Tuesday, 10 September 2013

Man in the Middle: Meet Sweden's Millionaire Referee: Jonas Erikkson!

Jonas Eriksson and Steven Garrard - Benfica v Liverpool - UEFA Europa League

There is no doubt that in any sport, the most influential man, whether on the pitch or on the court - is the referee. Forget the billionaire owners, the noisy fans, the attention seeking managers and the flamboyant players, the referee is the judge and jury of a match. Referees in recent years have gone from being just the 90 minute men to attaining celebrity status. The likes of Howard Webb, Carlos Bernandes are known to enjoy media attention on and off the pitch. From time to time Sportunes will be bringing to you the most powerful men on the field of play.

Jonas Erikkson

Jonas Eriksson Swedish referee Jonas Eriksson looks on during the UEFA Champions League Group D match between Ajax Amsterdam and Real Madrid at Amsterdam Arena on October 3, 2012 in Amsterdam, Netherlands.

Jonas Erikkson was born on March 28,1974 in Luela, Sweden. Erikkson currently resides in Laguna and is reportedly a millionaire, hence making him unlike your average soccer referee. After selling his 15% stake in Swedish media rights business IEC over six years ago,he became a multi millionaire. However despite his vast wealth, the Swede continues to officiate in his homeland as well as across the continent, insisting that he is spurred on by his love for the game and his favourite hobby.

''All the money in the world hasn't changed anything, the best thing I do is to officiate soccer games'', he said once.

Erikkson became a professional referee in 1994 before taking charge of his first Allsvenskan (Swedish league) game six years later. He received his FIFA badge in 2002 and participated in his first international competition later that year, overseeing games in the group stages as well as the semifinal of the Euro U-17 Championship. Over the next six years he has handled games in the UEFA Cup( now Europa League), Champions League as well as European Championship and World Cup qualifiers. He was promoted to UEFA's elite category at the beginning of the 09\10 season. His biggest match was the quarter final of the Champions League between Barcelona and AC Milan in 2011\2012 season. He also officiated last month's UEFA Super Cup Final between Bayern Munich and Chelsea, a game in which he hardly made a wrong call( Mourinho may beg to differ).

Jonas Eriksson - Greece v Russia - Group A: UEFA EURO 2012

Erikkson is seen as a fair referee who likes to let the game flow and is by no means strict as yellow cards have been relatively rare in his career. However, he has racked up a significant amount of controversy during his time as a professional.  The 39 year old became the enemy of Rangers fans in the 2009 Champions League match against Sevilla, where he waved away penalty claims from the Scottish side. The decision not to award a penalty disgusted former Southampton and Celtic manager Gordon Starchan who launched a tirade against the Swede, insisting he'' shouldn't get another game in the Champions League..... he isn't good enough''.

Jonas Eriksson - England v Slovenia - International friendly

Despite a few more controversial matches, Erikkson has been consistent with his performances and still gets to officiate top matches. As of this year, he has been in the middle of 248 matches in Allsvenskan, 47 matches in Superettan and 97 international matches,  The millionaire( very important to mention) is easy going and chooses to spend his money on the low- key. Who says you can't have it all?

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  1. Hehehe.. Man in the middle.. a.k.a oga at the top. Nice piece

  2. Carlos Bernandes!!!.. my favorite Umpire

  3. I rmba dis foolish man.. na him no give us 2 clear penaltys for Sansiro