Getting ready for the 2017-2018 season

Getting ready for the 2017-2018 season is very important. Harvey Newstead will share how he’s getting ready for the start of his 4th season as match official. He will become a Level 7 on his 16th Birthday on the 8th August, officiates in futsal as well and is in the Norfolk FA Centre Of Refereeing Excellence (CORE) programme for the second season consecutively.

Harvey explains how he started and what is roles are in a previous interview on this blog. In this story you’ll read how he looks back on last season and how he gets ready for the 2017-2018 season.

Harvey Newstead getting ready for 2017-2018 season

Review of the 2016-2017 season

A quick re-cap. What is the best referee moment of last year?

My best moment as a referee is quite hard to choose. But it would have to be officiating a charity game at Carrow Road with two other family members. Or officiating a Cup final in front of 175+ people at the FDC. However, being selected for CORE again and Youdan Trophy 2017 would have to be very special moments for me. I’m sure the tournament and next season will bring even better moments for me.

How will you use last season to help with this season?
Last season was very successful in so many ways for myself. I get the feeling I improved as a referee throughout the season, because of the vital feedback I received. Gaining more crucial experience has made me even better as a match official. And lastly, because of these performances I was rewarded with some big end of the season games including cup finals.

Harvey showing a yellow card

Busy season

The 2016-17 season was a very busy season as I officiated in 117 games in total. Refereeing 68 9- or 11- sa-side matches, assistant referee 17 times and fourth official four times. Other games came from futsal, Premier League events and tournaments. My mentor Glenn Sandell assesses or watches many of my games I. Also my uncle and cousin – Peter and Lewis Venables – watch me referee. I was also lucky enough to have FIFA Assistant referee from Norfolk Lee Betts come to watch a few times throughout the season too. From these games I was given invaluable experience which I will take on into next season.

Coping with big matches is also something I will take into the new season.  Two examples from last year: 2 County Cup semi-finals and the Premier League U15 Cup semi-final as assistant last season. I was also part of many Premier League Tournament events. And lastly, I ended my season with 12 cup finals across many different age groups and acting as referee, assistant referee and fourth official. So that was a great experience. Also refereeing high quality academy football matches is something that will help me moving into next season. The same goes for a tournament at the end of this month.

Harvey's training session

Train after the season

How do you train after a football season?

Training and the season had to be less of a priority near the close of the season due to exams. However, the season was over during the build up to the exams. After this all, I had a few weeks off to relax and just reflect on a great season. Having time off allows me to play tennis and also start my coaching back up again. I went into school for three to four weeks and got time to coach at FA birthday parties in Norfolk.

That period is also a good to start training mentally. Which I do by by attending CPDs and development days. I will do some law tests to get ready for the new season whilst doing fitness work. And I attended a Youth Council day at St George’s Park and also the Referees’ Association Development weekend.

Harvey at national football centre

Refereeing with CORE

What is the CORE invite?
The CORE invite was from my County FA. CORE stands for Centre of Refereeing Excellence. I am at county level and will hopefully move onto the national levels in the next season. CORE allows referees to get coaching at games and officiate Norwich City Academy matches.

Are there any physical requirements for your CORE?
There are no physical requirements for the County CORE. However, I will still train to perform to a high level and look to have good physical fitness.

Fitness in preparation for the new season

Fitness goals for next season?
I wouldn’t say that I have any specific goals or targets for next season. But the priority is: being able to be in the best position possible to have the best viewing angle of play whilst keeping a high concentration level.  I will keep to a fitness plan, so possibly a target for me is to stick to it!

How do you get fit for the first game in summer period?
Starting back can be tough, but finding motivation is what can help. For me I enjoy training as I am really looking forward to the new season. I use a similar plan as in a blog post from a few months ago. I have had a few friendlies which give you a feel for your fitness, but my motivation is very high as I get prepared for Youdan Trophy 2017.

How will you evaluate my games in the upcoming season?
Next season I will be analysing my refereeing performance as well. How? By looking at what I do well and what I need to improve on. I will also be taking down all match statistics, so I can look back on them after the season. One thing I’ll be adding is doing a fitness analysis of my game. I will look at heat maps for positioning and also my distance and speed.

More on fitness

The next couple of weeks before the start of the official games Dutch Referee Blog will focus on fitness for referees. Harvey has some training excercises for you and I will also share KNVB’s exercises to prepare for the FIFA fitness test.

I’d love to know your fitness schedules before the start of the season. E-mail them on

German Video Assist Center for Bundesliga referees

DFB introduces the German Video Assist Center. Video Assistant Referees (VARs) support the Bundesliga referees from here for all 306 games during the 2017-2018 season. In this center in Köln six videao assistant referees (VARs) can work simultaneously.

