Tags Posts tagged with "referee"


    Alex Griffiths talks to Roger Dilkes (Football League/PL, 1983/1997) about the refereeing giant whose shoulders he was honoured to stand upon.

    The very first burning question for Roger had to be: when he surveilled the ranks of top officials and their chosen professions in the days long before professional referees, did he not feel daunted when he saw so many were coppers, if not teachers, as was the case with the man he set out to emulate? “Not in the slightest!” comes the reply.

    “I just didn't look at it like that, coming as I did from HR training. I felt I had lots of transferable interpersonal skills plus the ability to communicate, both through my work and having played myself.

    “There's no denying, however, that George's job as a head teacher stood him in good stead. He had the people skills, a good manner and people working for him, which helps you relate to what we used to call linesmen in those days...”

    What else made Courtney stand out among what was a talented bunch in Hackett, Thomas, Midgeley and Willis, to name but four?

    “He looked the part for a start, always in short sleeves. From experience he used his humour at just the right times and kept it on the field of play, and, even then, more so with the players as opposed to his assistants.

    “That group of rivals all got on very well, in fact, and the late Pat Partridge could be included even if he was slightly older. Of course he was from the same neck of the woods as Courtney and Willis, up there in the North-East, too.

    “As well as being mentored and supported by George I acted as his linesman and the instructions he would give beforehand were always very precise and only served to heighten his authority.”
    Courtney certainly prided himself on his fitness, did he not? “Yes,” Dilkes readily confirms. “He used to play tennis and golf to a high standard and I remember one particular occasion in Istanbul when he gave the hotel pro a game of tennis prior to a Galatasaray versus Austria Vienna match.”

    Who won? “Oh, I'm sure George let the pro win, simply because he did not feel he should exert himself so close to such a big appointment... he was that professional! He had a good go, all the same, as I recall.”
    Hang on, must this tribute to Courtney face a steward's enquiry, given that most people and their idol have an age gap comfortably bigger than Roger's and George's... is Dilkes just trying to come off as younger than he really is here?

    “Not guilty! He was on the list nearly ten years before I was, and I can't overstate what a positive influence he had on me.

    “In terms of motivation to succeed that really was what he was all about, and again those were key skills he brought with him from teaching.

    “Consistency was his trademark, if you like: you knew what you were getting, whatever the standard of the game might be. And he kept going long after retirement.”
    Consistency does appear to have been Courtney's legacy, so, in closing, how did he manage to loom so large in the Dilkes story, in practical terms?

    “It was not just me, but many others who he supported along the way. He simply seemed to know how to get the best out of you, and after a pep talk from him you felt able to take on any game.

    “His mentoring allowed me to go into games with no qualms or any hint of negativity whatsoever, and for that boost in confidence I will always remain grateful.”

    Roger Dilkes

    *Born 19/8/1948 in Lancashire

    *Made FL list as linesman in 1980, as referee in 1983 (aged 34) and PL as referee in its inaugural season, 1992

    *Ran the line for FA Cup Semi-Final 1984, Watford (1) Plymouth (0)

    *Refereed 1988 FA Trophy Final & replay: Enfield (0) (3) Telford (0) (2)

    *Refereed 1989 Women’s FA Cup Final, Leasowe Pacific (3) Friends of Fulham (2)

    *Refereed 1991 Upton Park Cup Final in St Helier, Jersey: Sporting Academics (3) Northerners (1)

    *Reserve referee (to Philip Don) at 1993 FA Cup Final

    *Refereed FA Cup Semi-Final 1994, Chelsea (2) Luton Town (0)

    *Refereed League Cup Semi-Final 1996, second leg: Leeds United (3) Birmingham City (0)

    *Retired 1997 after Coventry City (1) Derby County (2)

    *Assessor and referee coach until 2012

    George Courtney MBE

    *Born Spennymoor, County Durham, 4/6/1941

    *Made FL list in 1974, aged 33

    *FIFA ref 1977-91

    *Refereed Northern League Cup Final at age of 30

    *Refereed FA Cup Final 1980: Arsenal (0) West Ham United (1), including the momentous decision to caution Arsenal's Willie Young for an example of the erroneously named 'professional foul'

