Thursday, 9 May 2019

Who will officiate Champions League final? Analysis and prediction

Please find below an analysis about the candidates for 2018-19 UEFA CL final. 

This season the analysis about Champions League final referee is surely easier than past years because we have limited options. Indeed the officials appointed by committee in this CL KO stage are the ones who have the full trust because they can officiate with VAR, after having gained experience with the technology in either domestic leagues or FIFA World Cup. This choice by committee has been clear since the early appointments for this phase of the competition. 

Therefore, at least on paper, this should be the list of all candidates for CL final: Felix Brych (GER), Cüneyt Çakır (TUR), Carlos del Cerro Grande (ESP), Björn Kuipers (NED), Danny Makkelie (NED), Szymon Marciniak (POL), Antonio Mateu Lahoz (ESP), Daniele Orsato (ITA), Gianluca Rocchi (ITA), Damir Skomina (SVN), Clément Turpin (FRA), Felix Zwayer (GER). 

As first step we should take a look at the teams who will meet in this CL final: they are both from England, so this doesn't exclude any of the mentioned referees, because nobody is from that country.

We can rule out referees who already got the final and for this reason shouldn't be appointed again. Indeed, apart from Kuipers assignment on last season for EL final, in recent times something like that never happened for CL. So we can eliminate Felix Brych (GER), Cüneyt Çakır (TUR) and Björn Kuipers (NED) from the list as well.

A further selection is about the needed experience for handling such a game: Carlos del Cerro Grande (ESP) is a new Elite referee and of course for now he should be ruled out because it would be in any case too early.  He can be very satisfied of what he achieved, culminated in a EL semifinal.

Regarding Zwayer and Makkelie, both have already gained a certain experience but for them it is definitely too early. The Dutch has performed definitely better in this KO stage, and as result he has been rewareded for the first time in his career with EL semifinal. A similar appointment will come soon also for Zwayer in future.

Looking at the recent performances for sure a big disappointment for us comes when we read Marciniak's name. The Polish has shown very poor performances in recent times, sometimes not for his real faults, but still teammates mistakes. After a very controversial game in Barcelona - Olympique Lyonnais in round of 16, he has been "ruled out" by committee, without getting further appointments. So it is quite sure that he wont appear in CL final in any role. 

Clément Turpin has developed and confirmed the expectations this season at very high level. However, my feeling is that UEFA will keep his name for next seasons as very strong candidate for EL final before thinking of a CL major assignment. Also, it would be quite particular to see a referee getting CL final, being so young. Kassai experienced something like that and we all know what happened later also in terms of motivations for him. I think that this season has ended with the appointment for EL semifinal, but surely at moment he is among the ones who are gaining a very big credit for the future.

Antonio Mateu Lahoz, following Barcelona's elimination in semifinal, could be a candidate for the final. This is a very rare case in which there isn't a Spanish team in CL final. This could be a very strong argument, but how much? I think that committee appointed him for a CL semifinal first leg, knowing that it would have been difficult to see him in the final. For this reason, I tend to think that, despite of this big opportunity, the original choice by committee will be confirmed. He has still three seasons to spend as Elite referee and he can keep a big chance for the future. 

Coming to Italian Elite referees, my idea is that before a possible assignment for Orsato, in any case Rocchi should be considered as major candidate, given his great experience as Elite referee. The 45 years old from Florence has the last chance, because he will leave the FIFA list on December. Unluckily he comes from a game in which there has been a very clear crucial mistake made by AR Passeri (Manchester United - Barcelona), so this fact for sure doesn't help him. In my opinion he is the second option for CL final, but the major candidate is indeed the last name of the list not still mentioned in this analysis, and I will dedicate the last chapter to him. 

As I wrote one year ago, it is still not clear why in so many years at high level Damir Skomina didn't get a Champions League final assignment, especially two seasons ago, when he had an excellent form. It is true that Slovenian had many negative periods with poor performances and clear mistakes, but overall you can't deny that he belongs to the pool of best Elite referees of the last (at least) 10 years. Along with Rocchi, the Slovenian is indeed the most experienced Elite referee with a more than impressive palmares. I would find very logical and fair to appoint him this season for CL final: he deserves this game. His last appearance in CL has been characterized by a very crucial VAR intervention in the last minute of the game, for a missed handball. However, I think that committee was not so much disappointed by this incident. After that, he has been appointed for the least sonorous among the EL quarterfinals:  Chelsea - Slavia Prague. This can be read as strategy by committee, to protect him before the CL final assignment. 

