Scotland’s top referees take final step

Scotland’s top referees did their first pre-season fitness test last weekend. A big moment for the the refs at Stirling University. The official kit was presented, the season is going to start soon.

But how do Scotland’s top referees prepare for a new season? Referee boss John Fleming and referees Bobby Madden and Nick Walsh tell you how they’ll become ready for the 2014/2015 season.

John Fleming, Head of Referee Operations at the Scottish FA: “They are training right through. There’s no such thing as a rest period now. They’re also involved in a 170 friendlies today.”

The young Nick Walsh adds: “This test day is the final step. We are making sure we’re fully set for the season ahead.”

“It’s an extensive pre-season program”, Bobby Madden says. “It can be quite challenging at times.” The referees train in speed sessions, endurance sessions but also for injury prevention. “It covers everything”. We need to make sure the referees and assessors are prepared as best as they can for the new season”, says Bobby Madden. He got two semi-finals last season in the Scottish and League Cup. “I’d love to think that one day I could referee a final.”

Scotland’s top referees tell more about their pre-season preparation and their ambitions in the video below:

Want to know more about refereeing in Scotland? Read the interview with Barry Cook.

Or check how to become a referee there.

Barry Cook: Ref and ex-youth international meets his old teammates

Barry Cook has been a talented goalie, even got 27 caps as youth international. This season, ten years after he stopped with goalkeeping, he has been promoted to Scottish top refereeing category.

Barry Cook in the SFL Division 3 match between Berwick Rangers FC and Queens Park FC. Photo privided by referee.

“My first season refereeing at the top category in Scotland has gone well so far”, says Barry Cook to Dutch Referee Blog.

“I have been refereeing since the age of 17 – I am now 32 years old – but combined my playing and refereeing until the age of 22. At this point I made the decision to concentrate on trying to get to the top level of refereeing.”

Name: Barry Cook
Date of Birth: 6th June 1979
Referee since: 1998
Admitted to SFA Senior List: June 2006
Promoted to Category 1: June 2011
First Match: Riverside United v Goodyear BC Under 13 (SYCA League)

Being top category referee doesn’t mean he’s doing Premier League matches, Cook hasn’t made his debut as a center referee yet. “I currently referee in the Scottish Football League, 3rd division. And every few weeks I am also 4th official at the top league matches in the Scottish Premier League.”

“I sometimes miss being a goalie but I love being a referee.” Cook has no regrets of his decision. “Being a referee was a choice and is not second best to playing football.”

His career as a goalie has brought Cook some funny situations as a fourth official in the Scottish Premier League, as described below by Hugh Macdonald from Herald Scotland . In this case Cook was the fourth man in a St. Mirren match earlier this season.

Two former international team-mates meet in a tunnel with a professional match only minutes away. There is a stunned look from Steven Thomson of St Mirren as he looks at his friend. His old mate is now a referee.

Cook thinks it’s a personal challenge each time to get all players in control. “My experience as a player has helped me greatly and I regularly come across players who used to be in my team. As a referee, I like to speak with the players and I am quite calm and confident even when under pressure.”

Referees in the media (week 47)

‘Referees in the media’ will be published at the beginning of the week on the Dutch Referee Blog and provides remarkable or interesting quotes and links to articles worth reading.

“The look on their face is priceless when I appear in my referee uniform.”

Barry Cook becomes a Scottish top class referee instead of goalie on high level. Worth reading monologue from Cook.

“So I used to do the lines and slowly I got a passion for refereeing.”

Mohammed Salim was named as one of the best referees of Fiji.

“We’ll definately go talk with the father and we send an apology letter to the referee.”

A member of a Dutch sports club after a parent of his club scared a 12-year-old referee off, so that he left the pitch and went crying to the dressing rooms.

“It is quite possible that football takes example of handball. The Handball Association in Germany prohibits players, coaches and officials since the beginning of this season to comment on the referee’s performance in the 48 hours after a game.”

A journalist of German newspaper Die Welt after the incident with Babak Rafati, who tried to kill himself before Saturday’s matches. He also states that although the action has personal grounds, people should be more aware of how to deal with referees.

“For each referee a psychologist”

A plea from Belgian former referee Jef Brouwers, who’s also a psychologist and referee mentor.

New referees in Europe’s highest leagues

European qualification matches already started and some competitions will kick-off this weekend. Here are the new referees at the national top levels.

If you miss something, let me know.

