Colombian soccer official Oscar Julian Ruiz, currently embroiled in a sexual assault scandal, has been named the third best referee of the 21st century, in a study released Wednesday by the International Federation of Football History and Statistics [IFFHS].
Ruiz, who’s accused of groping fellow referee German Sanchez while he was sleeping at his house in 2010, finished behind Germany’s three-times IFFHS Referee of the Year Dr Markus Merk and Uruguayan Jorge Luis Larrionda.
Iconic Italian referee Dr Pierluigi Collina came seventh, though this is partly due to his 2005 retirement, halfway through the period studied.
Merk’s performance, beating Larrionda by 27 points, is particularly impressive given that the German retired in 2008, while Larrionda still officiates today.
The accusation against Ruiz, which he has vigorously denied, was followed by allegations of a widespread culture of sexual harrassment within the world of Colombian refereeing.
The IFFHS study was compiled by taking the federation’s top 20 referees for each year since 2001 and assigning points based upon their positions.
The top ten were as follows:
|1.||Dr. Markus Merk||Germany||135|
|2.||Jorge Luis Larrionda||Uruguay||108|
|3.||Oscar Julian Ruiz||Colombia||104|
|4.||Frank De Bleeckere||Belgium||98|
|7.||Dr. Pierluigi Collina||Italy||94|
|9.||Kim Milton Nielsen||Denmark||84|
|10.||Howard Melton Webb||England||80|