Ligue 1 referee Johan Hamel dies aged 42

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The French Referees' Union confirmed Hamel's passing in a statement on its official website on Thursday (AEDT).

Hamel had officiated in the French top flight for more than a decade and made his Champions League debut as fourth official in Real Madrid's win over Celtic earlier this month.

One of the most respected referees in France, Hamel's final match in the middle was Lille's 1-1 draw with Rennes on 7 November.

He was also fourth official for PSG's 5-0 win over Auxerre at the Parc des Princes on Monday (AEDT).

The Ligue de Football Professionnel (LFP), which oversees the major leagues in French football, also sent their condolences.

Hamel's death comes two years after the passing of fellow French referee Sebastien Desiage at the age of 46 following a battle with illness.

LFP president Vincent Labrune said: "Johan Hamel was an experienced referee who had worked for many seasons in Ligue 1 and Ligue 2. His sudden death is a terrible shock. 

"Two years after the loss of Sebastien Desiage, his death again mourns French arbitration.

"In the name of all professional football, I send my condolences to Johan's family and loved ones, as well as to SAFE and the FFF."