Italian referee Stefano Farina is to take charge of the UEFA Super Cup match between FC Barcelona and Sevilla FC at the Stade Louis II in Monaco on Friday.
The 43-year-old will be supported by compatriots Marco Ivaldi and Alessandro Griselli as assistant referees, along with Matteo Trefoloni, the fourth official. Farina will be the fourth Italian to referee the official European season curtain-raiser - and the first since Piero Ceccarini oversaw the second leg of the 1997 final between BV Borussia Dortmund and Barcelona, with a 1-1 draw giving Barça a 3-1 aggregate success.
However, Farina will not be the first Italian in the middle for a one-off UEFA Super Cup outing in Monaco, the venue for every edition since 1998, as Luigi Agnolin arbitrated at the 1986 showpiece which saw FC Steaua Bucuresti beat FC Dynamo Kyiv in the principality. Farina has been refereeing since before his 17th birthday. An insurance agent by profession, he is also a proficient tennis player and takes an interest in ancient history.
He made his debut in Italy's Serie B aged 31 and, barely four months later, took his Serie A bow by handling a game between US Foggia and AC Reggiana on 22 January 1995. International status followed in 2001 and he has steadily gained experience in UEFA's top competitions. Last term, he officiated at three UEFA Champions League group-stage matches and then, in the first knockout round, the first leg between Real Madrid CF and eventual finalists Arsenal FC at the Santiago Bernabéu.
Farina has crossed paths with Sevilla once before – in the quarter-finals of their victorious 2005/06 UEFA Cup campaign. It was when Juande Ramos's team drew 1-1 at FC Zenit St. Petersburg to complete a 5-2 aggregate success. He has not supervised games involving Barcelona, but is no stranger to the Stade Louis II. He held the whistle when AS Monaco FC defeated AEK Athens FC 4-0 on 30 September 2003, with Ludovic Giuly scoring the opening goal, before returning to the arena on 28 September 2004 for Monaco's 2-0 win against RC Deportivo La Coruña.
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