UEFA Europa League Referee Appointments – May 9, 2019
May 7, 2019
May 9, 2019 – Estadio Mestalla Valencia CF (ESP) vs Arsenal FC (ENG) – Semifinal, 2nd Leg REF: Danny Makkelie (NED) AR1: Mario Diks (NED) AR2: Hessel Steegstra (NED) 4TH: Sergey Karasev (RUS) AAR1: Dennis Higler (NED) AAR2: Jochem Kamphuis (NED)
A first European semifinal for Danny Makkelie, and a thoroughly well-deserved one at that. The Dutchman has been one of FIFA and UEFA’s go-to names in the VAR booth, but, in my opinion, his on-field abilities are also rapidly becoming some of Europe’s finest. At 36 years old, this certainly won’t be his last assignment in the semifinals of a major tournament.
May 9, 2019 – Stamford Bridge Chelsea FC (ENG) vs Eintracht Frankfurt (GER) – Semifinal, 2nd Leg REF: Ovidiu Hațegan (ROU) AR1: Octavian Șovre (ROU) AR2: Sebastian Gheorghe (ROU) 4TH: Pavel Královec (CZE) AAR1: Radu Petrescu (ROU) AAR2: Sebastian Colțescu (ROU)
Following a bit of a dip in form last year, Hațegan has bounced back in the 2018-19 season, and is rewarded with the finely-poised second leg at Stamford Bridge. As a Chelsea fan, I would have preferred Makkelie, as I think he’s the better referee, but Hațegan is a good official in his own right and certainly merits the appointment. Interestingly, he is the only of the four Europa League semifinal referees to have not refereed a Champions League knockout stage match this year, although it seems that has more to do with a lack of VAR experience than anything else.
So, after Thursday’s semifinals are played, only two European matches will remain in the 2018-19 season: the Europa League Final on May 29 and the Champions League Final on June 1. If last year’s timeline is any indication, I expect that UEFA will announce the referees for these matches early next week. This weekend, you can expect a comprehensive post featuring my predictions for the two final refs, which, the way the assignments have been going, I’m quite confident about. In the meantime, go Chelsea!