Laws of the Game Quiz: best of 2017-2018

The final Laws of the Game Quiz of the 2017-2018 season. It contains the most difficult questions since January. Can you score 5 out of 5?

it will be easy for you to receive an e-mail notification when the new quiz season starts. Just one e-mail after the quiz is published. It’s up to you if you subscribe for that e-mail. Hope to see you again next year.

The Whistle Stop Tour with Martin Atkinson

The Whistle Stop Tour will start again in 2018. Premier League referee Martin Atkinson will cycle all the way to Russia (1700 miles) to support the good cause. This initiative started in 2016, when Jon Moss teamed up with him. Then they cycled a  thousand miles to visit all the twenty clubs from the highest football level in England.

You can donate on their website.

In 2018 Martin will be flanked by fellow riders Mike Tomlinson and Darren Clark, representing the Jane Tomlinson Appeal for the duration of the ride. And as in 2016, the riders will again be supported by Chris Sanders from 1st Class Events and Barry Phillipson from Smart Therapy Studios, the trio will be joined by other riders throughout their journey, including Atkinson’s fellow professional referee Jon Moss, Jim Butters, who led the 2016 challenge, Paul Edmondson, and Mick McGuire from James Grant Sports.

Starting at 11th of June

The WhistleStopTour2018 starts at St. George’s Park on Monday, June 11, and the team will travel through France, Belgium, Holland, Germany and Poland before reaching their destination in Kaliningrad 18 days later to watch England face Belgium in their World Cup clash on Thursday, June 28.

The ride is all in the name of charity, with the money raised being split between the St David’s Hospice Care Newport, University Hospitals – Coventry & Warwickshire Charity, Yorkshire Young Achievers Foundation and The Jane Tomlinson Appeal.

A huge challenge

Atkinson said: “It’s going to be a huge challenge, but it’s one I think we’re all relishing. In 2016 we cycled to all 20 Premier League grounds, which totalled around 1000 miles, so we’re really upping the ante for this one. We’ve been saying it’ll be 18 days of hurt, but it’s all for some brilliant charities, so we’re ready to go through that pain barrier! We want to raise as much money as we possibly can, so any donation, large or small would be gratefully received.”

You can keep up to date with the riders on their official Twitter handle @WhistleStopTour and you can donate on their website.

Pictures are from their previous tour.

Whistle Stop Tour at West Ham United Stadium


Whistle Stop Tour Southampton


Refereeing a title clash

Refereeing a title clash is one of the biggest challenges for match officials. These games are crucial for teams, but also great experiences for referees. Dutch referee Dennis Higler officiated last season’s title clash in The Netherlands. He shares his tips for you on my blog.

Referee Dennis Higler about refereeing a title clash

“Normally the appointments are released on Tuesdays”, says Higler. “But for refereeing a title clash I got a message on Monday. They added: there’s pressure on this game.” And there was, because Feyenoord lost their game in the previous week. It was now or never for them, after years with title.

Take time for match preparation

Prepare yourself well as referees. If possible, look how the teams play. Who’s in the starting line-up? Don’t be prejudiced, but know what to expect.  A good preparation helps you realise what is at stake. Has the team lost during the previous week or not?

Be on time

Being on time is part of a good match preparation, but now on the matchday itself. “Because it is a tittle clash, people will arrive on time. It will be busy. We were at least two hours in advance in the stadium.”

And eventhough you might not referee in a stadium, there will me more fans than normally. Make sure you are on time and can park your car.

Get your team in the right mode

Make sure you do things as a team before the game. Make good arrangements and stress the importance of refereeing a title clash. Higlers makes sure his team is in a focused mode. “I tell them the people are not going to talk about us.”

Take time to feel the atmosphere

“At 1 o’clock the stadium was filled, which is one and half hour before the game.You see grown-up men crying already.  Based on everything you feel the importance.” Higler puts up Fox Sports in the dressing room to get a feeling of the atmosphere.

You can’t do the latter in all amateur games, but take time to walk around the pitch. Absorbing the atmosphere before the game is much appreciated. Get the new impressions then and you won’t be surprised at the start.

Don’t change your refereeing routines

“Even when you’re refereeing a title clash, go onto the pitch for a warming-up as normal. Do what you always do”, says Higler. “Don’t change the line-up or toss routines you have. You also need to be yourself at amateur level. Don’t do weird things because it’s a title clash.”

Focus from the start

“You need to have a 100% focus from the start”, says Higler. His advice is to stay in control from the start. “Sometimes safe refereeing is better. Whistle for fouls, don’t  wait for advantages and take the risk it doesn’t work out the way you expect.”

“I knew that Feyenoord’s previous game was 0-0 until the 70th minute. Then the tension rises. In my title clash Feyenoord scores very quickly. Then the pressure is off.”

That is not always the case, so be prepared to focus for a whole game. How to do that? Check out 7 tip to stay focused for 90 minutes.

Dennis Higler and me

2018 Europa League final referee: Björn Kuipers

2018 Europa League final 2018 referee is Björn Kuipers. He will officiate the game between Marseille and Atlético Madrid. The game starts at 20.45h (CET). But Kuipers’ day starts much earlier.

