UEFA Nations League has started. We are on the road to UEFA EURO 2020. Two years are missing, but we can already make an early analysis of the officials who might get the call for the big tourmament, to be played in 2020 in several European city.
The first thing we must consider is the number of selected officials: in 2016, 18 referees were called for the major tournament in France. So we can assume that (at least) the number should remain the same. 18 Elite referees (if not more) will get this honor.
As of today, this is the list of UEFA Elite referee (25 officials): Aytekin, Bastien, Brych, Çakır, Collum, Gil Manzano, Hațegan, Karasov, Kassai, Královec, Kuipers, Makkelie, Marciniak, Mateu Lahoz, Mažić, Oliver, Orsato, Rocchi, Sidirópoulos, Soares Dias, Skomina, Taylor, Turpin, Undiano Mallenco, Zwayer.
We can immediately notice that the number of Elite referee is not so high: so, if we rule out the referees who are about to retire, and other referee who will not attend the tournament, at least so far, September 2018, we have a very limited set of options.
Kuipers, Mažić and Rocchi are the first names we can remove, as they will retire for sure before EURO 2020 and they are not planned for this tournament. Then, Undiano Mallenco, Spanish Elite referee, who is at his last season in Spain and he will leave the FIFA list as well on next December.
These are the remaining choices (21): Aytekin, Bastien, Brych, Çakır, Collum, Gil Manzano, Hațegan, Karasov, Kassai, Královec, Makkelie, Marciniak, Mateu Lahoz, Oliver, Orsato, Sidirópoulos, Soares Dias, Skomina, Taylor, Turpin, Zwayer.
If we take a look at referees who could miss the tournament due to consideration by committee, at moment in my opinion we should mention: Aytekin, Kassai, Královec, Sidiropoulos. This would leave only 17 referees, even below the minimum number of needed officials for such a big tournament.
Therefore, we can surely say that committee will be forced to "recover" some of these aforementioned referees, and maybe the observation by a committee member for Sidiropoulos (reserve referee at EURO 2016) can be read under this point of view. In any case, if we compare this situation to the ones before the previous EURO tournaments, we are forced to say that something is missing in terms of variety.
One conclusion we can draw, and here it would be interesting to read your opinion, is that very likely we will have two referees from the same country at EURO 2020. This could happen for: England (Oliver, Taylor), Spain (Mateu Lahoz, Gil Manzano), Germany (Brych and Zwayer) and maybe France (Turpin, Bastien). Indeed, if we rule out also referees just because they are from the same country of other officials, we would have even bigger troubles. At EURO 2016 only England had this honor, now it will be surely different.
Another thing to add is that there could be a chance for a Category 1 referee to be promoted and then to join the tournament in 2020 as main referee, but, according to our opinion, that's very difficult. Two years seem to be a long time, but in terms of development for a referee is not a so long period. We can mention Oliver who is already Elite but for sure he needs still to develop in these further two years, before attending EURO 2020.
In case of selection from Category 1, Kružliak could be an option in case of quick promotion, but as for the rest, I don't see other choices, considering also that it will be quite difficult to see referees like Stieler (he has two countrymen ahead) and Buquet (the same).
Last but not least, Alexey Kulbakov was a reserve referee atr EURO 2016, but it seems as after that he didn't manage the effort to be promoted to Elite. The same speech as said before, if not immediately promoted, it will be quite difficult to see him in this big tournament.
And you? What are your thoughts? Just have your say by adding a comment. It will be very appreciated.