April 30, 2013

Jonas Eriksson and Stéphane Lannoy to oversee Europa League semifinals

Swedish Jonas Eriksson as well as Stéphane Lannoy of France have been assigned to be in charge of Thursday's UEFA Europa League semifinals' return legs at Stamford Bridge and Estádio da Luz respectively.

02 May 2013, 21:05 CET
Stamford Bridge, London, England
Chelsea FC - FC Basel
Referee: Jonas Eriksson (SWE)
Assistant Referee 1: Mathias Klasenius (SWE)
Assistant Referee 2: Daniel Wärnmark (SWE)
Additional Assistant Referee 1: Stefan Johannesson (SWE)
Additional Assistant Referee 2: Markus Strömbergsson (SWE)
Fourth Official: Stefan Wittberg (SWE)
UEFA Referee Observer: Nuno Castro (POR)
UEFA Delegate: Steen Dahrup (DEN)

25 April 2013, 21:05 CET
Estádio da Luz, Lisbon, Portugal
Benfica SL - Fenerbahçe
Referee: Stéphane Lannoy (FRA)
Assistant Referee 1: Frédéric Cano (FRA)
Assistant Referee 2: Michael Annonier (FRA)
Additional Assistant Referee 1: Antony Gautier (FRA)
Additional Assistant Referee 2: Ruddy Buquet (FRA)
Fourth Official: Laurent Stien (FRA)
UEFA Referee Observer: Manuel López Fernández (ESP)
UEFA Delegate: Georg Pangl (AUT)
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April 29, 2013

Damir Skomina to take charge of Barcelona - Bayern

UEFA has revealed the last match official appointment of this Champions League season before they are going to announce the referee for Wembley final at the end of May: Slovenian Damir Skomina and his team have been appointed to take charge of the second leg of the top clash between FC Barcelona and Bayern München at Camp Nou. 

Damir Skomina from Slovenia (c) ZIMBIO

(ESP) FC Barcelona
Bayern München (GER)
01 May 2013, 20:45 CET – Camp Nou, Barcelona, Spain [1st Leg: 0:4]
Damir Skomina (SVN)
Assistant Referee 1
Matej Žunič (SVN)
Assistant Referee 2
Bojan Ul (SVN)
Additional Assistant Referee 1
Slavko Vinčić (SVN)
Additional Assistant Referee 2
Roberto Ponis (SVN)
Fourth Official
Primož Arhar (SVN)
UEFA Referee Observer
Bosse Karlsson (SWE)
UEFA Delegate
Dag Steinar Vestlund (NOR)
UEFA Referee Liaison Officer
Antonio Uzcudun Gómez (ESP)
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April 28, 2013

Howard Webb will control Real - BVB

English top-class referee Howard Webb will be the man in the middle when Real Madrid are going to try to redeem the 1:4 loss they suffered in the first leg against Borussia Dortmund in next week's UEFA Champions League semifinal.

Howard Webb (ENG) (c) ran.de

(ESP) Real Madrid
Borussia Dortmund (GER)
30 April 2013, 20:45 CET – Estadio Santiago Bernabeu, Madrid, Spain [1st Leg: 1:4]
Howard Webb (ENG)
Assistant Referee 1
Darren Cann (ENG)
Assistant Referee 2
Michael Mullarkey (ENG)
Additional Assistant Referee 1
Mike Dean (ENG)
Additional Assistant Referee 2
Michael Oliver (ENG)
Fourth Official
Stephen Child (ENG)
UEFA Referee Observer
Jozef Marko (SVK)
UEFA Delegate
Sándor Berzi (HUN)
UEFA Referee Liaison Officer
Raúl Masso Zambudio (ESP)
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April 27, 2013

Dutch veteran stars honour deceased Richard Nieuwenhuizen

A team riddled with several former Dutch football stars have joined a benefit match against an amateur team and thus gained 56.000 € for the relatives of Dutch assistant referee Richard Nieuwenhuizen, who was bludgeoned to death by young amateur players after a match played in Almere in December 2012.

