Ovidiu Hategan and Virgil van Dijk: an emotional moment

Referee Ovidiu Hategan and Virgil van Dijk embraced each other after The Netherlands won their Nations League group. If you look a little closer you can see the emotion on the face of the referee. Dutch and Liverpool captain Van Dijk consoles him, as the referee seems upset. “That man broke down, stood with tears in his eyes because I think he had just lost his mother”, he says in an interview with Fox Sports. “I wished him strength and said that he had whistled well. It’s a small thing, but maybe it helps him.”

Ovidiu Hategan and Virgil van Dijk

Ovidiu Hategan and Virgil van Dijk. Photo: tv screenshot shared on Twitter

When (not) to referee

This situation got me thinking, because it’s something you rarely see. This is what players can do for you as a referee. Giving that bit of comfort when you need to.

But it also good for referees to realise when (not) to referee. That is a decision every referee has to take for him- or herself. Ovidiu Hategan officated a good game, was focused and fully capable of refereeing that game.

A few weeks ago my grandfather died. I felt sad, but still comfortable to referee a game in the weekend a few days later. It gives me something positive during that week of mourning. If I would have been distracted during work constantly or would have started crying out of the blue while making breakfast or so, then I would not have done the game.

Players deserve a fit referee

It reminds me of a new paragraph in the KNVB referee handbook. “Football players have the right to have a fit (assistant) referee“, it says. “When you’re injured, we expect you not to referee or assist”.

For me that refers to mental fitness as well. You need to be able to focus on the game, like Hategan. The first point in the story 7 tips to stay focused for 90 minutes is: Avoid negative thoughts and feelings. Focus is what you need, because then you’ll be able to make the right calls. Then you can officate a good game. As KNVB puts it. “You take the risk that you deliver a performance lower than normal.”

Keep that in mind when you make your own call when (not) to officiate.

Ovidiu Hategan and Virgil van Dijk

Japanese referee delegation visits The Netherlands

Japanese referee delegation visits The Netherlands and I was their referee instructor. This visit gives the referees a chance to meet a different football culture, but it’s not just that. Fellow referees at The Hague’s RA, football players and fans get really excited by this visit as well. A great way to learn from each other. Check out my experiences below.

Japanese referee delegation

Before the visit I drink coffee with interpreter Kaz Kaneko. He arranges the visit and we get in touch via both KNVB and Tournaments Abroad. The idea is to start with a lunch on Thursday, because that will break the ice. Dutch people are quite straightforward and instructors also will involve their students a lot, as in Japan the instructor is the authority.

The start is good. In the morning the delegation from Japan Soccer College arrive in The Netherlands. One instructor and two students. After a quick visit to Amsterdam we meet in The Hague. A nice start with lunch, followed by a lecture about refereeing in The Netherlands. From the games I’ve seen, Japanese players will not complain much about the decision by the referee. The Japanese refs also tell they will arrive two hours before the game, which is much earlier than the Dutch refs (1 hour for me with no neutral AR’s).

Physical training session

The Hague’s Referee Associations warmly welcomes the Japanese referees during the evening. The chairman has a very intense training session, but the refs from Asia run very fast despite only arriving from their country at 5.30 this morning. After the training session we have a drink with rice snacks to talk about refereeing in different cultures. A great way of bonding between refs who never met before.

The Japanese refs tell they usually train alone, but really like this idea. The way you motivate each other and can share ideas or talk about incidents is something new. Because they like it, they want to bring this idea to Japan as well.

Physical training session with The Hague's RA

VAR room and KNVB headquarters

On Friday it’s time to go to Zeist, because KNVB’s headquarters are there. Clay Ruperti, referee in the professional leagues, gives the guests a nice look into the video referee room. Screens are on, buttons work, so the refs get a real feeling how this system operates.

There’s also a nice bonus for them. Jeroen Manschot also visits them. The Japanese referees were very surprised and pleased, as they will see this Eredivisie referee live during the Groningen – Heerenveen. That’s the game on Sunday they will watch, as both teams have a player in their team who come’s from Japan.

Analysing their games

Before these three days with the guest I get a WeTranfer link with video’s from the ref’s games. It’s a pleasure to see them. Of course, there are development points, but also a lot of very good things. New for them was they way we discuss the clips. I point out a few good things and ask them in some situations what happens there. No way I’ll point out just negatives, but let them discover both good and bad things themselves.

That was also a good thing for me to learn as an instructor. The Dutch way is to get student’s active and I really appreciate how open and honest the referees are about their performance. Also loved the fact they talk about their own development, their qualities as referee and why they love to whistle games.

KNVB game session

Japanese referee delegation doing games at FC Lisse

Saturday is my last day with these blokes. They operate as neutral trio, something unique for the kids. In most Dutch amateur games the center referee is appointed, but AR’s are members from both home and away team. This is where not only these refs get excited about. I still am. And also fans and players love these Asian guests officiating their games.

The refs do their job well and in both games the losing coach was happy with them. You can’t get a better compliment as a referee. For me it was a great way to learn and help them. Thanks for that, arigatō.


Dutch VAR behind the scenes

Dutch VAR behind the scenes. KNVB releases footage from VAR decisions now. The first video is a game from Bjorn Kuipers with video referee Danny Makkelie.

I’ll translate the conversation between Björn Kuipers, his assistant referees and the video referee below the video.

Dutch VAR: translation

Assistant referee (0:22): Yellow card.

VAR Danny Makkelie: Slowly, slowly.

Assistant referee: I’ve doubts, but yellow for sure. I’ve doubts, maybe a red card.

Björn Kuipers: OK.

AVAR: He has shown the yellow card, Danny.

Björn Kuipers: Yes, but we’ll do a check. I doubt between yellow and red. I know.

VAR Danny Makkelie: IMO it’s red. (then much louder) Björn, Danny hier.

Björn Kuipers: Yes, yes.

VAR Danny Makkelie (0:35): I’m on a red card now.

Björn Kuipers: Do I have to look?

VAR Danny Makkelie (0:45): Yes, I want you to have a look. We’ll point of contact first. And then we’ll do speed.

Björn Kuipers is looking for the screen. Where’s that thing?

Dutch VAR behind the scenes

VAR Danny Makkelie (0:55): this is the moment of contact, Björn. First on the upper leg, then also on the calf.

Assistant referee shouting at Daley Blind who comes closer (1:00): Daley, Daley, Daley. Away, away, away.

VAR Danny Makkelie (1:05): I’ll show him in real speed.

But Björn says right away: “Thanks, I’ve seen it already”.

VAR Danny Makkelie: Okay.

How Björn Kuipers communicates the red card

I want you to have a look again at how Björn Kuipers communicates the red card. First he makes sure the crowd knows it’s not a yellow card, because that is important too. Then he shows the red card. You can’t see St. Juste in the image, but it’s clear so far who just got the cards a minute before.

How do you make sure your signals are good?

Week 6 Laws of the Game Quiz 2018-2019

Week 6 Laws of the Game Quiz 2018-2019. Put one question in from last week, so you’ll have a chance to answer it correctly this week. Last week only 60% got question 3 correct. Another chance now.

How do you deal with players who are wearing earrings? Check out the questions and answers below.

Earring LOTG

Week 5 Laws of the Game Quiz 2018-2019

It’s time for Week 5 of the Laws of the Game Quiz 2018-2019. Thanks all for participating in the quizzes. Great to see hundreds of people practice every week. Makes it worth continuing with them.

Good luck with this new quiz. Focusing on some throw-in situations.