June 7, 2016

EURO 2016 Referee Portrait: Nicola Rizzoli's Team from Italy


Full Name: Nicola Rizzoli
Nation: Italy
Residence: Bologna
Date of Birth: 05/10/1971
Age: 44
Occupation: Architect
Hobbies: Tennis, Volleyball, Photography, Reading
Referee since: 1988
International since: 2007
UEFA Elite Category since: 07/2009
Champions League Matches: 36
Europa League Matches: 13
International Matches (Total): 97
Yellow Card Average (Int.): 3,90 per match
2nd Yellow Card Average (Int.): 0,08 per match
Red Card Average (Int.): 0,02 per match
Domestic First Division Matches: 219
Biggest Achievements: UEFA Europa League 2010 Final, FIFA Club World Cup 2011 (Semifinal), UEFA EURO 2012 (Quarterfinal), UEFA Champions League 2013 Final, FIFA Under-20 World Cup 2013 (Quarterfinal), FIFA World Cup 2014 Final, selected for UEFA EURO 2016

 What you should know

With Nicola Rizzoli, there is a real referee star at the final tournament. His name is even known to most football fans which is certainly due to his big achievements like three major finals in the past, but also resulting from his high level of game understanding and reputation he savours among the players.

Back at EURO 2012, he was actually a candidate to referee the final. As Italy reached it having beaten Germany in the semifinals though, Portugal's Pedro Proença was chosen. In several interviews, Rizzoli strengthened that officiating a EURO Final is one of his last, big goals as a referee. He will have to do that without his usual Assistant Referees of former times (Faverani and Stefani) - and furthermore, his usual AAR1 Luca Banti suddenly announced his absence from EURO 2016 for private reasons.

Rizzoli was born in Mirandola and lives in Bologna. Thus, he is a member of the famous Bolognan "refereeing school" that also produced someone called Pierluigi Collina. Certainly, with the Italian heading the referee committee Rizzoli has another advantage compared to others - but even without that, he is a candidate for the really big games at practically every tournament.

Refereeing Style 

Game-Manager. Full focus on managing the game, empathically interacting with the players, keeping the match at a spectacular level and, above all, finishing the match with 22 players on the pitch. What is seen as simply elegant and excellent by many - in fact, Rizzoli is kind of idol for many of his international colleagues at a lower level - does not always meet the understanding of those who want to see the Laws of the Game as well as the players' safety protected. In their view, Rizzoli is simply not courageous enough to take unpopular, match-influencing decisions and therefore mostly chooses the most comfortable decision alternative. Personally, I cannot fully disagree with the latter - but this is obviously a question of taste.

His formula for success. Due to his game feeling and management abilities, he is the man for contributing to a football spectacle. UEFA will want such referees to handle matches that are in the spotlights of the media.

His Strengths*

1| Elegance, Personality, Refereeing Style, Approach.
2| Game Understanding, Management of the Game, Communication, Body Language.
3| Match Control, Acceptance.
4| Fitness, Stamina, Movement.
5| Co-operation with all teammates.

His Points for Improvement* 

1| Protect the players' safety, awareness for sending-off offences (SFP, VC)!
2| Application and Signalling of the Advantage Rule.
3| Positioning.
4| Finding the in-time moment for the first Yellow Card.
5| Card Presentation (whistle out of mouth...).

*based on our Referee Observation Reports since 2012

His Team

Assistant Referees

Assistant Referee 1: Elenito G. Di Liberatore
Nation: Italy
Residence: Francavilla al Mare
Date of Birth: 17/01/1973
Age: 43 yo
Occupation: Music Teacher / Musician
Hobbies: ---
International since: 2009
Champions League Matches: 23
Europa League Matches: 17
International Matches (Total): 78
Domestic First Division Matches: 174
Biggest Achievements: FIFA Olympic Games 2012 (Semifinal), FIFA Under-17 World Cup 2013 (Semifinal), selected for UEFA EURO 2016

Assistant Referee 2: Mauro Tonolini
Nation: Italy
Residence: Milan
Date of Birth: 30/03/1973
Age: 43 yo
Occupation: Bank Clerk
Hobbies: ---
International since: 2011
Champions League Matches: 21
Europa League Matches: 10
International Matches (Total): 66
Domestic First Division Matches: 167
Biggest Achievements: FIFA Under-20 World Cup 2015 (Semifinal), selected for UEFA EURO 2016

Additional Assistant Referees

Additional AR 1: Antonio Damato
Nation: Italy
Residence: Barletta
Date of Birth: 15/08/1972
Age: 43 yo
Matches as AAR: 50
International himself? Yes. (Second Group)

Additional AR 2: Daniele Orsato
Nation: Italy
Residence: Recoaro Terme
Date of Birth: 23/11/1975
Age: 40 yo
Matches as AAR: 16
International himself? Yes. (Elite Group)

Reserve Assistant Referee

Reserve AR: Gianluca Cariolato
Nation: Italy
Residence: Legnano
Date of Birth: 24/04/1972
Age: 44 yo

Chances at EURO 2016

At the moment, Rizzoli is certainly among the Top 3 Candidates to take charge of the EURO 2016 Final.

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  1. Rizzoli not possible in final because your season
    was bad.

  2. One question on Copa America Centenario: why fedorzuck has officiated Argentina-Chile ? He should be only reserve, while main referee from Uruguay should be Cunha

  3. Alberto you can not say that only for a episode in A.Madrid-Barcellona. World best referee in 2014 and 2015,obviusly is one of the favourites for the final; depends from performances in group stage and maybe in quarter final.

  4. Two questions:
    1) Do you think Rizzoli gets extra credit in UEFA by having an Elite Group AAR, versus someone like Eriksson who has a non-FIFA AAR?
    2) Do you reckon that Rizzoli lost credit after the 2014 Final, or do you think that he got a good evaluation? One FIFA instructor told me that he thought Neuer on Higuain should have been a Penalty (and YC/RC); if that is the official interpretation, then Rizzoli committed one crucial (indeed game-changing) mistake in the eyes of FIFA. Do you think that affects his chances?

    1. Emil i think that Neuer-Higuain wasn't a penalty, but only line out (no free kick for Germany ). So, Rizzoli for me is ok; this is last euro for him and maybe last year as International referee. Probably that for euro final Collina will appoint Rizzoli if the matches before will go well( in 2012 he was the candidate number 1). Otherwise i think that we'll see him in european supercup. Wait for other opinions

    2. I think having higher category AAR's helps in making accurate decisions in and around the penalty area as this is where more crucial decisions are made. As for the 2014 WC Final, there were two red cards missed, both to Germany (Neuer and Howedes) but what can the evaluator do other than to say he missed it. It was the final game of the tournament so it wouldn't affect any future appointments.

  5. Appointing Rizzoli (and a whole Team of Italians) as Referee against Germany after Germany won against Italy in the Quarter Finals is, at least, doubtful. Given the History and the Worldcup Final 2014 (where he was very friendly regarding the Fouls from Garay, Agüero, Mascherano und Biglia against German Players).

    I really don't get that decision. Far worse: Even if we assume he is completely and utterly unaffected by the defeat of Italy: One serious mistake against Germany and his reputation is destroyed forever cause noone will seriously believe it was a mistake.

    Bad choice.


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