Ajax Amsterdam's current coach Frank de Boer had the idea to organize this match. Among others, Edwin van der Sar, Dennis Bergkamp, Pierre van Hooijdonk and Giovanni van Bronckhorst belonged to the team that won 8:1 and which was managed by Ronald Koeman, European champion in 1988, and Ajax legend Sjaak Swart.
Prior to the match, the chief officer of the Dutch football association KNVB, Michael van Praag, as well as Almere's mayoress Annemarie Jorritsma have plead in favour of a football that is clean of every form of violent behaviour.
The suspected culprits are remaining in custody until their trial that is expected for summer 2013. 

Following the outrage, there has been a widely supported campaign aimed at honouring and respecting the victim.
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April 26, 2013

2013 UEFA Under-21 EURO - Referees

The UEFA Referees Committee has appointed the following six neutral referees, eight neutral assistant referees, eight neutral additional assistant referees and one fourth official for the final round of the European Under-21 Championship taking place in Israel from 5 to 18 June 2013. 

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April 25, 2013

Crucial situations in BVB - Real

Björn Kuipers and company have flown the flag for the Netherlands in this UEFA Champions League season having performed very well in each of their match. Also last night, their decisions contributed to a nice piece of football in Dortmund's Westfalenstadion and should be therefore acknowledged in the following.

Scene 1: Missed penalty to Dortmund? No! (42nd minute)

Dortmund's aspiring forward Reus strived for the goal and felt a contact with Real's youngster Varane. As you can see in the second screenshot, the incident occurred at the edge of the box, but slightly inside. Thus, Kuipers had three options: awarding a penalty kick, cautioning Reus for simulation or doing nothing - the last thing was what he did, and the Dutchman was fully right. As the second screenshot unveils, it was Reus who undeliberately provoked the contact by slightly touching Varane's leg. The defender's behaviour was passive and fair. Kuipers adjusted his positioning and took a good and important call.

Scene 2: Was Dortmund's 2:1 goal offside? (50th minute)

Obviously, Lewandowski (the yellow striker closest to the goalline) was level with the last defender, as parts with whom you may not score a goal (i.e. hand and arm) are not to be considered when referring to offside. Brilliantly seen by Erwin Zeinstra (AR2), also when you keep in mind that only 0,5 seconds later, Lewandowski was in offside for approximately half a metre.

Scene 3: Penalty given to Dortmund (67th minute)

So easy and soft this penalty might have looked, so correct it was. Xabi Alonso knocked down Marco Reus from behind without any chance to get the ball. It was a too clumsy tackle, which is also emphasized by the Real player's slightly carted out arm. Kuipers took this decision very swiftly, probably on his own, although AR2 and AAR2 surely had nothing to contradict here.

Scene 4: Reus' offside position appearing free in front of the goal (77th minute)

Very tough decision to take for Zeinstra. One can only suspect that Reus' upper body was slightly offside, although the replay is not the best, since it was stopped a bit too late by the directors.

All in all, a very good performance by the whole Dutch team, which is relieving considering the past weeks and months. The officials involved were Björn Kuipers, Sander van Roekel, Erwin Zeinstra, Pol van Boekel, Richard Liesveld and Berry Simons.
Their performance will be dealt with in a more detailed way in our referee observer's report soon.
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April 24, 2013

Crucial situations in Bayern - Barcelona or "Now we see less"

Although the final result of 4:0 might arouse the impression of an easy-going match for the Hungarian officiating team headed by Viktor Kassai, Bayern - Barcelona was one of the toughest matches of the entire K.O. stage with regards to debatable, crucial situations. Unfortunately, the match officials had a bad evening and performed in a quite weak way, allowing at least two illegal goals scored by the Germans.