So, at the end of this analysis, the final prediction is:

Tottenham Hotspur FC (ENG) - Liverpool FC (ENG)
Referee: Damir Skomina (SVN)
Assistant Referee 1: Jure Praprotnik (SVN)
Assistant Referee 2: Robert Vukan (SVN)
Fourth Official:  Ovidiu Hațegan (ROU)
Reserve Assistant Referee: Tomaž Klančnik (SVN)

Hațegan would be there as fourth official as reward for recent performances.


  1. Thanks for this analysis!

    My choices:

    CL, Skomina
    EL, Rocchi

    My prediction:

    CL, Mateu
    EL, Rocchi

  2. What about VAR? Would it be possible to see Makkelie and Irratti or do you thing the VAR team will be one we’ve already seen this season?

  3. I think it's also interesting that there were no OFR in the semi-final matches. Perhaps a good metric to justify the selection of the semi-final referees and the jobs they did.

  4. Skomina - Makkelie
    Rocchi - Irrati

  5. Mateu or del cero in ucl for sure
    This is first year up 7 years ago not have Spain team in final

  6. What happened to kassai and mazic .. the role finished with VAR technology?

    1. Mazic went to China so no UEFA matches for him.

    2. Kasai did the Champions league final in 2011. I have never seen a Champions league FINAL ref picked again for another Champions league final. As a very rare case , last season Bjorn Kuipers was given the EUROPA final for the 2 nd time in his career after he had earlier referred the Europa final once followed by the Champions league final b/_n Real Madrid and Athletico Madrid in 2014.

  7. By appointments so far I'd assume it's Skomina, but if it is Skomina, then who will get the final next year? Turpin?

    Given the lack of alternatives next year I think it could be very possible Rocchi gets it this year so that UEFA can appoint Skomina next year

  8. I think that overall, you are probably right and it will be Skomina. But, it is a big opportunity to send Rocchi out with a big game, which we have seen in the past not only in UEFA but FIFA too. Lahoz for the EL for me. Turpin to be 4th for UCL.

  9. my choice

    CL- cuneyt cakir.

    EL- turpin

  10. IMO :

    Rocchi for UCL and Turpin in EL.

    Skomina won't get his final (Rocchi's retirement and Rosetti's influence..)

    1. Why do you speak about Rosetti's influence on Rocchi possible appointment? You forget That Skomina is Slovenian, like Uefa President Ceferin. No influence??
      So please stop thinking of somebody's influence and be more concentrate on the quality of the refs and the credits they have got.

  11. CL: Skomina

    El: Rocchi

    I want to see Turpin for the next UEFA Super Cup.

  12. For me it should be like this:

    CL - Skomina
    EL - Rocchi

    Super Cup 2019 - Makkelie

  13. For me

    CL: Skomina
    EL: Lahoz

    Super Cup: Turpin

  14. My prediction.

    UCL: Skomina
    UEL: Rocchi
    SuperCup: Mateu Lahoz

  15. My prediction
    UCL skomina
    Uel cuneyt cakir
    Super cup markkelie

    Tupin Uel fourth official
    Rocchi UCL fourth official
    Mateu lahoz fourth official super cup...

    But am thinking that Spanish refs might be appointed in either UCL or ref....because it English teams

  16. UCL Final : Skomina VAR : Makkelie
    UEL Final : Rocchi VAR : Irrati

    1. I fully agree also regarding VAR appointments.

    2. This is my prediction, too. And SuperCup for Mateu Lahoz.

  17. Skomina should be rewarded with this but he faces stiff competition from Rocchi because of his experience and no nonsense attitude not forgetting Turpin....this is if those who did semis won't be considered

  18. This might not be stated much on the blog, but not limited to this match, I feel the referee style of calling the game should be paired with the teams playing. I find Rocchi to call a lot of fouls during Serie A matches and the game generally has a slower pace. That's why I think Skomina will get the match. I am not saying one referee is better than another, I just think their styles are different and that could come into play. I do hope Rocchi gets the game because it is his last chance I think he has been a great service to UEFA Refereeing and is a safe pair of hands.

