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April meeting - "No Surprises" - Andy Taylor
April’s meeting topic ‘No Surprises’ was led by Andy Taylor, Harrow Society’s Training Officer. The members in attendance were divided into four groups: those who had already had cup finals, those who had cup finals to come and two groups of referees who had not received cup
finals this season.
Talking about the reasons why groups may have or may not have received cup finals bought mixed responses. Those who had received finals included the reasons for having worked hard throughout the season, been reliable to their league referee secretaries and having performed well in their matches. Alternatively, those who hadn’t received finals felt that this may be due to their lack of experience, rotation of officials on the finals or with the longer serving referees who may have already refereed the majority of finals already.
In the second part of the meeting, Andy explained the skill of being able to relate an object or picture to help him to remember to do something. Sticking to the theme of cup finals, Andy
passed out objects that related to a particular subject and the members had to figure out the meaning and how it related to a cup final (e.g. an Oyster Card represented transport and the importance of planning a route that takes into consideration any road works, train disruptions or service problems for the team of officials).
Other objects included the LOTG and how it is important to referee a cup final just like any other game, regarding fouls and misconduct; whilst ensuring you have read the up- to- date versions of law on penalty kicks, as well as the competition’s rules. There were also items around preparation before the game, such as a history book referring to research on the two teams, or others including programme entries, ensuring your kitbag is ready including all the necessary equipment and that you are physically and mentally fit for the game. A mobile phone related to the importance of communication between the team and the contact you make prior to arriving. However, on arrival the mobile phone should be switched off!!
A very enjoyable evening that served up a lot of useful information that can be taken into all of our games and those lucky enough to have a cup final this year, ensure you heed this useful advice, to ensure you have a problem-free day!
Report by Andy Williams
A referee's ultimate responsibility is player safety. A pitch inspection is important before every game but at this time of year it can be a particular challenge to get it right.
A pitch can be frozen, waterlogged, covered in snow or even shrouded in fog. Even on the mildest, sunniest of days hazards such as broken glass, sharp stones, dog mess or ankle-breaking holes could be lurking on the field of play. It is essential you arrived at the ground with sufficient time to complete a thorough pitch inspection which you should do on your own or, if you have assistants, as a team of three. By all means seek the local knowledge of a groundsman, if available, but do that first and then completely inspection on your own.
There are many things to consider. Some of the key factors include:
Is the pitch safe? e.g. is it slippery, are there dangerous ruts, are there holes or soft patches that could lead to a broken ankle?
Will conditions allow you to start and complete the game? Have you checked the weather forecast?
Would a delayed kick-off allow the conditions to improve sufficiently? e.g. fog to lift, surface water to drain, pitch to defrost.
Will the surface allow for a meaningful game or will it be a farce? e.g. are the lines visible, will the ball roll and bounce?
If you are in any doubt you should postpone the game.
Once you have made your decision you should stick to it unless something significant changes e.g. there is a sudden torrential downpour. You should explain your decision politely but positively in as constructive a manner as possible.
There is more information on the Middlesex County website here:
There is also a useful article in the January 2013 edition of Refereeing, the joint publication of FA Learning and the Referees' Association.
By Graeme Thorley