New in the senior referee group is Serdar Gözübüyuk, who holds many Dutch refereeing records, being the youngest referee ever officiating at the highest level in the Netherlands. Assistants Charl Schaap en Hessel Steegstra moved up to the highest level as well.
Referee Ben Haverkort retired and has already started as commercial manager at FC Groningen, a club in the highest league.

New: Dominik Ouschan
End of career: Bernhard Brugger (next December)
Relegated: –
Announcement ÖFB

No promotions announced.
Best referee: Frank De Bleeckere (Golden Whistle), Johan Verbist (Silver Whistle), Joeri Van de Velde (Bronze Whistle).

New: Marin Vidulin, Marin Horvat, Nikola Beatović and Hrvoje Knez
Relegated: Davor Grizelj and Jurica Mihalj
New AR’s: Djuro Jaković, Goran Loparac, Josip Orišković and Ivica Radošević
Retired AR’s: Damir Volf and Vlado Crnolatac

New: Jon Moss and Neil Swarbrick
Relegated: none
New AR’s: Gary Beswick, Simon Bennett, Darren Bond, Charles Breakspear, Sian Massey, Richard West
Relegated AR: Paul Thompson
AR’s stopped because of promotion as center: Andy Madley and Dean Mohareb
Source: Rate The Ref Community

New: Benoît Bastien, Sebastien Desiage, Benoît Millot.
Relegated: Damien Ledentu,
End of career: Stephané Bre, Bruno Coué,
Source: Announcement FFF

New: –
Relegated: Marc Seemann from Essen got to a lower level after a long period of injuries.

New AR’s: –
Relegated AR: Torsten Bauer
Retired AR: Carsten Kadach
Men’s referee of the year: Manuel Gräfe
Women’s referee of the year: Bibiana Steinhaus

Relegated: Apostolos Amparkiolis, Marios Lampropoulos
Quit: Vasileios Pamporidis, Dimitrios Kalopoulos (both FIFA referees), Georgios Stathopoulos, Nathanail Charalampidis, Michalis Tsiniaris, Stavros Mandalos.
New: Spyridon Selimos, Georgios kominis, Gerasimos Ntitsos, Georgios Daskalopoulos, Ioannis Delfakis, Dimitrios kyrkos (also on highest level from 2007 to 2010), Dimitrios Styliaras (also on highest level form 2004 to 2006).

Relegated AR: Ioannis Toumpakaris
Quit AR: Christos Baltas, Spyridon Tryfonas (FIFA A. referees), Theodoros Kotsiros
New AR: Hasan Koula, Stelios Tsolakis, Panagiotis Stathopoulos
Source: Panagiotis Koutakos from
New: Daniele Doveri and Marco Guida
Relegated: Nicola Pierpaoli and Emidio Morganti
New AR’s: Giuseppe De Pinto, Alessandro Giallatini, Claudio La Rocca, Fabiano Preti, Giancarlo Rubino and Gianluca Vuoto
Relegated AR’s: Rosario Angrisani, Gianantonio Pugiotto, Stefano Ayroldi, Paolo Calcagno, Sandro Rossomando and Stefano Papi
Source: many Italian media

Promotions are in December, because they don’t have a summer break.
New: Anders Johansen and Trond Ivar Døvle
New AR’s: Jan Erik Engan, Ole Johan Lillebuen and Anders Velo

New: Nuno Miguel Serrano Almeida, Jorge Joaquim Martins Barros Tavares and Rui Tiago Castelão Patrício
Relegated: Diogo Pereira dos Santos, Elmano Carlos Fernandes Santos, Luís Martins Catita da Silva

New: Greg Aitken, Euan Anderson, Barry Cook and Paul Robertson
Relegated: –

New: Pedro Jesús Pérez Montero and Carlos del Cerro Grande
Relegated: Rafael Ramirez Dominguez and Antonio Rubinho Perez
Best referee: Carlos Velasco Carballo (1st), Alberto Navarro Undiano Mallenco (2nd) and Fernando Teixeira Vitienes (3rd).
New AR’s: Martín García, Barranco Trejo, Zancada Lobato, Huerga Cermeño.
Statement RFEF (pdf)

New: in 2011 (since January) in Axpo Swiss League: Damien Carrel, Ludovic Gremaud, Adrien Jaccottet, Stephan Klossner.
Quit: Massimo Busacca (this summer)

New: Nick Pratt and Paul Fisher
Moved: Mike Jones (Eng)
Resigned: Matt Bridges
Relegated: Darren Adie and Paul Thomas
Source: confirmed by e-mail