Monday, September 15, 2014

The midfielder who's always in your ear

The summer break must have lulled me into a false sense of security but I've been snapped back to reality and a reminder that most teams have one player, usually a midfielder, who is the dedicated whinger, the player who is always in the referee's ear, telling him his decisions were wrong, that he's favouring the opposition, all said quietly enough to keep him below the threshold of a tellow card for dissent.

Monday, September 08, 2014

It's tricky to tell how bad a foul is - an early season lesson

First match of the season went well on a stunning, sunny afternoon on the banks of the River Medway just a couple of miles from home (unlike this coming Saturday when I'll be reffing within sight of the Channel Tunnel entrance). The match was a cracker between two new teams to the league who slugged it out goal for goal until it ended 3-2 to the home team: and I didn't get my cards out once.

Friday, September 05, 2014

Nothing to do with reffing, but I have to tell you about this wine

Fronton, a name I'd never heard until this week when I visited a cute little bistro in Paris called L'Ebauchoir, a five minute walk from the Place de la Bastille, part of Paris that has been cheap and trendy for a while now but is fast losing the "cheap" part. The restaurant ( ) is highly recommended, especially for its wine list, lovingly put together by a couple of blokes who seriously share a love of travelling around France (and elsewhere) finding wines that are uncommon and not too expensive.

Saturday, July 05, 2014

Brazil vs. Colombia and Señor Carlos Velasco Carballo

Well the South Americans certainly give no quarter when it comes to referees. Señor Carballo is being pilloried in the media here in Brazil this morning and on Twitter as a corrupt and incompetent match official responsible for the fractured vertebra suffered by their hero Neymar.

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Referees fail in challenge to stay in the background

(This is my take for The Associated Press so far in the World Cup on the refereeing here in Brazil)

RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) — World Cup refereeing boss Massimo Busacca had a simple wish before this World Cup.
"Our goal is for the referee to remain in the background during a match and

Friday, June 13, 2014

FIFA Referees boss Massimo Busacca answers my questions

Busacca answered a few questions I asked him as an Associated Press sports writer. They're quite timely considering what happened in tonight's Brazil vs Croatia game. The Japanese referee tonight simply didn't have the experience of spotting simulation that European referees have gained through grim experience. And he should really have shown Neymar a red card for Violent Conduct after straight arming a Croatian player to the neck/

1. It seems almost impossible for referees to identify cheating and simulation because players have become so skilful at pretending to be fouled. How can referees effectively identify cheating players when their behaviour is almost impossible to identify with the naked eye.

Sunday, April 06, 2014

Referees don't even things up

It may sometimes seem like it to one-eyed spectators, but referees do not, in my experience, give decisions to even up an earlier mistake. This was the accusation levelled at Anthony Taylor today when he awarded a dodgy penalty to Liverpool following an earlier wrong decision to award West Ham a  goal.
It just doesn't work that way.

Comms cock-up behind the decisin to allow West Ham goal

The mix-up between Anthony Taylor and his assistant during today's crucial Premier League match between West Ham and Liverpool struck at the heart of one of the most important issues in refereeing - the communication between the man in the middle and his team of two assistants and a fourth official.
On Saturday, I ran the line in a Kent County League game for a young and promising referee who is rising quickly up the ladder. He certainly made me feel my age as he sprinted around the pitch.