It’s a special year for Darren Cann. First of all the big news of his long-term partner Howard Webb who announced his retirement this summer. Secondly, Darren Cann officiated his last international tournament during the World Cup in Brazil, because he has reached the age limit of 45. But Cann does not quit himself. On Monday 18th of August he got his first official match of the season with a whole new refereeing team. He is assistant of Michael Oliver and with fellow AR Stuart Burt – also not his usual partner Mike Mullarkey. A whole new experience for Darren Cann.
Now the Norfolk referee is back from the World Cup started the new season, he is also ready for some reflection on his experiences of this year. Here are 3 lessons Darren Cann learned from refereeing the World Cup in Brazil which will make you a better referee too. These lessons are based on an interview with the Norfolk FA, which also gave me permission to use the picture with this article (thanks!).
Darren Cann’s advice for referees
1. Don’t get frustrated
“Like any refereeing trio we hoped to be used early in the competition, but it wasn’t to be. Whilst it was a little bit frustrating, we are professional so we trained really hard every day, applying ourselves day in, day out, so that we were ready when needed.”
That could also happen to you. The first appointments of the season are out and your matches seem boring at first glance. You might want matches on a higher level or between two better teams. Don’t get frustrated about it. Your nice appointments will come. Keep training hard, so you are definitely ready once you got that exciting cup tie or top of the league clash.
2. Make unpopular decisions if necessary
Darren Cann talks about the handball Howard Webb has to call against Hulk, a player of the host nation. “Of course, it’s going to be an unpopular decision against the host nation, but a referee’s job is to be fair and impartial at all times and we always are.”
You might go to a match where one of the teams can win the championship, but one of their players denies an obvious goal-scoring opportunity. You should send him off although that might reduce their chances of winning the game. That is the rule and you should apply it. Cann: “It’s important to make the right call and Howard certainly did that using all his skill and experience. It was a really pressurised situation.”
3. Share your experiences
Are you member of a referee organization? Do you go training there? Do it! No matter what level you are, you can always learn from your refereeing colleagues. That helps on the lowest amateur level and even right before the World Cup final. ” As it turned out, by staying until the end of the tournament we were also able to have dinner with the Italian trio after their appointment to the Final just 48 hours before kick-off”, Darren Cann says. “That was a really special and unique moment – the first time ever that a World Cup trio had been present to be able to pass on all of their experiences of what it’s actually like to walk out and officiate The World Cup Final…”
I hope you can use these lessons from Darren Cann in your personal refereeing career. What’s the best lesson you learned so far when talking to your fellow referees?
Read the full interview with Darren Cann.