- Woolwich Arsenal: The club that changed football – Arsenal’s early years
- Making the Arsenal – how the modern Arsenal was born in 1910
- The Crowd at Woolwich Arsenal FC: crowd behaviour at the early matches
- Referee Decisions - just what are the refs up to this season?
- The Arsenal History Blog from the AISA Arsenal History Society
By Walter Broeckx
When I was reading my article on the statistics of Dean again I found that there was a big gap. There was something important missing. This was my fault but I kept it out of the article because otherwise it might have been twice the length it actually ended up at. And people would miss this important part of the hidden referees world.
The thing I left out or just briefly mentioned is that the referee world is very much about politics and who knows who and who likes who. Likewise family ties are important for some careers.
And again “Politics” are very important. And I don’t mean big international or government politics. But gently stroking the right person at the right time is THE WAY TO GET PROMOTION.
Everyone who has been a ref knows it. You need someone powerful to lift you to the top. So if you are smart and you can identify the person that can put in a good word for you it is important to please him.
You must remember that to get to the top and to get a Fifa badge you first of all must be a good ref. But that is only 50% of what you need. I have seen amazingly good refs myself who don’t get a chance to get higher. And then I see poor refs who get promotion. Because the latter knows how the game outside the field is played.
And that game outside the field is maybe even more important than the game on the field. When the commission has to choose between two refs who get the same score on the field. Who will they pick? Ref A who never is friendly towards the commissioners, who has no family ties, who has no bonds with high placed people? Or Ref B who always is there to laugh out laud with the most stupid joke a commissioner makes, who’s father also was a ref and knows the commissioners, and who is always chatting and talking with the powerful people in the game?
Well even if ref A gets a higher score on the field, the ref that will get promotion will be ref B.
And that is a very sad thing in the referee world. All the referees I have spoken with they all know it. And it just isn’t in my country of Belgium but it is widespread. Across the world as I found out in my contacts with refs from over the whole world.
Spotting the right connections at the right time. It is something the public in general is not aware of but believe me as an insider: IT IS ALMOST THE MOST IMPORTANT THING WHEN YOU ARE A REFEREE!!!
Your mistakes on the field are minor mistakes compared to making mistakes in your relations off the field. I have known cases in which referees didn’t get promotion even when he had the highest on-field scores. But to stick with the A and B ref, if ref A is a ‘loner’ with no connections he will miss promotion. Even if ref B has a lower score but well… he has the right connections.
Referees are not friends together, they are each other competitors. They all want to end at the top. They all want to end in the highest possible division in their country. Ok, not all. Some do it just for fun. As it can be fun. But for the ambitious ones, it is a world where you have to be a shark and eat or get eaten.
The correct family ties can also help. Believe me many refs have fathers who also were refs and who have connections and use their connections to help their sons. That in itself is of course not just a referee thing but many refs at the end of their career end up in the commissions. So it can happen that a father has to decide in a commission over the promotion of his son or another person. In such a case the father usually has no voting rights. But the father can of course have a few words with the people who have voting rights. And those people know that one of the fellow commissioners is the father of that ref. So what will be the most plausible outcome of the vote?
So if you have no family ties in the referee world you have to overcome this handicap. A big handicap. And then the best way to overcome this handicap is what we in my own language call “licking yourself to the top”. I’m not going to mention the body parts you are supposed to lick as I want to keep this site clean. But there are some parts I don’t really want to lick – although some people will lick anything they get offered.
So for those who were still thinking that only the performances on the field are important for a ref this might come as a surprise. But the fact is, socializing with the right persons at the right time are as important or even more important. Of course you must be a bit of a good ref but believe me it is just a part of it.
Of course with Dean I want to say that I don’t know if Dean has the right family connections. I don’t know if his father was a ref or not. But I really do think he is a smart and ambitious person. And it sure would be interesting to find out if Dean has family ties with refs or not. It could explain a lot and could confirm my thoughts on him.
So why doesn’t PGMOL release the information and let us know who is related to whom in the world of refereeing?
Personally I think that Dean is already having an eye on the place of Mike Riley… but maybe that just my bizarre imagination.
However can you imagine Mike Dean becoming head of the PGMOL? I leave that thought with you.
- A fair and balanced competition. The EU is about to act.
- Beautiful football combined with grit and determination when needed
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- Sunderland – Arsenal: What can we expect from the ref?
- Ref Review: Kevin Friend – Arsenal Vs Liverpool (2 – 2) [30/01/2013]