During the day he does the match preparation with his assistant referees and two hours before the game he moves to the stadium. But not normally …

2018 Europa League final referee Björn Kuipers

2018 Europa League final referee Björn Kuipers. Photo by KNVB Media.

And not in a normal van, but escorted by police and motorbikes. Sirens on.

“Half of the city have to wait because the referee goes to the stadium”, writes Volkskrant. The journalist quotes Dutch top referee Bas Nijhuis. “In Genua we took roundabouts the wrong way, people need to move. And the few that didn’t were hit by the police. And why? To arrive at the stadium 22 seconds earlier.”

Preparation the week before the game

But the real preparation of  Björn Kuipers starts at home. He gets video clips by Uefa and KNVB video analist John Balvers, because that’s how he watches team tactics. Kuipers decides who the key players are and where he needs to focus on during the game. On the day before the match referees usually do a training session in the stadium.

The last hours before the game

Björn Kuipers will try to get something of the atmosphere in the stadium when he arrives, but not for too long. He will focus on his warming-up, the match preparation. Although most of this is discussed during the day. “You wish each other good luck”, says Nijhuis. He describes Kuipers’ ritual: “A high five and then Kuipers says: ‘come on guys, be sharp and smart’.”

And then the tunnel, the line-ups, handshakes.

At 20.45h, the 2018 Europa League final referee starts the game.

Good luck, Björn!

Me on the radio about the game

An interesting one for me as a blogger. I got invited by national radio 1 to talk about the game, because Kuipers is the referee. It’s an honour for me and I love the idea that media pay attention to referees and not because they made a mistake.

The item is not available yet on De Nieuws BV, but you can listen the whole show on their website. I am the guest between 13.30 and 14.00 o’clock.

Jan on Dutch radio





Improving the Laws of the Game

Improving the Laws of the Game is can be great for football, but is always part of a public debate. Even referees don’t want the rules to change every season, which makes it sometimes more difficult to explain during football games. But I favour new experiments that make football quicker, more attractive and more fair.

KNVB organised the game of the future between Fortuna Sittard and Suriprofs. New stuff like self-pass, kick-ins, play with a set amount of time and a shoot-out to decide the winner. The game was live on tv and everyone could follow it also with the referee camera.

Refcam: improving the Laws of the game

That’s what De Correspondent, Voetbal in de Bollenstreek and Voetblah try to do with the Avant Garde Cup. I visited that experiment personally earlier this season where they also tried to introduce new rules. The game was officiated by former Eredivisie referee Pieter Vink.

The ideas for improving the Laws of the Game:

  • The self-pass
  • The kick-in (instead of throw-in)
  • The alternative for the rules for penalty kicks
  • Set amount of time
  • Shoot-outs

Comment and win a toss coin

Below you’ll find more about these changes. Please comment below what your thoughts are on these changes. And if you have new ideas you can win an Axiwi toss coin. The 3 best ideas shared below or as comments on social media will win a toss coin, that I got from Axiwi to share with fellow refs.

Logo of the Avant Garde Cup 2.0

Logo of the Avant Garde Cup 2.0

1. The self-pass

The idea is that players are allowed to take every free kick immediately after the referee has whistled. The goal is to speed things up in the game, because waiting for a signal to start takes time. This new rule will give an advantage to the attacking team, which seems fair. My question is if this will help teams regain the option of a promising attack (that is stopped after a tactical foul for example)? But what does happen if you want to show a player a yellow or red card?

An example of the self-pass in the “Game of the future” by KNVB.

Less time for moaning at the ref

I also see a huge advantage for referees here, because players will have less time to moan about your decisions. They simply have to run back and defend and don’t have time to talk to you. That’s also how it works during the test match. In the first half players comment on a decision by Pieter Vink, but an opponent quickly dribbles the ball forward. Three defenders lost with some smart thinking.

Maurits Hendriks, who invented the self-pass in hockey, will be present as well during the game. It’s also a point of discussion for the next IFAB meetings.

Marco van Basten, FIFA Chief Officer for Technical Development, is also available and he is happy with this initiative. “Football is a conservative sport, but things are going the right way now”, he says to Dutch Referee Blog. “These innovations are good, it’s important for the game to test new things. To implement it in the football rules it can take up to two years, because IFAB thoroughly tests new things.” He notices that the game goes quicker. “We are used to players who will stand in front of the ball. Before that behavier is gone, it takes a while.”

Marco van Basten and me.

Marco van Basten and me.

YOUR INPUT NEEDED: What are your pros and cons for a self-pass? Share them below. I am working on more stories on Law changes and want to map out these three proposed changes more thorouhly. You can also e-mail on

2. The kick-in (instead of throw-in) 

Throw-ins happen a lot, but are not always very useful for the attacking team. The idea is that a kick-in will give more advantages towards the attacking teams. Because it gives them more options to pass it forward to a teammate. Throw-ins are easier to defend, which leads to losing the ball.

