Club referee in The Netherlands: Clarence Leow from Singapore

Being a club referee in The Netherlands, that’s a unique chance to referee games as foreign referee. Clarence Leow can’t referee games for KNVB, because his stay in The Netherlands is too short. He thinks he’ll only train at the referee association … But luckily for him there’s a club referee system and he officiates over twenty games. A great foreign experience as referee. “I’ll take this with me to Singapore and will continue my career there.”

Club referee in the netherlands: clarence Leow

Clarence Leow is a 23-year-old student in Biomedical Sciences, who studied one semester in Leiden for an exchange programme. His FA wrote a letter for me to send to the KNVB, but in the opinion of the Dutch association a stay of just four months is too short to become KNVB official. “And I agree with them now”, says Leow. “They don’t know how good I am. If they first need to assess me, my time in The Netherlands is up.”

Local referee association

KNVB advises Leow to get in touch with a local branch of the COVS, the referee association. Leow’s idea is then that he will only train, but things change. In The Netherlands there are options to become a club referee. “Manon, a fellow ref asks me if I want to referee. She plays (and referees) at Voorschoten’97 and they need referees every week.”

Clarence Leow showing a yellow card.

Clarence Leow showing a yellow card. Photo provided by referee.

And that’s not where it stops, as one of the Saturday teams from Voorschoten ‘97 were in need of players as well. “I referee two to three games a day and even play in the weekend’s.” He describes his craziest day where he officiates at another club (RKAVV in Leidschendam) at 9 am, travels in 45 minutes with public transport to Voorschoten’97 to officiate a game there at 12.30pm and plays for his team at 4.15 pm. “I woke up at 6 in the morning and was home late in the evening.”

What he loves as club referee in The Netherlands

“What I love the most about refereeing in The Netherlands is that players understand that referees are human”, he says. He loves a simple “thank you, ref”, which he usually gets here. In Singapore referees line-up teams before and after the game for a handshake, but that is organised. In The Netherlands it comes more natural. “They even do it when they lose with 10-0.”

Clarence Leow and flowers

“Extra special was the week of the referee where I received a bouquet for flowers after my game on a Sunday. It’s a good example my country could start with as well”, he says. “And you don’t go to a game to receive praises, but every once in a while it feels good to be appreciated.”

A big difference for him was the use of club assistant referees and the sin bin. “ The sin bin is a good way for players to cool down. But it took some time for me to get used to the use of club assistant referees during my games.

Clarence Leow

Clarence Leow. Photo provided by referee.

COVS training

Leow enjoys his time at COVS with training sessions from Piet, Ernst-Jan, Remco and Koos. And a video test on Thursdays. “Everyone was very welcoming to me.”

But his start in Leiden was not good, he admits. “In Singapore buses arrive every ten minutes, but in The Netherlands the schedule changes after 7PM. Then it goes every thirty or even sixty minutes. I missed my bus to COVS, so I decide to run for three kilometres with my bag. I was 10 minutes late at the first training session. I was a bit worried, as punctuality is very important for referees. But thankfully, Ronald from COVS was very understanding.”

Clarence Leow

 

Funny moments: whistle

In his first month in The Netherlands, Leow barely speaks Dutch. This leads to a funny situation. There’s a direct free kick near the penalty are. Leow tells the players in English to wait for the whistle. Everyone is looking to the halfway line, but don’t know why they have to wait. That’s because the players think the referee wants a wissel, the Dutch word for substitute, which sounds similar. In the end they understand each other and play continues.

When Leow got back in Singapore he re-registers and does the FIFA fitness test. “I am really lucky to be given the chance by Voorschoten’97 and COVS for this experience in The Netherlands. My biggest learning in The Netherlands is positional awareness. I gained more experience in getting used to the pace of the game. You never know if games are fast or slow. But no referee wants a boring game. Luckily I have done some great ones here and I’ll never forget this experience.”

