Pieter Vink: “Looking back on a fantastic career as referee”

Pieter Vink’s alarm goes every morning at 5.30. Waking up, making sandwiches for lunch and off to work. The former top referee unfortunately had to quit his “wonderful career as pro referee”. During the first years of his refereein career he still worked as police officer, but the last ten years refereeing was is fulltime job. “If it rained in the morning, I could stay in bed a little longer and train later during the day”, he says during a meeting at the referee association COVS Leiden. “I can’t do that anymore. Nowadays, I’m a civil servant now, working in the municipal enforcement and supervision department as a coordinator.” He also appears as tv pundit on Ziggo Sport.

Pieter Vink gets certificate at COVS Leiden

Pieter Vink (right) gets certificate at COVS Leiden

The top referee looks back very positively on his career. “I don’t think I made the most of it, but I had a very nice career.” He climbed the international refereeing ranks very quickly. The Dutch ref goes from group 3 to Elite in only one and a half year. He is referee at the 2008 European Championships. He also officiates CL quarter finals like Juventus vs Real Madrid and Arsenal vs Liverpool. Adriaan Inia and Hans ten Hoove are part of his refereeing team. Two guys who have become friends for life. “A fantastic time. I’ve seen wonderful places. I visited all countries in Europe and was also active outside Europe. I even officiated the intense derby between Steau and Dinamo Bucharest.”

Most successful referee of Leiden RA

Back to the start. When Vink is sixteen he becomes a referee and he is now a member of Leiden RA for 34 years. During the meeting he gets a certificate, because he ended his professional career. Chairman Jan de Jong gives Vink a gift as “most successful referee of the Leiden referee association”.

Vink looks back on his career during the evening He thinks he would never reach the top level in the present time, because the selection process is different. “I’ve never been a runner and at amateur level I failed the fitness test. Nowadays, focus is on the physical part of refereeing. European referee boss Colina is a top athlete. Because he is, he expects the same from his pupils. Maybe we carry it on too far. You’ll see more and more ideal sons-in-law, fewer leaders. René Temmink, Mario van der Ende and me. We were more leaders than runners on the pitch.”

Selfie with Pieter Vink

Selfie with Pieter Vink

The referee from Noordwijk also prepares differently for his games than some of his colleagues. He knows the most important things, but doesn’t want to know everything. “That a player always turns to his left is not relevant for me. When I am on the pitch, I will notice what he does. I’ll use my senses. When I was at the top of the amateur level, I even weighed far above hundred kilograms. Then it’s important you can read the game.”

Comeback after an injury

On March 8th 2015, Vink officiated the game Feyenoord – NAC, but then disaster strikes. A hamstring injury. After a long rehabilitation process Vink is back on the football pitch on April 1st 2016. More than a year later, but he is back. On the KNVB website he says: “I was looking forward to this moment. The first whistle will be very special when I have entered the pitch”. His performance is good. “During the game I spot a red card from a different angle”, he says. A nice comeback. “After that I whistled then more games and even some beautiful ones, like the play-off final for an Europa League place.”

Unfortunately he pulls his hamstring again during a fitness test. On July 29th is his farewell game between Feyenoord and Real Sociedad, but he has to call it off due to his injury. “Feyenoord stadium De Kuip has always been the most beautiful one to whistle at. The atmosphere, the experience.” It does not influence his performance. “On that level it doesn’t matter, because otherwise you will not make it to the top as referee.”

Want to know what you can learn from Vink’s comeback? Check my previous blog with 3 important lessons when you get injured.

Comeback of Pieter Vink

Pieter Vink’s future

A role as video referee suits him and he loves it. It’s a project he has been involved in for years. He was the referee behind the screens during the first live test of the video referee in the game between Feyenoord and sc Heerenveen. With the current KNVB policies he will not become a video referee in The Netherlands. But he does not rule out a comeback in the world of football. “I think I can be important for referees or maybe at a club. Because of the many years of experiences I can be very valuable. But a challenging job at the local government or in politics is also an option.”

It is unlikely we will see Pieter make a return to the field of play, at grassroots level or otherwise. “And definitely not as a referee. I’d just be afraid I’d turn into a caricature of myself, behave like a cock of the walk. Time to call it a day. I had a wonderful career.”

PS: Want to know what you can learn from Vink’s comeback? Check my previous blog with 3 important lessons when you get injured.

 

Week 2 LOTG Quiz 2017-2018

I am amazed with the huge number of referees participating on the quiz of week 1. That feels like a warm welcome back. Here’s another quiz for you, again with some things that changed in the LOTG for the 2017-2018 season.

Good luck with the test.

And please share the quiz via social channels or with members of your referee association. I am very happy if you share the word about this weekly quiz.