    *Refereed UEFA Cup Final 1982, second leg, in Hamburg, West Germany: SV Hamburg (0) IFK Gothenburg (3). IFKG, managed by Sven-Goran Eriksson, won 4-0 on aggregate

    *Refereed League Cup Final 1983: Manchester United (1) Liverpool (2) aet

    *Refereed Euro 84 Semi-Final in Lyon, France: Spain (6) Denmark (5) on penalties

    *Refereed European Cup Winners Cup Final, 1989, in Bern, Switzerland: Barcelona (2) Sampdoria (0)

    *Refereed two games at World Cup 1986 in Mexico, inc 3rd place match, France (4) Belgium (2) aet

    *Refereed two games at World Cup 1990 in Italy, inc Italy (2) Uruguay (0) in last 16

    *Refereed League Cup Final 1992 (only referee to be honoured twice with this appointment): Manchester United (1) Nottingham Forest (0)

    *Retired in 1992 after Division 2 play-off final, Blackburn (1) Leicester (0), having awarded the penalty scored by Mike Newell to gain promotion to the inaugural Premier League for 6th-placed Rovers

    *Served as Director of Community Projects at Middlesbrough FC

    *Served as Northern League President

      Michael Oliver

      One man who has been there and done it is KEITH HACKETT.

      I can remember in April 1981 receiving THAT phone call from the Referees' Officer at The Football Association. It was to inform me of my appointment to officiate the 100th FA Cup final. I was stunned by the news, knowing that there were at least ten other referees who could have been given the honour. In the coming days another referee will receive that same incredible call.

      The number to select from is frankly much smaller and perhaps the competition narrowed by the fact that the selection is made from within the limits of the group of professional referees. This group is further reduced by the more recent tradition of a referee only being appointed to one FA Cup final in their career

      Effectively, this then rules out Jon Moss (2015), Andre Marriner (2013), Mike Dean (2007), Martin Atkinson(2011) and the retiring Mark Clattenburg (2016).

      So who are the front runners?

      Michael Oliver and Anthony Taylor must be the two leading contenders given the fact that both of them are keen to be promoted to the UEFA Elite Panel which opens the door for them to officiate Champions League games.

      Alternatively, sometimes the Referees Committee offer the final to someone who has given long service to the game. This might just open the door to a surprise appointment and  Lee Mason, Mike Jones, Kevin Friend and Neil Swarbrick might feel that they are in with a chance. Remember how, in 2015, Moss was given the nod over the in form and world ranked Clattenburg.

      I have at the moment ruled out Craig Pawson because of his semi-final appointment and Bobby Madley, who in some respects should be another contender given the advances that he has made in his career in the season to date. The FA, however, often seem to indicate that his time will come.

      So for me the right choice would be Oliver or Taylor who will be given the honour of joining an elite list of referees appointed to this great game.

      Let me know who you would select.

        Author: Alison Bender

        Well let’s start by getting the stereotypes out of the way. Yes, I’m a girl, yes, I love football and yes, I understand the offside rule! I’ve been reporting at matches for well over a decade now and I’ve seen many a controversial decision, some that years on still make my blood boil, so I understand how important it is to get it right.

        As a Chelsea fan, the night that will be etched into my memory forever is the one when I had to put on my sweetest smile and congratulate Pep Guardiola after a last minute goal from Andres Iniesta knocked us out of the Champions League on away goals. During that interview all I could think about was the referee Tom Henning Øvrebø who’d denied penalty claim after penalty claim (so yes, I am that passionate fan too) but for those few minutes I had to be the professional. Strangely though, in this article I’m about to defend referees.

        The other day I sat an assistant referee test where I had to judge eight offside scenarios. Admittedly they ran in quick succession and the picture quality was not brilliant, but I am ashamed to say I got 50% correct…and therefore 50% wrong! Yes these were situations set up to appear challenging, but the point is that being a linesman is not easy and that the calls have to be made instantly, in real time. I think we forget just how many judgements we actually make having the luxury of a replay, something referees can only dream of. Add to that I was doing the test in the comfort of my own home, with no real pressure, not having run the lines and without thousands of fans (not to mention a global television audience) on my back.

