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Referee Johan Hamel mourned in France

Members Refereeing

French football is “under shock” after the tragic and sudden death of Johan Hamel, 42, a member of the elite referees group.

French referee Johan Hamel, who has passed away aged 42
French referee Johan Hamel, who has passed away aged 42 AFP via Getty Images

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."