Wait and see technique in offside situations by the assistant referee

The wait and see technique is well-known in football. Assistant referees should not raise their flag too soon, but wait how play continues. I recently saw two great offside examples to show how it works.

The first example is from a 2017-2018 Champions League game. Feyenoord plays at home against Manchester City and the referee is Szymon Marciniak. But I’d like to mention his assistant referee Tomasz Listkiewicz. I’ll analyse the situation below the video clip.

How important waiting is

The situation as it happened. Manchester City takes a corner kick and the ball does not get away. A Feyenoord defender blocks a shot from outside the box, but it’s not sufficient. There is a second shot on goal. As you can see, at the moment of the pass there is an attacker in offside position.

Wait and see technique at shot from Manchester City

Feyenoord goalie Jones saves this second shot and the striker in offside position is not yet active in play.  The Laws of the Game say the following about this. A player is interfering with an opponent by:

  • gaining an advantage by playing the ball or interfering with an opponent when it has (1) rebounded or been deflected off the goalpost, crossbar, match official or an opponent or (2) been deliberately saved by any opponent

That is what happens here if the player in offside position gains the advantage. But is that the fact here?

Wait and see technique in LOTG

The Laws of the Game (LOTG) also mention the fact assistant referees need to see how play develops. The rulebook says: “The AR must use the “wait and see technique” to allow play to continue and not raise the flag when the team against which an offence has been committed will benefit from the advantage; it is therefore very important for the AR to make eye contact with the referee.”

And that is exactly what happens here. Although the player is in offside position, he is not active in play and does not interfere with an opponent. The assistant referee waits until someone touches the ball and that is an attacker who is not in offside position at the moment of the shot on goal.

So correct goal.

Great teamwork by the match officials and good use of the wait and see technique. I’d love to hear how they communicate in situations like this, because that makes it even more interesting. It gives us an even better idea how these calls are made.

Below another example.

Assistant referee Tomasz Listkiewicz.

 Situation in The Netherlands

The following situation is in The Netherlands, but it’s slightly different. You’ll see that striker Van Wolfswinkel is in offside position at the moment of the pass and he runs towards the ball. What would you decide in this situation? (start at 1m56s)

At the moment of the pass Van Wolfswinkel is clearly in offside position. But remember: being in an offside position is not a foul.

Van Wolfswinkel in offside position.

Interfering with play or an opponent

And then something interesting happens. Van Wolfswinkel (red circle in pic below) runs towards the ball, but does not touch it. And that is the crucial detail to make the correct decision, because that’s important to determine if someone is interfering with play or an opponent.

The player does not touch the ball, therefore he is not interfering with play. The LOTG mention that interfering with play means you’re “playing or touching a ball passed or touched by a team-mate.”

Players interfere with an opponent by:

  • preventing an opponent from playing or being able to play the ball by clearly obstructing the opponent’s line of vision or
  • challenging an opponent for the ball or
  • clearly attempting to play a ball which is close to him when this action impacts on an opponent or
  • making an obvious action which clearly impacts on the ability of an opponent to play the ball

Van Wolfswinkel is running towards the ball, but that does not meet the criteria above. His actions don’t have an impact on the opponent.

But he is the player who scores. What is in the LOTG about gaining advantage?

Van Wolfswinkel running towards the ball.

Gaining an advantage

I want to tell you something about gaining an advantage. But we forget one important thing. Is the other player in offside position? In the video you can see lines on the pitch. I’ve marked it purple below and you see the secondlast defender’s shoe is closer the goal-line.

Offside situation at moment of the pass

Gaining an advantage only applies when the ball rebounds from an opponent, crosbar,goalpost or match official. Or when a defender deliberately saves the ball. That’s not the case here. As a result, there  is a new situation at the moment the right winger receives the ball. When the right winger passes the ball back to Van Wolfswinkel, he is behind the ball. Correct goal and great wait and see technique there.

Do you remember any interesting situations like this? Let me know.

First LOTG quiz of 2017-2018. Good luck!

Last season was a great success with the Laws of the Game Quizzes. Lots of referees participated in the weekly quizzes. Some just to practice, others to win the goodies from Refsworld UK. And the quiz is back in 2017-2018. I’d love to see you participate again!

This season you can win goodies again or just practice. After submitting the answers you can check your own answers, but later on you can always try the quiz before you have to do a LOTG quiz at your referee association.

I hope you like the quizzes again and please share them with your (refereeing) friends or on the website and social channels of your referee association.

Welcome back and good luck in the 2017-2018 season.

 

Why you need to keep up with the secondlast defender

Why you need to keep up with the secondlast defender as assistant referee? To make sure you’re able to recognize offside. Duh!

