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Former FIFA ref Knut Kircher has some tips for you

Knut Kircher officiated more than 18 years in the German top leagues and was also a FIFA international referee. Due to age restrictions he has to quit in 2016. In this interview with Dutch Referee Blog he looks back on his career with some “special moments”.

You had a wonderful career as Bundesliga and Fifa referee. Last season was your last because of the age limit of 47 in Germany. How do you look back on your career? What are your pinnacles?

Knut Kircher: I look back with a wonderful and pleased smile in my face, more than 18 years in professional football, a dream. I had a lot of fantastic experiences in matches and with all that jazz. Sure, there were some special moments like the national cup final in 2008, a lot of international matches in South Korea, Lybia, South Arabia, Qatar, etc.

Referee Knut Kircher
Knut Kircher in action. Photo provided by referee himself.

Knut Kircher’s last game

Your last game was Bayern München vs Hannover 96 in May. That’s now more than half a year ago. Do you miss refereeing? And how do you stay involved in the game?

I was well prepared to do the final whistle and currently I don´t miss active refereeing. I am still involved as an observer and coach for referees in the first three German professional leagues. And it is a really good job to give my freshest experiences to the former colleagues.

Involvement in refereeing

Back to the start of your career. How did you get involved in refereeing and why did you like it so much that you kept doing it?

Knut Kircher: It was 1986 and my home club looked for new referees instead of paying fees for less referees in a club, so I decided to try it together with 3 more youth players of my team. The first 3 years I had about 18 games in total, not that much, but after these 3 years I found my way to inner circle of refereeing, having fun with decision making and managing games in a modern way, first as a referee assistant, then as a referee in higher leagues. It is a wonderful job, be involved in interactions with different people, different problems and finding quick and proper solutions for the game itself.

Making a big mistake

What’s the hardest challenge/problem you faced during your career? And how did you solve it?

Knut Kircher: The hardest problem was always when I made a big mistake, faced to me on TV, and you had to explain it all the time, why did it happen. But the only thing what I wanted to do was, going back on the pitch showing all the people that I could do it better. The best way to work on it, think positive and keep your smile!

Have fun

You made your debut at Germany’s 2nd level in 1998 and continued for 18 years at the professional levels. How did you manage to do that with a family life, your job at Daimler and doing training sessions? What do talented referees need to keep in mind when they want to combine these with a career as referee at the highest levels?

I have always explained, I was living in 3 own worlds. Private one, real professional one and the referees world. You have to accept, that you will never content all of them but you can use them as an island to relax, to prepare for the next challenges and you have to live them with a high intensity. Have fun and you will never talk about time problems, live now and enjoy everything!

What’s the biggest change you’ve seen in officiating over the years?

Knut Kircher: The game is getting more dynamic and more popular in media!

This referee blog started in 2010 because in my opinion there was not enough positive attention towards referees by the media. If there was a story, it was about a mistake. You ask yourself in an interview with Spox if referees shouldn’t talk more with the media. What are your thoughts on that.

Knut Kircher: There have to be a steady contact between the medias and the referees to be able to inform and explain decisions. Transparency is always necessary! I don´t know exactly if German referees are the only referees in world who are allowed to talk to the media directly after a match.

Knut Kircher
Knut Kircher. Photo provided by referee himself.

Refereeing gets more professional

How do you see the future of refereeing? What things need to be changed in the (near) future?

Knut Kircher: Refereeing is becoming more and more professional, so the national associations have to create the circumstances for the referees to make them independent.

What are the best 3 tips you ever got that made you a better referee  

Knut Kircher: Three simple and most popular tips:

  1. Keep the game and your decisions as simple as possible
  2. Try to find an answer to the question, what does the game need in this moment
  3. Accept mistakes as a normal human being

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