On Saturday, May 26th, many eyes all around the world will be looking at our graduate from the Faculty. This is not surprising if it is known that he will be one of the protagonists of the most important football game in the current season which is ending soon. Milovan Ristić, will be an assistant referee in the Champions League final in Kiev in the match between Real and Liverpool, and his companions will be Milorad Mažić and Dalibor Đurđević – a referee trio that has recently become the brightest point of the Serbian football.

Milovan Ristić graduated at the Faculty of Sport in 2015, at the Department of Trainer in sports. The diploma work on the topic “Preparation of the goalkeeper and football judges” was defended by the highest grade, and the Faculty of Sport perceives not only as a higher education institution, but also as a friendly house.

Therefore, it is not surprising that he came to visit the Dean of our Faculty, professor Ivanka Gajić , just  before the most important event in his career :

– We’ve built friendly relations. Dean Gajić wanted to congratulate me because I was chosen to judge the Champions League finals, but also the World Cup. Her gesture really made me happy and because of that, I could not come empty-handed when visiting. I brought a gift from one of my jerseys in which I participated in the match of the Champions League – started Ristić.

Referee with the sign of FIFA since 2009, and from then, he has “shared justice” with more than 30 games of the most elite European club competition together with Mažić and Đurđević, as well as the duo of the Super Cup of Europe between Real and Seville. He judged at the World Cup for players up to 20 years (2013), at the Cup of Confederation (2017), at the European Championships (2016), Mundial in Brazil (2014), and along the line with the flag in his hand, we will also watch him at the World Cup Russia this summer.

About preparations for the match at the Champions League final between Liverpool and Real, Ristić says:

– We are starting preparations today (Tuesday), we are going to Stara Pazova at the Sports Center of the Serbian Football Federation where we will isolate ourselves a bit. Psychological preparation is very important and therefore peace is necessary for us. We will do a detailed analysis of both teams, and based on that, situational training. We will investigate in which formations both teams play, whether they play faster or slower, whether there are more high or low players in the team, whether their attackers are often offside, how high their defense is … We fly to Kiev on Thursday, on  Friday we will do another training, and on Saturday morning, on the day of the match, we will have another meeting and a detailed analysis.

Asked if he has jitters, Ristić replied:

– The most important thing is that there is no fear, and there is a positive outburst and that’s good. We have a lot of experience, we have judged many big matches at the most important competitions, so we are accustomed to pressure. We rejoice that this match will be a real spectacle and that we will be a significant part of all this. The whole world will watch this match between two really big clubs and we will try to do the job in the best possible way.

Mažić, Ristić, Grujić is the first trio from Serbia to judge the Champions League finals. It will be remembered that Milivoje Gugulović has already shared justice in the final match of the former Cup of Champions since 1971, since Belgrade was the host of this match. No one before the three of them among our arbitrators has been judging at the European Championship, and this year the mentioned trio will equalize with Zoran Petrović who judged at two World Championships.

The work of football judges in Serbia is not at all popular. On the contrary, judges are often exposed to sharp criticism of the public, insults from tribunes, and various pressures. The question posed and asked by Milovan Ristić was logical – how does one decide to be a football referee?

– Great love for football was crucial. I played football, and I had a buddy who started to judge, and on his address I finished the Belgrade Football Association’s trial school. As time went by, I loved the trial. That’s why I decided to leave football in 1997 and devote myself to the trial. It turned out to be perhaps the best decision in my life.

On the question on which field is the hardest to judge and which team falls the most severely in the sights of justice, Ristić answers:

– Due to the atmosphere created by the fans and the entire ambient operating in the stadiums, I am sure Turkey is the country in which it is most difficult to judge. So, matches when hosts Fenerbahce, Galatasaray and Besiktas. As far as the teams are concerned, the most challenging are the teams that play fast, in the first place I mean Barcelona, ​​Real and Bayern. Today almost all teams play on the border of the offside, so a lot of concentration is needed, and all the top clubs in the team have one or two players who, because of their temperament, are prepared to make trouble – said Ristić.

Finally, from the referee’s point of view, we wanted to hear a comment on VAR technology that is contested by public opinion:

– VAR technology is very good if it is used properly, because it corrects judicial potential mistakes and helps to make correct decisions that are in the interest of football – concluded Ristić.