RefSix

Open Age This will be your last game ref

RustyRef

Administrator
Staff member
You missed my point. If you don't caution big gaz when the observer is there, why do you when he is?
I haven't said anything about what I do and don't do, I referee my normal game for an observer.
Give u an example, step 6, first game this season, sub midway through first half, young lad, comes running straight on before injured player left. Do you think I cautioned him? No, he was a young lad, probably 17 or 18 year old, who was clearly very excited to get his big chance at step 6 football. Did i get done by the observer? No I did not. I didnt hide it either, I hauled him back to do it properly and warned him that he was risking a caution just running on.
I ran a risk of the observer not being happy with it, but I can be certain had I cautioned, everyone from the player, his team mates his opposition, and spectators would have all been surprised to see a card and it would have negatively impacted the game.
You do your game, if the observer takes exception to something, you sell it to him with sound reason and a good observer should understand why you have done something if it benefits the game and or your match control
Agree, refereeing differently with an observer there is very risky, especially once you get to L4. Clubs know full well when referees are doing it, so for all you might get your observation mark up by 0.25 or 0.5 you might lower your clubs marks by as much as 20 or 30.

Observers are (generally) less fussy and more sensible these days and shouldn't be picking up on something like a player running on too quickly at a sub. They would if you let it happen, but because you managed it a caution would clearly be overkill.

The same for @spuddy1878's example, I'd be really worried if an observer penalised a player for stepping off the pitch to grab a water bottle. That would be encouraging unsympathetic refereeing and shouldn't be happening these days.
 

RefJef

RefChat Addict
Level 6 Referee
Observers are (generally) less fussy and more sensible these days and shouldn't be picking up on something like a player running on too quickly at a sub. They would if you let it happen, but because you managed it a caution would clearly be overkill.
i had this very thing in an observed game last season in my (successful) 7 to 6 promotion.

Reds asked to make a double sub. All went well, I saw the subs off, checked oncoming subs, all good.

10 mins later, blue manager shouts “sub please ref”. “Ok”, I reply and tell the keeper (it was a goal kick) to wait, as ”we’re just going to do a sub”. I then spot the blue sub racing Ito position, keen to get his fifteen minutes of game time, whilst his oppo trudged slowly off.

I did speak with the new player, telling him in future he needs to wait, but I didn’t book him.

Observer mentioned this after the game. He commented how I‘d handled the first subs correctly, but needed to ensure I managed the other sub. It was one of my development points for the game, but I still got an above standard expected.

As another posted said, it is sometimes easier to referee a higher standard of game - the players know what to expect and act accordingly
 

Big Cat

RefChat Addict
Level 6 Referee
i had this very thing in an observed game last season in my (successful) 7 to 6 promotion.

Reds asked to make a double sub. All went well, I saw the subs off, checked oncoming subs, all good.

10 mins later, blue manager shouts “sub please ref”. “Ok”, I reply and tell the keeper (it was a goal kick) to wait, as ”we’re just going to do a sub”. I then spot the blue sub racing Ito position, keen to get his fifteen minutes of game time, whilst his oppo trudged slowly off.

I did speak with the new player, telling him in future he needs to wait, but I didn’t book him.

Observer mentioned this after the game. He commented how I‘d handled the first subs correctly, but needed to ensure I managed the other sub. It was one of my development points for the game, but I still got an above standard expected.

As another posted said, it is sometimes easier to referee a higher standard of game - the players know what to expect and act accordingly
Higher the level, the better for observations. Players expect what we expect
Sunday League Div 3 is like herding sheep; all wearing nose piercings and the wrong coloured wool
 

Kes

I'll Decide ...
Level 5 Referee
The simple fact is that referees do adopt a more rigid and "by the book" match approach when being observed. Why wouldn't they? You're on display and being scrutinised. No different to watching your Ps & Qs when round your parents/in-laws house for dinner or wearing a collar and tie for a job interview.
If you're on the promotion ladder, it's the observations that count. You can pretty much referee how you like when not under scrutiny if you want club marks in your favour (that's another thread though) but if you don't tick the boxes on your observation events, all the club marks in the world won't help you. To say that you shouldn't referee any differently when being observed is a purists view and (IMO) out of touch with the truth. :)
 

Big Cat

RefChat Addict
Level 6 Referee
The simple fact is that referees do adopt a more rigid and "by the book" match approach when being observed. Why wouldn't they? You're on display and being scrutinised. No different to watching your Ps & Qs when round your parents/in-laws house for dinner or wearing a collar and tie for a job interview.
If you're on the promotion ladder, it's the observations that count. You can pretty much referee how you like when not under scrutiny if you want club marks in your favour (that's another thread though) but if you don't tick the boxes on your observation events, all the club marks in the world won't help you. To say that you shouldn't referee any differently when being observed is a purists view and (IMO) out of touch with the truth. :)
Yeh, I tend to concentrate for observed games, but my other games descend into an utter mess
 

