Champions League - Final referee 'once headbutted by a fan'

Thu, 17 May 15:36:00 2012

UEFA has confirmed that Portuguese referee Pedro Proenca will take charge of the Champions League final between Bayern Munich and Chelsea on Saturday.

Pedro Proenca, Referee - 0

But what sort of officiating can Chelsea fans expect from this 41-year-old who works as a financial director in his day job - and was headbutted by an unidentified fan only last year?

We take a look at the stats and stories in his career to date.

Proenca has taken charge of over 65 UEFA matches in the past, including the 2004 European U19 Championship final, and two Portuguese cup finals.

He has never refereed at a senior major championship but has been picked as Portugal's representative for this season's Euro 2012 tournament.

Across all competition this season Proenca has refereed 29 matches, brandished 169 yellow cards and 13 red ones (four of which were straight reds) and awarded eight penalties.

This shows that he is quicker to issue bookings than most Premier League refs: his average of over 5.8 yellows a game compares to only 3.1 in the Premier League.

In fact, the most yellow card-happy referee in England this season was Phil Dowd, but even he only averages 3.8 a game.

Proenca's average number of red cards is 0.45, which is again way above what we are used to in England where the average is 0.17.

However, experienced Champions League campaigners like Chelsea should be well aware that there tends to be more cards issued in European games.

In fact, Proenca's Champions League average this season is just 4.2 yellows in five games, while in the same number of matches Howard Webb averaged 5.4.

One of Proenca's matches was in the preliminary round, but the other four were all covered by Eurosport-Yahoo! reporters so we looked back at those matchcasts to see if the Portuguese whistle blower was ever the centre of attention - but he barely warrants a mention in most reports.

The one match where he seemed to have some difficulty was when Manchester City beat Villarreal 3-0 at El Madrigal, as he produced a performance that agitated the home fans so much they targeted him with a laser pen in the second half.

At one stage he was roundly whistled by the home fans for taking his time in allowing an injured Villarreal player return to the pitch and he also awarded Mario Balotelli what our reporter called a "somewhat contentious penalty".

"Balotelli nutmegged Jose Catala on the edge of the box and then fell to ground after feeling the elbow of Mateo Musacchio on his arm. It was a somewhat contentious decision, and Villarreal protested vehemently, but there was contact," read our report.

Proenca has issued two red cards in the Champions League this season – one for two bookable offences, the other a straight red, but neither decision was questioned by our reporters. Interestingly, both reds also came in stoppage time, limiting their impact on the game.

The match where Proenca effectively won his Champions League final place came in the Europa League when he took charge of the first leg of Schalke's Europa League quarter-final against Athletic Bilbao.

UEFA sent legendary Italian referee Pierluigi Collina to the match to assess Proenca and it is clear he must have come back with a positive report. The match itself was a thrilling end-to-end contest that Athletic won 4-2. There were six bookings in the match – three for each side.

An independent blog called 'Ref Marks' ( has assessed Proenca three times this season and has awarded him ratings of 79/100, 73/100 and 57.5/100.

Ref Marks' sole negative review came from a Champions League match between Internazionale and Marseille where their blogger commented that: "Proenca is always a bit hectic and chaotic, perhaps kind of organised chaos. The matches he has are basically under control, but there are always some problems with communication and keeping the players under control with natural authority."

Verbal communication should be easier in the Champions League final. Proenca can speak English and although he does not speak German, we checked with our office in Munich who said this "won't be a problem" as the vast majority of the Bayern team are fluent in English.

Chelsea fans looking for good omens might be pleased to learn that Proenca has refereed two Bayern Munich matches in the past and they lost them both. What's more, both clashes came at the Allianz Arena - a 2-0 reversal at the hands of Bordeaux in the 2009/10 group stage and 3-2 reversal to Internazionale last season that saw Bayern knocked out in the last 16 round on away goals despite winning 1-0 in Milan.

The Champions League final is far and away the biggest match of Proenca's career to date. He did referee the second leg of Manchester United's Champions League semi-final victory over Schalke last season, but with United having won the first leg 2-0 before going on to cruise to a 4-1 success at Old Trafford, it proved to be a low pressure affair.

Proenca was also the victim of a vicious attack from a fan last August while leaving a gym in a shopping centre near Benfica's stadium in Lisbon. He was headbutted by the fan and two of his teeth were broken as a result.

The attacker was never identified but Benfica released a statement about the incident saying: "Episodes like this strip sport in general and football in particular of its prestige and leave it poorer.

"Nothing can justify these types of acts and attitudes, because they reflect the worst of someone who has lost their values."

Benfica forgiveness only went so far, though, and they were again unhappy with Proenca in March when he took charge of Porto's 3-2 victory over their fierce rivals at the Estadio Da Luz. After the match Benfica's president Luis Filipe Vieira said that Proenca should "not be allowed to referee any more Benfica matches" after being unhappy with two decisions that led to Porto goals.

Chelsea's players would also do well to avoid gimmicky celebrations if they score. In a Europa League match in 2010, Proenca booked a Hapoel player for putting on a yarmulke after he scored a goal.

In a Champions League match between Real Madrid and AC Milan in 2010 Proenca fell to the ground after being pushed by Mesut Ozil, but it was deemed accidental by the referee.

So despite still being a young referee, the Portuguese ref has already had an interesting career. Let's hope it is the players, and not Proenca, who is making the headlines come Sunday morning.

