Urs Meier

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Urs Meier

Urs Meier (born January 22, 1959 in Würenlos, Aargau) is a retired, Swiss football referee, a grocer by trade who owns a brand of household appliances in Würenlos, Switzerland. From 1994 until 2004 he was an international FIFA referee. He was elected by an expert jury to be the second-best referee in 2002 and third-best in 2004.

He officiated at the 1998 and 2002 World Cups, taking charge of the semi-final between South Korea and Germany in 2002. He also refereed the 2002 UEFA Champions League Final as well that year. He also appeared at Euro 2000 and Euro 2004, refereeing the quarter-final between England and Portugal in 2004.

Meier received FIFA appointments and refereed in the Swiss top division until he reached the mandatory retirement age for each. He appears as an expert summariser on the German television channel ZDF during World Cups and European Championships.

Notable matches[edit]

USA vs Iran[edit]

At the 1998 World Cup, Meier refereed the heated USA-Iran match. It was an emotional match because of the political situation, and supposedly a hard one to referee because of this, in what was one of his earliest games as a World Cup referee.

Denmark vs Romania[edit]

During a qualification match for Euro 2004 between Romania and Denmark, he awarded a controversial penalty kick for Denmark. Meier also let play go on for longer than the amount of time added on originally announced by the fourth official, making it seven minutes instead of four, in which Denmark equalized (2–2), a goal which eliminated Romania. People said that the game would have continued until Denmark scored the second goal.

As a result, the Romanian press and fans complained: 14,000 angry e-mails were sent to him, as several Romanian newspapers had published his email address. Also, several petitions, signed by thousands of people were sent to UEFA, but they were disregarded. It should be noted, however, that the amount of time shown by the fourth official is only intended to serve as an indication of the amount of time added on at that particular stage of the match; further time may be added on during the time indicated (e.g. due to timewasting, substitutions or other delays).

Portugal vs England[edit]

In the Euro 2004 quarter-final between England and Portugal at Lisbon, with the score at 1–1, he disallowed a goal by Sol Campbell in the 89th minute due to an alleged foul by John Terry on the Portuguese goalkeeper Ricardo Pereira.[1] The match ended in a draw, and Portugal proceeded to the next stage following a penalty shootout and reached the final (where they lost to Greece).[2]

UEFA backed Meier,[3] but English fans and media contested the accuracy of his decision — condemning Meier. English tabloids dubbed him "Urs hole", "idiot ref", "Swiss banker" and "bugger".[4]

After Meier's personal details were published by British tabloid newspapers, Meier received more than 16,000 abusive e-mails, and death threats. Reporters of The Sun even travelled to Switzerland and placed an oversized English flag on a field near his home. As a result, he was placed under police protection.[5]


  1. ^ "Defiant Meier stands firm". BBC. 2004-06-26. Retrieved 2007-11-16. 
  2. ^ "Portugal break England hearts". BBC. 2004-06-24. Retrieved 2007-11-16. 
  3. ^ "Uefa slams English press". BBC. 2004-06-28. Retrieved 2007-11-26. 
  4. ^ "So painful, so cruel, so typical". BBC. 2004-06-25. Retrieved 2007-11-16. 
  5. ^ Holt, Edward (2004-06-30). "Tabloid campaign forces referee into hiding". London: The Guardian. Retrieved 2010-06-27. 

External links[edit]