Game manager Vs Law enforcer

Are you a game manager or a Law enforcer?

  • Pure game manager

    Votes: 1 2.7%
  • Mostly game manager

    Votes: 2 5.4%
  • Somewhat game manager

    Votes: 5 13.5%
  • Do both equaly

    Votes: 6 16.2%
  • Depends on the game

    Votes: 14 37.8%
  • Somewhat law enforcer

    Votes: 7 18.9%
  • Mostly law enforcer

    Votes: 2 5.4%
  • Pure law enforcer

    Votes: 0 0.0%

  • Total voters


RefChat Addict
There has been some articles and work done in this area. So where do you see yourself as a referee?

In its purest form a game manager 'bends' the laws of the game and where possible ignores them to control the game and make the game 'playable' and 'enjoyable'. They use interpersonal skills to interact with players to resolve conflict and avoid confrontations.

On the opposite end, a pure law enforcer applies the laws of the game in its complete form. Players are responsible for their own action, any conflicts or confrontations and any indiscretion are punished according to the law. Its not the referee's job to 'control' players.
For me, it's generally game manager unless the circumstances dictate otherwise. I never go into a game thinking about "setting the tone" or giving a certain type of foul/freekick to stamp my authority on the game. As a player, I really hated it when a referee would be overbearing, blowing the whistle extremely loud with excessive movements/actions, stopping the game at the slightest opportunity with long pauses and generally just making himself centre of attention and becoming the star of the show. So I naturally referee in the manner that I like....especially typical youth games like U16/U18/U21 etc.

So, as above, if both teams want to play football then it's great because I let the game flow, I let them play and it's a very nice time for everyone. Not much fuss, advantage played as much as possible, as little interruptions as possible, positive communication.....but there have been occasions where that has to go out the window because of the circumstances and type of game/player.


RefChat Addict
This is the article that got me interested in the topic.

An interesting point from the research done; the higher the level of game, the more of a game manager role the referee plays (and less of a law enforcer). Which implies if you have aspirations, learn how to become a game manager.

It also explains the gap between professional and grassroots referees in terms of 'letting players get away with...'


Staff member
The higher you go the more you become an event manager rather than just a law enforcer. Everything has to run to set times, you have pre-match safety briefings, and there is a lot more to think about from just refereeing a game of football.


RefChat Addict
I guess a bit of both?

I would have classified myself as a game-manager early on, but most guidance I've had at the lower levels suggest I need to be more of a law enforcer. -Actually get mixed advice on this really now that I think about it.

So, now I do a bit of both. I'll game manage where I have full discretion and be a stickler for the laws where I'm told I have to be.


Supply League Observer
Staff member
There is an Telegraph article by Brian Moore about the fact that he feels that rugby referee as changing from " the sole judge of fact and of law " into managing the game.
(maybe behind fire-wall).

But with the money involved in EPL, people pay to see the players. There is the famous WG Grace quote ""They came to see me bat not you bowl" !