UEFA Futsal Euro 2018 Qualifiers (Preliminary Round)

24 January - 2 February 2017

Group A
Viktor Bugenko (MDA)
Swen Eichler (GER, photo)
Yusif Nurullayev (AZE)
Patrik Porkert (AUT)

Group B
Balázs Farkas (HUN)
Igor Puzović (BIH)
Andrej Topić (CRO)
Stefan Vrijens (BEL)

Group C
Michael Christofides (CYP)
Maksim Dzeikala (BLR)
Omar Rafiq (NOR)
Barry Weijers (NED)

Group D
Josip Barton (MKD)
Hennadiy Hora (UKR)
Damian Jaruchiewicz (POL)
Grigori Ošomkov (EST)

Group E
Moshe Bohbot (ISR)
Daniel Deca (ROU)
Gerard Roure (AND)
Aleksandras Sliva (LTU)

Birkett’s futsal breakthrough

English referee Marc Birkett explains how, with UEFA's backing, he has gone from refereeing in an amateur domestic futsal league to handling the biggest games in the sport. In February, Birkett officiated at the UEFA Futsal EURO 2014 final in Antwerp, less than 18 months on from a similar honour at the FIFA Futsal World Cup in Bangkok – not bad, coming from a country with no professional league.
While most referees at the European finals hailed from established nations like Spain, Portugal, Italy and Russia, Birkett was also joined by Gerald Bauernfeind from Austria, who have never played a competitive futsal fixture. But then, just as more countries are coming into the futsal fold on the pitch, UEFA is making sure that referees from across Europe get their chance at the top level too. Birkett, who will also referee at the 2014 UEFA Futsal Cup finals, made his major tournament debut at UEFA Futsal EURO 2012 in Croatia, and told UEFA.com: "Going into the EURO in Croatia for me, at the level that we operate in English futsal, was quite a big step up. But I had quite a good grounding, a few years with a FIFA badge and within UEFA, to be confident of delivering the games. To be selected to go to the World Cup the same year was unbelievable for me, a dream come true. To do some of the games with the different countries and the different styles of futsal was hugely rewarding, and then refereeing the final was a huge honour." Still, he added: "The step-up is huge. To put it in an English football context, it's probably [going] from refereeing on parks and local football to refereeing in the Premier League. It's those kind of extremes. It's something you get used to over time with experience of international competition. When you are in a group surrounded by Italian, Spanish and Portuguese referees, who have refereed at the top level, bouncing off them and being accepted into that group [makes it] a little bit easier now to step up. The emotions are different, the standard of play is different but the experience says you can deal with that."
Pedro Galán Nieto, once a leading international referee from Spain and now a UEFA instructor, confirms that giving officials like Birkett such an opportunity is a priority – and a challenge. "This is the most difficult thing from our side. Some of these referees don't have a strong or even a professional league in their own countries. It is difficult for them to come to a big tournament like this and deal with not only the technical part on the pitch but also the atmosphere and the responsibility of refereeing. So we create courses and give them educational material to give them support technically, psychologically and mentally."
Birkett, a football referee at semi-professional level until deciding to concentrate on futsal, added: "It is really positive that UEFA encourages developing nations to take part, and to have that equal opportunity, so it is not just a closed shop in terms of the more established futsal nations. I also think it is credit to the English refereeing system. It is quite comprehensive and challenging to go through the English pathway; that tailors yourself to be a better match official all round, so when you take the step up your refereeing skill set is there". 