  19. Till some time back , there was a trend of the previous season EUROPA Final ref , automatically getting the next season's Champions league final. However with Skomina referring the Europa final in 2016 , the 2017 final then went to the very good Felix Brych. And Bjorn Kuipers was appointed to his 2 nd Europa final last season ,,probably due to lack of choices ?? He is an Excellent ref though. And the recently concluded Liverpool Barca semi final 2 nd leg , we saw a refereeing master class by Cuynet Cakir.

  20. There seems to be a lot of curiosity as to who it will be between Skomina and Rochii. Turpin is the dark horse ???

  21. Mostly those who refereed the semis of Champs league do not go on to get the final in the same season.That is a trend . I saw that trend broken only in the 2015 - 16 season , when Mark Clateenburg who was teriffic that season of course , got a semi final leg , or did he get 2 different tie one leg each , and eventually landed the Madrid derby final , which was quite easy to guess. And after that he left Europe for Saudi Arabia.

  22. Just because Rochii , it is his last season , will be a sentimental appointment , ain't it ? Such sentiments won't be considered.

  23. My choices:

    CL, Cerro Grande
    EL, Turpin

    My prediction:

    CL, Skomina
    EL, Mateu

  24. I don’t get how these predictions about skomina/rocchi are based. I understand that they are both experienced elite referees but their performances this season is not enough for cl/el final.
    Best referees this year are cakir/kuipers. Third place goes to brych and lahoz. And only lahoz is without cl final. And no spanish team this year should /must be his year. I dont know when will be next time a cl final without spanish team.

    For el final my prediction is cakir. He is one of the best if not the best and still without el final. When you remember kuipers got two el final, this should be his turn. Also with all english final this match calls him.

  25. I also go with the CL:Skomina EL:Rocchi opinion. It would not make sense to not use them in the SFs otherwise and their perfomances were good enough (I agree, not as good as Cakir and Kuipers) to justify a final appointment IMO.
    I am not convinced, that Mateu already deserves a CL final, EL final would be OK for me, but I prefer Rocchi there.

    As 4th officials, I would go with Mateu(CL) and Orsato (EL). I agree with others, that Makkelie and Irrati would be the obvious VAR choices.

    There will also be the Nations League final. It's reputation is a bit unclear, but I would say it is at least above the Supercup. So, all the final candidates, who are not used for CL and EL, have another chance there.

    BTW, Klancnik is at the U20 WC, so he probably can't be reserve AR in the CL final. Also Guida is there, so Irrati would need another AVAR - or he flys in from Poland for a final.

    1. Thank you for this remark about Klancnik, you are right.
      So I must change, maybe Manuel Vidali can be the right name.
      Also, I'm starting to think that maybe in CL final fourth official will be a referee allowed to officiate with VAR, differently from the rest of KO stage, if so, then Mateu Lahoz would be my choice without doubts.

  26. A short analysis about Europa League final (sorry if I don't write a detailed post, no time to do that).

    Starting frome the same names allowed to handle games with VAR: Felix Brych (GER), Cüneyt Çakır (TUR), Carlos del Cerro Grande (ESP), Björn Kuipers (NED), Danny Makkelie (NED), Szymon Marciniak (POL), Antonio Mateu Lahoz (ESP), Daniele Orsato (ITA), Gianluca Rocchi (ITA), Damir Skomina (SVN), Clément Turpin (FRA), Felix Zwayer (GER).

    Brych (GER) already handled it.
    Çakır (TUR) for sure a candidate, he would deserve another final in his amazing career.
    Del Cerro Grande (ESP) too early.
    Kuipers (NED) already got two :)
    Makkelie (NED) not for this season, but he is "working" for that in future.
    Marciniak (POL) out for performance resons.
    Mateu Lahoz (ESP) a strong candidate, to be checked whether in case committee has problems in appointing a referee from the city of a team eliminated in semifinals. However, Rocchi is ahead for me.
    Orsato (ITA) out after the crucial mistake by AR in his previous game, in any case Rocchi must be considered before him.
    Rocchi (ITA) first candidate in my opinion, to end his international career with a major final.
    Skomina (SVN) already got it.
    Turpin (FRA) in a very good path to get this final, but I think not for now, as he got a semifinal, but next year is very likely...
    Zwayer (GER) he is working for the future.

    Final prediction:
    Gianluca Rocchi (ITA)
    In second and third instance, I wouldn't be surprised in reading Mateu Lahoz or Cakir names.

