5 best read referee interviews of 2013

The Dutch Referee Blogs publishes interviews with referees from all levels of football every now and then. Here are the 5 best read referee interviews of 2013.

  1. Kevin Blom. The Dutch referee who wrongly gave a penalty kick to the Czech Republic in the match against Scotland talked about the incident which costed the Scottish team a spot at the European Championships. Read the article “From heaven to hell in Scotland”.
  2. Jerome Damon. He was a 2010 World Cup referee in his own country South Africa. Unfortunately he did not pass the Fifa fitness test one year later. Damon talks about his injury and what the future will bring him as a referee. Read the story “Jerome Damon – Refereeing in South Africa”
  3. Ali Sabbagh. The interview with Sabbagh was published in the beginning of the year. He told me he wanted to reach the World Cup in the future, something no other center referee from Lebanon has ever achieved. Read his story “Lebanese referee want to reach the World Cup”. Just a few months after I published the interview Sabbagh got caught in match-fixing scandal. He got jailed for six months. Read more about Sabbagh’s fraud.
  4. Fifa referee Arnold Hunter form Fermanagh Northern Ireland.

    Fifa referee Arnold Hunter form Fermanagh Northern Ireland.

  5. Arnold Hunter. The referee from Northern Ireland got promoted to Uefa’s Second Group in 2013. Hunter is from a small country, but does everything he can to become an Elite referee. Read the interview with Arnold Hunter.
  6. Ingvar Gudfinsson. You might think: who is this guy? He’s an assistant referee from Iceland and worked with Kristin Jakobsson and was match official on high level. He quit his career at Anfield Road. I interviewed him for the series ‘Life after refereeing’. Read more about Ingvar Gudfinsson in the interview.

Kevin Blom: from heaven to hell in Scotland

Kevin Blom went from heaven to hell after he wrongly awarded Czech Republic a penalty at Hampden Park, which costs Scotland a place at the European Championships. Now he talks about the incident with Algemeen Dagblad, a Dutch newspaper.

Check out the video and read further below (if it’s not playing at right moment, check at 7m25s):

“If I had extra assistants at that moment, my career would have gone a different way”, Blom told the newspaper. The Dutch referee officiated European Championships Qualifier between Scotland and Czech Republic on 3rd of September 2011. In the dying minutes of the game he whistled for a foul on Jan Rezek and gave his team a penalty. Czech Republic scored an important equaliser (2:2). “I’ve been fooled”, Blom says. “While watching the video footage of the game, my world collapsed.”

Blom says that this decision has influenced his life very much. “I’ve been feeling down for a long time. It eventually took more than a year. But I had to go on. When you referee a match you need to clear your head.”

Kevin Blom (right).

Kevin Blom (right).

The refereeing team was about to go have some dinner in town, but was advised to stay at the hotel. Kevin Blom watched the dvd of the match immediately and fast-forwarded to the incident in the last minutes. “I saw it was a dive. I couldn’t eat during dinner and didn’t even sleep. You’re lying there, thinking, sweating.” Many things crossed his mind. “Will I miss the European Championships now? Will this influence my career?” Two days later he Pierluigi Collina called how he did and also told him he would be withdrawn for his next Champions League match. Then he knew.

Björn Kuipers went to the European Championships and Blom also relegated to a lower international refereeing level.

Blom says he has closed the subject now and he’s still ambitious as a referee. He still wants to get the best appointments. “I’m doing fine now. No strange things during last season and I can’t wait for the start of next season.”

Referees in the media (week 2)

‘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.

“I know it’s not easy to clinch another final match gig because there are so many good referees in Asia now. But I’m sure it’s the dream of everyone who will soon hang his whistle and I’m one of them.”

Abdul Malik Bashir. Source: AFC

Singaporean referee Abdul Malik Abdul Bashir who will turn 44 on Wednesday has two more years to achieve his goal.

“There has been a personal discussion with the referee. He admitted everything, apologized, and said it does not happen again.”

Says former Bundesliga referee Frank Fleske, now regional director, about a local referee who has been suspended because of anti-semitical posts on his Facebook account.

“That player is cheating at that moment, but I belong to the 22 best referees in Europe. I have to be prepared with my assistants for these kind of situations. The aftermath of that game was huge.”

Referee Kevin Blom is reviewing the past year and talks about the incident in the match between Scotland and Czech Republic. In the last minute he awarded a penalty kick to the Czechs, from which they scored the 2:2.

Referees in the media (week 36)

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

“Tell them and train them to understand that modern day refereeing involves a host of extremely technical skills. It demands a certain level of academic flair, high physical fitness, strong mental and psychological personalities and also excellent communication skills.”

An advice to all Asian fitness instructors by Toshio Utsumi, Fifa fitness instructor.

“If he has seen it again, all he has to say is, ‘I’m sorry’.”

Says former Dutch international top referee Mario van der Ende about Kevin Blom’s performance and last minute penalty kick call against Scotland after a dive.

“When no one speaks about you, everything is fine.”

Says Sacha Stegemann, one of German refereeing brothers.

Kevin Blom appointed for Egyptian top match

Kevin Blom has been appointed for the Egyptian top clash between numbers one and two Al Ahly and Zamalek, the Dutch FA confirmed. The match started today at eight pm.

Nicky Siebert and Patrick Langkamp will be the assistant referees. It’s the first time a Dutch referee team will officiate in the Egyptian competition.

Maybe this video below, which I just found yesterday on YouTubee, is the reason why the Egyptian FA wants foreign referees.

Update: Kevin Blom’s reaction after the match to Dutch radio 1: “It was a fantactic match, which ended in 2-2. A real match which contains everything: with fireworks, torches. I can’t describe it, I’ve never experienced someting like that.”

“Everything went well at the stands too, but the fans are very fanatic. After the match we had to leave the pitch very fast, because it was very hectic. Very exciting though, the emotions run high.”

“Early in the morning we got the message that the match would be cancelled, because of the agitated situation on Tahrir square. But we continued whit the preparation for the match, because we heard there was still a chance the match might start. Later that day, people from the Ministry of Internal Affairs decide the game should go on. I’ve never experienced this. For me it was El Classico times ten.”

For the Dutch readers: here’s the audio file from Dutch Radio:

Pol van Boekel promoted on international list

Dutch referee Pol van Boekel has been promoted to category two on the international refereeing list. He’s on the Uefa list since 2007. Uefa doesn’t want to publish the full list at this moment.

The 35-year-old Van Boekel made his international debut during the U17 match Slovakia-Serbia on 26 March 2008. He’s officiated 19 official international games, including five Europa League matches.

Dutch international referees:
Björn Kuipers and Kevin Blom on the Elite List.
Eric Braamhaar on the Premier list.
Bas Nijhuis and Pol van Boekel on the category two list.
Richard Liesveld is a category three referee.
Danny Makkelie is on the cat. 4 list.

Pieter Vink, who was on the Elite List, stopped because he wants to give young refs a chance and because he got death threats via his daughter’s lunchbox.