So far, I only had teenage refs to accompany as part of my ref coaching course. This weekend, the FA asked me to accompany someone just slightly older than me.
First question that came up, of course, was why someone at this age would still consider becoming a licensed ref? The Dutch FA is desperate for more refs to handle adult games, so he will be warmly welcomed. But at his age a ref career is limited to lower adult games.
With approximately twenty years of club refereeing and team training under his belt, he simply wanted to add a degree to his football palmares. In fact, he demonstrated being able to lead a game quite easily, spotting most fouls, and dealing with players quite easily. But very often at a distance and not at full speed. Being a club ref, there are less formalities and no decorum to take heed of. Entering the pitch on your own, dropping the flags on the centre spot and then wait for the teams to arrive is a no-no for FA refs. Nobody really cared, and hardly anyone was watching.
Starting a game without basic warming-up is another ‘faux-pas’. You simply can’t afford running a 90 minutes game without a good physical preparation, certainly at our age. And this was only a game in the 2nd league for reserve teams. After the match, we discussed these apparent new game elements to notice next time and he acknowledged it.
It will be a simple report this time. He will do well as new Dutch FA ref but has to work on his physics to be able keep pace with higher level games. And he needs to bring some decorum to the games. The spectators will appreciate this.