Who is Facundo Tello and why is an Argentinian refereeing a Euro 2024 game?


Facundo Tello will become the first Argentinian and non-UEFA referee to take charge of a game at the European Championship.

The Bahia Blanca-born official will officiate Georgia’s first-ever appearance at the tournament when they take on Turkey on Tuesday afternoon.

European football’s governing body UEFA and their South American counterpart CONMEBOL have an agreement in place to share the use of referees. This means Tello, 42, is in line to make history in Germany.

And Georgia and Turkey players will have to be on their best behaviour with Tello not shy to brandish cards. In November 2022, just before he was to appear at the World Cup, Tello sent ten players off in a single game.

The celebrations of Racing Club midfielder Carlos Alcaraz — now on loan at Juventus from Southampton — in front of Boca fans after he scored the winning goal in a 2-1 victory in Argentina’s Champions Trophy final sparked chaos. It caused a complete on-field melee to break out between players and Tello was forced to send off Alcaraz and five Boca players involved in the altercations. Two more players from either side were then sent off during the heated clash.


Tello took charge of Morocco’s 1-0 quarter-final win over Portugal at the last men’s World Cup (Alexander Hassenstein/Getty Images)

Tello is an experienced official who has taken charge of 146 top-flight games in Argentina since 2015, including the hotly-contested Superclasico derby between River Plate and Boca Juniors. Since 2019, the year he became listed as an international referee with FIFA, Tello has officiated Copa Libertadores (South America’s version of the Champions League) games.

At the World Cup in Qatar, he was in the middle for two group-stage games before officiating Portugal’s 1-0 defeat by Morocco in the quarter-finals. Manchester United midfielder Bruno Fernandes, though, hit out at Tello after the game.

“I’ll say what I have to say,” Fernandes said. “It’s very strange to have a referee who still has their national team (Argentina) in competition and we don’t have a Portuguese referee.

“Ours referee the Champions League, so they have the quality and level to be here. They don’t referee Champions League, they are not used to this type of game, they don’t have the pace for this.”

Fernandes thought he should have had a penalty in the first half of the game but Tello disagreed.

go-deeper

GO DEEPER

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(Marcelo Endelli/Getty Images)



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