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Vitor Manuel Reis has 6 tips for referees – a new book by former Portuges pro referees

Vitor Manuel Reis, a former professional referee in Portugal, has written two new books about referees. In this article he talks about his book, plus has some great tips for you as referee.

Vitor Manuel Reis signing his book
Vitor Manuel Reis signing his book. Photo provided by referee.

Vitor Manuel Reis is 59 years old and he was a football referee from 1982 to 1997. At his retirement, at the age of 37, he was in the first national category for 6 seasons. “After that, I was the President of the Portuguese Association Football Referees during some years. And between 2011 and 2016 I was a delegate of the Portuguese Football Federation (General Assembly), representing the referees of the professional football.”

12 books about the football rules

Vitor works in an insurance company as marine underwriter, but also writes books. “This is the twelfth book I write about the football laws and rules”, he says. “Eight ot them with my friend Adelino Antunes. One of this books is not about the football laws and rules but studying the development of the organization and development refereeing system. This last book with another colleague, José Filipe, who worked with me before. I began writing this type of books in 1989, by invitation of the chairman of Sport Services of my Municipality.”

Role in Portugese football

What is your current role in the Portugese refereeing world?

At this moment, nothing. I’m not colaborating with our Football Federation. Since 2011 to 2014 I was the Coordinator of the National Commission of Analysis. It’s a Commission named by the Refereeing Committee and the main role is to analyse the work of the referees observers. We studied the referees complaints about their performances grades/marks also. It was a fantastic and hard job but I loved it. That Commission was a kind of supervisory technical board consisting of 8 members (total). Furthermore, we were responsible for writing technical advices/opinions about the football laws and rules.

Historical book plus LOTG questions

Vitor Manuel Reis doesn’t publish just one book, but two.  Congratulations with your new books. What can readers find in the book? 

The general title of the books is ‘Amarelo, vermelho e golo – o futebol e as suas regra’. It means: “Yellow, red and goal – the football and your rules”. Part one (650 pages) gives you an understanding about the football and it’s rules. In part two you can finds questions, answers and other references to the Laws of the Game (300 pages).

“In book 1 I explain an historical review about the original football rules, written in the famous Freemason’s Tavern in 26th October 1863, in London. After that, a detailed explanation about the 17 Laws of the Game. In the end, a complete chapter about the VAR (Video-Assistant Referee), which is a very important matter nowadays in Portugal.

Laws of the Game Quiz

In book two you’ll find 350 questions with the correct answers about the football laws and rules. One chapter with our opinions about the system of referee’s evaluation (technical observations on the matches). Another chapter with the story of balls used in the world’s championships since 1930 (Uruguay) until 2014 (Brasil). And more: words and expressions used by the referees in portuguese, French and English and the history and statutes of IFAB.

PS: did you know my blog has LOTG questions too? Do the weekly quizzes every Friday at noon (CET).

Teaching journalists and fans too

What do you want to learn the readers of the book?

“We wanted to explain the 17 Laws in a detailed way. It was our purpose. For us it’s important the readers can find in our books all the answers for their doubts. These books are not only for referees, assistant-referees, observers or refereeing technicians but journalists, students of the sport universities, coaches, team directors and football lovers too. We think there is a great problem for your readers: it’s written in portuguese and we have no translation for English or…Dutch. We wanted to write this book in a simple way, because the football laws and rules are not an hermetic code or difficult to understand.”

All book authors.
All book authors. Photo provided by referee

Advice from top refs

Andelino Antunes and José Filipe are also former referees. How will their experience help the readers of the book?

“It was a fantastic job. Many hours, days and months working hard. Adelino Antunes gives only his name for the books, because he is very sick and has family problems. He is 85 years old and he was an international football referee. José Filipe was a first national referee and, as I told in the first answer, was a colleague of mine in that Technical Commission and is one of the most experienced and respected former referees in Portugal. For the portuguese referees Adelino Antunes was always a superior technician. We learn a lot with him. He was our master, our teacher. This is our homage and tribute to his work.”

Crucial parts of your refereeing career

On the cover you write something about the long journey of a referee. What are the most crucial parts of a refereeing career and what characteristics does a good referee need to have?

“Continued interest in studying the fooball laws and rules, discussing the moves/plays in each game, permanent pleasure in refereeing the matches. For the referees each match must be an amazing and pleasant journey. Referee a match must be an excellent occupation, because is a marvellous and sublime action.”

Characteristics of a good referee

What kind of characteristics a good referee need to have?

“In my opinion, suitability/good repute, independence, competence, ethical principles, inteligence, honesty, dignity, responsability, moral integrity, respect for the game. The referees must have one principle in mind: “take the decisions as you see”, respecting the Laws of the Game. The work of the referees is always based in enormous responsabilities. They must evaluate the real intentions of the players and at the same time apply the laws.”

To improve as referee

You write on the cover that it gives joy if you keep busy with refereeing and trying to improve. How much time does it take to be a good referee and what are the best ways to improve?

In my opinion, it is necessary, at least 10 years until to reach the top level. The regional matches are frenquently the most difficult and some times the most harder too. In those matches the referees get the necessary experience to improve their future performances. But for technical improvement is always necessary the discussion with other referees, the participation in “workshops”, technical courses, the study/knowledge of the “Laws of the Game”.

And one very important aspect: each referee must think in reaching the top of the career. And it shall be attractive. The world and our life are nowadays extremely competitives, so the thought of the referees should be knowing the laws, achieve better performances and develop their careers.

6 tips by Vitor Manuel Reis

If you must give three tips from the book that will help referees, what would you tell them and why?

Sorry, not three, but six, if you don’t mind:

  1. Know effitiently the “Laws of the Game” – A referee is a technician, a teacher;
  2. Permanent interest for football – The referee is a very important member of the game. It would be very important if referees have a coach course to better understand the game;
  3. Physical development – Nowadays football is different. The referee must be prepared for a great physical wear in each match and pay attention to all kind of fouls and misconduct;
  4. Motivation – The referees need a permanent motivation for refereeing. Motivation helps to have a positive thinking on the match;
  5. Self-control – Indispensable, namely in some moments on the match. In all the situations of serious fouls play, conflicts or clashes the referee must have an absolute self-control;
  6. Decision-making capacity, firmness and security in all the decisions – The referee is a judge, so he should have the ability to exercise the authority in order to protect and respect the game.


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