A federation that compiles footballing statistics has voted Massimo Busacca “The World’s Best Referee 2009”, the first Swiss to receive the honour.
Almost half of the 81-member voting panel of the International Federation of Football History & Statistics (IFFHS) put the multilingual Swiss in first place.
Italian title holder Roberto Rosetti was voted the second best referee of the world in 2009, with British man Howard Webb chosen as world number three.
Busacca, known for his calm temper and eagle eye, will be honoured on February 1 at an IFFHS gala reception in London.
The 40-year-old sportsman was born in Italian-speaking Bellinzona and has been a referee in the top Swiss league (now known as the Super League) since 1996.
He has been an international referee since 1998 with experience at World Cup and European Championship level. The Champions League final between Manchester United and FC Barcelona in May 2009 was the highpoint of his career so far.