Jonas Eriksson will be officiating the U.S. national team’s first game in Group G against Ghana.
Here’s what you need to know about the Swedish referee:
1. He is a Multi-Millionaire
After selling his 15 percent stake of IEC, a Swedish Sports Media Rights business, Eriksson became a a millionaire when he sold his share in Swedish sports media rights for €6 million.
After this, he became a referee in 1994. Most referees in soccer make up to £70,0000 a year, which Eriksson makes more than in interest in one year alone.
Erkisson told UEFA:
I’ve had a fantastic life as a businessman, but since 2011, I’ve dedicated myself to being a professional referee and I’m having the time of my life.”
2. Manuel Pellegrini Was Suspended For Negative Comments Directed at Him
Eriksson got in a huge tiff with Machester City’s manager, Manuel Pelligrini, when he red carded Martin Demichelis for fouling Lionel Messi of FC Barcelona during the first game of the teams’ Round of 16 match up. Messi went on to score off the penalty kick from the call and Barcelona came away with the win, 2-0 over Manchester.
Manuel Pellegrini went off to the press about Eriksson, saying that it was that call that “decided the game.”
I was not happy. He did not have any control of the game. He favored Barcelona from the beginning to the end … There is more important football in Europe than Sweden. A big game with two important teams, that kind of game needs a referee with more experience.”
Pelligrini was suspended for the next three matches.
3. He is Known For Making a Bad Call On Arsenal
In 2013, Eriksson failed to give Borussia Dortmund‘s striker, Robert Lewandowski when he elbowed Arsenal’s Laurent Koscielny in the face during a play. Dortmund ended up winning the game after the controversial call.
Although Lewandowski seemed to get away with it, he was issued a yellow card instead of the red card, allowing him to continue playing with the warning.
4. He’s From Stockholm Sweden
5. He Has Been a Ref Since 1994
Although Eriksson has been officiating since 1994, he has more recently become a prominent official, now famous for his wealth and bad calls against Arsenal and Manchester. The match between the U.S.A. and Ghana will be his first World Cup appearance ever.
In 2012, Eriksson officiated a couple of matches in the European Championships, along with at least six in in the UEFA Champions League in 2013 that included the semifinal and quarterfinal in two different series. The quarterfinal was a match between Bayern Munich and Manchester United in the UEFA Super Cup Final and the semifinal match was between Atletico Madrid and Chelsea.
Eriksson refereed four separate European qualifying matches before this World Cup, totaling one red card, 18 yellow cards, and a penalty kick.