How to speak to referees…what to say

by Philip MacDonald | Last updated

Put quite simply, it’s best not to get involved with the referee or the linesmen.  Your job on the field is to play to the best of your ability to help your team win.  Below are some tips that might be useful when dealing with a referee…

Tip #1) Address the referee with “sir or mam.”  This is a sign of respect towards the referee.  You’d be surprised how many players will yell and scream at the referee expecting to receive a positive response.  Not only are you showing respect but there is a greatly likely hood of any sort of brief discussion taking place after an incident.  Furthermore, some referees are often on a power trip and this might surprise them and thus tone down their level of strictness.  Regardless, chances are the official will be glad to be addressed this way and it looks much better than yelling out “referee!!!”    

Tip #2) Do as the referee says.  All too often amateur players won’t listen to the referee.  If the referee asks you move back a few feet, do so.  If they ask you to approach them or be quiet simply do so.  It is obvious like a STOP sign yet players of all levels fail to obey the rules.  Listening to what the referee says will make things much easier for yourself.

Tip #3) Respect the linesman.  All too often players ignore that there is a linesman who is observing (at least should be) actions that are taking place away from the play or that the head referee may not see.  Do not try to outsmart the linesman.  Simply acknowledge and respect each of them.

Tip #4) After the game shake the linesman and referees.  Be sure to make eye contact with the officials when you give a firm handshake.  This is not only professional but shows character on your part.  No matter the outcome be sure to thank the officials for their work.

Tip #5) Don’t go too far….just don’t.  You will later regret it.  Not only will you develop a bad name for yourself around the league and the officials but your teammates will look at you differently.  Having a reputation as someone with a bad tempter and proven record to react out against a referee ads nothing to your image.  You job as a soccer player is to best help your team win on the field by using your skills, leadership and athleticism.  

Tip #6) Do not suck up to the referee.  As good as it is to respect the referee, do not suck up to the referee as this is just annoying.   do not go too far in the other direction where you become friends and hope to use this in your favour.  Certainly the officials will have their favorites whether they’ll admit it or not but

Tip #7) Give them a break.  If a call has been made, yelling and swearing surely won’t reverse the call so save yourself the trouble.  Referees receive a lot of stick from players, coaches and fans.  In a way everyone is against them.  They must see everything that happens on the field and make the correct decision on plays that happen a fast speeds.  Besides the challenges of officiating a game they must deal numerous other distractions.  Give the ref a break. 

Goal-line official: One of the most debatable topics that is emerging is if there should be goal-line officials.  With the linesman is so far from the net, when there are twenty players in the box it is difficult to see everything that happens including fouls, handballs and even if the ball crossed the line.  Having this extra official does not change the game, slow it down, hold it back or make it worse in anyway.  In fact, this extra official helps when the most critical decisions are made.  His/her extra pair of eyes will help the referee. 

One of many examples where having a goal-line official would have been helpful was in the qualification game between France and Ireland for the 2010 World Cup.  France striker Thierry Henry clearly saved the ball from going out of bounds by handling it twice in one motion only to then kick it back where it was headed into the Ireland net by a teammate.  This entire process happened in a split second with all players crowded in the 18 yard box.  The head official did not see the handball and awarded the goal.  This goal prevented Ireland from qualifying to the World Cup and put France through.  Having the goal-line official would have helped make the right call in this scenario.  For the time being we don’t have a goal-line official so give the ref a break and let him do his job as he can.  After all he’s human and we all make mistakes from time to time.  

Should there be a goal-line official?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *