Chatting with players BEFORE the game

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Does anyone have a word with the whole team before the start of a match telling them what you expect from them and what you will clamp down on ? Just wondering as I dont but am considering doing so.


Forum VAR
Staff member
Doesn't work for everyone but it works for me. I also try and have a bit of friendly banter with them.


RefChat Addict
Ive seen one or two do it in youth football, but never in senior, that said, we don't do boot checks here either! I let the managers and coaches / captains know what I excpect of them / the team, but never realy though of speaking to the whole team. Migh give it a go.
I dont bother to formally talk to players before kick off.
If you say I expect this and that and will do this and that then you dont follow it through then it makes the ref look silly.
I tend to speak to each team as a group, introduce myself and advise of the usual - No jewellery etc and to have a good game, then when the captains are in the middle & Linesman i speak to each linesman (CAR) and advise on what i expect from them and the captains what i expect from them and ask for their assistance if i need it. I always ask their first names and use that information on the pitch alot as i find it helps with communication and also banter (dependant on the game).


I think the least u say the better... then theres no Ref u said xyz, also, you have a clean slate with everyone they work u out, u work them out. simples.

Martyn Cannon

Robusto the Cigar smoking Referee
If i am doing a game with no ARs when i do the boot and Jewellery check i normally strike up some banter with the players and have a laugh and joke with them
But when officiating in senior football we only get a chance to speak to the captain when they are lining up at the tunnel and at the toss up and then its a short few words
But at the lower level it always helped me just dont be specific on what you are going to do within the game


Staff member
To be honest I hate it when I see referees briefing players before the game. In setting down what you will and won't allow, and what you will and won't tolerate, you are potentially setting yourself up for a lot of problems. Plus more often than not it goes in one ear and straight out of the other. In my opinion it is far better just speak to the captains and ask them to keep hold of their players and help you when they are getting out of hand.
my speech to managers is "if your players respect my desicions i will respect them", "no Foul and abusive or dangers play", "I`l ref how the teams play the game". thats about it. then just before kick off a quick word with captains asking if managers have explained what i said to them. normally it is a yes.


Active Member
I don't know how I could possibly top that ^^^..

But I don't give anything to the players per se. If it's going to be a fiesty game then maybe, but usually I will brief the manager and leave him to it. Unless i'm being assessed in which case, the time-consuming wander round the players circle to check there boots gets done and a little nudge to say keep you language down etc, but generally I only say something to the managers and the captains..


Active Member
Ian, I have become something of a fiend with cards this season. Game on Wednesday I cautioned someone for encroachment, just becasue I was being picky :eek:.
Jeee, that's worse than me! The red that i've dished was the first one i've ever given, going into nearly 5 years doing it..pretty good going!
not a chance i speak to the captains at the toss of the coin and if the players dont know what to do by now they will never know will they and from experience what you say to players its gospal so say nothing lol apart from when you need to bollak them or caution or send off lol !!!
If it's junior football I'll tend to speak to the players, especially if they're the age where they're starting to develop lip. Other than that, it's the skippers who I like to remind that if they can't control their players then the cards will have to do the job instead. I like to work with the captains to keep the game flowing and discipline at an acceptable level.

Ryan Owens

Token Colonial
Level 3 Referee
I do very little pre-game chat with the players. Everything I expect of them is conveniently located in one little booklet that FIFA and IFAB publish annually and it is available online free of charge. ;)

I do like to chat with players on an informal basis; I tend to ask them "How's your season going" and chat them up about recent matches. It does two things: 1) it lets me know what kind of a quality I'm dealing with insofar as the team is concerned (whether the teams are competitive or if it will be a cake walk etc) and it also makes me appear friendly and makes it clear that I love the game as much as they do and I'm not in fact there to make them miserable.

I don't even really line up my "expectations" with the captains at centre; I've found two things: 1) they hold you to your word (if a player gives you any lip - even minor lip - they will expect a caution and will get on you if you don't!) 2) they don't relay anything back to their own team (it's usually just "we've got kick and we're on this side"). I've found it pointless, a waste of time and, in some cases, it gets me in more trouble than it saves me.
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