French football is “under shock” after the tragic and sudden death of Johan Hamel, 42, a member of the elite referees group.
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Mr Hamel, who started to officiate when he was 14 at Azur-Sports Valentinois, in Valence, South of France, was a French Ligue 1 referee since 2015/16 and took charge of 135 French top-flight games, including eight this season. He also officiated in almost 100 Ligue 2 games and was among the VAR officials last weekend. He also had experience at UEFA matches as a fourth official in each of UEFA’s men’s club competitions, Under-21 internationals and the UEFA Nations League.
In a statement, the French Football Federation (FFF), wrote that they are "under shock". FFF president Noël Le Graët said: "It is with great sadness that we learned of the death of Johan Hamel. He was a much-loved referee with an exemplary career, a passionate fan and a figure of our football. On behalf of the FFF and all of our amateur and professional football, I would like to express my most sincere condolences to Johan's family and friends."
Pascal Garibian, the French technical director of refereeing, added: "He [Mr Hamel] will be missed by the French refereeing community, which is in mourning."
UEFA Chief Refereeing Officer, Roberto Rosetti, said: "This is an unbelievable tragedy and a terrible shock. On behalf of the UEFA refereeing family we send our condolences to Johan’s family and friends as well as to the whole French refereeing community."