        As soon as I had finished the test I felt pretty guilty and I told my husband (and twitter) that I’d never criticise a referee again. Of course I will, but I will try to remember these simple words “real time gives you a tough time”.

        One thing that infuriates me is when fans and managers (they should know better) imply the referee was in some way trying to cheat. Why on earth would they cheat? Their job depends on getting things right. I would argue that they are the most honest people on the pitch, and yet they can go from hero to zero in 90 minutes for just trying to do their job to the best of their ability. Give them five minutes of your time to understand the stress of getting it right.  Sit the test, and if you don’t get 8 out of 8 correct, then perhaps you will think twice the next time you criticise their “on the spot” decision.

        Take the test here and let us know your result.


          Former Premier League midfielder Jason Jarrett has hit out at the FA and their referee development system, which he says prevents former players from being able to become referees. The 37 year old argues that it can take 10 years for a referee to rise from the bottom of the football pyramid to the top in the Premier League.

          ‘Why is it after 120 years or so and we have not had an ex pro as a referee?

          ‘I have progressed really fast. After five years as a referee, I am still earning £32 a game. Five years in the game. Five years on and it is still tough.' Read more.....

          Indeed, the list of former footballers who have taken up the whistle is a short one, one in particular was former Huddersfield Town, Bradford City and Chesterfield defender Steve Baines, who went on to have an eight-year stint as a referee in the nineties. You Are The Ref's very own Mark Halsey was a non-league goalkeeper before taking up the whistle. Others who have turned include Bob Matthewson from Bolton who became a FIFA referee, Mike Lowe and George McCabe also made the switch with the latter officiating at the 1966 World Cup Final.

          YATR's Keith Hackett said: “I’d like to defend the PGMOL from criticism on this one. The system of qualification for a referee is the responsibility of the Football Association and that is where the focus needs to be.”

          Back in 2014, Alan Biggs spoke to then Sheffield United defender Andy Butler, who himself had his own ambitions of becoming a referee.

            The English Premier League is one of the best, if not the best, competition in world football. Its nearest challengers would be La Liga and the Bundesliga, both of course producing top quality referees over many years.

            Premier League Games are watched in over 211 territories beamed live around the world thanks to the spectacular television coverage. The minimum twenty-two cameras at each game and the latest eye-in-the-sky piece of technology give viewers wonderful images that highlight the skill sets of the players.

            These cameras expose the frailties of players happy to go to ground easily in order to win a free kick or penalty kick. Instant replays and the use of the super slow-mo provide information to the viewer that currently is not available to the team of match officials. Goal line technology has delivered terrific results and makes life for the referee that much easier.

            Ariel challenges sometimes result in the player going to ground feigning injury attempting to get opponents into trouble. Television detects these negative aspects of a player’s performance.

            Officiating at the top level is so much more difficult than it used to be when I was an active referee in those early years of the formation of the Premier League. It was evident that something had to be done and the response was to set up a cadre of professional match officials.

            Referee coaching, performance analysis and appropriate sports science contributed in a positive manner to prepare the match officials to meet the increasing demands placed upon them.

            The outcome was a step change in the on-field performance of our officials with the likes of Poll, Webb, Halsey, Bennett, Durkin and Clattenburg receiving top class appointments at the very top echelon of the world game after delivering on a regular basis quality performances on the Premier League and in Europe

            The role of the PGMOL management team is to prepare this cadre of officials to deliver the very best performances on the field week-in week-out. They have to monitor the physical and mental ability to deal with the demands of a Premier League game. It is beyond belief that one of our up and coming top officials was expected to produce a performance of quality in last weekend’s Manchester City v Liverpool game.

            On the Monday he officiated Chelsea v Manchester United, the following Thursday he was officiating a top UEFA Europa League game between Besiktas and Olympiakos. Following a long flight returning to England on Friday he had one day to recover before driving to Manchester for his Premier League appointment. This young and fit referee can cope with the physical demands of the game. However, mental fatigue drains away your concentration and awareness requirements to cope with three games in such a tight time frame.

