FIFA referee Kim Milton Nielsen, writing on the "You are the Ref" refereeing website.

Clattenburg, who has not officiated since the round of 16, may fall victim to footballing politics, however, as might Brych. The German will not get the prestigious appointment if his country qualifies for the final, and Clattenburg, an Englishman, may endure the same fate if Wales a close neighbours to England beat Portugal to make the final.

Much of the credit for the improvement in standards has been given to Italian Pierluigi Collina, now in charge of UEFA referees. He is better known for being the best referee of his generation, using charisma rather than yellow and red cards to control games, and has introduced a series of measures to help develop elite match officials.

Referees put in charge of semi-finals are rarely awarded the final. So Sweden's Jonas Eriksson, who will referee Wednesday's semi-final between Portugal and Wales, and Italy's Nicola Rizzoli, who will have the whistle for Germany versus France in Marseille will probably head home after those games.

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