Referee Mike Hester is heading forward to the World Cup 2014 in Brazil. But how did he look back at his first World Cup tournament ever?
“The selection of Peter and I for the World Cup has been a great achievement for a country where the game is mostly semi professional or amateur”, says Hester in (the last part of) his interview with the Dutch Referee Blog.
“Notwithstanding this, New Zealand Football does have a fully established talent identification and development programme in place so our selection has validated the importance and commitment of these programmes. It hopefully will also serve a a great example to those following behind us that with hard work, dedication and commitment, anything is possible.”
Hester and his assistants Jan-Hendrik Hintz (New Zealand) and Tevita Makasini (Tonga) in action during the World Cup in South Africa in the match between Greece and the Korean Republic.
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How’s competition between the two NZ referees at one tournament?
“I would like to think there has been a healthy amount of respect between Peter and I throughout the programme. We were both very happy to advance to the final group of selection for the World Cup but we recognised that only one NZ referee would be selected to officiate at the tournament itself. Whilst referees are in competition for these final places, in reality, you are only in compeition with yourself. You have to referee to the best of your ability and then leave the decisions as to who gets selected up to those that decide such matters. If you are good enough, you will be selected.”
In South Africa the use of video camera’s became a hot topic. How did all the media attention influence the referees?
“The issue of technology was obviously a talking point throughout the World Cup. It was not, however, discussed in any great detail by the referees as this is a matter for the game to decide rather than referees. The game currently allows for three point control (one referee and two assistances plus a 4th official) so this method of control was our current focus. Whilst we were not oblivous to the media coverage, our job was to referee the matches as best we could with the three point control system.”
What do you think of the use of technical help in soccer games?
“The role of technology in football and the value it will add is ultimately for the game to decide, not referees. It most likely comes down to a balance between accuracy and flow. Referees would love to get all the decisions right but this would most likely come at the expense of flow so everyone in the game needs to decide on what represents the best balance between getting the big decisions right and not compromising the natural flow of the match.”