Source: UEFA

UEFA Futsal Cup Finals 2014

Baku, 24-26 April 2014

1. Marc Birkett (ENG, 1981)
2. Eduardo Fernandes (POR, 1979)
3. Alessandro Malfer (ITA, 1975, photo)
4. Borut Sivic (SVN, 1971)

Dynamo  Barcelona
Referee 1: Eduardo Fernandes (POR)
Referee 2: Alessandro Malfer (ITA)

Futsal Euro final referees selected

The UEFA Futsal Euro 2014 final on Saturday between Italy and Russia will be officiated by Fernando Gutiérrez Lumbreras (ESP) and Saša Tomić (CRO), with Marc Birkett (ENG) acting as third referee and Timo Onatsu (FIN) the timekeeper. Though their bid for a fifth successive continental title was ended in the last four by Russia, Spain will be represented in the Sportpaleis showpiece, kick-off 20.30CET, by Gutiérrez Lumbreras. The 43-year-old, like his Croatian counterpart Tomić, has overseen three matches in Antwerp, including the tournament opener between Russia and the Netherlands. Tomić, 38, and Gutiérrez Lumbreras – who has been on duty at one previous Futsal Euro and was among UEFA's ten officials at the 2012 FIFA Futsal World Cup in Thailand – took time out of their busy schedule to discuss their experience in Belgium and what it means to have been given such a prestigious appointment.
UEFA.com: Congratulations, how does it feel to have been selected to oversee the final?
Fernando Gutiérrez Lumbreras: It's very, very good. It's an honour for me to be a referee for this match because on many occasions my national team have been in the final. 
Saša Tomić: It's a good feeling, it's my first Euro. Yesterday I had a good match, a classic, between Russia and Spain [4-3]. During the tournament I have been focused for every game and it's a great feeling.
UEFA.com: Where will this rank in your refereeing career?
Gutiérrez Lumbreras: Three years ago I refereed in the [UEFA Futsal Cup] final four in Kazakhstan, where there was no Spanish side, but on a national-team level it's the most important match for me. I'm very happy.
Tomić: It's at the top. I've been a FIFA referee since 2009 and this is the biggest event for me. I'm very proud to be here and to referee the final. It has been my dream.
UEFA.com: How much have you enjoyed the experience of being in Belgium?
Gutiérrez Lumbreras: The most important thing has been the hospitality of the people. I've been very happy with Saša too. We've been together in the same hall, same hotel, experiencing some of the same emotions and matches. It has been very good for us, both on the pitch and off it. 
Tomić: We've had a nice time, everything has been excellent. The hospitality – the hotel, the food – has been nice. The Lotto Arena and Sportpaleis are great halls. Everything has been good. 
UEFA.com: How important is it going into the final that you worked together previously during this tournament, for the Ukraine v Belgium fixture in the group stage? 
Gutiérrez Lumbreras: I'm very pleased to whistle with Saša – the level of our refereeing is similar. Both teams had a chance to qualify in that match. It was challenging and, though there were no goals, it was very good for us. We had no problems, it was perfect. 
Tomić: Yes, of course. It was a decisive match that ended 0-0. I had a very good feeling refereeing with Fernando and I'm happy we'll work together tomorrow. I'm relaxed and focused. 
UEFA.com: What would represent the ideal game for you and your colleagues on Saturday? 
Gutiérrez Lumbreras: The best thing would be if the referee was more or less 'invisible'. I hope next year nobody remembers anything special about the referees. I understand we are in charge of the final, but for futsal people it would better if they do not remember who the referees were. 
Tomić: I hope to see a good game with many goals, but the most important thing for me is fair play and respect. 

