Important experience for UEFA Youth League referees

The three referee teams from Bosnia and Herzegovina, Switzerland and France who are at the UEFA Youth League finals are being urged to make the most of the experience on their career paths.

The team from France that will officiate at the final: Mehdi Rahmouni, François Letexier, Cyril Mugnier and Jérôme Brisard
The team from France that will officiate at the final: Mehdi Rahmouni, François Letexier, Cyril Mugnier and Jérôme Brisard ©UEFA

Alongside the talented young players currently taking part in the UEFA Youth League finals, three referee teams are gathering experience for tomorrow as they continue on their career pathways.

The Hoffenheim-Porto semi-final team from Bosnia and Herzegovina: Senad Ibrišimbegović, Irfan Peljto, Davor Beljo and Admir Šehović
The Hoffenheim-Porto semi-final team from Bosnia and Herzegovina: Senad Ibrišimbegović, Irfan Peljto, Davor Beljo and Admir Šehović©UEFA

Friday's first semi-final between Hoffenheim and Porto in Nyon was refereed by a team from Bosnia and Herzegovina – referee Irfan Peljto, assistant referees Senad Ibrišimbegović and Davor Beljo, and fourth official Admir Šehović.

The Swiss team for the Barcelona-Chelsea semi-final: Lionel Tschudi, Stéphane De Almeida, Sandro Schärer and Bekim Zogaj
The Swiss team for the Barcelona-Chelsea semi-final: Lionel Tschudi, Stéphane De Almeida, Sandro Schärer and Bekim Zogaj©UEFA

The second semi-final pitting Barcelona against Chelsea was officiated by the Swiss quartet of referee Sandro Schärer, assistant referees Stéphane De Almeida and Bekim Zogaj, and fourth official Lionel Tschudi.

Monday's final between Porto and Chelsea at the Colovray Stadium will be refereed by a French team. Referee François Letexier will be accompanied by assistant referees Cyril Mugnier and Mehdi Rahmouni, as well as fourth official Jérôme Brisard.

Irfan Peljto (Bosnia and Herzegovina) was in charge of the Hoffenheim-Porto semi-final
Irfan Peljto (Bosnia and Herzegovina) was in charge of the Hoffenheim-Porto semi-final©UEFA

The trio of referee teams have been selected for the finals on the basis of the potential they have shown during the present season, not only in UEFA competitions, but also in their countries' domestic football. "They have had a good season, and they can be considered, like other referees of their generation, as promising match officials," said UEFA refereeing officer Marc Batta, who is working as an observer at the Nyon finals along with UEFA Referees Committee chairman Roberto Rosetti. "It's always rewarding for a referee to be part of the three selected teams for these finals."

The referees are also being given important advice and guidance at the finals. "The referees are in Nyon for three days," Batta explained, "and we make use of their presence to review their seasons and discuss their future objectives."

"After the matches, we hold debrief sessions about their performances and, if necessary, we use clips of their specific match to be able to give more precise feedback. Roberto Rosetti is attending all three matches, because we are well aware of the importance of observing, monitoring and preparing referees for the future."

Sandro Schärer (Switzerland) refereed the Barcelona-Chelsea semi-final
Sandro Schärer (Switzerland) refereed the Barcelona-Chelsea semi-final©UEFA

As part of UEFA's comprehensive referee development activities, eight of the 12 match officials chosen for this year's finals have taken part in the UEFA Centre of Refereeing Excellence (CORE) programme, which makes a vital contribution in nurturing young referees in the early stages of their careers.

UEFA also instructs all of its referees to protect football's image. Consequently, the officials at the UEFA Youth League finals are being asked to uphold important values and act as 'educators' to the young footballers on the pitch. In managing the players, the referees are playing a key role in helping them to learn values such as respect for the referee and opponents.

The referee team for the final training on the eve of the match
The referee team for the final training on the eve of the match©UEFA

"Respect is the key word," Batta said. "We place great importance on protection of the players, referees and the game itself. In addition, the referees are asked to be alert to any incidents of violence or racist conduct. For youth competitions, they are referees – but, if necessary, they can indeed take on the role of 'educators'."

The referee teams are picking up crucial experience at the UEFA Youth League finals. "It should serve as an encouragement to them to continue working and progressing," Batta emphasised. "In a few weeks, as is always the case at the end of each season, we will be revising the referee categories."

"Whatever the outcome, their main task will be to continue to work hard. It is only in the dictionary that 'success' comes before 'work'."

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