There is no doubt in my mind that the man at the top of world refereeing is German Felix Brych.
Once again he delivered a masterclass performance officiating the Champions League game between Juventus and Tottenham with the quality of a conductor wielding the baton in front of the worlds best orchestra.
In any sport the more effort you put in the rewards will follow through.
The foundation of Felix Brych refereeing is built on a strong education. He is a qualified Doctor of Law having written his doctorate about sport. His fitness, movement and reading of the game ensures with positive anticipation that he is generally well placed to make accurate judgments.
His knowledge and interpretation of law is solid, demonstrated on a regular basis by his recognition of foul challenges and the quality of his decision making
In my time in office I benchmarked English referees against the worlds number one at the time Pierluigi Collina. He was a referee who was superbly fit and had a terrific turn of pace to ensure close contact with play.
He officiated with authority and courage and there no doubt in my mind that he has played a major part in improving the standard of officiating at the UEFA Elite level.
He certainly honed the skills of Howard Webb and Mark Clattenburg who both reached world number one status.
Let’s s hope the two PGMOL Referees who have been recently promoted to the UEFA Elite Panel, Michael Oliver and Anthony Taylor will take advantage of working closely with Collina.
Felix Brych is in the meantime putting himself into a strong position to be selected to referee the World Cup Final in Russia. This referee applies the laws of the game to protect the players.
Collina, his boss, rightly this week reminded referees under his management to stamp down on foul play and brutality.
PGMOL management need to send out a similar message to their referees in order to protect the players who play at the professional level in England. We are witnessing on a weekly basis red card challenges going unpunished.
No wonder Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola has called on two occasions for his players to be protected. The standard of English refereeing is falling under the current management structure.
More accountability – better succession planning – currently the process is stagnating and our standards are falling behind Europe.