Referees’ mistakes influenced outcome of quarter of Dutch top league matches

Wrong decisions by referees in Dutch Eredivisie had direct influence on the outcome (win, loss, draw) in 41 out of 174 matches last season.

That’s the conclusion of freelance journalists Thijs Zonneveld and Fokko Ebbens, who watched all matches of the top six teams, in newspaper NRC Handelsblad. The journalists focused on goals, (not) given penalty kicks and red cards.

Mistakes by the referees in Dutch top would not lead to a different champion. Ajax Amsterdam would have even scored one more point than the team already did. Number two Feyenoord would not change position, but would have been much closer the the champions. That’s because the club from Rotterdam have been denied seven clear penalty kicks, says the journalist’s analysis.

Their conclusion: “The end result would have been slightly different when a video referee would have been used. Some teams would have played in a different qualification round for the Europa League.”

Boonman: ‘CL debut is one of my pinnacles’

The season ending was very interesting for Angelo Boonman. He wint to Bulgaria with Elite ref Pieter Vink and AR Marc Lobbert to officiate top match Levski Sofia and Litex Lovech. The cherry on the cake was officiating with the same trio in the Dutch title thriller between Ajax and FC Twente.

“Each step in your career is so fantastic”, says Angelo Boonman to the Dutch Referee Blog. Read the first part of the interview here. “I’ve made my debut in the Champions Leaugue too. A pinnacle”, says the 30-year-old Dutch assistant referee.

“As assistant you can distinguish yourself by taking courage at the right moments. For example by flagging for offside or not doing it when a teams plans an attack. But also by giving advice to the center ref in difficult situations, like penalty kicks. Or give suggestions about the colour of a card. The most important thing is that your aware of your role during the match.”

Because Boonman had become an international referee, he has more contact with referees from other countries. “It’s very special to meet colleagues from different countries. To hear how everything what has to do with officiating has been organised there.” But he could also learn a lot from talking with his fellow countryman. The Dutch referees went to Turkey in the winter break to prepare for the second half of the season. “We’ve got the opportunity to discuss what went well and what could improve. It’s also a good opportunity to talk about different situations in the game with other refs, just to hear what their opinion is and how they’d judge it.”

Boonman has set his goals straight. “I want to show that I can handle the matches on the highest level. The Fifa has to choose the best assistants for the final tournament of the European Championship and the World CUp. I’ve to prove that they need to pick me.”

As most of the Dutch referees, Boonman is also favouring use of technology. “Goal line technology would definately be a plus for football. I’m a proponent of technology which leads to better decision making.”

The Dutch AR wants to give you, readers, an important advice: “The most important thing is that you’ve pleasure in refereeing. Try to do everything to achieve the goals you’ve set, whatever they are. And one more thing: every person likes to compare himself with another. Yet the problem is that they do it most of the time with the wrong person.”

‘I felt good in my new role as AR’

Angelo Boonman is working hard to become a World Cup assistant referee. In 2010 he became a Fifa international. “Each step in my career was so fantastic”, says Boonman to the Dutch Referee Blog.

Sunday he has to prove himself in the match between PSV Eindhoven and Heerenveen in Dutch top league. “The preparation for each match is similar. I’ll try to approach each match in the same way, because I want to achieve on each level”, stresses Boonman. “Just before the start of the match I’m nervous, but in a healthy way.”

This weekend’s match is very important for both teams. PSV has lost their lead in the championship last weekend and also were defeated with 4-1 by Benfica in this week’s Europa League round. That won’t make a difference to Boonman’s preparation. “I’m concentrating on what will come. I’m mainly focussing on a

chance to proof that I’m the right one to be appointed for that match. So I’m not thinking about possible mistakes I can make during a match.”

Boonman’s week schedule is fully focussed on the matchday. “My training sessions are coördinated from FA headquarters in Zeist. That gives me the possibility to prepare optimally. I’m now on the international list for more than a year. I know that they expect more and more from me and they got the right to demand that.”