Source: UEFA

Referees working hard at Futsal Euro 2014

The first week of UEFA Futsal Euro 2014 in Antwerp has been hectic for everyone involved – not least the referees. "I've been very busy in this championship; up to Sunday I'll have had five games [in six days]," English official Marc Birkett told UEFA.com. "I've had one day off since arriving, so it has been quite demanding. Physically for the games but mentally to get yourself up to whistle the games then drop yourself down a bit to be third referee on the table, but then all those roles and responsibilities change. So to move between the roles without having a day to switch off in between has been quite challenging but equally enjoyable".
Birkett is one of 16 referees from as many nations at this tournament, overseen by four instructors, themselves former top international officials. "The tournament so far has been a really good experience," said Birkett, who also refereed at UEFA Futsal Euro 2012 in Croatia and officiated at the FIFA Futsal World Cup final in Bangkok later that year. "We've had some very good games, some very challenging games. The organisation has been very good, the halls are spectacular and the show UEFA has been putting on for us has been brilliant. Staying together on a floor at the tournament hotel, Birkett says of the referees' set-up: "To be in a camp is good because we are bouncing off each other all the time. We have the opportunity to relax with our colleagues and the chance to talk about the games, but also talk about other things as well. To get to know our colleagues a little bit more as people. What they try to do here with the training programmes and technical meeting, we're engaged as a group from first thing in the morning all the way through the day, including the games. Our training's been specially designed for us as futsal referees to maximise our efforts in the game. Not just physical preparation but mental preparation as well, which has most definitely helped us, leading into hopefully being more successful on the pitch".
An innovation in Antwerp has been pre-tournament meetings between the referee instructors and the teams, something common in UEFA football tournaments in recent years but a first for futsal. Instructor Pedro Galan Nieto of Spain explained: "We wanted them to know that in November UEFA organised a course with these referees in Belgium just to unify the criteria or the futsal laws. And the same instructions we gave to the referees, we gave to the teams."
Birkett added: "That definitely helps and helps build relationships between the refereeing family and the playing family. Futsal is more of a family anyway and we are all here to learn off each other to take the game to where we want it to go". 

Source: UEFA

World’s Best Futsal Referee 2013: Gutierrez (ESP)

Fernando Gutierrez Lumbreras (Spain) has been voted by AGLA/Futsal Planet the World’s Best Futsal Referee in 2013. This is his second award after last year’s recognition.
Gutierrez Lumbreras started his refereeing career in 1986 and ten years later had his debut in the National Futsal League of Spain. In January 2006 he received his FIFA badge. In Spain he has refereed the finals of major competitions: League, Cup of Spain, Copa Del Rey and Supercopa, while internationally has participated in the 2012 FIFA World Cup, Euro 2012 and 2014, as well as UEFA Futsal Cup. In Spain, he has been chosen five times as the best referee of the National Futsal League.

UEFA Futsal Euro 2014

Belgium, 28 January - 8 February 2014

1. Gerald Bauernfeind (AUT, 1981, photo)
2. Marc Birkett (ENG, 1978)
3. Ondrej Cerny (CZE, 1979)
4. Kamil Cetin (TUR, 1984)
5. Balazs Farkas (HUN, 1975)
6. Eduardo Fernandes Coelho (POR, 1979)
7. Fernando Gutierrez Lumbreras (ESP, 1971)
8. Oleg Ivanov (UKR, 1972)
9. Pascal Lemal (BEL, 1972)
10. Alessandro Malfer (ITA, 1975)
11. Timo Onatsu (FIN, 1973)
12. Ivan Shabanov (RUS, 1978)
13. Borut Sivic (SVN, 1971)
14. Bogdan Sorescu (ROU, 1974)
15. Sebastien Stawicki (POL, 1975)
16. Sasa Tomic (CRO, 1975)

