Sancho forced ref to change position as he won penalty against Barca

‘When he has the ball I always move to the right… because I know something could happen’: Jadon Sancho forced referee Ovidiu Hategan to CHANGE position as Dortmund winger won penalty against Barcelona last year, as revealed in new UEFA documentary

  • UEFA are releasing a four-part series giving unprecedented access to referees 
  • One scene focuses on Romanian ref Ovidiu Hategan in the Champions League 
  • Hategan explains how he changes his position to clearly see Jadon Sancho
  • The referee says the England winger is ‘very good’ and ‘always creates problems’
  • Hategan gave a penalty after Sancho was fouled by Barcelona’s Nelson Semedo 

Romanian referee Ovidiu Hategan has explained how he changes his position to adapt to Jadon Sancho’s dribbling skills, as revealed in a behind-the-scenes UEFA documentary focusing on referees. 

UEFA are releasing a free-to-air four-part documentary series giving unprecedented access to referees, releasing microphone recordings of their heated conversations with players in the biggest Champions League matches throughout the past two seasons.  

In episode two, one scene involves Hategan explaining how he changed his position on the field for Borussia Dortmund winger Sancho against Barcelona last season, as he subsequently gave a penalty for a foul by Nelson Semedo.  

Jadon Sancho wins a penalty for Borussia Dortmund after a stamp by Nelson Semedo in 2019

Romanian referee Ovidiu Hategan explained his change of position in the UEFA documentary

‘Even now, I see in Dortmund they have a very good right winger from England [Sancho] and one against one with the defender, [he] always creates problems,’ Hategan said.

‘When he has the ball, I always move a little bit on the right-side on my diagonal – so I broke my diagonal and I went on the right-side of the penalty area because I knew something could happen.’

Footage then cuts to Hategan giving the penalty for the stamp by Semedo, and he quickly receives confirmation from the Video Assistant Referee saying: ‘100 per cent a penalty, it was a stamp.’

Sancho’s movement and skills forced the referee to change his position for the clash last year

Hategan continues to describe the incident: ‘I was in the perfect position, I’ve seen the stamp, clear foul and I whistle the penalty without any hesitation. 

Marco Reus’ penalty was then saved by Marc-Andre ter Stegen, after the referee warned the Barca goalkeeper to stay on his line as clearly heard by the microphones – the game finished goalless at Signal Iduna Park. 

Describing his reaction after big matches, the Romanian says: ‘At the end of the match, you know as a referee if you have done a good match.’My team were very happy in the dressing room after the match.

Nelson Semedo gave away the penalty and Hategan was in the perfect position to see it 

‘When I see the replay [in] the next days, I can hear the crowd signing because when I’m there on the pitch, I’m so focussed – I’m in my own world.’   

The series follows the lives of 16 of UEFA’s top referees – including Premier League officials Michael Oliver and Anthony Taylor – from 11 countries over an 18-month period from February 2019 to August 2020. 

Fans will be offered a unique insight, with one segment even showing how relieved officials celebrate together in the changing room after high pressure European ties, clinking bottles of beer to celebrate a successful night’s work. 

UEFA’s referees are seen keeping fit during coronavirus lockdown on Zoom earlier this year

Officials celebrate with sponsor beers in the aftermath of huge Champions League nights

‘This is a very important documentary for UEFA and our family of referees,’ said UEFA’s chief of refereeing Roberto Rosetti.

‘It highlights the professionalism, motivation and dedication of some of Europe’s best officials, as well as showing the human beings behind the figures seen by players and supporters on the pitch.’  

He added: ‘I hope everyone can enjoy the series and that people can learn more about what it takes to become and be an elite UEFA referee.’   


Cuneyt Cakır – Turkey

Willie Collum – Scotland

Carlos del Cerro Grande – Spain

Ovidiu Hategan – Romania

Bjorn Kuipers – Netherlands

Antonio Mateu Lahoz – Spain

Bobby Madden – Scotland

Danny Makkelie – Netherlands 

 Szymon Marciniak – Poland

Michael Oliver – England

Daniele Orsato – Italy

Gianluca Rocchi – Italy

Damir Skomina – Slovenia

Anthony Taylor – England

Clement Turpin – France

Felix Zwayer – Germany

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