Category Archives: Newsletter

The Renegade Ref says Flexibility is the Key but being inflexible is sometimes a great trait!

Sometimes I have to see and listen, then I have to allow the seeing and listening to percolate in my grey matter (brain) and then I have clear picture of what I want to say.

Now this is okay if you have time to see, listen and think – you do not have that time when you’re refereeing on a Saturday afternoon, so you have got to remember what worked last time and employ it next time the same situation occurs.

If another situation occurs you have to rely on the training you’ve been given, sometimes this training is given out of the refereeing arena.

Take the Muamba incident at Tottenham’s ground versus Bolton (his club).  He was fortunate that he had his heart challenge surrounded by a massive group of medics (who had training on how to deal with a heart problem) and also the two referees were Chris Foy and Howard Webb (both police officers who knew how to keep their cool under intense pressure!)

As an aside the player was lucky that an eminent consultant cardiologist was in the ground watching the game and the steward allowed him on the field!

Why do I wander off to the realms of a player who had a heart challenge on a premiership field?

Simple.

At A&H we believe in challenging your beliefs about refereeing so you have to think about different aspects of the game and by thinking about those aspects you’ll have introduced to your grey matter different things that will stand you in good stead when you don your kit and whistle and referee a football match.

In other words we aim to give you some training that could help your refereeing.

Now if you think you know how to referee and close your mind to other ways to think then you are consigning yourself to stay refereeing at the level you’re currently at – of course if you’re FIFA then that’s okay, except that they hold excellent training sessions with all their referees regularly!

So when we at A&H ask you to jump in a “correct” or “expected” box please shout at us “No I’m flexible”.  Because getting into either box means you could miss out on some of the joys of refereeing.

Please when you see the training we put on don’t think that Jeff or Jamaal or Jordan is in the camp we are representing; in fact, all three of us are flexible officials who know that to be successful sometimes you have to be inflexible and other times you have to be so flexible that you can touch your toes backwards.

So as we create training – including webinars – please make time to watch and listen to make sure that you have tools to become a better referee (and sometimes that is because you take what we say with a large pinch of salt!)

The Renegade Ref says “Get into both camps!”

As I grow older and I do more coaching of youngsters (well I call them all youngsters) I realise that refereeing is a without a doubt a thankless task. I knew when I was active as a referee that we could never win; now I know that more than ever.

What makes me so sure?

Did you see the rugby on Saturday morning on Sky Sports? The British Lions were playing the All Blacks in Wellington, New Zealand.  Right at the end of the show was a real demonstration of the thanklessness of refereeing.

At the end of the match – which the British Lions won by 3 points – the former All Black player (Sean Fitzpatrick) who was on the panel said he thought the referee did well; the former British Lion – whose name I do not know as he was a replacement for Ian McGeechan – disagreed with him!

The reason? The former Lion wanted the referee to allow the game to flow more.  The British Lions had won the test and the referee had sent a New Zealand player off for a seriously bad tackle. Yet, the winner wanted the referee to let it flow more!

Now here we have two former international rugby players who cannot agree whether the referee did a good job; what hope do you and I stand if international players cannot agree on the quality of the official?

So the simple answer is: Referee how you see fit!

In the office (to create a debate we’ve split into two groups: The “The Execute the Law” group and the “Give What the Game Expects” group.

Both have good arguments attached to them but I think the truth is that you should be a referee who can be in both camps at the same time – or for you intelligent referees: simultaneously!

Because if you’re in the Execute Group you will call the game off if there are no corner flags or the nets aren’t tied back correctly. If you’re in the What The Game Expects Group you could “miss” a yellow card because the players are mates, which could start the next world war.

Now being in both groups is not the easiest thing to do and you will still incur the wrath of some of the players whatever you do – but please get into both groups and have the ability to favour one group in the 1st minute and the other group in the 2nd minute, etc.

In other words: Be Flexible!

AND DON’T THINK YOU WILL PLEASE ALL OF THE PLAYERS!

As the meerkat says: Refereeing is simples!

In other words: if you’re going into refereeing to become more popular – DON’T

The Renegade Ref says it is not black and white!

Recently a member of the A&H staff published a Law question which I’ve repeated below.

“Sergio Aguero takes a penalty. Before the penalty is taken Gary Cahill encroaches. Aguero’s penalty hits the post and Aguero gets to the rebound first. Cahill then clears the ball off of the line, over the crossbar and out of play.

The referee must:

  1. Award a corner kick
  2. Send off Cahill for DOGSO
  3. Retake the penalty
  4. Award an Indirect Free Kick to the defence for a double touch

Now there are two answers to this question!

The question is: What MUST the referee do? And the answer is obviously 3) Retake the penalty!

And that is a great question, with the correct answer.

But what do the teams expect if Cahill has “only” encroached by a metre? The answer to us as active referees on pitch 7 of the local rec is 4.

Teams expect that a small encroachment is no encroachment; therefore the double touch is the only offence, in their minds, that has been committed.

Even that will need some explaining to the great unwashed because as seen on Sunday in the international rugby match (England versus Italy) players don’t know the Laws!

If we say that refereeing is about delivering “no surprises” then we give them an Indirect Free Kick for the touching it twice before anyone else has, if we say our job is to teach them the Laws then we have a retake for the encroachment!

Now this is an extreme example and we wouldn’t dream of doing anything like this, would we?

But what happens with throw-ins in our games?

The Law states that the ball must be thrown back in where it left the field of play – do we enforce this or do we allow the players to take the throw-in where all of the players expect it from?

In other words for throw-ins do we go with answer 4) rather than 3)?

What about the simple Law about the goalkeeper can only hold the ball for 6 seconds and us applying that or where is the correct position for a defensive free-kick when both sides want to get on with it?

It is us applying the practical over the technical, isn’t it?

And that’s the real joy of refereeing, learning what we have to do in all situations to keep the game moving along to a fair conclusion as far as we’re concerned and as far as the players are concerned.