Weekly four-part series went live on 16 November, providing football fans with a rare and exclusive view of the pressures facing UEFA Champions League referees.
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UEFA delivers an unprecedented insight into one of the toughest jobs in football with the release of an original documentary series showing up close and personal what it takes to be a UEFA Champions League referee.
‘Man in the Middle’, a weekly four-part series that premiered on UEFA.tv on 16 November, tracks the professional and private lives of 16 match officials from 11 countries over an 18-month period (February 2019 to August 2020). Each is among an elite group of referees selected by UEFA to officiate at matches in Europe’s premier club competition.
"This is a very important documentary for UEFA and our family of referees," said UEFA’s chief of refereeing, Roberto Rosetti.
"It highlights the professionalism, motivation and dedication of some of Europe’s best officials, as well as showing the human beings behind the figures seen by players and supporters on the pitch."
Thanks to its unprecedented access, the documentary reveals the hidden sides of refereeing – from candid footage of on-field exchanges with players to personal interviews about the pressures of balancing a high-profile job with family commitments.
What it takes to become an elite referee
UEFA Champions League match officials appearing in the documentary include Daniele Orsato, who took charge of the 2019/20 final in August, as well as Danny Makkelie, the UEFA Europa League final referee, and Anthony Taylor, who had the whistle for September's UEFA Super Cup fixture.
"I hope everyone can enjoy the series and that people can learn more about what it takes to become and be an elite UEFA referee," added Rosetti.
First UEFA.tv documentary series
Free-to-view on UEFA.tv, ‘Man in the Middle’ is the first original documentary series produced for UEFA’s own digital video platform.
Episodes will give the officials’ personal verdicts on several key video assistant referee (VAR) incidents. Viewers will also learn about the psychological preparation that is a major part of elite referees’ training these days, as well as the online workout sessions that became the norm during football’s temporary halt earlier in 2020.
"The introduction of VAR and the COVID-19 pandemic have brought new challenges for our community of officials, but we are extremely proud of how they have adapted and continue to set the standard for football officials around the world," said Rosetti.
How to watch ‘Man in the Middle’
‘Man in the Middle’ will consist of four weekly episodes, available globally each Monday on UEFA.tv, commencing 16 November.
Access to UEFA.tv is free-to-view with registration. The platform is available on Android and iOS smartphone and tablet apps, Apple TV, Android TV, Amazon Fire TV and Hisense VIDAA Smart TVs.
Existing UEFA digital users can sign in to UEFA.tv using their standard account credentials.
Which referees feature in ‘Man in the Middle’?
Cüneyt Çakır – Turkey
Willie Collum – Scotland
Carlos del Cerro Grande – Spain
Ovidiu Hategan – Romania
Björn Kuipers – Netherlands
Antonio Mateu Lahoz – Spain
Bobby Madden – Scotland
Danny Makkelie – Netherlands
Szymon Marciniak – Poland
Michael Oliver – England
Daniele Orsato – Italy
Gianluca Rocchi – Italy
Damir Skomina – Slovenia
Anthony Taylor – England
Clement Turpin – France
Felix Zwayer – Germany