Viktor Kassai (c) tz-online
Before exposing these incidents, it must be said that György Ring was replaced by Gábor Erös as assistant referee due to a near-term injury. Thus, the officials that were involved are:
Referee: Viktor Kassai (HUN), Assistant Referee 1 (AR1): Robert Kispál (HUN), Assistant Referee 2 (AR2): Gábor Erös (HUN), Additional Assistant Referee 1 (AAR1): Tamás Bognar (HUN), Additional Assistant Referee 2 (AAR2): Mihaly Fabián (HUN), Fourth Official: György Ring.

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April 23, 2013

Královec and Mažić are awarded Europa League semifinal honour

UEFA has nominated Pavel Královec of Czech Republic and Milorad Mažić of Serbia to take control over this week's first legs of Europa League's semifinals. While Elite referee Královec will take charge of Basel - Chelsea FC under the eyes of referee committee member Herbert Fandel from Germany, Mažić, who is considered to be promoted to the highest referee category in June, will attend Istanbul to oversee the duel between Fenerbahçe and Benfica SL.

(c) Mozzartsport.com

25 April 2013, 21:05 CET
St. Jakob-Park, Basel, Switzerland
FC Basel - Chelsea FC
Referee: Pavel Královec (CZE)
Assistant Referee 1: Roman Slyško (SVK)
Assistant Referee 2: Martin Wilczek (CZE)
Additional Assistant Referee 1: Radek Příhoda (CZE)
Additional Assistant Referee 2: Michal Patak (CZE)
Fourth Official: Antonin Kordula (CZE)
UEFA Referee Observer: Herbert Fandel (GER)
UEFA Delegate: Sergio Di Cesare (ITA)

25 April 2013, 21:05 CET
Şükrü Saracoğlu Stadı, Istanbul, Turkey
Fenerbahçe - Benfica SL
Referee: Milorad Mažić (SRB, photo)
Assistant Referee 1: Milovan Ristić (SRB)
Assistant Referee 2: Igor Radojčić (SRB)
Additional Assistant Referee 1: Danilo Grujić (SRB)
Additional Assistant Referee 2: Miodrag Gogić (SRB)
Fourth Official: Dalibor Djurdjević (SRB)
UEFA Referee Observer: Terje Hauge (NOR)
UEFA Delegate: Harry Been (NED)
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April 22, 2013

Match Background: BVB - Real

The stadium
Dortmund's Signal Iduna Park, also known as Westfalenstadion, has been elected as the most beautiful football stadium of the world by the English magazine Times in 2009. The reasons for that are quite apparent: with more than 80.000 seats in regular national matches and about 66.000 spectators in international matches, an impressive atmosphere is ensured. Under the stars of the Champions League, the crowd frequently reveals to push their team, Borussia Dortmund, into amazing matches, as we have seen at the start of April when they beat Málaga in the last minutes of play. It is also famous for its "Southern Tribune", where approximately 25.000 fans may stand, who mostly provide an extra-ordinary start-up in important matches with elaborate choreos.
Dortmund was one of twelve stadiums of the 2006 FIFA World Cup, among others, Italy beat hosts Germany in the semifinals there to get the ticket for the World Cup final.
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Björn Kuipers to handle BVB - Real

Having been one of not many referees who were able to show a really convincing performance in the quarterfinals, Dutchman Björn Kuipers and his team have been assigned to take charge of Wednesday's UEFA Champions League semifinal clash between Borussia Dortmund and Real Madrid. Kuipers thus crowns his excellent season in both UEFA club competitions.