But that is easier said than done. A great example from one of my games.

Me watching the secondlast defender

Back to August, my season starts in a few weeks. But I am not there yet. Focus is an issue during my frienly games. Paying attention gets better after two games.

Quote from a previous blog post. “I realise I am quite sharp when it comes to offside, but I tend to follow the game when not playing in my half.” What I do then is walk or run back too slow, which gives me a bad position.

That’s the cause for lots of mistakes, but I was lucky.

Video of my game

Just a quick check for you guys. Can you see at full speed if it’s offside or not? (at 3m40s if it does not start there)

The match situation

A ADO Den Haag player gives a bad pass in the build-up to an attack. That means: huge chance for a counter-attack, which happens. The Vitesse player in white passes the ball forward. Have a look at the screenshot below. The white attacker in the circle is in offside position, but the one just outside the circle is not.

The secondlast defender makes the attacker not offside.

Me vs secondlast defender

What decision did you make after watching the video? The ball is going to the attacker who is not in offside position. I kept my flag down, but was lucky indeed. In the picture below you can see where I am. Because I deleted the pause buttons, which makes the pic a bit better, you can’t see my shadow. But I’ve pointed out where I am.

Indeed, nowhere near the secondlast defender.

Position of me vs the secondlast defender

This example shows you that you need to stay focused for 90 minutes. You can’t relax. Always make sure you are in the right position and be prepared to deal with counter-attacks.

My season is going well so far. Although I am usually no assistant referee, I am sharp and ready for it. How is your season start?

PS: want tips on how to deal with counter-attacks as referee? Read this great case study from Leicester City game.

 

You need dedication to your referee training

Dedication to your referee training is very important to be succesful. You can’t just sit back and relax. Yes, you can have a basic fitness level, but that’s not enough nowadays. To reach the top, you need dedication.
That’s also what Belgian Jean-Baptiste Bultynck sees when supervising the fitness of Women’s Euro referees. He is a former referee and was responsible for the the referee’s fitness training and physical preparation in the run-up to the EURO. He praises the motivation of the referees. “I’m not only impressed by their dedication to fitness”, he says. “But also their dedication to football and to refereeing.”
“They are highly motivated, and want to referee to the best of their ability.” Bultynck says that they do everything to be the best referee they can be.
Dedication from referees during the fitness test at the UEFA Women's EURO Referee Course. Zeist, Holland. (Source of editorial photo: UEFA)

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

A few words that describe exactly what you need:
  • Dedication
  • Motivation
  • Progression
And if YOU have the first two bullets, it results in the third. Progression is great to see, but doesn’t come easy. That’s why Bultynck is so happy with the referees at Women’s Euro in July. “They want to show how good they are, and how they want to make progres

Dedication at all levels

Dedication is not something for professionals only. It starts at lower levels, because only then you’ll make it to the top. On this blog a few referees talk about dedication and I want you to read their stories. These will inspire you and hopefully keep you dedicated and motivated to keep going. Not only on your fitness, but with your full refereeing career.
  • “Commitment and dedication will abosolutely pay off”, says Bibiana Steinhaus. She is the first female Bundesliga referee.
  • “It inspires me to be where they are and they have proved that it is possible with hard work and dedication.” Thomays Whay is at the Young Referee Development Programme. Top officials Sian Massey, Stuart Burt, Steve Martin and Bobby Madley followed that route too.
  • Dedication is one of the 5 characteristics from Mark Halsey. He fought cancer and came back as Premier League referee.

Want to start your physical training? Read more about fitness for referees.

Mika Lamppu: learning a lot from other refs during u17 tournament

Mika Lamppu from Finland gets appointed for the u17 European Championship in 2017, but has never worked with the center referee before. He shares his experiences of the tournament and how important it is to build a relation with referees outside the games while abroad for a tournament. “Without chemistry the team can’t work to it’s full potential.”

Mika, congratulations with your appointment for the u17 European Championship earlier this year. How did you experience the tournament?
Mika Lamppu: “The tournament was a great experience. It seems to be true that final tournaments have their own atmosphere. It’s a big stage for the players and the teams are playing for the trophy. Especially, in the beginning you could see players being nervous, but the same time giving the best they got – all the time.”

Assistant referee Mika Lamppu. Photo by: Olli Jantunen.

Assistant referee Mika Lamppu. Photo by: Olli Jantunen.

“I think it was the same for us, the referees, even though we were all much older than the players. It took the first match to get over the nervousness. After that you get used to everything going around you and you can prepare for the upcoming days and matches with ease. Like for the players, every match was important to us.”

