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Always communicate as refereeing team

“Always communicate as refereeing team” – Bjorn Kuipers

Last week I went to the book launch of Bjorn Kuipers. He also gave a lecture about managing a game as referee. I thought it would be useful to share these tips with you on a weekly basis. One tip every week. I’ll start off with an example from one of his Champions League encounters. “Always communicate as refereeing team”.

Bjorn talked about an incident in the game between Juventus and Borussia Mönchengladbach. In the video below you’ll see a foul right in front of Kuipers. He let me listen to the voice communication with his assistant refereees. “Yellow card, Bjorn.” Then the other AR: “Red card, Björn. Two footed-tackle.” Different opinions, doesn’t it confuse? Why do you think he want his AR’s to talk to him?

Video of Hernanes tackle

Check the video first and think about the answer to that question. It should start at 2 min and 28 seconds.

“You can think that you are the referee who has to make the decisions”, says Björn. “I’m close to the situation, why are they talking to me via their headsets. But as referee you should take into account that it’s a possibility that someone suddenly blocks your view.”

Kuipers view got blocked. Lesson: always communicate as refereeing team.

Björn shows the video again and that’s when you see a Juventus player running right in front of Bjorn Kuipers. “That’s why you always have to communicate as refereeing team”, he stresses. If it’s standard procedure for your assistant referees to give advice, they will always be focused. If you don’t communicate via the headset and then suddenly ask them: have you seen something, because my view got blocked. Then they’ll have to come up with something out of the blue, which is not easy.

This is an insight into professional football, but you might not be using a headset. Then make sure you communicate with (buzzer) flags and if you’ve seen serious foul play, make sure the referee knows that before play has been restarted. Don’t tell him such important information when you’re back in the dressing room. Take your responsibility then as well and communicate with the rest of your team members.

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