    1. Do you think that the appointments will be released tomorrow?

    2. I think Mateu is very unlikely as he actually is from (close to) Valencia

  27. CL:
    Damir Skomina
    Jure Praprotnik
    Robert Vukan
    Var: Makkeile
    Reserve assistant: Grega Kordez

    Gianluca Rocchi
    Filippo Meli
    Matteo Passeri
    VAR: Iratti
    Reserve asistant:Alassio Stefano

  28. I`v made interesting analysis about UEFA Finals(UCL+UEL(UC)+USC) + Finals at big tournaments( UEFA EURO+ FIFA World Cup) since 1999:

    Since 1999, only 1 referee is absolute recordsman with 4 European finals:
    Kuipers(NED): 1 UCL final in 2014, 2 UEL finals (2013 and 2018), USC(2011)

    Busacca(SUI) refereed 3 finals - 1 UCL final (2009), 1 UEL final (2007), 1 USC(2010)
    Collina(ITA): 1999 UCL + 2004 UEL + (FIFA World Cup Final 2002)
    Rizzoli(ITA): 2013 UCL+2010 UEL + (FIFA World Cup Final 2014)
    Clattenburg(ENG): 2016 UCL + 2014 UEL + (UEFA EURO 2016 Final)

    Referees with 2 finals:

    Pereira(POR): 2002 UEL + 2001 USC
    Merk(GER): 2003 UCL + (UEFA EURO 2004 Final)
    Hauge(NOR): 2006 UCL + 2004 USC
    Fandel(GER): 2007 UCL + 2006 UEL
    L.Michel(SVK): 2008 UCL + 2003 UEL
    Webb(ENG): 2010 UCL + (FIFA World Cup Final 2010)
    Proenca(POR): 2012 UCL + (UEFA EURO 2012 Final)
    Brych (GER): 2017 UCL+2014 UEL
    Skomina (SVN): 2017 UEL + 2012 USC
    Mazic(SRB): 2018 UCL+2016 USC
    Eriksson(SWE): 2016 UEL+2013 USC

    Сorrections are welcome;)

    PS. Skomina (if he will be appointed today for UCL final) can be the 3rd referee who have UCL+UEL+USC after Kuipers and Busacca

    1. Mazic (SRB) FIFA Cup Confederation's final...

    2. Also, Kuipers and L. Michel final FIFA Cup Confederations.

  29. Clattenburg did not handle 2014 UEL, rather it was Brych as you stated later. Clattenburg had 2 finals (UCL and EURO 2016) + English FA cup final of that year.

    1. Oh man) you`re right! So, we can add Olympic Games 2012 final to Clattenburg:)

  30. I wrote a post on my blog as well about my predictions for the CL and EL final referees. Feel free to check it out!

  31. So English finals in both competitions. Although not very likely but it would be interesting to appoint Oliver and Taylor as fourth officials. My guess is CL: REF:Skomina, VAR: Makkelie, 4th: Lahoz; EL: REF: Rocchi, VAR: Irrati, 4th: Orsato

  32. What`s your prediction? Who will attend UEFA Nations League final matches? How many referees will be taken? 2, 3 or 4 trios?

    1. I assume, 4 different referees. Maybe VARs will be used twice though.
      And probably at least for SFs and finals, again only the refs with VAR experience will be considered. 3rd place might be howver possible for e.g. Hategan.
      For exact names, I would wait until the CL/EL final appointments are known.
      But we already know that some candidates (e.g. Turpin, Makkelie, Zwayer) are busy at the Women's World Cup. Furthermore referees from the participating countries most likely won't be used.

  33. Well, I disagree with most of you. I expect Mateu Lahoz (or even del Cerro Grande, although that might be difficult to explain given his short time as Elite) in Madrid. Many reasons for that: it has been 14 years without a referee from Spain in UCL. One of the main reasons is that spanish teams are almost always present in those finals. Mateu Lahoz is 42. He has 3 seasons in front of him. Skomina has the same. The difference between them is that it is highly unlikely that a slovenian team will make it to the final. It is not the same case for spanish teams based on recent history (which of course might change). Also, most of the other top Elite referees have already had their final (Kuipers, Çakir). Brych has not, however, IIRC. Rocchi is this year or never, so could be an option too. But Rizzoli had a final not so long ago, which could be a factor against him.

    Another factor is politics and pressure from leagues: in Spain it has not been well received to have four teams from the Premier League in the finals. Of course, due to Spanish teams performances, but I would expect some pressure from Spain's FA to have a Spanish referee in at least one of those, and IMO UCL is more likely than UEL. Based on performances, there would not be much controversy or lack of justice if Mateu Lahoz is appointed ahead of Skomina. There is not a big difference between them, I think.