Referees from Singapore

Referees from Singapore. Photo provided by referee.

3 tips from World Cup and Olympic referee Anna-Marie Keighley

Anna-Marie Keighley is having a great career. She has been to the 2015 World Cup and the Olympics in Rio. In 2019 she will be at the Women’s World Cup in France. She is appointed for Jamaica vs Italy and Thailand vs China.

In this story you’ll find three useful tips from the top referee from New Zealand. She is ambitious. Her goal as referee is always to go one better. After her selection for the World Cup she sets a new goal. “Then being involved in the final would be a dream come true.”

Anna-Marie Keighley

Start of her career

Keighley started her career when she was coaching and had to referee a half. “I didn’t really know the rules”, she admits. After following a course she climbed the refereeing ladder and has reached the international level in 2010. “I enjoy the ability to be still involved in the game particularly on a high level”, she tells NZ Football.

Her career brought her to the u17 Women’s World Cup in Costa Rica, the Youth Olympic Games and the Women’s World Cup in Canada in 2015. She officiated also a round of 16 game between the organizing country and The Netherlands. “An amazing experiences to be in the middle of. And then I was charged with a semi-final. Another huge pinnacle of my career and very lucky to receive such an appointment.”

Refereeing men’s games

Keighley was also one of the female referees appointend for the men’s u17 World Cup. A tournament with the historical moment of Esther Staubli officiating a men’s game. “It is such a great honour to be included in this tournament and share with the other amazing female referees in this historic moment”, she tells NZ Football. “It is great to see the speed at which women’s refereeing is developing and a privilege to be part of that journey and history.”

But what can YOU learn from her? Anna-Marie Keighley gives 3 tips for fellow refs.

Be consistent and decisive

“Go out and be the leader. But you don’t go out control the game, but facilitate the game and provide an opportunity where you’re protecting the players and allowing the game to flow.

Find inspiration

Anna-Marie Keighley has looked closely at fellow top referees in New Zealand. Peter O’Leary and Mike Hester went to the World Cup in South Africa. “Both Mike and Peter have been inspirational to me to continue on the referee pathway and to see their accomplishments I often asked myself ‘why not me?’’’, she says to Boxscore.

I interviewed Mike Hester after his World Cup. Check the interview with this New Zealand top referee.

Practice and develop your crafts

For young lads and girls who still have doubts about becoming a referee, Keighley has one tip. “Give it a shot”. She adds: “You might not be the greatest the first time you do it, you might not be the best. You have to practice and develop your crafts. And likewise with refereeing: the more you do it, the better you gonna get in terms of being assertive, consistent and decisive.

Video of interview with Anna-Marie Keighley

Watch full interview with NZ Football below.

Ingrid Jonsson: the first female Women’s World Cup Final referee

Ingrid Jonsson is the first female Women’s World Cup Final referee. In this interview with Dutch Referee Blog the Swedish referee and FIFA referee instructor talks about this experience and the development of female refereeing. “In the future I guess that many more female referees will be involved in men’s football and not because they are women but based on quality between referees.”

Ingrid Jonsson (right) with match commissioner Pricilla Janssens.

Ingrid Jonsson (right) with match commissioner Pricilla Janssens at a play-off between Argentina and Panama. (Picture provided by Ingrid Jonsson)

First ever female in a women’s final

In 1995, you were the first female referee to officiate a Women’s World Cup final. How was that for you?

Ingrid Jonsson: “In the Women’s World Cup in China 1991 I was one of the six so-colled “lines women” (assistant referees) that participated. I was AR1 in the final game between Norway and USA and 63.000 spectators. In Sweden 1995 the final game between Norway and Germany it was around 17.000 spectators – so two total different games and atmosphere. But of course being appointed for a final game in your own country is special.”

A mix of men and women

During that period referees at a big tournament were a mix between men and women. During that WC final you have a female trio, but in the 1996 Olympics 3rd place game your AR2 was a man. How important has this appointment with a complete female team been for the development of female refereeing?

