Two refereeing teams and a fourth official are enjoying the experience of the UEFA European Women's Under-17 Championship – with the hope that their appointments for the tournament in Switzerland will prove to be stepping stones to higher things in the future.
Katalin Kulcsár (Hungary) will referee the final between Germany and Spain at the Colovray Stadium in Nyon on Thursday. Her assistants will be Asa Olsson (Sweden) and Seçim Demirel (Turkey), with Simona Ghisletta (Switzerland) acting as fourth official.
The third-place play-off will be refereed by Esther Azzopardi (Malta). The assistant referees are Sian Massey (England) and Anne Cheron (Belgium). Simona Ghisletta (Switzerland) will again act as fourth official.
Kulcsár, a 25-year-old from Gyor, said that her appointment for the final would take some time to sink in. "It's an important game, and it's my first international final. I started refereeing ten years ago. I played football with my brother, and my father was first a player and then a referee. When I was around 14, I knew I wanted to be in football, so I became a referee."
Enjoy the occasion
The two final assistants are determined to enjoy the occasion. "At the stadium I can imagine I'll be nervous, but this will disappear with the first whistle," said Olsson. "The team worked well in our first match, and I think we'll be ok for the final," added Demirel.
From a goalkeeper to a referee
Azzopardi has an interesting football story to tell, having switched from being Malta's international goalkeeper to an international referee. "It's a nice experience to work together with a good team. My father was a FIFA assistant referee, so I followed in his steps. I think I made the right choice."
Hard work pays off
The play-off assistants have worked hard to reach this level. "This is my first major tournament, and my first year on the FIFA list," said Massey. "It's definitely a step up the ladder for me." "We're working as a team for the first time – and it's part of a very good year for me in my career," added Cheron.
Fourth official Ghisletta has an equally crucial role to play. "I help support the referee trio and make sure they're at ease. It's good to watch how the referees take charge of the match – and you have also be on standby in case something happens."
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