Date:Monday August 20 2007
THE REF has kindly agreed to answer our questions.
Firstly, I asked him about the league he officiates in and how long it took him to get into the position he is now in:
I have been refereeing for the last 18 years.
The highest league I officiated in was The Northern Counties East with my next jump being onto Football League Line.
I went over to the USA to do a bit of refereeing but like a complete moron, stuck my foot down a gopher hole and came back with a dislocation and fracture of my ankle!!
I now do the odd Sunday League game but spend a lot more time out Assessing (Registered with the FA).
The grading system for referees has now been changed, however I would say it took me about 6 years/seasons to get to NCE Level.
My next question was about the refereeing in the Football League and in Europe
The quality of refereeing in the current English Leagues from a neutral point of view seems exceptional.
You will always get the odd decision that goes against your team that seems ridiculous (IE. The phantom Chelsea penalty yesterday) but bear in mind that these referees are to top 100 or so in the country out of tens of thousands with plenty of more younger fitter referees biting at their heels, so they have to perform or they get replaced.
Europe it seems has 'different rules` regarding the way they officiate, raising your feet over here goes unpunished but on the continent would be classed as quite severe, European Referees appear more 'Prima Donna` in my eyes, but that is just MY opinion, the game of football should be about the teams and not the Referee.
I asked if he thought it would be better if we had professional referee's/officials
Are you referring to Ex-Professional players refereeing or the current referees going full time??
If it is the latter, then in the Premiership we already have these people, and if you are referring to ex pros refereeing, then we have had one or two of those as well, not including the d*** who commentates on Sky Sports Mr Andy 'I can see everything in 3d` Gray.
I then asked him what is the biggest problem he can see in refereeing at the moment.
Biggest problem in refereeing at the moment.. Hmm… good question….
Ok, the biggest problem in Local Leagues in the intimidation given to referees from players, officials and spectators.
Now this is not aimed at every club, but there are good clubs and bad clubs.
If a newly qualified ref made a howler, and was bawled at for 90 minutes non stop with abuse, do you think he`d be back the following week?
This has what has made the decline of Referees in Rotherham over the last couple of seasons, leaving teams without Referees on Sunday Mornings I`m afraid…
Professionally, again in my opinion, there has been a lot of fiddling about with the Laws Of The Game over the last few seasons, introducing new bits and bats, tweaking old laws like offside and then slating referees when one guy interprets it differently to another.
Football is down to one mans interpretation of an incident, not Andy Grays opinion with 17 different camera angles.
Until we get specific instruction this will continue, and the 'If in the opinion of the referee` will continue to cause havoc, no two referees are alike!
I was asked to ask him if he get's upset at the abuse he has hurled at him or does he just shrug it off
In my earlier refereeing career, yes most definitely, but as you mature and people get to know you and what they can and can`t get away with, then this tends to ease off. My main pet hate is anybody calling me a cheat.
I make decisions on what I see and what I believe to be correct, and so the end result of the game has no interest to me.
Date:Monday August 20 2007
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