Ingrid Jonsson: “During my three big tournaments it was always a mix between women and men and for me that was natural, what I was used to in my own country. I still think that quality is the most important thing, but not if you are a woman or a man. Still, there are not so many countries that will havea trio in the Womens World Cup 2019. They are usually a trio from a confederation and once again based on quality.”

Ingrid Jonsson during her 1995 world Cup final

Ingrid Jonsson during her 1995 world Cup final

Ingrid Jonsson’s career path

I’ve seen you were in many international referee committees. Can please tell a bit more about your life after active refereeing and your current role?

Ingrid Jonsson: “I started my refereeing in 1983, while still playing as a goalkeeper. By that time I was also a teacher in physical education. Since 1987 I was also a referee instructor for the Swedish FA and of course in my own area. When I became FIFA referee in 1995 I took a break from my instructor role, as I also was working as a principal in high school and my own kinds was 2 and 5 years old. My husband was by that time a international referee in bandy (Jan: ice hockey with a small ball on a big field).”

“When I stopped my refereeing after 2003 I returned as a instructor in the Swedish FA and is still active, I also started as a UEFA referee observer and am still active. From 2004 to 2011 I was active as a FIFA instructor, made a break between 2012 and 2016 when I was in the FIFA referees committe. And since 2017 until now I am still FIFA instructor.”

Looking for development

What makes it worth for you being involved in refereeing?

Ingrid Jonsson: “When You have been involved in sport always – it´s a great pleasure to have the possibility to continue to work with next generation, share experinece and knowledge and hopefully see the development.”

Uefa launches a report about women’s football across the national associations. The 2016/17 edition (can’t find a 17-18 version yet) shows a growth in number of female referees. But not every country has its own programme targeting development and recruitment of female referees yet. How important is it to have such a thing and how does it help grow women’s football?

Ingrid Jonsson: “I think it’s important that all parts of football develop, players, coaches and referees. To become a referee when you have ended your playing career, it is a good start for your next mission – if you do not become a coach. Because it will bring understanding into the different roles.”

Ingrid Jonsson refereeing Norway and Germany in the WWC Final

Ingrid Jonsson refereeing Norway and Germany in the WWC Final

Quality of the referee is key

In Germany Bibiana Steinhaus officiates in the Bundesliga. What do you expect for the future of female refereeing?

Ingrid Jonsson: “As we said in the previous question, different countries are in different levels and have choosen different ways. In the future I guess that many more female referees will be involved in mens football. Not because they are women, but based on quality between referees.”

Top 3 tips for you by Ingrid Jonsson

I ask people I speak with usually about their tips for others. What are your top 3 tips you’d like to share with other referees?

Ingrid Jonsson: That is difficult, because it’ss always individual what is important for different people/referees. But for life in general:

  • always do your best, so you do not regret that you did not give everything
  • enjoy every moment, do things that make you feel good
  • surround yourself with people who give you energy

Hakan Anaz shares his Asian Cup 2019 experiences

Hakan Anaz is a referee instructor and assessor at the Asian Cup 2019. The 2014 World Cup assistant referee from Australia is now helping other referees to reach their top level. In this interview he shares his experiences during the 2019 tournament and looks at the future of refereeing in Asia. “I have no doubt that we have many world class referees in Asia who can easily referee a World Cup final in Qatar.”Hakan Anaz with Asian Cup 2019 Logo

 

Asian Cup 2019 experiences

How do you look back to the Asian Cup 2019? 

“First of all I would like to thank AFC for having the faith in inviting me to their flagship tournament, the World Cup of Asia, The AFC Asian Cup. I have been Instructing and Assessing for three years now and to have been invited to this tournament was a great honor for me.”

Since Hakan Anaz retired he picked up a whole new role in the refereeing world. “My role at AFC is multi-faceted. I am a Referee Instructor and Assessor, covering all tournaments and competitions like the AFC Champions League and the AFC Cup.”