UEFA Futsal Referees Course 2013

Europe's top futsal referees have been in the Belgian city of Ghent to prepare for upcoming assignments and receive invaluable expert advice on taking charge of games in future competitions. The 7th UEFA Course for European International Futsal Referees saw UEFA Referees Committee members and fitness instructors providing the match officials with high-level guidance in both discussions and fitness sessions. The course served as a selection process for UEFA Futsal EURO 2014 in Antwerp, Belgium, in January and February. Thirty-one UEFA referees travelled to Ghent along with two referees from the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) as part of an exchange program.
"UEFA is giving increasing support to futsal," said Referees Committee member Kyros Vassaras. "It is a sport which is getting very popular in Europe, and we need top referees. The course in Ghent featured training sessions and highlighted the different qualities required by a futsal referee compared with refereeing the 11-a-side game. Vassaras explained that in futsal, it is necessary to be very fast to foresee what players are going to do. "The intention of a futsal player is to play very quickly, in order to get into a better position to score," he said, "and that means the referee has to be very alert and judge from a short distance, because the field of play is small. In futsal we have two referees and they can share responsibilities to take the best possible decision." UEFA's referee fitness expert Werner Helsen, a sports scientist responsible for physical preparation and evaluation, was on hand to lead the referees' training. "We are here to present up-to-date facts and figures regarding the physical demands of refereeing in futsal," he said, before stressing the increasing demands that futsal referees face. "We saw that in 2011, the number of sprints almost doubled – meaning games have become much more demanding." Helsen explained specific elements of the course in Ghent. "We do a weighing session, and we also measure body fat percentage. We want to show specific exercises to improve speed and agility, because these are very important. We also show the referees typical exercises for visual concentration. There is a big difference between futsal referee training and 11-a-side referee training," Helsen added, "but there is almost no difference with assistant referees. A futsal referee changes his activity every two seconds, standing to walking, walking to jogging, to sprinting, while an [11-a-side] football referee is only changing activity every four seconds. The [11-a-side] referee covers more distance on the pitch – a futsal referee covers the same distance as an assistant referee in 11-a-side football. This means the way that futsal referees have to practise is similar to [11-a-side] assistant referees." Helsen's work also involves helping to prevent the most common injuries which can strike futsal referees. "Futsal referees suffer two types of injuries – to the hamstrings and Achilles tendon. We are showing the referees exercises to strengthen hamstrings, while a specific exercise known as eccentric muscle training is useful for the Achilles, because futsal referees usually officiate on hard surfaces and there is the problem of impact on the ground."
UEFA Futsal Euro 2014 will take place from 28 January to 8 February with 11 qualifiers joining the hosts. It will be the first futsal final tournament held in Belgium.

Source: UEFA

UEFA Futsal Euro 2014 – Play-off

First Leg, 17 September 2013

Ukraine – Hungary
Referee 1: Danijel Janosevic (CRO, photo)
Referee 2: Sasa Tomic (CRO)

Slovakia – Croatia
Referee 1: Bogdan Sorescu (ROU)
Referee 2: Gabriel Gherman (ROU)

Romania – Serbia
Referee 1: Oleg Ivanov (UKR)
Referee 2: Sergey Drebuzhan (UKR)

Bosnia – Netherlands
Referee 1: Karel Henych (CZE)
Referee 2: Ondrej Cerny (CZE)

Second Leg, 24 September 2013

Hungary – Ukraine
Referee 1: Alessandro Malfer (ITA)
Referee 2: Angelo Galante (ITA)

Croatia – Slovakia
Referee 1: Eduardo Fernandes (POR)
Referee 2: Nuno Bogalho (POR)

Serbia – Romania
Referee 1: Pascal Lemal (BEL)
Referee 2: Gerd Bylois (BEL)

Netherlands – Bosnia
Referee 1: Fernando Gutierrez (ESP)
Referee 2: Roberto Marin (ESP)

UEFA Futsal Cup Finals 2013

Tbilisi, 26-28 April 2013


1. Ondrej Cerny (CZE, 1979)
2. Eduardo Fernandes (POR, 1979)
3. Oleg Ivanov (UKR, 1972)
4. Francesco Massini (ITA, 1969, photo)

Shota Khukhilava (GEO)

Referee Observer
Antonius Van Eekelen (NED)

Iberia – Dinamo
Referee 1: Oleg Ivanov (UKR)
Referee 2: Ondrej Cerny (CZE)

Kairat – Barcelona
Referee 1: Francesco Massini (ITA)
Referee 2: Eduardo Fernandes (POR)

Match for Third Place
Barcelona – Iberia
Referee 1: Ondrej Cerny (CZE)
Referee 2: Oleg Ivanov (UKR)

Kairat – Dinamo
Referee 1: Francesco Massini (ITA)
Referee 2: Eduardo Fernandes (POR)