Pre-match talk with the teams?

Jordan Lockwood

New Member
Level 6 Referee
How many of you gather each team in prior to kick-off?

I stopped it for a while, but then found that with a firm understanding of what's expected before the game, match control is MUCH easier!

I don't babble on, but a few simple points that cancel out any later arguments...

- Jewellery - take it off please.
- Negatives out the way first lads, I don't swear at you, so don't swear at me. Every referee's tolerance is different and mine is ZERO tolerance - swear at me and you're off. Similar thing with dissent, I'm on my own today so my view of what's happened isn't going to change, therefore my decision isn't likely to change so let's get on with it.
- If a free-kick goes against you, please don't stop it being taken quickly or ya likely gonna be picking up a daft booking.
- Other than that, talk to me whenever ya like, just don't scream at me. I ain't here against you all, just to make sure it all runs smoothly.
- Enjoy the game!

(After re-reading it, it sounds a bit more brutal than it actually is lol - but you catch my drift!)



RefChat Addict
I get where you're going though, and the intention is great, but - I've touched upon it in another thread about talking to the captains - I'd advise against committing yourself to a definitive course of action (swear at me and you're off).

At a pre-match equipment inspection, I'll have few friendly words during it, ask one guy how they're getting on, ask another how their journey was, etc. Just negate it that way by being approachable and polite while being sure that the players comply with Law 4.


RefChat Addict
Fairly short and simple from me:

Afternoon lads, how we doing today? Very quickly, I won;t insult you're intelligence by checking all your boots etc, you know the deal, make sure you've got safe boots and shinpads and no jewellery showing. Necklaces, earrings and wedding rings - be thankful she lets you out every Saturday - removed or taped up properly. Any piercings I can;t see while I'm standing here, please don't show me or you'll likely get a card for indecent exposure. If I see any on the FOP I will ask you to leave the field to sort it out.

My goal today is to be able to blow the final whistle with 23 of us still on the field all having enjoyed a good game of footie. I've found that to achieve this I prefer to let the game flow as much as possible. If you're playing football, I won't need to referee. I do have a low tolerance for anything dangerous, and any verbals, whether directed at me, your opponents or between yourselves. I find that lowers the tone of the game quicker than anything. I have played the game and I understand frustration, but please keep the bad language under your breath, we are in a public space so bear that in mind. Talk to me by all means during the game, just don;t snarl at me.

I don't have neutral ARs this afternoon so I will be the one calling offsides, I will rarely be in the ideal position to judge them accurately. The LOTG state I have to give benefit of the doubt to the attacker, so please don;t stand there with your arm in the air play to the whistle.

Alright, thanks for your time lads and have a good game.


The avuncular one
I have shortened it to

Equipment check - no jewellery, bands bracelets, rings, earrings etc. wait for the inevitable **** ring okay ref comment. Throw in the "surprised they do them that small" retort if the mood of the team is jovial.

Stud check - mandatory. Been picked up on this by assessors, you need to do a visible check. (This one is county specific may be different in different areas)

Who's running the line for you today? when I call the captains in for the coin toss please come to the centre circle for instructions.

Have a good game lads.

Much like what Grayson advises, less is more sometimes in terms of what you tell teams pre kick off. I now tend to do most of my talking once the game is underway. Seems to get a better response.
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Ryan Owens

Token Colonial
Level 3 Referee
I visit the team's in their change rooms but that is largely to introduce myself and get a glimpse at their kits. I don't like to say too much there as I'm always talking on the FOP. I have never found that not speaking to the teams as a whole has impacted my match performance or control.