PS: Kronika Sedziowska also wrote a worth-reading refereeing analysis of this tournament with clips. Check out their story.

AFC Referee Academy

“I also work at the AFC Referee Academy with my fellow Instructors Fernando Tresaco Gracia, Farkhad Abdullaev and Alejo  Perez LeGuizamon. I am Lead Instructor at the Referee Academy for batch 2018. Working with these gentleman is great and I think for me being involved in such a great program is motivational to me. The AFC Referee Academy is the only football academy in the world which involves in-class, remote and practical refereeing education over an intensive 4 year period. From my 2018 batch, I can already see some potential World Cup referees and should they make it, I will be ever so happy I was part of their dream.

Being together with many top refs together

At the Asian Cup, I think the highlight for me was the first day in the seminar room when all the best referees and Instructors were gathered in our conference room. I looked around the  room and felt awed to be part of this great tournament.  Working with best referees in Asia was great, my goal has always to make a difference. I think honesty and integrity is something I always hold dear to me, and if you can do this, the respect you get is assured I’m sure.

Keep fit 

“Actually, I trained as intensely as the referees during the Asian Cup and many of the referees made comment that I should come back to refereeing. However, my active refereeing finished after my World Cup 2014 assignment.” More about his momorable 2014 below.

The level is getting higher

“My new challenge is to develop new World Cup referees for 2022 and beyond. Hence my keen involvement in the AFC Referee Academy. “, says Hakan Anaz. During the 2018 World Cup Alireza Faghani was close to being the first Asian World Cup final referee. In the end he officiated the 3rd place match. 

“I was fortunate to have assessed Alireza Faghani in his round of 16 match at the Asian Cup. Again, he demonstrated how great strides refereeing in Asia has taken. The bar is constantly rising. I was also fortunate to have assessed another up and coming referee who I have no doubt will be at the next World Cup in 2022.”

World Cup final in Qatar

“If you look at the Asian referees at the last World Cup and the current referees at the Asian Cup, I have no doubt that we have many world class referees who can easily referee a World Cup final in Qatar. To achieve this goal, AFC are working extremely hard to make AFC Referees the best in the World.”

Recruiting new top referees

“My other roles in AFC is as a recruiter where I will assess potential referees into inclusion to the Elite group of referees and also as a video assessor. As can be seen, I am extremely busy at AFC which means I don’t have time for a full time job. My passion is refereeing and I put 100% into any position I do. I have had some potential job opportunities in refereeing education from countries in Asia, and its definetely something I would consider in the future if the right position came along. But at the moment, I am very happy working with AFC.”

2014: a wonderful year as assistant referee

Earlier on I spoke with Anaz after the 2014 World Cup in Brazil. A great experience to learn from as fellow referee. In this part Anaz shares his experiences and gives you some solid advice. 

How did you experience the tournament in Brazil?
Hakan Anaz: “The experience that summer in Brazil was truly special. FIFA told us that not many referees get to go to a World Cup. A World Cup in the atmosphere in Brazil is a once in a lifetime experience, truly unforgettable experience. All the referees knew how special is would be. Having said that, all the referees were there to referee games and all the referees just wanted to get out onto the park. We trained 36 out of the 39 days we were there, so we had excellent preparation during the tournament.”

Working 20 years for this moment

“Team Australia (with Ben Williams and Matthew Cream) were fortunate to have 3 games during the tournament. After appointments were announced by FIFA, all the referees congratulated the respective referees. It was a very good atmosphere. All the referees got along very well. For me walking out before every game was special. I’ve worked 20 years for this moment and arriving on the biggest sports tournament in the world was worth all the blood , sweat and tears. It was very fulfilling. Having said that, the round of 16 game Costa Rica Vs Greece was a very pleasing experience for Team Australia because it was the first time a match trio from Australia has refereed a game in the knock-out stages.”