            My colleagues have with some sadness reported on many occasions over the last three years of the decline in refereeing standards. I have along with my colleague and former Premier League referee Mark Halsey received criticism of what is seen as our negative approach to our former colleagues. However, Mark and I have nearly three quarters of a century of active involvement in officiating, both of us representing our country at FIFA level.

            We therefore have a level of expertise in refereeing that we openly share with everyone. By offering our opinions up and coming referees can avoid the pitfalls that we are seeing our referees fall into on a regular basis.

            All we want to see is England providing and producing top quality officiating and for young referees to be afforded the opportunity to climb the ladder of success and perhaps become FIFA Referees through having a greater understanding of what is right and what is wrong.

            Someone at the Premier League and the PGMOL needs to read the excellent article in The Times following Sunday’s big game at the Etihad and the comments of the Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola. Here is the article:

            He would not comment on specific incidents, but it is clear that the Catalan, who has expressed dismay at the levels of officiating in England before this season, is unhappy with a number of decisions from referees this term.

            “You know my opinion about the referees,” he said. “My advice to them is that they have to speak to each other and they have to sit down on the table and review and talk urgently to make this sport better.

            “What happened this season is something I have never seen in my life? They have to sit and analyse why this amount of things happen, not [only] in Manchester City games, but in all the games.”

            Klopp thought that Oliver could have dismissed Otamendi for catching Mané.

            “It could have been a red card around Sadio’s situation, he was away and Otamendi could catch him,” Klopp said.

            The sad thing is that I share his view. Our referees are being let down by the PGMOL who are failing to offer appropriate coaching advice to our young referees. Michael Oliver has huge potential similar to that of Webb and Clattenburg in the past. However, he needs to understand that he is not the finished article.

            He threw caution to the wind in the way he officiated last Monday’s encounter between Chelsea v Manchester United. He puts his control at risk by not penalising foul challenges but applying advantage, leaving players on the ground wondering why they are not being protected.

            Then, in the Manchester City v Liverpool game, he took the same risky approach allowing the game to run almost out of control. He appeared to be drawn into the occasion. If Michael Oliver had put his foot on the ball and slowed things down his authority and control would have been raised.

            There was a time in both games that tempo management needed to be applied. Find those fouls, Michael, reduce the application of advantage, slow things down so that players understand that you are in full control.

            Let them know that you will protect them and not allow reckless challenges to go unpunished. Pep Guardiola is right, the referees need to start to act in a professional manner and start to operate as a team in a consistent manner. If grappling is to be punished then it cannot be Mike Dean left alone to try to bring players back into line.

            The PGMOL officials need to meet up on a weekly basis to review their performances by use of the video and to discuss how they as a group can avoid errors and deliver better and more consistent officiating to the Premier League. They should include the assistant referees because some of the poor officiating is down to poor teamwork.

            The PGMOL are short of quality officials and I say again that they need to sort themselves out and overcome the current problems.The current crop of officials - some have passed their sell by date - is on the decline with week-in week-out inconsistent performances resulting in the decline in the standard of English officiating.

            Someone in authority needs to take note of Pep Guardiola’s comments and act.

              Top cricket umpire Richard Kettleborough is urging football to press ahead with video reviews - and to encourage ex players into refereeing.

              Kettleborough, the world's leading Test official, is a fan of DRS in cricket and a keen observer of the changes on the way in football.

              Before taking up becoming an official, Richard was a first-class cricketer who appeared in 33 first-class matches for Yorkshire and Middlesex. He was appointed to the ECB list of first-class umpires in 2006, before steppingup further to the full International Panel of ICC Umpires in 2009. Since then he has won the David Shepherd Trophy for ICC Umpire of the year in 2013, 2014 and 2015.

              Here he offers a unique perspective in an interview with Alan Biggs of You Are The Ref on Sheffield Live TV

                Back at the start of the 2014 Premier League season, RefCam was created to not only provide live text commentary on televised games, but also, primarily, to give a unique expert referee insight into the big decisions that take place live during games.

