Milorad Mažić (Serbia)

by Rafae Alam

Hailing from Serbia, Milorad Mažić has been a FIFA referee since 2009. He has officiated numerous matches in the UEFA Champions League and the Europa League, and was previously selected to referee at the 2014 FIFA World Cup.1

Mažić comes from a nation not well known for its soccer team, but the referee has made quite a name for himself in the world of soccer, and not in a good way. A poll held by the website revealed a general consesnus that Mažić was the worst referee at the 2014 World Cup after about 87,000 of the 110,000 participants voted for him.2

During the World Cup, he officiated for Germany’s clash with Portugal and Argentina’s match with Iran. During the match with Germany and Portugal, he awarded Germany a controversial penalty, and sent off Portugal defender Pepe. In the Argentina vs Iran match, he was mainly remembered for failing to award an apparent penalty to Iran. Iran’s manager Carlos Queiroz was so upset with the decision, that he went on to rage: “How can this guy sleep tonight, or for the rest of his life?”2

Check out the incident that inspired such anger below.


Mažić has continued to attract heavy criticism for his frequent bookings and occasional blunders, but he is overall unfazed. In fact, his motto is: “You can’t please everyone.”2

Of course, he is completely correct, and such a statement is especially true for a referee. However, you have to wonder if the criticism has any affect on the way he officiates matches. There is no doubt he is still a top referee, as he was recently appointed by UEFA to officiate at the 2016 Euro Cup. However, as the clear pick for worst referee at the 2014 World Cup according to the fans, clearly there is something Mažić is doing to infuriate players, managers, and spectators alike that other referees aren’t.

Looking ahead to Euro 2016, it will be interesting to see if he adjusts his style of refereeing in any way to appear more likeable. He claims that he is not affected by criticism, and many may think that it would be contrary to his position as a referee to cater to what some fans or players may want, but referees are almost always happy to avoid conflict or controversy. Whether Mažić prefers his usual style of refereeing or a little less hostility will soon be determined this summer at Euro 2016.


  1. Tanjug. (2015, December 15). Mažić sudi na Evropskom prvenstvu u Francuskoj. Retrieved April 30, 2016, from
  2. Prentice, D. (2016, March 15). Manchester United vs Liverpool to be officiated by ‘World Cup’s worst referee’ Retrieved April 30, 2016, from

How to cite this page: “Milorad Mažić (Serbia)”, Written by Rafae Alam (2016). European Cup 2016 Guide, Soccer Politics Blog, Duke University, (accessed on (date)).