Thursday, 27 June 2013

Refereeing 裁判工作


Once upon a time back in the olden days when I used to play football (poorly) I often wondered why people wanted to referee. After all it is a thankless task and a very difficult job. Unless you are a full time professional referee (of whom there are very few), the pay is poor so people can’t be doing it for the money. If referees have a good game they are seldom mentioned. If they have a bad game (and we’re all human and prone to error) they are pilloried. They are subjected to abuse from players and even worse from spectators (most of whom don’t know the Laws of the game and would never dare to referee).
I am reading Graham Poll’s autobiography at the moment (you will remember him as the EPL referee sent home from the World Cup for booking Josip Simunic three times in the Australia V Croatia match). It’s a good read, honest and to the point as you would expect from him. In it he explains that he became a referee simply because he loves the game of football. In recent months I have spoken to many referees in Hong Kong and from further afield who all say the same thing. They do it for the love of the game.
Those of us that play or watch should be eternally grateful that there are people who love our sport so much, that they are prepared to put themselves in the spotlight time and time again. Without referees there would be no football – it is as simple as that.
Project Phoenix is about raising the standard of football and that includes raising the standard of refereeing. There is a symbiotic relationship between the two. I think it’s getting harder to referee, the pace and intensity of the game is increasing and some of the Laws can be interpreted in different ways (despite FIFA’s attempts to remove any ambiguity). That means that we must work harder to recruit more referees, implement systems to develop their skills and fitness and rigorously monitor their performance.
To help in that respect the HKFA has recently appointed its first full time Referees Manager, Mr Charles Cheung, a respected FIFA referee. Charles has already started to make a difference and is putting in place plans to further develop refereeing in Hong Kong at all levels. Charles has changed careers to help Hong Kong football, again because he loves the sport. I hope he gets the support of players, Clubs, fans and other referees.
The pictures below were taken at a recent Referees Assessor course organized by Charles. Over 30 people took part which just goes to show how many people love the sport. The HKFA is grateful for the commitment shown. Again, I remind you; no referees, no football!