UEFA has confirmed that Portuguese referee Pedro Proenca will take charge of the Champions League final between Bayern Munich and Chelsea. - 2

Seán Fay / Eurosport

Comment 12 - 32 of 32

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  1. drogba and luiz better be careful

    From Ayo Joshua, on Sat 19 May 10:49
  2. rubbish ref!

    From keith, on Sat 19 May 10:41
  3. Pedro Proenca is a good ref and he will take no nosense­ from any player. No diving, kicking, tripping, fake­ acting of being mortally wounded, and 'in yer­ face' stuff. So looks like Chelsea are gonna lose!

    From James, on Sat 19 May 8:57
  4. Sick ref i guess

    From Isiaka, on Fri 18 May 20:49
  5. So basically this guy is zero tolerance when it comes­ to players being idiots. GREAT hire him. This man does­ not have avery easy job and shame on the 'fan'­ who head butt him. Let him try and stand him this mans­ boots.

    From JustMe, on Fri 18 May 17:33
  6. So basically this guy is zero tolerance when it comes­ to players being idiots. GREAT hire him.

    From JustMe, on Fri 18 May 17:30
  7. This stinks of typical UEFA/French muppet Platini­ attempt to stop English teams winning the CL, due to­ injuries and bans Chelsea have no option but to play a­ tight niggling game against Bayern who will have the­ more technically skilled players, this referee is an­ attempt to stop that. Before anyone cries at me I'm­ not a Chelsea fan.

    From Crisis, on Fri 18 May 16:36
  8. Pointless trying to speculate what effect the chosen­ referee will have on the game. The best thing the­ various forms of media can do is wait until after the­ game - then at least they will have some facts to­ report on?

    From who me?, on Fri 18 May 13:33
  9. Some European refs are terrible. If he blows every­ minute, i'll turn it off! Partly the reason I­ stopped watching Spanish football.

    From Wisdom, on Fri 18 May 11:52
  10. If it wasnt for Webb, the world cup final would have­ been ruined. He kept it together when all around him­ were losing their heads.

    From Wisdom, on Fri 18 May 11:50
  11. If Chelski win, the ref will be fine, if they lose he­ will be slagged off viciously

    From bulldog, on Fri 18 May 11:36
  12. Having spent 15 years living in Portugal he is very­ typical of the traits of the nation, anyone there who­ has a job that involves holding a pen is full of self­ importance, they behave like a cockrel in a coop full­ of chickens. A good ref should go un noticed in a game,­ he will view himself as the most important person in­ the cup final and make sure everyone notices him , he­ will ruin the game.

    From Dudley, on Fri 18 May 10:54
  13. This article is an inevitable consequence of modern­ refereeing standards. It is now anticipated that a ref­ will provoke controversy. Biased officiating used to be­ a home team phenomemon only. Unacceptable, but­ understandable when the home team are the paymaster for­ the day, and provide the after-game hospitality which­ would be an ordeal if he didn't give the home side­ a benefit-of -the-doubt decision or two. But modern­ match officials are a new breed. They may have another­ occupation, but reffing is what puts jam on their­ bread. It's become a career choice. They are­ contracted to a company that is paid to provide match­ officials. FIFA, UEFA, and the FA all have an input as­ to the style of refereeing that emerges. The old­ fashioned vocational ref is part of the past. Todays­ refs are briefed ahead of important clashes. And I have­ played and seen enough football in my lifetime to know­ when a decision is wrong, and deliberately so. The­ level of inconsistancy has never been so bad. And when­ consistancy is suffering, then you can bet that­ pre-match instructions are at the heart of it. Two of­ our highest ranked refs have been made to look­ absolutely stupid in big competions in recent times. My­ bet is because the influence of UEFA and FIFA has been­ too strong to ignore. Thus their competent styles were­ knocked out of whack. Proenca is like all the referees.­ His vocational enthusiasm has been usurped by­ institutional pressure. Hence his reputation for­ chaotic and inconsistant control. Soccer's getting­ like the World Ice Skating Championships. The winners­ are a result of political voting. The name of the­ champions is already on the trophy before the final is­ played. And judging by the way that Bayern have­ reached the final, I reckon it's them this time.­ I'll say no more. I have to go now. Two men in­ white coats have just come to collect me... OPEN THE­ CAGE!!!!

    From The Phantom raspberry blower of old London town., on Fri 18 May 10:40
  14. simple dont mess wi the ref

    From Kenneth, on Fri 18 May 8:01
  15. Come on Chelsea, you must beat the Bavarian lederhosen­ funboys and piss off Harry Redknapp!

    From IA, on Fri 18 May 5:48
  16. Like Mourinho ref's Portoguese! Chelsea are­ Champions

    From R, on Thu 17 May 22:40
  17. Hope he's better than the ref Leeds got when they­ played Bayern in the final!

    From Peter M, on Thu 17 May 22:05
  18. Chelsea wouldn't win even with Martin Atkinson­ reffing.

    From Leo, on Thu 17 May 21:53
  19. @13. Webb ruined the final? I think you'll find it­ was Holland and Spain that did that with the down right­ dirty and disgusting football they played. Yes he was­ too lenient but it was the final and most likely felt­ he had to let play go on or ruin it for the fans. ­ @12. Do you know what David, she's right! I'd­ go with her prediction as well.

    From Richard J P, on Thu 17 May 18:12
  20. Can't wait for saturday, The Hammers to beat­ Blackpool first, then Chelsea seeing off Bayern at­ their own ground in the evening.

    From Chris, on Thu 17 May 18:12
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