“We are very well prepared”, says Ansgar Schwenken. He is the DFL Director Football Affairs & Fans on their website about the introduction of the center. 127 offline tests and 114 pre-live tests are conducted during the previous season. Schwenken: “All 23 Bundesliga referees from last season are well prepared and will be used as video assistants in the new season.”

How many big mistakes do referees make during the season? The Bundesliga has some interesting stats. In 306 encounters of the past Bundesliga season, refereees made a total of 104 game-related mistakes. “77 of them could have been resolved by the use of the video assistant”.

Video Assist Center used in test

Video Assist Center used in test. Screenshot from DFL moviel

When the VAR will take action

The Video Assist Center will only give advice when there is a clear error. The video refs will only act in the following situations:

  • Goal or no goal
  • Penalty kick decisions
  • Red card situations
  • Situations when a wrong player is punished

Two technical operators support the VAR. They get access to all camera’s in the stadium. That makes them able to get replays from all angles as soon as the VAR wants to review a situation. On each matchday there will be a supervisor where VAR’s can discuss with. The Bundesliga works with a Hawk-Eye system, that is also operates currently for goal-line technology.

First live test of Video Assist Center

Video referees will use the Video Assist Center on August 5th 2017 for the first time. That historical day, they support the referee of the German SuperCup between Borussia Dortmund and Bayern Munich.

“The acceptance of the tv viewers on the screens worldwide is, in our opinion, decisive for the success of the video assistant,” says Dr. Holger Blask, DFL Director of Audiovisual Rights and Member of the Executive Board. The public introduction of the Video Assist Center is important for the German FA. The DFB goes for transparency. During Bundesliga games next season, tv channels show graphics that indicate the use of the video assistant. “It’s all about how to make the decision-making process transparent”, says Blask. “Any decision must be understood and comprehensible to everyone. That’s is our biggest concern.”

“It is about how to make the decision-making process transparent. And how to resolve any decisions so that everyone can be understand it and it is comprehensible to all viewers,” says Dr. Holger Blask: “This is our big concern.”

Sascha Stegemann in Video Assist Center

Sascha Stegemann in Video Assist Center. Screenshot from DFL introduction of center.

Great learning process for referees

Bundesliga referee Sascha Stegemann becomes one of the VARs. He looks forward to the live use of video technology. ”

Bundesliga referee Sascha Stegemann is also looking forward to the new course of the test phase so far: “The last year was very exciting”, he says. The learning process is huge, the work intense. “I am delighted to be able to participate in the live operation of the Video Assist Center next season”.

Check video in German about center on DFL website.

Video Assist Center for German referees.

Video Assist Center for German referees. Screenshot from introduction movie from DFL.

Referees of Women’s Euro 2017 ready to go

Referees of Women’s Euro 2017 are ready to set out a top performance. The tournaments starts at July 16th in The Netherlands and the match officials are well-prepared. The final is played at the 6th of August. I wish all match officials a great tournament!

“Let’s get it started soon, the officials are looking forward to this beautiful tournament!”, says Kevin Blom on the official Dutch website. He is the refere coordinator in The Netherlands at this tournament. “It’s nice to see from nearby how these women are preparing for their matches.”

Referee's of Women's Euro 2017

Referees during the fitness test at the UEFA Women’s EURO Referee Course. Zeist, Holland. (Source of editorial photo: UEFA)

Training session in Zeist

In May all referees trained in Zeist at the KNVB Campus. “You can feel the excitement everywhere, and I hope the referees can feel it too”, says UEFA Referees’ Committee member Dagmar Damkova.

If you want to get an impression of the training days for this European Tournament, check out the video below. The first part is an impression of the courses without sound, then you’ll get some interviews with the referees.


I have interviews on my website with three of these match officials. Check them out by clicking their names.

