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Burak Özer: “I want to leave the pitch happy every game”

Burak Özer’s short-term goal is to leave the pitch happy at my next match. A great tip from this 20-year-old referee from Turkey. “And I renew my goal after every match.” Read more from the challenges and goals of this young Turkish footbal referee.

Hi Burak, please introduce yourself. 

 “My name is Burak Özer and I’m 20 years old. I’m from Turkey. I’ve been interested in refereeing for more than 3 years, but I only started to officiate matches this year.”

Referee Burak Özer

How did you get involved in refereeing? 

Burak Özer: “I always interested in football as almost every man in Turkey. I played at amateur levels or for school teams. And more than 3 years ago, one day my father asked me “Do you want to be a referee?”. First it didn’t sound good to me and I said no. I don’t know why, but my father said: “whatever, I’m signing up for you a course.” And thank god he signed me up.

A few weeks later I received an info e-mail about when and where the refereeing course will take place. I realized that I want to be a referee. When I took this course, I wasn’t accepted because of some external factors. At the beginning of 2016 with a 3-year delay I became a referee. But in these 3 years, I have done everything to improve myself and learned as much as I can about refereeing.”

Match preparation

Where do you officiate and what does your refereeing weekend usually look like?

Burak Özer: “For now, I officiate school matches and U-15 U-17 club matches. And sometimes my friends call me to to officiate their games. My preparations for my match starts when I get my appointment. Our appointments for every weekend are announced on Thursday night. Right after I get my appointment, I check the past results of the teams and the league table to make a prediction about the level of the game.

Then if I am appointed as an AR, on Friday afternoon I call my referee to confirm our match and arrange when and where we are going to meet. Then I prepare my bag and will be fully prepared to go to my match. On the match day, I wake up 3 hours before kick-off time or if the match is late, I wake up at 10:00. Then I make a carbohydrate-rich breakfast, take a shower, get shaved and I take the road.”

Biggest challenges

You mentioned to me you’re a newbie referee. What are your biggest challenges for you so far?

Burak Özer: “I don’t know. Every match is a new challenge. Sometimes aggressive players, sometimes a critical call. But also sometimes dealing with coaches and sometimes it can even be a rule that I have to explain to players.”

How will you deal with these challenges and how do train to become a better referee?

Burak Özer: “I always try to get tips from experienced referees and watch as much games as I can. And if I made a mistake in my game, I write it to a notebook. Before every game, I read this notebook to remember my mistakes so I won’t be doing them again. And also I do a physical training 3 or 4 times a week to be in a good physical condition.”

Goals for 2017

2017 has just started. What are your refereeing goals for this year? And how are you going to achieve them?

Burak Özer: “I have a short-term, a medium-term and a long term goal. My short-term goal is to leave the pitch happy at my next match. And I renew my goal after every match. As medium-term goal I want to advance to one level up. And as long term goal I want to officiate top-level matches of my country. And sure, as every referee’s superior goal, is to have a FIFA badge.”

3 useful tips from Burak Özer

  • Use your body language and whistle as your primary communication tool.
  • Always be self-confident – even if you made a mistake – but never avoid to tell your mistake.
  • Watch the referees; no matter if they officiate a champions league final or an amateur level game. Watch and see how they handle critic situations.


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