Although kicks give players more options, especially now they can actually dribble-in, players need to get used to this. At the first few kicks kicks are long. These are more difficult to defend than throws, but balls are not optimally used. In the beginning team-mates coach a lot. “You can dribble the bal in.” That helps. Even the goalkeeper starts dribbling the goal-kick in.

The best advantage of this new technique is shown during a corner kick. Dribbling the ball in gives the advantage that you can restart before the team has ten defenders in their box. That leads to a good goal.

3. The alternative penalty kick rule

A lot of things happen in the box, but not every foul is punished. Take a look at corner kicks or free kicks that swing in. Lots of holding, pushing, but as referee you can’t whistle for every foul.

Or can you?

The organisation of this game has an interesting proposal. A penalty kick will only be awarded if an obvious goal-scoring opportunity is denied. This can be in the penalty area, but also outside it. DOGSO lead to a penalty kick. Unfortunately nothing like this happened during the game, but below you’ll get an idea what it looks like.

But what to do with other fouls in the box? If you can give a normal free kick for such fouls, the organisation expects the number of penalty kicks will decrease. The expecatation: less small fouls on attackers, because the idea is that a referee will whistle quicker if he doesn’t have to give a penalty kick. And another expectation: the end of diving. Because the award will not be a penalty kick, but a normal free kick. If the reward is not that high, the organisation hopes this helps to ban it out.

Full explanation in Dutch about the proposed law changes.


  • If the game ends in a draw a shoot-out will make the difference.
  • The taker starts at 25 metres from the goal and gets 10 seconds to score
  • The goalkeeper starts on the goal-line
  • If the player shoots after 5 seconds and the goalkeeper saves, there is still 5 more seconds left to score. If a shot is at the moment of the buzzer, the goal will count. If there is any doubt, the Video Assistant Referee can give advice. But teams can’t request a video call.
  • If a goalkeeper fouls the taker, a normal penalty kick will follow
  • During the game normal penalty kicks are taken
  • During the shoot-out one referee is positioned on the goal-line, one on the halfway line to do the admin (goals and ABBA order of takers) and the other referee runs up with the taker.
  • In the stadium all fans can see a clock counting down from 10 seconds

Share your ideas

What are your pros and cons of these LOTG changess? Share them below or e-mail on I am working on more stories on law changes and want to map out these three proposed changes more thoroughly.

If you have other ideas, please let me know as well.

7 quotes from John Motson on referees

7 quotes from John Motson on referees. This weekend the legendary BBC commentator for football on radio and Match of the Day ended his career. Brian Clough once said to Motson: “I think what you do to referees is nothing short of criminal.” But was Motson so rude? Here’s some quotes and commentary from John Motson on refereeing and (great) decisions.

John Motson on referees

The referee makes the call

“Whether that was a penalty or not, the referee thought otherwise.” On iNews. A good point of Motson. It’s up to the referee to make the calls and his decisions are final.

Same coloured shirt

“The referee is wearing the same yellow-coloured top as the Slovakian goalkeeper. I’d have thought the Uefa official would have spotted that – but perhaps he’s been deafened by the noise of this crowd.” In Express.

Controversial incidents

Motson made sure he knows all the names of the refereeing crew, but not for good reasons. He wants to share their names if they make a mistake. “Now, if you’ll excuse me I’m just off to see the referee. I want to get the names of his assistants. If you don’t you can guarantee today will be the day when one of them is involved in a controversial incident.” Interview with him in The Guardian.

Finding and painting the spot

Motson describes a funny situation in the seventies.

“It was at the Baseball Ground at Derby in the 1970s. The mud was so thick on the pitch that when the referee awarded a penalty, he could not find the spot. He paced out 12 yards and a man came round with a pot of paint and repainted the penalty spot.” On BBC

Zidane’s final game

“And the referee has gone across now with his hand in his pocket”, cited the Sun. “He’s been told about it. He’s off, it’s red, it’s Zidane! You can’t excuse that, Zidane’s career ends in disgrace!”

Want to read how the refereeing team experienced this? Check out the interview with referee Horacio Elizondo.

Rule changes?

On BBC John Motson talks about the rules of football. “The laws of the game have stood the test of time and do not need much tampering with but to make it more entertaining and clear I think the offside rule needs clarifying. It has become far too complicated and it is much harder for the assistant referees.

It hit the stanchion

Very interesting situation as John Motson agreed with the referee at first instance. “It hit the woodwork”, he repeats. After replays we could see the ball has gone in. This also shows how difficult some situations for referees are at high speed in real time.

One look of the referee was enough

“So heavily, that within five minutes there was a covering on the road. But that was nothing compared with the Adams Park pitch half an hour later. It was in three or four inches of snow and the referee took one look and postponed the game.” On

Emphasise on how hard refereeing is

Let’s get back to Brian Clough and his interview with John Motson. “I think what you do to referees is nothing short of criminal”, he tells Motson. “I’ve looked at (a replay) 24 times and still couldn’t get it right. (A referee) makes a decision in the heat of the moment, with 30,000 people shouting – it should be emphasised how hard it is to referee a football match.”