Referee Hakan Anaz in dressing room

Hakan Anaz’ first World Cup

It was your first one WC – and probably your last one because you are 44 now. What are your goals now in refereeing? Will you stay AR on national level or do you have other ambitions?
Hakan Anaz: “I have now retired from active refereeing. My goal has always been to get to the World Cup. I achieved that. I always have been humble during my referee career and feel that going on more than you need to would be selfish, and my character is never like that. I want the next generation to have a chance at achieving what I have achieved, and I exit the stage at the highest level possible. Not many can say that. I knew the time was right to leave so I declined the contract offer by Football Federation Australia to referee further in the national league.”

Improve as referee

How did you improve yourself as referee?
Hakan Anaz: “I am my worst critic. I watch my games, even when I know the game went well, and critically analyse my decisions, positioning and performance. I have an ethos and that is “you never stop learning”. You always analyse your game and you always try to achieve a higher and higher level. I do a lot of visualisation and technical drills at training so that I am as prepared as much as I can. There is a saying “fail to prepare … prepare to fail”, My preparation – both physical and technical – was at a very high standard prior to the tournament and I’m sure our Round of 16 appointment we got our reward for all 3 of us.”

Lasting friendships with referees

What else brought 2014 for you as referee?
Hakan Anaz: “One of the most important for me was not only the memories, but also the lasting friendships. This is also important because there will always come a time when referees will no longer officiate. What is always long lasting is your friendships you make along the way. I have made some great friends who I always stay in contact with which is something that means a lot to me. Your fellow Dutch referee, Bjorn Kuipers, his assistants Sander and Erwin, was some good friendships I made in the 2 years on the candidates program.”

Family time

“2014 also bought to me retirement from refereeing but also now a new phase in my life. I now have more time with my family which I want to devote more time to. I have a young daughter who is very happy now to have her dad spend more time at home. I enjoy family time.”

Hakan Anaz and world cup team.

Hakan Anaz (left), referee Ben Williams (center) and Matthew Cream. Photo provided by referee.

Becoming a referee

Back to your roots. How did you become a referee?

“I have played football since I was 7. I love football. I played until I was 23 at which time I knew I could not make the highest level of football in Australia. So I wanted to remain active in football. A friend of mine was a referee so I decided to give it a go. After about 6 months, I enjoyed it so much, I decided to devote more of my time and energy towards refereeing. As I moved higher up the ranks, my goals changed and I set myself higher and higher goals. When we were put on the candidates program back in 2012, we knew that it would be a very intense program as FIFA wanted only the best referees and assistants at the Brazil World Cup. We kept working harder and harder, always knowing that there was never any guarantee of being selected to go to Brazil. We were always well grounded and knew we had to keep working hard.”

Personality of a referee

I’ve seen many referees with Turkish roots climbing the refereeing ranks in other countries. Aytekin in Germany, Gozubuyuk in The Netherlands and of course you in Australia. What is the reason by their and your success?

Hakan Anaz: “I think ones personality is very important here. It does not matter if you are from such and such a country, the reason for anyone’s success is hard work, and being humble. Of course it is rather special when you have lived your life in one country and you are appreciated in the country of your parents birth. But there is no substitute for hard work. I would like to believe that we were chosen because all the instructions and directives that FIFA wanted of us, we fulfilled and then some.”

“The planning that the 3 of us went through for the 2 and a half year on the program was so meticulous I think in the end paid off with our selection. And of course, there is the performances on the field. Being honest and humble is very important. But also applying the laws of the game, and never compromising on your morals is also very important. Respect for yourself and fair play.”

Advice for young referees

What advice would you give to (young) referees?
Hakan Anaz: “If you want to achieve the highest in whatever you do, be it as a player, coach or referee, then be prepared to work hard. Planning is important. Always be humble. Always review your past matches and always learn from other referees.”

