The Champions League is through the qualifying phase and the next stage--the Playoff Round, which starts in two weeks--is where the Elite Referees get reintroduced to the competition. So it's time to start this thread what we've had for a couple years now. This thread is for a discussion of UEFA referees in club competitions (UCL & EL) and their assignments and performances. If an individual match gets particular attention or interest, we will start an individual match thread. The top two categories of UEFA referees are listed below. Very occasionally, a referee from the next ("First") category will get a UCL assignment, but the below lists are essentially the people who will be doing UCL matches. Just a few changes from the last iteration of the list, which are highlighted in green and World Cup candidate referees have asterisks next to their names: ELITE  KRALOVEC (CZE)* ATKINSON (ENG) CLATTENBURG (ENG)* WEBB (ENG)* UNDIANO MALLENCO (ESP)* VELASCO CARBALLO (ESP)* LANNOY (FRA)* BRYCH (GER)* STARK (GER)* KASSAI (HUN)* RIZZOLI (ITA)* ROCCHI (ITA)* TAGLIAVENTO (ITA) KUIPERS (NED)* MOEN (NOR)* BENQUERENCA (POR) PROENCA (POR)* COLLUM (SCO) THOMSON (SCO)* MAZIC (SRB)* SKOMINA (SVN)* ERIKSSON (SWE)* CAKIR (TUR)* ELITE DEVELOPMENT  BEBEK (CRO) STRAHONJA (CRO) FERNANDEZ BORBALAN (ESP) GAUTIER (FRA) AYTEKIN (GER) GRAFE (GER) VAD (HUN) ORSATO (ITA) NIJHUIS (NED) STAVREV (MKD) HAGEN (NOR) HATEGAN (ROU) KARASEV (RUS) JUG (SVN) AYDINUS (TUR) UCL Final Referee has to come from the Elite list and cannot have done the game before. Competition for the match might be more wide-open than we've seen in many years. I would think Cakir, Eriksson, Skomina, Thomson, Moen, Kuipers, Brych, Lannoy, Velasco Carballo and Clattenburg all start out in the running. Unless some sort of statement needs to be made going into the World Cup, I can't envisage an obvious political issue here either--aside from France, there's no big country that really needs a "turn." Should really come down to performance and which clubs progress. If I had to choose a single favorite, I think I'd pick Eriksson right now, but there's almost zero confidence behind that pick. Also, as a reference, below is the overview of the scale that UEFA referee observers use to assess the officials: Description of the Marks 9.0 – 10.0 Excellent. 8.5 – 8.9 Very good. Important decision(s) correctly taken. 8.3 – 8.4 Good. Expected level. 8.2 Satisfactory with small areas for improvement. 8.0 – 8.1 Satisfactory with important areas for improvement. 7.9 One clear and important mistake, otherwise 8.3 or above. 7.8 One clear and important mistake, otherwise 8.0 – 8.2. 7.5 – 7.7 Below expectation, poor control, significant point(s) to improve. 7.0 – 7.4 Disappointing. Below expectation with one clear important mistake or a performance with two or more clear and important mistakes. 6.0 – 6.9 Unacceptable.