List with referees of Women’s Euro 2017

Jana Adamkova (Czech Republic)
Stéphanie Frappart (France)
Riem Hussein (Germany)
Bibiana Steinhaus (Germany)
Katalin Kulscár (Hungary)
Carina Vitulano (Italy)
Monika Mularczyk (Poland)
Anastasia Pustovoitova (Russia)
Esther Staubli (Switzerland)
Pernilla Larsson (Sweden)
Kateryna Monzul (Ukraine)

Assistant referees

Sanja Rođak Karšić (Croatia)
Angela Kyriakou (Cyprus)
Lucie Ratajova (Czech Republic)
Sian Massey (England)
Manuela Nicolosi (France)
Christina Biehl (Germany)
Katrin Rafalski (Germany)
Chrysoula Kourompylia (Greece)
Judit Kulscár (Hungary)
Michelle O’Neill (Ireland)
Lucia Abruzzese (Italy)
Nicolet Bakker (Netherlands)
Anna Dabrowska (Poland)
Petruta Iugulescu (Romania)
Mihaela Tepusa (Romania)
Ekaterina Kurokkina (Russia)
Svetlana Bilić (Serbia)
Belinda Brem (Switzerland)
Maria Sukenikova (Slovakia)
Oleksandra Ardesheva (Ukraine)
Maryna Striletska (Ukraine)

Fourth officials 

Lina Lehtovaara (Finland)
Lorraine Clark (Schotland)

My road to become a referee teacher

My road to become a referee teacher has started today. Yes, I am already teaching and helping new referees via my referee website. But now I am also selected to become referee teacher at KNVB.  This is something I really want to do. My goal is not just to improve as a referee, but also as a teacher. The knowledge I gain will also help me give you better tips on my website.

Jan's start as referee teacher

Writing for a referee blog like this is a great way to help others. I really want to improve referees with my stories. When you send me feedback or a thumbs I am probably on the right way. I want you to improve as a referee. That’s what I go for.

How I got selected as referee teacher

I wrote my application before my Africa trip, where I got a phone call when I was lying at the swimming pool in Botswana. It is the invitation for a “job” interview, which was held last week at the KNVB headquarters. I love to talk about refereeing and to share my knowledge. I am look back positively on the meeting and today I got a positive message from the KNVB as well. They appreciate my vision on refereeing and what I can bring into courses.

Working on teaching skills

The course weekend to become a referee teacher starts on Friday September 1st. A good start to work on my didactical skills and nice to meet the other candidates who will become a teacher as well. From then on I will do some sort of internship when a current teacher gives a referee course, plus some midweek training days. In the second half of the 2017-2018 season I am allowed to give my own course.

I can’t wait to become a better referee teacher. In the meantime I will keep writing stories with useful tips and interesting stories. For you, to make you a better referee.

So, if you have a specific question for me, feel free to ask it on

Jan and KNVB logo

Esfandiar Baharmast saw something that 16 camera’s couldn’t see

Esfandiar Baharmast saw something that 16 camera’s couldn’t see, but it took a while before players, fans and journalists realised it. The US referees shares his thoughts on a historical World Cup game.

After decades on the pitch, Esfandiar Baharmast, reached the World Cup. Norway played against Brazil. A place in the next round is at stake. “I had this mission that this game goes well”, says Baharmast on Fifa TV. “Not only for me, but also for the new generation of referees that were coming in the United States.”

Esfandiar Baharmast

A nice advantage led to the 1-0 lead for the Brazilian team in the 77th minute. Tension rises. The equaliser was scored, but that was not enough. Norway really needed to win the game.

Sail on the sailboat

In the 88th minute the decisive moment of the game was made, but not many of the reporters believed it was the right decision. A Norwegian cross entered the penalty from the left wing. “And immediately, from my instinct as a player, I knew where the ball was going to land”, says Baharmast. “From my view I see clearly that Junior Baiano is grabbing Tore André Flo at the back of is shirt. He gives it a big yank.” But not everybody has seen it. “But it looked like a sail on the sailboat.”

Match commisioner Vautrot said from his point of view it was a penalty kick, but not everybody was so sure about that. On the first video footage and replays nobody could see Baiano holding the shirt. “Vautrot told me his phone has been ringing since I called that penalty. Reporters were calling that it only looked like a small bump.”

Despite that, Baharmast was 100% for sure. “I don’t call a small push in the 88th minute.” But the French newspapers were talking about an ‘imaginary penalty’.

“It was a penalty”

Early in the morning Baharmast’s photo rang. His wife. She found pictures and a video that proved there was a big yank on from the Brazilian defender. And news newspaper Coupe du Monde wrote one day later: “Il y avait penalty” – It was a penalty.

Shirt pulling in WC game

Your images turns a 180 degrees then, he says. “From a referee that saw something totally wrong, to one of the best referees that saw somehting that 16 camera’s could not see.” He also adds something to the discussion on the VAR. “For many years people wanted the video referee to change the decision of the referee if he made a mistake. Here’s a referee who was in a better position than 16 camera’s. What would have happend if the replay would have said “no penalty” and then two days later evidence appears it is a penalty.”

I’d love you to show an embedded video, but FIFA has blocked that option. So go to youtube for a video interview with Baharmast. But the incident itself is in the clip below from 1m45.

