Tragic: Johan Hamel has died after suffering a stroke in training

French referee Johan Hamel tragically died on Wednesday after suffering a stroke in training on Tuesday.

Hamel, 42, was a veteran of over 130 games in the French top-flight, and made his Champions League debut as a fourth official a fortnight ago in Celtic’s defeat away to Real Madrid in the final round of group stage fixtures. 

His final game came on November 6, when he overaw Lille’s Ligue 1 clash with Rennes, before taking on fourth official duties in PSG’s meeting with Auxerre on Sunday, November 13. 

With more than 300 professional games to his name as a referee, Hamel’s shock passing comes after he suffered a stroke whilst undergoing routine exercises in training.

Having become one of France’s elite referees in 2016, he had more than a decade of experience in the game after turning professional back in 2011. 

The French referee made his international debut last year as the fourth official in Lithuania’s heavy 4-1 loss to visiting Northern Ireland that saw three penalties and six yellow cards dished out. 

This season saw Hamel take on the same role in two Nations League ties; Slovakia’s 1-0 win over Belarus and Moldova’s 2-0 victory against Liechtenstein.

Hamel had made nine domestic appearances as a referee this season, with eight coming in the top-flight of French football and one game from Ligue 2. 

During that time he officiated in the action-packed meeting between Clermont Foot and Stade Reims which finished 4-2 to the former, and again saw six yellow cards and three penalties in the tie, as well as a sending off. 

He has also gradually made the transition into officiating in continental clashes, and this season had taken on fourth official duties in two Europa League games and a Conference League qualifier, as well as one Champions League clash. 

A statement from the Union of Elite Football Referees (SAFE) read: ‘Arbitration is in mourning. We learn of the death of our colleague and friend, Johan Hamel, Ligue 1 referee, at the age of 42. 

“To his family, relatives and friends, the SAFE and the arbitrators send their deepest condolences. Johan, we will miss you.” 

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