“Football video referee next season in Dutch Eredivisie”

KNVB President Michael van Praag expects that the video referee will be introduced in football in The Netherlands next season. That’s what the chairman of the Dutch Football Organisation said when he gave a speech at the referee association in Groningen.

Michael van Praag (photo) wants a video referee.The Dutch FA has used the video referee already as a test. “The video referee was somewhere in a van with a few good screens just outside stadium. He has a headset and has, like the assistant referees, a direct connection with the referees”, Van Praag explains how the system works in newspaper Dagblad van het Noorden. That means the video referee can check the video footage and tell the referee if it is a yellow or red card. “And for example if it’s a penalty kick. The referee can base his decision on the video referee’s advice.”

Good idea or not?

Each weekend still 25 rough incidents in Dutch amateur football

The Dutch FA has tried to diminish excessiveness on pitches in amateur football by punishing harder. Totally 200 people got banned for 2-10 years, 105 teams were ruled out of their competition and 74 persons may never play football anymore. That only happened five times in total in the seasons before, stated the FA.

Secretary of Health & Sport Edith Schippers. Press photo provided by Rijksoverheid.nl

The number of rough incidents (f.e. beating up a referee or kicking a player who’s lying on the ground) has decreased from 30 each weekend to 25, after years of increase. “It goes the right way again”, says Secertary of Health & Sports Edith Schippers, who started a campaign for a safer sports climate last year. “But we are not there yet.”

Prevention measures and education had no effect, stresses KNVB chairman Michael van Praag. Punishing harder was the only solution. Players and referees also have to explain the situations more often personally and not only on paper.

Van Praag says that clubs did not think the FA was so serious about severe punishing. Until winter break. “In the second half of the season, I saw that club were starting to weigh something carefully after their club was named in connection with an incident in the media.” Clubs changed their sanctioning policies and screen new members.

Most incidents happen in West 2, the region I officiate in. “A region with cities like The Hague and Rotterdam which have more poor neighbourhoods than other parts of the Netherlands”, says the regional FA chief Peter Oskam, former professional referee. “People there are incline to think faster: I don’t care.” Oskam thinks he can change that attitude with help of the clubs. In his opinion it’s a good idea that clubs can prevent themselves from being ruled out of their competition if they tell who were the perpetrators during an incident. “We are going to talk with each club, because everey excess is one too much.”

Oskam was a bit jealous when he watched other sports than football at the Olympics and the respect for the referees. “Ofcourse there’s discussion in hockey matches when someone does not agree with a referee’s decision”, says he. “Sport is emotion, but you’ll never see someone even touching a referee. That’s what we need in amateur football, but therefore a different sports climate is necessary.”

Referees in the media (week 1)

‘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.

Best wishes for 2012. I wish you a good refereeing year!

“My hope is that we can officiate the final of the tournament. Everything will depend on the performance of us on the field.”

Neant Alioum from Cameroon about his appointment for the African Nations Cup.

“I enjoyed it when a match went well and all persons involved gave me a handshake afterwards to thank me for the match. That’s the biggest appreciation a referee can get.”

Michael van Praag, chairman of the Dutch FA and former amateur referee.

“Sometimes the reactions of the players are clever and they help the referee to get the player sent off.” (…) “Everyone does it now. We should maybe be better at it than any other team. We don’t do it and are punished because of it and maybe we should start doing it.”

Stephen Hunt, Wolverhampton Wanderers midfielder, after his teammate Nenad Milijas was send of during the match against Arsenal. Players of the London club were crowding around referee Stuart Attwell.

Screenshot of the newspaper article with photo of Jan Pronk.

“I’d have loved to continue whistling.”

87-year-old referee Jan Pronk who’s been substituted after twenty minutes in the yearly New Year’s match at his club PGS/Vogel between the first squad and the ‘oldies’ (former players of team one). (interview in Dutch newspaper Algemeen Dagblad)

“You need to think of your heart. Twenty minutes is long enough.”

Leen van Mastrigt, board member of the club, who substituted Pronk.