24 April 2013, 20:45 CET
(c) Murat Ilgaz
Signal Iduna Park, Dortmund, Germany
Borussia Dortmund - Real Madrid
Referee: Björn Kuipers (NED)
Assistant Referee 1: Sander van Roekel (NED)
Assistant Referee 2: Erwin Zeinstra (NED)
Additional Assistant Referee 1: Pol van Boekel (NED)
Additional Assistant Referee 2: Richard Liesveld (NED)
Fourth Official: Berry Simons (NED)
UEFA Referee Observer: Hugh Dallas (SCO)
UEFA Delegate: Petr Fousek (CZE)
UEFA Referee Liaison Officer: Günter Risse (GER)
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April 21, 2013

Match Background: Bayern München - FC Barcelona

The stadium
(c) Ligatotal.de
Completed and opened in 2005, Munich's Allianz Arena is currently counting to the most advanced and elitest football stadiums in entire Europe. Offering 68.000 seats in international matches - 3.000 less than in normal Bundesliga matches of their co-owners Bayern München - it is furthermore the third biggest German football arena. 
Despite its temporally considered quite small history, Allianz Arena was already the showplace of multiple events where huge teams have achieved great glory, among others, when Chelsea FC beat Bayern München in 2012 Champions League final or when Portugal were defeated by France in 2006 World Cup semifinal. Additionally, this tournament's opener match was held in Munich (Germany - Costa Rica).

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Viktor Kassai appointed for Bayern - Barcelona bout

It is Viktor Kassai of Hungary who will have the honour to take charge of the UEFA Champions League semifinal first leg between Bayern München and FC Barcelona, as the European football union has revealed today.

(c) Murat Ilgaz
23 April 2013, 20:45 CET
Allianz Arena, München, Germany
FC Bayern München - FC Barcelona
Referee: Viktor Kassai (HUN)
Assistant Referee 1: Robert Kispál (HUN)
Assistant Referee 2: Gábor Erös (HUN)*
Additional Assistant Referee 1: Tamás Bognar (HUN)
Additional Assistant Referee 2: Mihaly Fabián (HUN)
Fourth Official: György Ring (HUN)*
UEFA Referee Observer: Bertrand Layec (FRA)
UEFA Delegate: Jim Stjerne Hansen (DEN)
UEFA Referee Liaison Officer: Josef Maier (GER)

*György Ring has been replaced by Gábor Erös as assistant referee.
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April 20, 2013

Five Points for more FAIRPLAY - Part 1: Simulation

Throughout the time that has passed since the implementation of this blog, we have perceived several developments and grievances in modern top-class football, which adversely affect the principle of fair play that is to be considered as the most desirable way how football should be played.  We, the administrators of the blogs Árbitro Internacional and The Third Team, are therefore going to present a five-point plan for more fair play during the next days and weeks, starting today with part I. focusing on simulation. 

I. Redefine and Combat Simulation

As the Laws of the Game define, simulation must be grasped as the "attempt to deceive the referee by feigning injury or pretending to have been fouled". According to Law 12, this sort of infringement must be cautioned with a yellow card. Simulation must be considered as a display of a lack of respect for the referee, opposing players and the game itself. For this reason, we strongly underline Pierluigi Collina's known statement on that issue having declared diving as cancer in football.  
In almost every football match, specially on the highest level in competitions like World Cups or UEFA Champions League, there are players who are guilty of exactly that, who fall either without contact or in an exaggerated manner, simulate injuries to waste time or compel the attention of the referee and other players by indirectly forcing them to stop play, even in situations that could have been promising for the opposing team. Referees face a more and more difficult task in detecting these infringements due to the immensely growing pace of matches at the highest level, but also due to the rapidly increasing skills with which these players execute their dives.

Besides preventive enlightenment, the only means to cope with this "cancer" is to "kill" it, to render it harmless and to protect the "patient", football, in a long term fashion. That requires a stricter and more consistent dealing with that on the pitch and off the pitch. The first step should be basically to enhance identifying clear dives as such by not just letting the play go on but by more frequently cautioning these offences with yellow cards. A paramount example of that is shown here. Some kind of behaviour that is typical of simulation may help match officials in its recognition, e.g. widely outstretched arms when falling in a vaulted, bent way, or the attempt to immediately establish eye-contact with the referee to make him clear "Hey, I was fouled!". Referees must be prepared that some decisions could go wrong or might appear as exaggerated though.