Sharing experiences

A few Finnish colleagues went to this tournament as well. 2007 assistant-referee Jan-Peter Aravirta, 2009 assistant-referee Jonas Turunen, 2010 referee Antti Munukka, 2012 referee Mattias Gestranius, 2015 assistant referee Ville Koskiniemi and 2016 referee Ville Nevalainen. Did you talk with them about the preparation for such a final stage tournament? 
Mika Lamppu: “I exchanged some words with all of them before and during the tournament. The best tips came from the duo of the veteran assistant referees, Mr Turunen and Aravirta, who told me to be myself. No magic tricks were needed – I only had to do the same performance that I’ve done so many times in Finland. I found it very important to have the opportunity to keep in touch with the guys during the three weeks and share my feelings to them. It helped me a lot.”

You got appointed for the final of the tournament between Spain and England. What does a day of a tournament final look like for referees?
Mika Lamppu: “In the end, the day of the tournament final doesn’t differ much from the normal matches. You do the physical training a day before, you have your pre-match discussion and a lunch with your team on the match day. Of course you need to concentrate on the match. Still, the day before the kick-off is quite long, so you want to have a short stroll outside or do something that gives you something else to think about. It keeps you fresh and the extra tension – that comes from the upcoming match – stays at bay. The biggest difference between other matches is the hype going around the stadium.”

Learning from other referees

In the final you worked with Jens Maae (Denmark) and Aleksey Vorontsov (Russia), but you were not a trio the whole time during the tournament. How is it to cooperate with officials from different countries? 
Mika Lamppu: “The fact that every referee came from a different country brought us challenges during the tournament. The communication between the referee team members during the match has to be simple. We also need to discuss it thoroughly in the pre-match briefing. Also, refereeing is a bit different in every country which made us to give attention even to little details.

“But in the end, without chemistry the team can’t work with their full potential. As a assistant, you need to be aware what kind of persons the others are and what they think about football. During the tournament you needed to build the chemistry also outside the field of play and the formal daily schedule. For example, the final was my first match with mr. Maae, but we managed to build a good cooperation thanks to spending much time together during the weeks.”

Games with refs you don’t know

Refereeing with people from different countries probably gives you nice insights in their way of preparing and officiating. What are the best things you learned from them?
Mika Lamppu: “Getting prepared for the matches with unknown referees reminded me how crucial it is to an assistant referee to be on the field of play for the referee and manage the match the way he wants. There’s no place for going solo for the assistant referee. Of course you need to concentrate on your own performance too, but the aim is to succeed as a team, and the first step towards that aim is to help the referee to have a great match. This reminder was the best thing every referee thought me in the tournament.

“I tried to learn from the little things the referees did before the matches. I tried to study the nuances of the Cypriot and Greek music in the locker room. It was also interesting to see how many cups of tea the Welsh need before the match during the day. The number seems to vary between 9 and 13.”

Back to the start of your career. How did you start as referee? 
Mika Lamppu: “I started refereeing in 2001 when I was thirteen years old. My dad – who was a 2nd division referee when he retired – got me into refereeing. I had already been playing football for years so it was quite natural to start this hobby. Back then I lived in a small town where referees were needed, so I got lots of matches under my belt every year. That way I got also pocket money. I guess that’s a common reason why young girls and boys start refereeing.”

Concentrate on refereeing

What do you like about refereeing so much and have you ever thought of quitting this hobby?
Mika Lamppu: “Actually I’ve never even thought about quitting this hobby. After I had decided to stop playing football and concentrate on refereeing (I was 20 back then), I’ve been fully committed to being a better referee and make a career out of it. I just love to be part of the sport and the matches.”

What’s the hardest challenge/problem during your career?
Mika Lamppu: “I don’t know if it’s the hardest, but it’s sure one I remember. In my very early career as an assistant referee I tried also to develop as a referee. It took me a one full year to realize that my personality fits much better to be an assistant than a referee. It was hard to accept at first, but realizing that has definitely made me a better assistant referee.”

Mika Lamppu’s CL debut

You were a match official in the game between Víkungur and FH Hafnarfjörður in the Champions League qualifiers in the 2017 summer. How was your debut in that tournament?
Mika Lamppu: “I took the match as an any other match I’ve had since I got my FIFA badge. I found the atmosphere in the stadium nice, though. It was obvious, that the match was important for the people who live on that island. Also, the visiting team coming from Iceland gave a twist for the match.”

What do you expect for the rest of this season?
Mika Lamppu: “I know I’m still very young as an assistant referee. I don’t want to try to take too big steps at a time. I really don’t have a hurry getting to bigger matches. My expectations for the rest of the season are to improve as an assistant referee and keep building a trustworthy relationship with my referees. The thing is to be patient.”

What are the best 3 tips you ever got that made you a better referee?
Mika Lamppu: “Be courageous, be confident and stay calm.”