Football referees get closer to the action that anyone else. If you can’t play, then it’s next best thing, says Chris Foy?
What is the role of a football referee?
A referee is responsible in ensuring the players play within the rules of the game and that they play in a safe playing environment. They encourage players with appropriate leadership and are positive role models for the players.
Talk us through a typical match day weekend…
More often than not I spend the night before a game in a hotel. I meet the other match officials four hours before the kick-off to start our preparations. Two hours before the match starts, I arrive at the ground. We have a safety briefing and then I referee the match. Following the end of the match we go through a ‘de-brief’ with all the officials to assess our own performance. Afterwards I travel back to the hotel before returning home. Later that week I receive feedback from the match assessor, whose job is to scrutinise every referee’s performance. As a professional referee we are very accountable and look to build and improve during our extensive training sessions during the week.
“Officiating in some of the best stadiums in the world is amazing, as is sharing a playing surface with some of the best players in the world.”
What are the best and worst things about being a referee?
Officiating in some of the best stadiums in the world is amazing, as is sharing a playing surface with some of the best players in the world. Few people get to be actively involved in the biggest football league in the world. However, you have to face the publicity following an incorrect decision.
What qualifications are involved in becoming a football referee?
I have a degree in sports science, plus training in psychology and physical education. You will also need the Referee Level 1 course. Beyond that, you need a good and broad education, the ability to develop good communication skills and a willingness to listen and learn. And it might sound simple, but you must have a love of football. Watch as many games as possible and try and learn something new from each game.