The 30-year-old referee comes from Zeeland (Sealand), a province in the south of The Netherlands. He combines refereeing with a fulltime job at the company of his father-in-law. He started his refereeing career when he was just 16 years old. “I thought the challenge to ‘lead’ a match was very interesting.”

Boonman had a smooth career in the Dutch referee organisation and became one of the talented refs at the so-called C-list. “But after two years on that list I was not amongst the top ones on that list. I looked at what I had achieved and could reach, but didn’t expect to become one of the top guys in the following year. That was the moment to start as an assistant referee. From that moment on it felt good I made such a big decision, and felt good in my new role.”

The international assisted is happy he had so many wonderful moments since he became AR. “I’d rather not be on the pitch as a head referee anymore. ”

You can read the second part here. Do you have any suggestions on who to interview? Or got any contacts in Africa? I’d love to also show some African refereeing on my blog.

Suarez gets 7 match ban for biting

Ajax player Luis Suarez accepted a 7 match ban for biting his opponent. The captain of the Amsterdam team made the offence in last weekend’s top match against PSV. International referee Björn Kuipers missed it, but Suarez got the ban after watching video footage.

The club already sanctioned Suarez with two matches and a “huge fine”, according to club officials. The amount is not made public, but will be given to a charity.

See the biting incident below. I think the referee should’ve seen it, because he got a clear from not more than a metre.

What do you think about the height of the ban? And does anyone know what the highest ban is in your country? Would be great to compare some countries.

Update: Highest ban in Dutch soccer is for Henk van Ramselaar who got a 2,5 year ban in 1975. The player got a red card by referee George Oetelmans and gave the ref after that a karate kick in his stomach. There’s no video footage of this, but Dutch journalist Michel van Egmond wrote a wonderful article about the offender, when he spoke Van Ramselaar about 30+ years after the incident.

Ed Janssen: impartiality of a referee?

Feyenoord fans and Dutch media criticised the decision by the Dutch FA that Ed Janssen will referee Wednesday’s ‘relegation’ game between Feyenoord and VVV Venlo in the Dutch top league.

The problem: Janssen had a youth soccer career at the club from Venlo. Dutch referee boss Dick van Egmond sees no problem in it, because all refs should be impartial. A referee can only not get a match from a team in the town in which he lives. No problems, says the Dutch FA.

You think there’s a problem?

The funny thing is, local website found out Ed Janssen already has refereed VVV Venlo three times, but not in the highest league. The results: only 0-1 losses.

Here’s an impression of referee Janssen. Good people make such impressions on YouTube.

There are even Dutch referees who’ve had a professional career on the highest level. Ben Haverkort – happy birthday (on Wednesday) – played for Ajax and has officiated many matches in the Eredivisie. Are there refs in your country who turned from a professional player to a referee on national level?

Dutch referees want video technology

The Dutch professionals stressed that they’d like to introduce video technology into soccer. “As fast as possible”, says international elite referee Kuipers. “In the year 2010, isn’t it strange that we do not use it?”

Earlier this week all Dutch referees had fitness test and a meeting together. Dick van Egmond, the new referee boss, stated that respect is the keyword for the next season.

The Dutch referees were not part of the last World Cup, but they do everything to be there with at least one team at the next big tournament. “But it’s difficult for the Dutch referees. Europe got 10 refs, but six referees come always from the same countries. All the other refs need to fight for the last spots”, the referees said after the meeting.

At this moment Holland got three referees at Uefa’s Elite group after the promotion of Kevin Blom. Vink and Kuipers are also on that list. Braamhaar is on the Premier list.

Young referee Nijhuis noted that he can deal better with negativity about referees in the media. “It’s annoying sometimes, but it’s part of the job”, says he after the press conference. “I was already thinking about what the newspapers would write. Earlier that was very difficult to me.”

The Dutch Eredivisie season starts next Friday.

UPDATE: Referees Pieter Vink (Uefa Elite) and Ruud Bossen didn’t pass the LATG knowledge test. The may officiate in the next weeks and have to pass the test in a few weeks at their second chance. Someone ever heard an Elite Referee doesn’t know the rules (at that moment)? It surprised me.