Men in the middle
Sky Sports looks at Howard Webb and the other referees who will be taking charge of Euro 2012.
Last Updated: 29/05/12 9:40am
For those who want to know what they are talking about when they blame a referee for their team's defeat this summer, Sky Sports looks at the match officials who have been selected by UEFA to take charge of the matches at Euro 2012.
Cuneyt Cakir (Turkey)
The man who sent Chelsea's John Terry off against Barcelona in the semi-finals of the Champions League, Cakir has enjoyed a rapid rise up the ladder. He made his debut in the 2008/09 UEFA Cup and has been in the middle for more than 100 matches in the Turkish Super Lig. Cakir also took charge of three games at the 2009 Under 21 finals in Sweden, including England's penalty shoot-out semi-final win against the hosts. He also oversaw Fulham's second-leg win against Hamburg in the 2009/10 Europa League semi-finals.
Jonas Eriksson (Sweden)
A former sales director who became a full-time referee at the start of 2011 after making millions from the sale of his television company, Eriksson's star has been on the up since earning his FIFA badge in 2002. He oversaw two Euro 2008 qualifiers and made his Champions League group stage debut in December 2008. Eriksson also took charge of three 2010 World Cup qualifiers and was in the middle for three matches in both the Champions League and Europa League in 2010/11.
Viktor Kassai (Hungary)
A travel agent by day who has taken charge of more than 100 matches in his homeland's top flight. He is a contender to referee the Euro 2012 final. Kassai worked as a fourth official at Euro 2008, where he was given three matches, and was the referee at the final of the football tournament at the Olympic Games in Beijing. Kassai oversaw four games at the 2010 World Cup, including the Germany versus Spain semi-final. He also refereed the Wembley Champions League final between Barcelona and Manchester United in 2011.
Bjorn Kuipers (Holland)
The supermarket director is following in the family trade, with his father having also acted as an official. Kuipers earned his FIFA badge aged 33 in 2006 and was a fourth official in five qualifying games for Euro 2008. He was referee at the U21 European Championship in 2009, taking charge of four matches, including Germany's 4-0 final defeat of England. Kuipers became a Champions League regular the following season. He then refereed the 2010/11 Europa League semi-final first leg involving Porto and Villarreal.
Stephane Lannoy (France)
Lannoy is particularly regarded for his physical fitness and ability to communicate with players, according to UEFA. He was the fourth official for the 2005/06 UEFA Cup semi-final first leg between Steaua Bucurest and Middlesbrough before becoming a regular referee in the competition the following season. Lannoy was a fourth official at three games at Euro 2008 and also featured at that year's Olympic Games. Lannoy oversaw five Champions League games in 2009/10 and four in the competition the following season.
Pedro Proenca (Portugal)
Proenca refereed this season's Champions League final between Bayern Munich and Chelsea. He achieved UEFA Premier referee status in January 2007, but has been a fixture on the international scene for some time, enjoying regular outings in UEFA's two high-profile club competitions since making his Champions League debut in 2007/08. Proenca oversaw five games in the 2010/11 Champions League, including Manchester United's victory over Schalke in the semi-final second leg.
Nicola Rizzoli (Italy)
It is only a matter of time before Rizzoli gets a major final. He is following in the footsteps of one of the most famous referees of recent years, Pierluigi Collina, who also started his career as part of the group of match officials based in Bologna. An architect by profession, Rizzoli was promoted to the refereeing lists for Serie A and B in 2001, making his top-flight debut the following year. He was the man in the middle for three 2010 World Cup qualifiers. In 2009/10, he refereed Fulham's Europa League final defeat by Atletico Madrid in Hamburg.
Damir Skomina (Slovenia)
One of Europe's most promising young referees, UEFA say. Skomina made his UEFA Cup bow in October 2003 and his first Champions League qualifying appearance came the following July. He continued his climb to prominence by taking charge of three Euro 2008 qualifiers and was then fourth official at three matches at the finals, while also overseeing two fixtures at the Beijing Olympics. Skomina made his Champions League group stage debut in 2008/09 and has since become a regular in that competition and the Europa League.
Wolfgang Stark (Germany)
Stark has a habit of making headlines for the wrong reasons, but his ambition is said to be to follow in the footsteps of compatriot Markus Merk and reach the top of the European refereeing tree. Stark has been a German Football Association referee since 1994. He continues to earn a number of high-profile appointments, particularly in the Champions League when he oversaw the 2010/11 semi-final first leg between Real Madrid and Barcelona. Stark refereed three matches at the 2010 World Cup finals in South Africa.
Craig Thomson (Scotland)
Thomson is a lawyer and promising international referee after taking his first foray in spring 2003. Thomson made his World Cup qualifying debut in September 2004 and also featured in Euro 2008 qualifying before acting as fourth official in three group matches at the finals. He made his Champions League group stage debut in October 2007, going on to make regular appearances over subsequent seasons. His career highlights remain his Old Firm games, the 2007, 2010 and 2011 Scottish League Cup finals and the 2009 Scottish Cup final.
Carlos Velasco Carballo (Spain)
Velasco Carballo made his debut in La Liga in 2004 and has progressed rapidly through the ranks, getting his first taste of the Champions League group stages in 2010. An engineer from Madrid, he was a fourth official in qualifying for the Champions League and UEFA Cup from 2005/06 onwards, also working in the same role in Euro 2008 qualifying. Velasco Carballo was then awarded his first Champions League refereeing appointment in July 2008. Velasco Carballo took charge of the Europa League final in 2010/11 in Dublin.
Howard Webb (England)
The former Rotherham police officer already has a long career behind him having been inspired to pick up the whistle by his father at the age of 18. Webb was referee for two games at Euro 2008. In 2009/10, he became the fifth Englishman to oversee the European Cup final when Inter Milan overcame Bayern Munich. Webb then became the first Englishman since Jack Taylor in 1974 to be awarded the World Cup final as Spain beat Holland in 2010, but his performance did earn criticism.