A referee is probably the less talked about and most important person in a football match. If he made a mistake, then everyone will talk about it for decades, but in return, for leading a flawless game, he gets very less appreciation.
If you are a football fan, then it’s very important to learn about the referee. Why? Cause the structure of the game depends so much on the referee.
Here is the list of Best FIFA Referees of FIFA from 2002-2022.
|1. Pierluigi Collina||Italy||1990- 2005|
|2. Anders Frisk||Swedish||1978- 2005|
|3. Horacio Elizondo||Argentina||1992- 2006|
|4. Ľuboš Micheľ||Czechoslovakia||N/A- 2008|
|5. Howard Webb||England||1993- 2014|
|6. Óscar Ruiz||Colombia||1995- 2011|
|7. Svein Oddvar Moen||Norway||1995- Present|
|8. Nicola Rizzoli||Italy||1998- 2017|
|9. Björn Kuipers||Netherlands||2002- 2021|
|10. Néstor Pitana||Argentina||2010- Present|
|11. Antonio Mateu Lahoz||Spain||1999- Present|
|12. Stéphanie Frappart||France||2011- Present|
1. Pierluigi Collina
• 1990- 2005
Pierluigi Collina is considered the godfather of the referee. He won the best referee of the year title for six conservative years. He retired from international football in 2005. Collina is still active with football. He works as an unpaid consultant for the Italian Football Referees Association, and Collina is the head of Referees for the Football Federation Of Ukraine.
Collina refereed for so many matches, his most notable work would be the final match of the 2002 world cup. He was involved in the video assistant referee system in the 2018 world cup.
2. Anders Frisk
• Career: 1978- 2005
Anders frisk is one of the most controversial referees as well as the most talented too. He went to retirement early age as the Frisk family received death threats. It happened in 2005 when he refereed the Chelsea vs Barcelona match. In that match, Frisk sent off Didier Drogba as he Drogba received cautions two times.
Chelsea’s coach José Mourinho raised false accusations against Frisk. Mourinho said that Frisk invited Barca’s coach into his room at the half time, which turned out to be misinformation. After leaving football, Frisk started work as an insurance agent.
3. Horacio Elizondo
• Career: 1992- 2006
Horacio Elizondo will always be on top of the list of the best referee from 2002 to 2022. He has given so much to Argentina football and his contributions to the international field in unforgettable.
The man started his refereeing career in 1992 with the match of Deportivo Español vs Belgrano De Córdoba. Two years later Elizondo started playing in the international field. His first international match took place in 1996- Ecuador vs Colombia. It was the qualification match for the 1998 world cup.
International Federation of Football History and Statistics prepares world referee raking, in 2006 they named Elizondo the number ranked.
4. Ľuboš Micheľ
• Career- N/A- 2008
Ľuboš Micheľ is probably one of the most interesting referees on our list. Before starting a career as a FIFA referee, he was the manager of a car tire factory, and before that he was a teacher.
Michel refereed in many UEFA Champions matches. He was selected for the 2003 UEFA Champions final match between Porto and Celtic. In the 2008 UEFA Champions final, Michel was called again. In that event, he became the second referee to give a red card in the UEFA final.
After 2008, Michel was inactive in international refereeing. In 2022, Michel ran for the mayor post of Prešov, though he lost.
5. Howard Webb
• Career: 1993- 2014
Howard Webb refereed for so many years. His journey started in 1993 as an assistant referee of Northern Counties East. Webb debuted in Primary League in 1998. He was an assistant referee back then. In 2003 he became the main referee. Just after one year, Webb’s international refereeing career started to roll.
Webb was the first referee to hold the UEFA Champions final and FIFA final in the same year in 2010. In 2014, he announced his retirement and became the technical director of the Professional Game Match Officials Board.
6. Óscar Ruiz
• Career: 1995- 2011
Óscar Ruiz from Colombia is a very well referee and a lawyer too. He is a man of law. Ruiz is considered to be one of the sharpest referees of all time. On 1 January 1995, Ruiz began his referee career, and six months later in July, he started his international career. Ruiz was active since 2011.
Ruiz supervised three World Cups in his career- 2002, 2006, and 2010. He was preselected for the 2010 world cup. Ruiz is now working as the referee instructor and member of CONMEBOL’s referee assistance program appointed by FIFA.
7. Svein Oddvar Moen
• Career: 1995- Present
Svein Oddvar Moen is one the best referee from Norway. His career started in 1995, and he is still on the run. Moen refereed in the domestic field for a long time before joining the premier and international regions. His first Premier League match took place in 2003, and two years later, he joined the international field.
Moen is famous for supervising the UEFA Champions League quarter-final matches. He was in charge of the Olympique de Marseille vs Bayern Munich’s quarterfinal match in 2012. Next year Moen supervised the quarterfinal match of Real Madrid vs Galatasaray.
8. Nicola Rizzoli
• Career: 1998- 2017
Nicola Rizzoli is most famous for supervising the 2014 world cup final between Germany vs Argentina. His career began with Series C in 1998. In 2007 he was enlisted in the FIFA referee list. In 2013, Rizzoli refereed for the UEFA Champions final between Bayern Munich vs Borussia Dortmund.
Ruzzi continuously won AIC Serie A Referee of the Year Awards for seven years. He was among the five best referees of the 21st century, the list was made by Soccer 360.
9. Björn Kuipers
• Career: 2002- 2021
Björn Kuipers refereed in two world cup events- 2014 and 2018. He was in charge of a total of 7 seven matches in the World Cup, including the quarterfinal. Kuipers was inspired to be a referee by his father, as his father was a referee and instructor.
From 2009 to 2021, Kuipers was listed as the elite referee of the UEFA Championship. And he worked as an international referee from 2006 to 2010.
Kuipers is a successful businessman, too. He owns multiple supermarkets.
10. Néstor Pitana
• Career: 2010- Present
Néstor Pitana is mostly famous for refereeing the 2018 world cup match France vs Croatia. He was also the referee of the opening match of the 2018 world cup which took place between Russia and Saudi Arabia.
Though Pitana is famous for the final match, it has so many conservatives for using VAR. France’s second goal came from a penalty that Pitana offered after a lengthy deliberation when VAR suggested him. This is called incorrect interruption of rules. He is a very famous face in Copa America too. Before coming to football, Pitana worked as an actor.
11. Antonio Mateu Lahoz
• Career: 1999- Present
Antonio Mateu Lahoz is the name of terror to all players. A game under the observation of Lahoz means the game of yellow cards. Players seating on the bench, and even the coach gets yellow cards in his match.
Lahoz will referee the 2022 Qatar World Cup final match. He refereed the quarterfinal game between Argentina and Netherlands and showed 18 yellow cards which is a record in a World cup match.
In 2021, Lahoz supervised the UEFA Champions final match between Chelsea and Manchester City.
12. Stéphanie Frappart
• Career: 2011- Present
Frappart had a huge passion for football since childhood and started refereeing at the age of 13. When she was 18, she was refereeing for the national u19 games.
Frappart is the first woman who referees a major men’s European match and a French Ligue 1 match. In 2020, UEFA Champions League appointed Frappart to supervise champions league matches. In 2022, Frappart refereed Germany vs Costa Rica match and became the first woman to officiate a men’s World Cup match.
That was everything about the FIFA referee from 2002 to 2022. The world cup 2022 is quite different for all referees as the technology has developed a lot. Referees can now make the fastest and error-free decisions, especially in the case of offside.