                It provides an informed voice to all match officials and fans alike, on the key incidents within games, and whether the law has been applied correctly, all from a refereeing perspective.

                The aim is to strengthen and improve the level of training currently being offered by the referee administrators of national federations and to look at the issues facing referees across the globe, providing exclusive match analysis of refereeing performances in the Premier League, FA Cup, Champions League and MLS.

                The RefCam team is made up of vastly experienced coaches with many years’ standing gained from their roles as professional match officials, referee coaches and assessors. The text commentary is very much similar to the type of notes produced by a referee assessor, and forms the basis of their performance review of match officials.

                During the recent FA Cup quarter final between Chelsea and Manchester United, a game that saw a number of key incidents, RefCam provided live text commentary through Mark Halsey. With years of officiating experience to his name, Mark was able to provide a top expert refereeing analysis of all the incidents, in real time.

                Gianluca Rocchi will be under scrutiny tonight when Man City face Monaco in the Champions League

                The sending off of Manchester United midfielder Ander Herrera was one that caused much debate among pundits and fans. Halsey, seconds after the card was produced said: "I believe Michael could have managed that second yellow card, in my opinion it was just a careless challenge."

                He went on to say in his match report, "In my opinion the sending off changed the game completely. Looking back on Michael's performance I felt that his game management wasn't what it should be, his player management wasn't what it should be and his awareness wasn't what it should have been."

                You can view his full report by clicking here.

                RefCam will continue to provide unrivaled referee analysis throughout the rest of the season, beginning tonight in the Champions League where Manchester City look to continue their European journey.


                  On the The Ref Show this week, Alan Biggs is joined by former referee chief Keith Hackett, and ex Sheffield Wednesday striker David Hirst, to analyse and dissect the weekend's football. A positive weekend for referees in England meant that discussion moved to the Old Firm derby where Celtic were denied a win late on against fierce rivals Rangers. But there was controversy with Celtic's Griffiths feeling he should have been awarded a penalty but referee Robert Madden turned down their appeals.

                  There's praise in the Premier League and Football League for referees including Robert Madley, whilst in the FA Cup, racist chanting reared it's ugly head with South Korean forward Son Heung-min the subject of abuse from Millwall fans. The panel give their view on all these matters and more...

                    Author: Alan Biggs

                    Football’s drive towards video refereeing has been given a hugely ironic twist by a week that has seen one of the greatest dramas ever enacted in the game we all love.

                    Had the so-called “beautiful game” been kept sacrosanct, Barcelona would never have accomplished their incredible 6-1 comeback victory over PSG for a 6-5 aggregate win in the Champions League.

                    The world leapt from its armchair and television presenters sprang from their desks in celebration as Barcelona achieved the virtually impossible with three late goals from the 88th minute.

                    Yet one of them was delivered courtesy of a blatant dive from Luis Suarez whose cheating antics to win a penalty would otherwise have been condemned the world over. And rightly so. No-one wants to strip away the romance of the night, of course. But had a Video Assistant Referee ruled on the incident the outcome and the atmosphere would have been very different.

                    In the majority of cases, we all want to see justice done and You Are The Ref’s Keith Hackett today applauds David Elleray for opening up a debate on the way VARs are to be operated.

                    “I’m delighted to see some words from David on this because it’s the gateway for plenty more discussion that I feel is needed,” said Hackett, responding to the technical director of the International Football Association Board.

                    “I still have some concerns about how the system will operate. It’s vital that it’s rapid and doesn’t unduly interrupt the momentum of the game but, of course, it has to be accurate.”

                    The former head of England’s referees itemises his major concerns as “weak refereeing”, with officials too often going for the soft option of a review, and “not being willing to apply an advantage.”

                    Elleray himself admits video refereeing on major incidents “is not a panacea.” Indeed, it’s possible to call a decision wrongly while looking at replays in slow motion, as many a television pundit knows to his or her embarrassment. And sometimes experienced referees disagree even after multiple viewings, as has been the case among YATR experts on isolated occasions.

