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.
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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.
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 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.
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."
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.
"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'."