Listen to your mentors

“When I started refereeing, I had two mentors who I was always asking for advice, trying to understand what the art of refereeing is about. Learning from other referees is important, but also to take advice. If another more experienced referee gives you advice, be prepared to listen and appreciate what he/she is saying. Refereeing is not black and white, sometimes it is grey. It’s how a referee reacts to these grey areas is important. And always let your personality come through in your refereeing. And always be in position, this helps “sell” your decision. Whether as a referee or as an assistant, if you are in position then you can sell your decision. Finally, enjoy refereeing. If you don’t enjoy refereeing this will show in your performance.”

Read the interview with Ben Williams, Hakan Anaz’ refereeing partner during the World Cup, on my blog.

Harish Karki: youngest Nepalese referee at the national league

Harish Karki is the youngest referee at the Nepalese national league. But that doesn’t mean he is there yet. He needs to work even harder. “I have to do much more better than before to achieve my goal”. And Nepal does not have the regular league system. “I train almost 3 weeks a month and 1 week I officiate matches.” Read the exclusive interview with an ambitious young referee and get some interesting insights in refereeing in Nepal. 

Harish Karki

Harish Karki. Photo provided by referee

22 years old and national referee

Dear Harish Karki, please introduce yourself as referee.

Harish Karki: First of all,  I wanna give a big thanks to Dutch Referee Blog  for this great opportunity for letting me being in your blog. That’s  a great pleasure for me. I have been following your blog for 2 years. It has helped me a lot in my refereeing career. Thanks a lot.

My name is Harish Karki. I am a national referee from Nepal, which is located in South Asia. My age is 22. I have been a part of my All Nepal Football Association (ANFA) from the age of 18. I started my refereeing career from the age of 19. As I started my career I got huge opportunity from the start. It’s been 3 years on my refereeing field. I debuted officially from the District League, Redbull ‘C’ Division League Qualifiers, Interschool Cocacola Cup.

More challenges are coming

You’ve just been promoted as youngest national referee. Congratulations. How does it feel? What does it mean to you?

Harish Karki: Thank you for your warm wishes and all the beautiful people who have wished and supported me till now. I am happy for what, I have achieved. I see many more struggle, tackle and challenges in the upcoming days. So, I am taking the things for challenges upon me. I have to be updated with the Laws of the Game, prepare training schedules and make proper diet plans everyday. I have to do much more better than before to achieve my goal.

After, I have promoted I will get higher level and International matches in the upcoming days. It sounds really better to me through the promotion.

Love, hate and inspiring people

What did you do to achieve this milestone? (what did you do? how much effort/training do you put in?)

Harish Karki: I have awaited for many years to be at this stage. I have planned much more than this. So, I think that my career has now officially started. I am happy for this milestone I have made. It reminds me of the pain, struggle, love, hate, inspiring people, training and hard work i have been through.

I had always been preparing for this course, but it has not started yet because of the political instability of my association. But when I got notice that the course going to be held I had only few days to prepare myself. I worked hard, trained for 4-5 hours a day, maintained the diet plans. I wanna thank to my brother FIFA Referees Rojen Shrestha and Prakash Nath Shrestha for the training plans.

Small country: not many referees

How is refereeing in Nepal?

Harish Karki: It feels great to officiate the matches in Nepal. Recently, the association has held the election and the newly elected members are taking charge. It has been 4 years with none of the leagues in Nepal. But they have fixed the date of the A Division League which is going to be after 2 months.

So, in the last years clubs, District Associations used to organize Gold Cups, high cash prize tournaments. The craze of football in Nepal is too much that I can’t even explain. The stadium is always packed with great crowds. I love officiating here.

We have less numbers of Referees in Nepal. 12 FIFA Referees (including 2 women), 13 ‘A’ level Referees, 10 National Referees and 20-30 Active ANFA Referees.

3 weeks training, 1 week of games

What does a week as referee look like for you?

Harish Karki: In the context of our country, we don’t have regular leagues. As I said before we officiate most of the matches organized by the authorized clubs, District Associations, Event Management,  etc.