    The only thing that could act against a Spanish refereeing team is that the appointments were already made before the semifinals and communicated to the referees involved. Otherwise, I see room for a change in Rossetti's mind.

    1. I think Skomina is ahead of Mateu right now, he's been clearly "kept" since UCL R16 and UEL QF in order to protect him while Mateu has refereed a UCL SF.

      It's not very unlikely to see Mateu as 4th official though.

    2. Yes, I mean, it is clear that the original plan is Skomina. However, with referees from Spain you can't follow that kind of plan, as likely that will result in them not being appointed for the last possible matches for them. Thing is, Skomina does not depend on the circumstances, while referees from the top leagues do. He can be appointed next season, or the following, for sure. Only requirement is that he performs well previously during the season.

      Rossetti has a chance this season to give the final to a Spanish referee, something that has not happened since Mejuto González in 2005. Since then, Italy (Rizzoli, 2013), England (Clattenburg, 2016; Webb, 2010) and Germany (Brych, 2017; Fandel, 2007) have had it. The years missing have gone to other countries with "smaller" leagues.

      This year, there is a chance to balance the appointments. UEFA can take it now and be sure it happens. They can decide not to take it and bet on next season: it can happen again or it might not. Of course, at some point in the future it will happen again, no doubt of that. The question is when. Thing is: you take this chance this year, and the window opens again next season. Consequence: you don't have any country with real chances that needs to be appointed "now or never", Skomina can have his fully deserved appointment. If you appoint Skomina this year and then the window opens again next season, no problem arises. You don't take the chance this season and the window is not open next year, Skomina has had his final but the count in years is still increasing. Thing is: would it be unfair in terms of performances? I think not, but of course others might think differently.

  34. I really hope to the following assignment:


    in my opinion will be the most fair solution in respect to their carrier.
    Anyway the competition of Spanish team is important

  35. Well if we inlcude politics in the story, then Skomina has the biggeat chances at the moment IMO. Don't forget that in one of the Rosetti's interwievs he claearly stated that Ceferin personaly called him to ask him if he would replace Collina. Since Rosetti was Ceferin's choice (despite Dallas, Batta even Sajn and some other big names in the committee). So in terms of politics, I would not exclude the influence of Slovenian's president of UEFA.

    1. Ceferin does not want Skomina to referee FINAL. He does not want to be accused of 'nepotism'.

    2. It would be a nepotism if Skomina did not deserve the final apppointment. But if Skomina is appointed for the final, it will be deserved, nobody can say it is a nepotism.

    3. We have Skomina, top Elite referee at high level by years, then Ceferin is elected as new UEFA president and he wants to control that? I can't believe.

  36. So, today we won't see appointments for finals?

  37. I think Collina didn't like Skomina too much. Now with Rosetti is different.

  38. When the appointment be announced???

    1. There isn't a specific date, when committee is ready.

  39. I have been in relationship with my boyfriend for 2 year now and we were planning to get married soon and all of a sudden he left me for another girl, i really love this guy and never can imagine my life without him. I further tried all my best to get him back but all my effort to get him back in my life did not work out. It was on this faithful day, i came across some comments on a website about this great spell caster called Chief Dr Lucky, so many persons claimed that he help them to renew their relationship and bring their ex back, i had to contact him because he was my last hope. I contacted him through his email and he assured me that in two days time my boyfriend is going to leave the other girl and come back to me and it was a very great surprise to see my boyfriend coming back to me after two days. I am so very happy today that he came back to me and i achieved this with the help of Chief Dr Lucky, and i advice if you need his help too Email: or Whats App: +2348132777335

  40. Hello everyone, am very happy to share this little awesome testimony about Dr olu a great herbal doctor who help me enlarge my penis size.3.2 cm to 8.3 cm longer with his herbal cream mixture, my girlfriend is now so amazed with the autonomous size of my penis , if you you are also in need of help on how to enlarge your penis to become bigger and stronger I adverse you to contact Dr on his email ( ) you or contact on whatsapp number +2348140654426 because he is one of the best herbal doctor that i can only show you up to, if your penis is 4.2 cm and want to get it reach 9.2 cm within three weeks i Dr olu is also specialized on obey m breast and boobs enlargement i advise you to contact him for help