                    Hackett makes this telling point: “Consider the review of an offside decision where a goal has been scored. The difficulty while looking at a screen is the angle of the camera to the offside line. I’ve seen many cases where I would have ruled a goal offside only for Prozone to demonstrate that it was actually onside.

                    “However, VARs will definitely provide more accurate decision-making when it comes to interfering with an opponent and gaining an advantage.

                    “Denial of a goal scoring opportunity is another key area of usage. My concern is where a DOGSO offence takes place but the referee does not blow his whistle because he doesn’t feel at the time that the criteria has been fulfilled – while the VAR sees that it has.

                    “Does the VAR immediately advise the referee to stop the game?”

                    Elleray appears to indicate that all reviews will be referee-led and that the official in the middle will call for a review. Hence Hackett’s fear about referees going safety-first.

                    “Weak refereeing is the risk,” he adds. “In certain situations referees will be deterred from playing advantage which is one of the great spectacles of the game, leading to many a great goal and much appreciation from the attacking team.

                    “But it’s good to start talking about all these aspects, as David Elleray has begun to do. I hope that the trials will expose some of these concerns and that there will be further clarification as a result.”

                      Referees are human and will always be subject to making errors. That's equally true whether it's in a local park in front of one man and his dog or in the middle of a high intensity Premier League game watched by millions.

                      Your aim as a referee must be to deliver your very best performance. Yes, every game that you officiate should be your "Cup final." Self-analysis and taking into account those reports produced by referee observers should form part of your learning curve.

                      Today's game - at whatever level you officiate - is certainly more demanding than in my period out in the middle. But sometimes, across the many games I watch, I leave a ground disappointed knowing
                      that the referee, with more physical effort, could have delivered a much better performance.

                      The world of refereeing is very competitive and every performance counts. All too often referees shut off from any form of criticism or words of advice and sadly thereby lose an opportunity to enhance future performances.

                      Let me say now that we have all had nightmare games and been faced with howls of protest or that deadly silence when a club secretary is handing over your match fee. I can remember one Sunday morning game where I sent off two players for fighting. Afterwards, the secretary put his head around the dressing room door and threw onto the ground in front of me the couple of quid match fee. "Not good enough ref," he said. I left the money on the floor and exited without picking it up. I knew that there was some truth in his comment.

                      The elite level referee is under microscopic analysis and exposed when one of the twenty two cameras highlights something that he has missed. For instance, Kevin Friend at Old Trafford last weekend missing, among other things, Zlatan Ibrahimovic elbowing an opponent, as caught on

                      Like many others, I was critical of THIS referee's performance in THIS game. I was frustrated by the knowledge that up to that point he was having his best season and cementing his position in the Select Group. So it was about examining his performance and finding ways of ensuring that those errors are not repeated.

                      In these situations the referee coach should have an open and transparent conversation with the referee. The coach should sit with the referee and examine on DVD in detail why an offence was missed.

                      Clearly, positioning and viewing angle were adrift on the Ibrahimovic incident. So examine positioning and movement leading up to the offence. Was the referee too close and focusing on below the waist level resulting in the upper body foul being missed?

                      Was the referee watching the flight of the ball and not the challenge between the two players?

                      Did the referee see the clenched fist when the elbow moved backwards? That's a clear signal that the action by the player was deliberate.

                      In viewing the incident through replays what has the referee learned? ;-

                      Was he too relaxed, laid back with reduced alertness and awareness?
                      Was he thinking of an earlier decision?
                      Was he distracted by comments from players?
                      Was he focusing on another potential flash point?
                      Where does he think a member of his team might have assisted him in ensuring
                      action would be taken to dismiss the player?
                      Were there any signals from players with regard to a reduction in respect
                      or an escalation of dissent?

                      The important thing for Kevin Friend is to learn from this error and to think about those many positive performances he has produced this season. Detailed review of performances is vital in order for referees to build on their strengths.

                      Let us hope that Kevin Friend, one of our top referees, can put behind him quickly this recent poor performance and look forward to performing well again. The PGMOL, with the loss of Mark Clattenburg, need him to return quickly. And the coaches and management have a duty to ensure that Kevin is given every possible support

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