The beautiful game of football cannot be enjoyed without a referee.
A referee is responsible for enforcing the rules during the course of a football match.
The referee makes the decision regarding all facts connected with play, and is the only official on the pitch with the authority to start and stop play and discipline the players during a match.
A referee also co-operates with the assistant referees and, even with the fourth official to make sure matches go smoothly.
Of course referees make mistakes since they are only humans, but the controversy keeps making football more fun to watch. I’m sure you know some of favourite referees in the leagues you watch.
However, today I compiled a list of the top 10 football referees in the world.
Most of this referees ply their trade in the top European leagues and have officiated so many notable matches.
Let’s find them out.
Top 10 Best Football Referees in 2023
Here’s our list of the best referees in the world for 2023.
10. Mark Geiger
Mark Geiger is one of the best football referees in the world, who is not from Europe.
He hails from the United States Of America. He is a referee with a vast experience and skill.
Mark has officiated games at domestic level in Major League Soccer (MLS) and has been part of the FIFA International Referees List since 2008.
Mark Geiger is also a member of the Professional Referee Organization (PRO). He won the MLS referee of the year in 2011 and 2014.
Did you know? Mark Geiger is also a mathematics teacher.
9. Martin Atkinson
Martin Atkinson is a 49-year-old English referee and also a FIFA licensed referee.
Atkinson is popular for his smart decisions in the match and ability to cover ground.
He has officiated the 2011 FA Cup final and the 2014 Football League Cup final, in which both Manchester City won.
In the 2009–10 Premier league season Atkinson officiated 48 matches in English football, his highest tally matches in one season to date.
8. Nestor Pitana
Nestor Pitana is another top referee from this list that is not from Europe.
The 45-year-old Argentine, has been a FIFA listed referee since 2010.
He officiated a lot of matches in the 2014 FIFA World Cup, the 2015 Copa América and the 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifications. He was formerly an actor.
Nestor Pitana officiated the final of the FIFA 2018 World Cup, and has been lauded as the best football referee in the world currently.
Nestor Pitana became the second referee to referee of the opening game and the final in the same tournament, after fellow Argentina Horacio Elizondo, did the same in the 2006 World Cup.
7. Cüneyt Çakır
Cüneyt Çakır is a FIFA international referee, and he is one of the best referees in the world.
The 44-year-old Turkish referee has officiated close to 200 matches in the Turkish Super Lig.
He was the referee that sent of John Terry in the 2012 Champions League semifinal between FC Barcelona and Chelsea at Camp Nou.
Çakır is the first referee to officiate two different semi-final matches in Champions League history, he did that in the 2015-16 UEFA Champions League.
6. Anthony Taylor
The 44-year-old English referee has been an international referee for FIFA since 2013. Early in his career he officiated as the fourth official in several matches.
Anthony is regarded as one of the best soccer referees in the world.
The notable matches he has officiated include the referee for the Football League Cup final between Chelsea and Tottenham Hotspur in 2015.
In September 2020, Taylor was chosen to be the main referee for the 2020 UEFA Super Cup.
Taylor was named among the six English officials who will oversee matches at the November and December’s FIFA World Cup.
5. Antonio Miguel Mateu Lahoz
Mateu Lahoz is a popular Spanish football referee. His is currently rated as one of the best football referees in 2019.
He is also notable international referee who refereed during the 2014 FIFA World Cup qualifiers.
He was among the top officials selected to referee at the 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifiers and the 2018 FIFA World Cup.
He started officiating La Liga games since 2008.
He became a FIFA listed referee in 2011 and has officiated many El Clasicos. Mateu Lahoz also officiated the UEFA Champions League final between Chelsea and Manchester City.
4. Damir Skomina
Damir Skomina, is a 45-year-old Slovenian referee, and a full international FIFA referee since 2003.
Skomina officiated as the fourth referee severally in many matches.
He was the fourth official in the 2013 UEFA Champions League final.
Among other notable matches he has officiated, include the 2012 UEFA Super Cup and the 2017 UEFA Europa League Final, between Ajax and Manchester United.
3. Bjorn Kuipers
Bjorn Kuipers is a 48-year-old Dutch referee, a FIFA listed referee since 2006 and a UEFA Elite group referee.
Kuipers is a very athletic referee with good officiating records and few controversies.
Bjorn Kuipers has officiated so mang prestigious Football matches like the 2011 UEFA Super Cup, the 2013 UEFA Europa League Final, and the 2013 FIFA Confederations Cup final.
He has also officiated the 2014 UEFA Champions League Final and the recent 2017 FIFA U-20 World Cup final.
2. Daniele Orsato
The 46-year-old Italian referee has been a full international referee for FIFA since 2010 and has officiated over 300 matches.
Orsato in charge of the 2020 UEFA Champions League Final match between Paris Saint-Germain and Bayern Munich.
He was awarded by the International Federation of Football History & Statistics (IFFTHS) as best referee of 2020.
1. Felix Brych
Felix Brych, 47, is a German football referee, who is currently considered to be one of the best football referees at the moment.
He has been a FIFA licensed referee, since 2007, and is ranked as a UEFA Elite group referee.
Brych has officiated notable matches like the 2014 UEFA Europa League Final between Sevilla and Benfica.
And also the 2017 UEFA Champions League Final.
He was selected among the referees going through 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia.
Brych is regarded one of the highest-ranked European referees of his generation
Do you know that Felix Brych is also qualified doctor of law?
- Ovidiu Hategan (Romania)
- Danny Makkelie (Netherlands)
- Jose Sanchez Martinez (Spain)
- Clement Turpin (France)
- Szymon Marciniak (Poland)
- Daniel Siebert (Germany)
- Slavko Vincic (Slovenia)
- Esteban Ostojich (Uruguay)
- Victor Gomes (South Africa)
- Alireza Faghani (Iran)
- Bakary Gassama (Gambia).