top officials team confirmed for FINAL8

To allow the world’s best club hockey to flourish, the ABN AMRO Euro Hockey League always seeks to have a set of umpires and officials to match, bringing together a high quality “third team”.

This year’s team of 12 – hailing from seven different countries – features umpires who have performed on the highest stages of the world game, from EHL finals to World Cups to the Olympics. 

Laurine Delforge is one of world umpiring’s most recognisable faces, standing in over 170 international fixtures and over 50 in the video umpire role. She umpired both the 2021 and 2022 EHL Women’s title deciders.

Alison Keogh officiated in the final of the 2022 EHL Women’s competition having also been on the field for the 2018 and 2019 Euro Club Cup finals with the whistle. In 2022, she was on the World Cup bronze match and the Junior World Cup final in South Africa.

Sean Edwards has enjoyed quite a winter, umpiring in the final of both the European and World Cup indoor finals, doing the former with another EHL FINAL8 official, Vincenzo Antonio Ilgrande.

For Sean, it continues a busy year. He was involved in the 2022 finals week as well as the Men’s KO16 in October.

Italy’s Vincenzo has the longest EHL connection of the umpires for the FINAL8. His debut came in 2013 at ROUND 1.1 in Barcelona and he has featured four more times in the following decade. 

For England’s Harry Collinson, this will be his second EHL competition, making his debut last Easter at the Ranking Cup in Terrassa. He took charge of a lively final between Mannheim and Egara.

Dutch umpire Ymkje van Slooten is conducting her second EHL competition; she was one of the umpire’s for the first EHL Women’s final in 2021 at the Wagener Stadium. She has been umpiring in top level European club competitions since 2015.

Paul van den Assum oversaw the 2022 men’s bronze match between Surbiton and Club de Campo de Madrid in his third Euro Hockey League competition.

Spain’s Gema Calderon will be making her EHL debut  following a hectic 2022, capped by doing the women’s bronze match at the European Indoor Championships in December. She was also on duty at the outdoor Junior World Cup and the EuroHockey Championship qualifiers in England.

Germany’s Tim Meissner is another EHL regular who will be at his sixth event, including last year in the Wagener Stadium, and is also coming off a busy 2022. He was part of the third team at the men’s Nations Cup in December and the Euro qualifiers last August in Vienna.

Celine Martin-Schmets is officiating in her third EHL event following the 2021 FINAL4 and last October’s men’s KO16. On the international stage, she has over 100 matches of experience and this tournament comes hot on the heels of the 2023 Indoor World Cup in Pretoria where she did 10 games.

Hannah Harrison, meanwhile, is involved in her fourth top tier European club competition following tournaments in 2015, 2016 and 2018. Between umpire and video umpire roles, she has over 100 international games to her name including World Cup, European Championship and Commonwealth Games fixtures. 

Sébastien Michielsen is involved for a sixth EHL event, including the finals weekend in 2019, 2021 and 2023. He has amassed over 50 international appointments, most recently at the FIH Nations Cup in Potchefstroom last December. 

They will be helped along by umpire managers John Heron and Margaret Hunnaball while the tournament overall will be overseen by Belgium’s Benoit Coppieters. 

His team includes technical officers Patricia Pereira from Portugal and Wales’ John Taylor with judges Cat Graham (SCO), Nils Vossebein (GER), Cocky Stam-Heijkoop (NED) and Michiel Christiaanse (NED) making sure all runs smoothly at the centre-line.

Technical Delegate: Benoit Coppieters (BEL)

Technical Officers: Patrícia Pereira (POR), John Taylor (WAL)

Judges: Cat Graham (SCO), Nils Vossebein (GER), Cocky Stam-Heijkoop (NED), Michiel Christiaanse (NED)

Umpire Managers: John Heron (SCO), Margaret Hunnaball (ENG)

EHF Appointed Umpires: Gema Calderon (ESP), Harry Collinson (ENG), Laurine Delforge (BEL), Sean Edwards (ENG), Hannah Harrison (ENG), Vincenzo Antonio Ilgrande (ITA), Alison Keogh (IRL), Celine Martin-Schmets (BEL), Tim Meissner (GER), Sébastien Michielsen (BEL), Paul van den Assum (NED), Ymkje Van Slooten (NED)