Former international referee Peter Mikkelsen passes away

Danish former international referee Peter Mikkelsen - once the youngest referee to be selected to officiate at a FIFA World Cup - has passed away at the age of 58.

Peter Mikkelsen speaking at a conference in 2013
Peter Mikkelsen speaking at a conference in 2013 ©Getty Images

The former international referee from Denmark, Peter Mikkelsen, has passed away at the age of 58 after a long illness.

Mikkelsen was a prominent FIFA and UEFA referee in the 1990s, taking charge of important club and national-team matches at world and European level, and winning refereeing awards in his native Denmark and beyond.

During his active career, the Amarger-born schoolteacher was selected for the referee teams for the FIFA World Cup final tournaments in 1990 in Italy – at the age of 30, the youngest referee to be chosen for a World Cup at the time – and 1994 in the United States, as well as for the UEFA EURO final tournaments in Sweden in 1992 and England in 1996.

After Mikkelsen's retirement from refereeing in 1998, he was part of the Danish Football Association (DBU) elite referee group, and continued to serve UEFA as a referee observer. He was considered as an important role model for the subsequent generation of referees in Europe and Denmark.

"We're extremely saddened by the news," said UEFA's deputy chief refereeing officer Hugh Dallas. "The refereeing family has lost a fantastic character and a wonderful referee, who was among the best referees of his generation.

"As a referee observer for UEFA, he attended many mini-tournaments, giving advice and passing on his vast knowledge to young referees. UEFA benefitted from his experience."

"He was the best referee we have ever had in Denmark," said Mikkelsen's compatriot and fellow former international match official Claus Bo Larsen. "He paved the way for the referees that followed him. Without him, it wouldn't have been possible for Danish referees to come so far."