Johan Hamel has died after suffering a stroke in training

French referee Johan Hamel dies aged 42 after suffering a stroke in training – just two weeks after he was fourth official for Celtic’s Champions League clash with Real Madrid

  • French referee Johan Hamel tragically passed away on Wednesday morning 
  • It was reported that the 42-year-old had suffered a stroke on Tuesday in training
  • Hamel was a veteran of 136 Ligue 1 games after top-flight promotion in 2016-17 

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

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

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

French referee Johan Hamel (L) has tragically passed away after suffering a stroke on Tuesday

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. 

Hamel had refereed 136 Ligue 1 games since earning top-flight promotion in 2016-17.

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 took on his first international roles last season, too, 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 a pair of 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. 

Hamel turned professional in 2011 and since 2016 has been one of his country’s elite referees

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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