Wilmar Roldán issuing a yellow card for diving (c) Blick

Special attention should be paid to 1vs1 duels between strikers and goalkeepers. It is happening too often that strikers too easily gain penalty kicks by abusing the goalkeeper’s dilemma – on the one hand they must take the risk to cause a contact with the striker, on the other hand they often cannot escape a contact due to mere physical reasons. Even in remarkably relevant matches such as the World Cup qualifier between France and Spain, some strikers target at provoking, at seeking these contacts also by starting to “fall into the goalkeeper” (frequently described as “conning”) before they are touched by him at all. In such cases, the goalkeeper often is the victim and not the striker. A basic key to identify this sort of simulation is the temporal difference between the moment of the fall and the contact with the goalkeeper. Many players moreover tend to curve goalkeepers, slightly move away from the goal and make a contact with the ball shortly before a possible contact with him - in many cases, they would never have been able to reach this ball if they had not been "fouled" by the goalkeeper...
More courage and consistency are needed to caution these offenders also for this kind of simulation with yellow cards, although it might first and sometimes look like a wrong decision and naturally also criticized as such. 

So the Laws of the Game should be redefined in terms of simulation from our point of view. Thus, it could and should be redefined as the "cautionable attempt to deceive the referee by feigning injury, pretending to have been fouled by purposely seeking contact with opposing players, specially with goalkeepers." It must be clear, too, that this demand does not equate an entire amnesty for goalkeepers who obviously try to foul strikers e.g. to impede a goal.
While there are voices who propose red cards as the punishment for simulation, we fear that – in this case – by far less cases of simulation would be whistled as such by the referee due to the enormous impact on a match the referee is naturally aware of, too. At the same time, we put forward the demand to issue post-match suspensions inflicted by the federations’ arbitral courts, as soon as simulation, which is undoubtfully proven, has had a decisive influence on a match, e.g. by provoking a wrong sending-off against an opponent or by gaining a penalty kick with the aid of simulation. This could obtain a long term, deterrent virtue on players.
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April 17, 2013

Liany could face problems after conflict with player

Israel's football association contemplates to issue a sanction against match official Liran Liany, UEFA First Group referee, for having got confrontational with Maccabi Haifa player Yadin.

Yadin and Liany (c) Marca.com
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April 16, 2013

Referee Observers for UEFA CL and EL Semifinals

These are the UEFA referee observers for the matches of the round of the last four, the semifinals of UEFA Champions League and UEFA Europa League.

Bertrand Layec will observe Bayern - FC Barcelona (c) L'équipe
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April 13, 2013

Predicting Promotions and Demotions in UEFA's Referee Categories

In June 2013, UEFA's referee committee members will accomplish the biannual modification of their referee category system. Some Elite Development Group referees may get their hopes up to advance to the highest category in June, i.e. the Elite Group. At the same time, many of them could potentially face a demotion to First Group. A few thoughts on that are issued in the following, since the decisive stages of UEFA's club competitions, Champions League and Europa League, are already completed.

Polish official Pawel Gil (c) ZIMBIO
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April 11, 2013

2013 UEFA Under-17 EURO Slovakia - Referees

UEFA has unveiled the sixteen match officials who will take charge of this year's edition of UEFA Under-17 European Championship. The competition is to be played in Slovakia from 5 to 17 May 2013.

Dutch referee Serdar Gözübüyük (c) ZIMBIO
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April 10, 2013

Offside goals in Borussia Dortmund - Málaga CF

The performance of the Scottish refereeing team headed by Craig Thomson in yesterday's quaint tie between Borussia Dortmund and Málaga CF is currently subject to immense criticism also heated by an official complaint lodged by the Spanish side. 

Besides some errors typical of every referee performance, the assistant referees' performances were characterized by two crucial mistakes with a severe impact on the course and resulst of the entire match. Both AR1 Derek Rose as well as AR2 Alasdair Ross thus failed to disallow one goal of each team in the last minutes of play. These decisions should be exposed in the following to make them clearer despite the already led discussions in the comments underneath the respective thread.