So from my side I manage these things in a professional way. I train almost 3 weeks a month and 1 week I officiate matches. We don’t have the 6-9 months leagues as like other countries.

I have my family business Shivapuri Greenview Restaurant and Hotel Blue Moon, of which I take care in my holidays. In my weekends I go hiking and gather around with my friends and families. I also go to gym for my fitness during my free hours.

The future for referees in Nepal

How often did you go to international youth tournaments/games and what makes that special?

Harish Karki: I haven’t gone for any international youth tournaments yet. But, planning for the upcoming tournaments / games. It is so hard for our country’s Referee to take part in international tournaments. There used to be AFC U-14 football tournament. I was a bit unlucky about this. This event was cancelled when I was preparing for this. But no worries, I will be doing a lot of hard work and will be making up for the great international matches. Even though our seniors do not get to travel for the senior international tournaments much because of past political instability of the association. Hope the newly elected members of the association will take care of this and bring these problems to an end.

Learn from international referees

You’ve worked with international referees. What are the best things you learned from them?

Harish Karki: I have worked only with my domestic FIFA  international referees. I mostly officiate with them. It was great pleasure working with them. I got a lot of knowledges, experiences and chances to learn different things too. Changes in lifestyle, behaviours, disciplines, confidence building, game management and many more are the things i have learned and been inspired from them. They try to inspire and motivate me through their experiences and support. I have brought better changes on myself about being disciplined, self-patience, confidence building and humble.

Refereeing is always a challenge

What are your biggest challenges as referee?

Harish Karki: First of all, as my point of view being as referee is always a challenging and tough job ever. I try to keep myself motivated all the time. I see my senior referees doing better. So, I see myself competing with them. That’s a great way for being always the best. Prajwol Chhetri(A Level Referee) is my biggest inspiration among the all. He is one of the promising referee of Nepal. He has always helped and inspired me to reach at this stage. I most of the time officiate with him and i love officiating with him as he supports a lot and builds up my confidence.

Harish Karki’s injuries

Dealing with injuries is the most frustrating part in refereeing career. As I was preparing for my National Refereeing Course, I was injured. I had slight hamstring problem on my right thigh. I was thinking to quit due to my injury but I did not give up and came up with this frustrating moment. “Pain is temporary, success is permanent” so at that moment I thought my dream of reaching the next level of my life should not be distracted by my injury. So, I put all my efforts to overcome this situation. I consulted to physiotherapist and took rest as he advised for about 2 weeks. I wanna thank my physiotherapist Dr. Suraj Bhusal for the treatment and great councelling at the time.  

Goals and ambitions

You’re now a national referee. What are your goals and ambitions as referee? And how will you reach them?

Harish Karki: I feel happy being a National Referee but I see a lot of challenges, tackles and obstacles in upcoming way of my life. So, i have to keep myself motivated, determined, concentrated, train hard than before, stick to my proper diet plans and keep myself updated to the Laws of the Game.

My goal is to bring the Elite Referee back to my country and my ambition is to be one the best referee of all the time in my continent with a lot of patience and inspiring capabilities. I want to be an inspiration for the new young referees.

 

Do you have any right free images that I may use in the blog?

 

You can use these photos for your blog. Though these photos has logo of goalnepal there in no problem using them.

 

Use this first photo as display picture if possible.

Homosexuals in sports have to cope with abuse

Banner about homosexuals in sports and how they are treated
Verbally abusing someone because of his race is not done, says Karin Blankenstein. “But homosexuals still have to cope with being abused.” As if that’s normal. Blankenstein fights for gay acceptance in sports in The Netherlands. I interviewed her during a meeting at The Hague’s Referee Association a few years ago. This issue is still very relevant these days. How is the situation for homosexuals in sports?