Zidane headbutt only seen by 4th official

Referee Horacio Elizondo, who refereed the World Cup final between France and Italy in 2006, has not seen the Zinedine Zidane headbutt on Marco Materazzi’s chest. It was fourth official Luise Medina Cantelejo who advised him to give a straight red card. That’s what he told Issue Eleven. That incident happened on 9th of July 2006, now 11 years ago.

In a video of the incident you can see the referee talks with the assistant referee and then giving a red card to the French player. But it was not the assistant who saw the incident, Elizondo explained now. Have a quick look at the situation on the video below.

When the 4th official helps you

Elizondo admits that ‘it was all done over the headset’. He was following the ball at another part of the pitch. That’s why did not see what happened between Zidane and Materazzi. “Then play switches and goes back into the half of the pitch Materazzi was lying in.” He remembered that “that point that I saw him lying on the floor”. He asked his assistants, but neither of them had seen what happened. “I had a lot of doubts, clearly something had happened, but if no one saw what it was… and then Luis Medina Cantalejo’s voice [the fourth official] appears in my headset, and he says, “Horacio, Horacio, I saw it,” he says to me. “A really violent headbutt by Zidane on Materazzi, right in the chest.””

Luis Medina Cantalejo also told that he could not see if Materazzi did something before. That’s where Zidane’s career as football player ended.

Zidane headbutt punished by referee Horacio Elizondo

How I took a break from refereeing in Africa

In June season was over. The last games were great: play-offs and the appointment for the u17 cup final. And then it was time to relax. This is how I took a break from refereeing in Africa.

Taking four weeks off from work is good, but I also like it to have some days off as referee. A few weeks on holidays give me new energy to start training again for the new season.

But did I completely stop? I have to admit I did not watch the u20 World Cup, u21 European Championship or the Confederations Cup. No football on tv for me. But the first day of my trip to Africa was supposed to be with some good refereeing vibes. I was about to meet Jerome Damon, a 2010 World Cup referee. We planned to meet, but then Cape Town got struck by the worst storms in the last 30 years. It wasn’t safe to travel at night – as you can understand. It would be awesome if we can meet in the future.

Big day for Dutch referees

But there was another refereeing thing. While I was in Cape Town, promotions for referees will be announced.

In the latest ranking from April I was in 4th position, which would be enough for a promotion as referee. I was quite excited if I’d make it to a higher level, because this next step was very important for me.

But of course: no WiFi during the day. I actually asked people to text me when the ranking was published. “Also when you become 5th?” they asked. Yes, I wanted to get good or bad news as soon as possible.

And I got some very good news and lots of texts: I got promoted as I remaind in the 4th position in the ranking.

And that’s what you need to celebrate. Happy Dutch Referee in Cape Town:-)

Celebrating a promotion during my break from refereeing in Africa

Relaxing time during my break from refereeing

It was a good start of a very nice trip through Africa. The other 3-4 weeks I didn’t do any refereeing. We traveled with a Nomad truck and were camping every night in a different town in southern Africa, from Cape Town to Victoria Falls.

With Nomad truck through Africa

Climbing on Big Daddy Dune

One moment I tried to get quite active is when a group member got the idea of climbing the Big Daddy Dune in the Namib Desert. “Big Daddy is the tallest dune in the Sossusvlei area”, says the local tourism website. “This magnificent dune is situated between Sossusvlei and Deadvlei and at 325 meters it dwarfs the other dunes.” I started with him, but his idea was to climb the dune on the steepest side.

Okay, I admit that I didn’t make it (and he did – awesome job!).

That was too challenging for me, especially with the hot temperatures there. I climbed one third of the dune and stopped because my breathing couldn’t remain calm.

Me at Sossusvlei

Me after trying to climb Big Daddy dune

Relaxing campfires from then on

After that I did only a dive in the pool, went a few times to the other side and then got my book. Okay, and a nice Savanna cider in the sun. Great relaxing times.

The evenings were also good. Our guide provided us with good and healthy food and afterwards we had a good time at the campfire next to the truck. And I can tell you I saw a few very great things. I’ll show you some pictures below.

And as I’m writing this I am back home and have found my running shoes again. Such a relaxing holiday is needed, but now I am on my way to get fit for the 2017-2018 season. My goal is to start top fit at my new level as referee. How about you? Are you already training for the new season?

Holiday pics

Fish River Canyon is the second-biggest canyon (after the Grand Canyon in the US).

Fish River Canyon

Watching elephants. Great animals to see!

Me wathing elephants in Africa

Victoria Falls from above

Victoria Falls