Match decision-making exercise for referees

The match-decision-making exercise for referees is highlighted in the story with Werner Helsen on a professional referee training programme.

“This type of exercise is not physically challenging, but important for team-decision making. Hereby, both referees and assistant referees have to fulfill their role”.

shot from Uefa referee documentary Man in the Middle, where Werner Helsen explains an exercise

How the match decision-making exercise goes

Referees do a speed and agility exercise on the field of play and move in direction of the penalty area. The assistant referee does the same near the sidelines. 

You also need two people to act as players. During Euro 2020, Werner Helsen used the VARs for these exercises. Otherwise, you have to change roles when you have a bigger group of referees. These 2 “players” have a different colour training vest, so there’s a clear distinction between the attacker and defender. Besides that, they also carry a white, yellow and red cone with them, corresponding to the card colours. “If one of them moves the cone above the elbow, then the refereeing team should notice this and they have to make the correct decision.” 

Both the defender and attacker move in the penalty area in a way to either the referee or the assistant referee can see that they raise the cone. So at least one person in the refereeing team can give input to make the right decision because the view of the other might be blocked. 

During a video call Werner Helsen illustrates it with a clip. “You can clearly hear that the assistant referee makes the call “penalty red card, penalty red card”, after which the referee shows the red card. 

“In some cases, it’s impossible for one of the officials to notice it, so teamwork is very important”. 

Tip: read the interview with Werner Helsen on referee performance at Euro 2020.


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