March 10, 2014

Together Everybody Achieves More

There has been a change of this blog's header somewhen in 2012 or 2013, when the quite exaggerated title "World of Football Refereeing" became "The Third Team". It should demonstrate that we are considering referees, (additional) assistant referees and the fourth official as the third team on the field of play besides both football teams. While outstanding players such as Zlatan Ibrahimović or Cristiano Ronaldo have often enough proven that they alone can make all the difference, refereeing is no ring for lone fighters and no stage for soloists. 

A perfect example of that happened in the German Bundesliga match between Frankfurt and Stuttgart, two clubs threatened with relegation, last week.

As you can see in the video, there was a duel in the white team's penalty area - both players involved fell to the ground. Referee Deniz Aytekin showed a small moment of hesitation but then pointed to the spot to award a penalty kick in favour of the red-dressed team. The replays are clearly showing that this had been an error of perception - it was the attacker who caused the contact and who thus fouled his opponent and not vice versa. For the referee, this situation was difficult to judge as he did not have the optimum viewing angle and insight into the contact. But obviously, the first assistant referee, 1989 born Benjamin Brand, had a good look at it and saw who was the real offender. Laudably this young assistant referee, who had already been in focus once in this blog, showed immense courage to take quite an unpopular - given the late stage of the match and importance of its outcome - and also an extremely brave decision: With some quick communication, he overruled Aytekin by advising him to award a direct free-kick in favour of the defensive team instead of a penalty kick. The assistant referee's courage is one positive facet of this match situation. But what you should take along, having watched this incident, is something else:

1. Work as a team.
2. Trust each other. Encourage your assistants to assume responsibility if they are sure. However, be careful: avoid the diffusion of responsibility à la "Now we see more"...
3. Develop a flat hierarchy in your team - the ease old times when "linesmen" had nothing to say are over! In a functioning team, even a 24 year-old assistant referee can correct a UEFA Elite referee-to-be.
4. Have the guts to overrule your teammate if you are sure, the match benefits from it! Be brave!
5. Have the guts to respect and trust your teammate, who has just told you that you had made a mistake or even overruled you visible for all players and fans! 
6. Have the guts to correct your decision!
7. Sell it in a natural and sincere way. Only if this is done, players and fans will accept you are a human who has just made a mistake. Honesty wins and makes you stronger in the end.

Or, in a nutshell:  



  1. Anonymous10/3/14 19:48

    Correct but please stress that you as assistant referee must be sure prior to find such courage.
    If you correct a originally right decision, you create a mess.

    1. Exactly, see points 2 + 4.

  2. Exceptionally good and relevant post, just like many previous ones. It is extremely difficult to build a refferee team as all team members should think in the same manner, apply the same criteria in the field, and be mentally connected. On many occasions we see those teams work, however sometimes they do not. But that is also part of the football game!

  3. Anonymous11/3/14 09:41

    About that offside call,correct decision by then,"interfereing with an opponent"by making gesture or movement,in the opinion of the referee,deceived the goalkeeper,maybe not a good one under the new law11 by now,but still a brave yound led.

  4. Tot-Ben Collina, Juv-Fio Vassaras

    1. Kuipers Juve-Fiorentina. Well...

    2. Anonymous11/3/14 10:39

      Maybe CL final for Kuipers this year

  5. Bjorn Kuipers in charge of Juventus - Fiorentina.

  6. Jonas Eriksson for Tottenham-Benfica

  7. Anonymous11/3/14 16:28

    Skomina will shockingly miss the Brazil World Cup and therefore is a likely option for Champions League final, though Kuipers is also a strong candidate to be sure. Had thought of Thomson and Lannoy as well but reckon Skomina is in a better position to officiate the last CL match of the season.

    By the way, we're getting closer to the start of Brazil 2014 meaning it would be interesting already to discuss the odds-on favorites for the opening match between Brazil and Croatia in São Paulo. I guess Peter O'Leary from New Zealand fits the bill - comes from an uninvolved continent, has good experience and at 42 won´t have many more opportunities like this.

    Your predictions?

  8. Skomina final Champions League? Never!!!


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