Damkova part 2: ‘Nobody likes referees :-)’

Dagmar Damkova is a female referee who almost achieved everything in her refereeing career. Last season she got appointed for “the match of the year” the Czech top men’s league.

This is the second part of an interview with the Czech top referee. Read the first part also on the Dutch Referee Blog.

You’re officiating in the men’s league. When was your debut at men’s highest level?

It was in October 2003. In that season I had only 3 matches. I started to have games in top men’s league quite regularly in 2006.
Czech women‘s league is not professional and I am not so positive about that even for the future. Now it is very hard to find money even for men …

Watch the video below: Damkova in action in the Czech men’s league.

What’s the main difference between refereeing male and female players?

‘In men’s games you have more difficult situations, more tackles,more chaeting, more “card”-situations and it is faster. Women use more their head and tactics.’

In an interview with Czech radio you once said: “In men’s football I think they behave much better to me than to men referees.” Is that the reason your card average (see stats below) is so low?

Season 2010/2011 in Gambrinus Liga, Czech’s highest men’s league.

Dagmar Damkova: 32 yellow cards in 14 matches
Jiri Jech: 29 yellow and 1 red card in 11 matches.
Pavel Kralovec: 37 yellow cards in 10 matches
Libor Kovarik: 81 yelow cards, twice 2nd yellow card and two red cards in 19 matches.
Radek Matejek: 58 yellow and two red cards in 16 matches.
Radek Prihoda: 68 yellow cards, 5 second yellow cards and 1 straight red card in 16 matches.
Jan Jílek: 54 yellow cards and one 2nd yellow card in 16 matches.

All these referees are Fifa officials. More stats on Worldfootball.net.

According to these stats you don’t give as many cards as your male colleagues. How do you explain the low average from you (or from female referees in general)?

‘That’s interesting and that’s true. At the weekend I had juniors and yesterday top men’s league Brno-Sparta Prague (Dagmar replied her answers just before I went on holiday, jan). and I did not show any card in both games. Even in EC and WC the committee members know me and sometimes make fun saying in debriefings – this is yellow even for Dagmar :-). In my opinion the reason is that I am not afraid to let them play and I am not worried (like many referees are) that I will lose control over the game. I do not give ‘easy’ cards. If I can, I try to speak to players – it is about the management, your personality and confidence.’

What’s the status of refereeing in Czech Republic if you compare that to other countries?

‘Nobody likes referees 🙂 , I think it is the same everywhere but everybody must respect them in some way. I always say to people who critisise that they can try it … but they answer: “I would never ever do it”. Refs have a difficult position but if you choose to do it, you must know about that position and you must accept it, otherwise you can not survive.

How do you combine refereeing with your job as a teacher?

‘It works well. Last year I quit at school because I was named as a chairwoman of women’s football and did not have so much time any more. Now I have only my private lessons (bank, doctors and some friends) and I am happy about it. Sometimes I go back to school to help with some exams but that’s all.’

What’s the main goal you want to achieve in the refereeing World? And why?

‘I think I achieved almost everything – the only final I do not have is the WWC but I am realistic!!!!. I went to it step by step, never dreamt of all I got and I am really happy. Last year I had the “match of the year” in men’s league and it was the last what proved to some people who still did not believe in me that I can do it (I hope). Now I go from match to match, doing my best.’

Suggestion for the Czech visitors of my website (I got a message from a visitor from Iran, so why not from the Czech Republic?): a big interview with Dagmar Damkova on Czech tv station Z1.

‘I want to be in the middle of the game I love’

Dagmar Damkova is the only female referee in the Czech Republic who officiates on the highest men’s level. As an internationale women’s referee she refereed almost every important match. Only the WC final is missing on her record with achievements.

An interview from the Dutch Referee Blog with this Czech top referee (part 1). Read part two here.

When and why did you become refereeing?

Dagmar Damkova: ‘It was in January 1995 when I was almost about to give up my football career but then I continued one more year. However, it was hard to do both, so I decided for refereeing.’

Dagmar Damkova on Czech television.

What makes it special for you?

‘It’s hard to say but probably the feeling that I can be on the pitch, in the middle of the game which I love and the importance of my presence there.’

Height: 170 cm
Occupation: English teacher
Mother tongue: Czech
Other languages: German, Spanish, Russian
International since: 1999
First international: Belarus-Moldova (17.04.1999)
Hobbies: Sport, music, TV, reading, meeting friends, languages and dogs
Fondest memory: UEFA Women’s Cup, FIFA U-20 WWC, FIFA WWC China 2007 (Semifinal), Women’s OFT Beijing 2008 (Final)
Biography source: Fifa.com

You’ve got four appointments during the U20 Women’s World Cup in Germany this summer. You’ve also acted on EC and got a WC semi-final. How important are these youth matches for you? And are there any differences in how you prepare for them or how you experience them?

‘Every match is important for me. The importance of this tournament and my (and all referees’s) performance was that this was kind of a selection for the Women World Cup (WWC) 2011 in Germany. It means – if I had done a bad job, my chances to be selected would have gone down. So, I prepared for all the matches the same way as I always do.’

How do you prepare for a match/tournament?

‘I train 4-5 times a week (running, gym, swimming, cycling) and go regularly for a massage. I have a jaccuzzi at home, so after the match or training I spend there 15 minutes to relieve the pain and tiredness. We get the running plan from FIFA fitness coach and we have to send our files with polar results to him every month. So there’s no place to cheat :-).’

This is the first part of the interview with Dagmar Damkova. In the second and last part, which will be published next Saturday, she’ll tell you more about her role in the highest men’s league in the Czech Republic and her future goals.