Acceptance is difficult

Karin Blankenstein is the founder of the John Blankenstein Foundation, called after her brother, a homosexual professional referee in football who died in 2006. The battle for gay acceptance in sports is difficult. She made an action plan to gain equal rights for everyone in cooperation with Dutch football association KNVB and she has sent it to all football clubs. “I got no response”, she says and stresses that the abuse is a big problem. “Fifty percent of the homosexual boys think about suicide during puberty. People should give that a moment of thought. They need to become thoughtful about what it means when you verbally abuse someone because of his sexual preferences.”

Verbal abuse

And what can referees do about it? “I hear players using the word ‘gay’ all the time on the football pitches. As a referee you need to say to players that it’s inappropriate.” Verbally abusing someone because of his race is not done, she adds. “But homosexuals need to cope with being abused.” John Blankenstein was openly gay. Likewise Jeroen Sanders, who was a referee and is AR in Dutch professional football. “But there’s a veil of secrecy on homosexuality amongst football players”. The German player Thomas Hitzlsperger told he was gay only after he retired. “He got more than 1000 interview requests, because this was so unique.”

Fans reactions on homosexuals in sports

Many football fans are not open for homosexuality according to Blankenstein. “They would love to party on Friday night with gay pop stars on stage in a big football stadium. But if a gay attacker would play in the same stadium the next weekend, they’ll boo at him.” There’s so much to gain for homosexuals in sports. Blankenstein hopes it starts with little things like people taking action when people verbally abuse gays and when football and referee clubs put gay acceptance in their code of conduct. “It’s important that as little people as possible quit with sports or refereeing because of their sexual preferences”.

Martin Atkinson: work harder if you don’t get the big games

Refereeing at the Premier League every week is what drives Martin Atkinson. “The goal is to get the biggest games”, he says in an interview with Dutch Referee Blog. “So I have to keep my standards high.”

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Martin Atkinson and Jan from Dutch Referee Blog

To do so, he makes sure to be physically very fit. “During the summer break it’s important to do the base work. But make sure you’re not tired at the start of the season.” Atkinson gradually builds up his fitness and officiates maybe two to three friendlies. Not many more, “because you only have a pause of ten weeks”.

Setting goals for the new season

Before every season he always sets his goals. “You need to have targets as referee”, he says. “Otherwise you will stand still or even go back”. Atkinson officiates the top clashes in the Premier League, for example Chelsea – Arsenal on matchday 2. He has also done the major national finals, so he will not do it again. “My main goal is always to referee a semi-final. In 2017-2018 it was the FA Cup, last year the Champions League. I want to referee the highest possible game.”

Work harder if you don’t get the big games

Michael Oliver, Anthony Taylor, Craig Pawson, they all want to do the highest games. “So I have to keep my standards high as well. And if I don’t get the big games, I have to work harder. I do still have the hunger for that.

“Every season has its highs and lows, but I focus one game at the time.” For him it is important to get the whole refereeing team at the same level. “The team is only focused when I am good and my ARs are as well. We need to be at the same level for a good performance.”

Join your Referees’ Association

Referees are a family. Atkinson is very happy with support from referees around the world, also for his trip for the good cause earlier this year. According to him it is very important to support each other. A great way is to do that at the local Referees’ Association.

“I am the member of my local RA for over 30 years”, he says. Meetings at Heavy Woollen RA are every first Monday. He can sit next to newbie referees. “I am going since I was 17. It gives a referee massive support. There is always somebody who has faced the same situations. They can give you advice. You’ll learn so much by listening to others.”

Martin Atkinson’s confidence

Atkinson tells confidence is a very important characteristic of referees. Referees should not get afraid or nervous when they receive a big game. “If you are confident enough, people appoint you because they know you can do it”.

Go out and referee!

His final tip for referees is to officiate as much as you can. “Go out. Deal with games at u9, u11 and so on. The more experience you get, the better you’ll get. You will learn how to talk with players and sell decisions. One of the best ways to learn is by doing it.”

So good luck with your games next weekend. Gain experience, be confident and enjoy!

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