After a simple turnover in the midfield, Spanish talent Isco passed the ball to Julio Baptista who appeared free in front of BVB goalkeeper Weidenfeller. A mixture of a pass and a shot was taken and Eliseu only had to slide the ball home. But exactly this player, Eliseu, was in an offside position (approximately 30-50 cm) missed by AR1 Derek Rose due to suboptimal positioning:

Derek Rose failed to gain an optimum position by 2,1 metres
Dortmund did not really recover from this (illegal) goal and they had to wait until the 90th minute, then, they finally scored the equalizing goal and took fresh heart from it. In the second/third minute of the additional time, Dortmund managed the miracle and turned the original defeat into a 3:2 win. But also here, the goal should not have counted. AR2 Alasdair Ross even missed two offside positions in this situation:

Schieber (the upper yellow player) was offside when #9 played the ball

Santana was positioned irregularly as well
While the first missed offside position may be accepted as a normal error of perception, the second one is tremendously grave: Ross surely was positioned half a metre away from the goalline and nonetheless failed to detect Santana's clear offside position. The goalkeeper (red kit) took the role of the 2nd last defender in that moment so that Santana's position became illegal. Even the second additional assistant referee Kevin Clancy could have noticed that, while it must be clear that it was the assistant referee's area of responsibility.
One may presume that Ross did not raise the flag either due to the dynamic pace and extra-ordinary nature of this situation or due to the fact that the crowd behind and besides him was heated in a way which produced a pressure he was unable to cope with by losing his mental alertness and concentration.

It does not justify anything, but in the end, it was kind of equal injustice football as a game can sometimes benefit from.
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Málaga CF have started attack on UEFA and Thomson

Spanish club Málaga CF launched an astonishing attack on UEFA and the Scottish whistler following their controversial Champions League loss against Borussia Dortmund, who scored a late winning goal from an offside position in the third minute of stoppage time. 

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April 9, 2013

UEFA controverts alleged punishment against Stark

According to a report of the publicly governed Catalan TV3 channel, the complaint lodged by FC Barcelona against German match official Wolfgang Stark for being unaware of the Laws of the Game has been accepted and confirmed by UEFA. Europe's football governing body has controverted every form of a punishment issued against the German though.

Red Card to Wolfgang Stark? (c) Weltonline
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UEFA Europa League Quarterfinals - Second Legs - Referees

Fırat Aydınus of Turkey, Ivan Bebek from Croatia, Portugal's Olegário Benquerença and Pavel Královec of Czech Republic have been assigned to take charge of Thursday's UEFA Europa League quarterfinals second legs.

Fırat Aydınus (TUR) in charge of Rubin - Chelsea (c) ZIMBIO

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April 7, 2013

Lannoy, Thomson, Velasco and Kuipers to manage Champions League quarterfinals second legs

UEFA has released the appointments for the two first quarterfinals' second legs to be played between Borussia Dortmund and Málaga CF (refereed by Craig Thomson) as well as between Galatasaray and Real Madrid (refereed by Stéphane Lannoy). In addition, according to reliable sources, Carlos Velasco Carballo of Spain will handle the second leg of Juventus Turin - Bayern München.

Stéphane Lannoy to attend his first CL game of the season (c) ZIMBIO

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April 3, 2013

Stark failed to regularly deal with injured Barça players

Following last night's UEFA Champions League match between Paris Saint-Germain and FC Barcelona, team responsibles of both involved clubs have voiced public criticism at the German officiating team headed by experienced referee Wolfgang Stark.

fr.r.: Zwayer, Stark faced criticism after the final whistle (c) kicker.de
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April 2, 2013

UEFA Europa League Quarterfinals (I): Collum, Gautier, Mažić and Rocchi have the honour

UEFA has revealed the four referee appointments for the first legs of UEFA Europa League quarterfinals in the season 2012/13.

Observed by Collina: Milorad Mažić (SRB) (c) Elárbitrodefutból

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