ChasTutorObserver

Regular Contributor
Food for thought. One week last season my Tuesday evening observation game was postponed so I went to watch a game at the same level at a club near my home. Many of the spectators know me as a referee observer, and (usually!) let me get on with my job. On this occasion I sat in the stand as usual, no pen or notebook as not on duty, and the match officials did not know I was present. In the 30th minute a reckless challenge resulted in a caution for the home skipper. From my left I heard "He only booked him 'cos you're here", aimed at me. I pointed out that I was there as a spectator, making no notes, and the officials were not aware that I was in the crowd.
 

Justylove

RefChat Addict
Level 4 Referee
The simple fact is that referees do adopt a more rigid and "by the book" match approach when being observed. Why wouldn't they? You're on display and being scrutinised. No different to watching your Ps & Qs when round your parents/in-laws house for dinner or wearing a collar and tie for a job interview.
If you're on the promotion ladder, it's the observations that count. You can pretty much referee how you like when not under scrutiny if you want club marks in your favour (that's another thread though) but if you don't tick the boxes on your observation events, all the club marks in the world won't help you. To say that you shouldn't referee any differently when being observed is a purists view and (IMO) out of touch with the truth. :)
I think some do and some don't. I do also think that the level of the game has something to do with different tolerance levels.

Last season, refereeing in a county league (Step 7) and going for promotion, I didn't modify my approach at all regardless of whether I was being observed or not, at that level there is still a certain expectation of what is and isn't acceptable from a player and team officials perspective. The pool of teams that you do is small enough at that level that you're going to come across most teams more than once per season and it's guaranteed that if you do act differently, you'll get accused of reffing for the observer.

If you have a different tolerance for games in your normal leagues "with observer" than "without observer" you are quite simply setting yourself up for a fall when you get a team that you've done recently and this week have an observer watching.

Would I be as picky on things like sock tape or subs entering the FOP at bang on the halfway line if I got asked to help out and do a game on a sunday morning in Dog and Duck Division 6? Nope not at all, but that's comparing Apples with Oranges as the expectations around Step 7 are vastly different to those at the lowest level of Sunday morning football.
 

Kes

I'll Decide ...
Level 5 Referee
I think some do and some don't. I do also think that the level of the game has something to do with different tolerance levels.

Last season, refereeing in a county league (Step 7) and going for promotion, I didn't modify my approach at all regardless of whether I was being observed or not, at that level there is still a certain expectation of what is and isn't acceptable from a player and team officials perspective. The pool of teams that you do is small enough at that level that you're going to come across most teams more than once per season and it's guaranteed that if you do act differently, you'll get accused of reffing for the observer.

If you have a different tolerance for games in your normal leagues "with observer" than "without observer" you are quite simply setting yourself up for a fall when you get a team that you've done recently and this week have an observer watching.

Would I be as picky on things like sock tape or subs entering the FOP at bang on the halfway line if I got asked to help out and do a game on a sunday morning in Dog and Duck Division 6? Nope not at all, but that's comparing Apples with Oranges as the expectations around Step 7 are vastly different to those at the lowest level of Sunday morning football.
I agree FWIW but as I said, come the day, it's about ticking those boxes - not about being popular with the players or gaining good club marks.

It was mentioned earlier in the thread about whether or not you'd advise the players beforehand that you were being observed to which I say "absolutely" - especially at "Dog & Duck" level. Telling the teams that you have to be "by the book" or "Mr Rigid" (even if done in an apologetic way) is your get-out clause for what they've been warned is to come. They can moan at you for "reffing for the observer" all they like. As with most things, it's all about communication and how you go about it.

In summary, as a referee, I always do the job consistently and to the same standard with the same tolerance and pedant levels week in week out. When I was being observed however, my focus shifted more towards being overly aware of the small and innocuous detail in my performance that nobody would ever notice apart from a observer. As a result, I certainly didn't get as much enjoyment out of refereeing my observed matches. But that's just me - I'm only human ... ;)
 

Justylove

RefChat Addict
Level 4 Referee
I agree FWIW but as I said, come the day, it's about ticking those boxes - not about being popular with the players or gaining good club marks.

It was mentioned earlier in the thread about whether or not you'd advise the players beforehand that you were being observed to which I say "absolutely" - especially at "Dog & Duck" level. Telling the teams that you have to be "by the book" or "Mr Rigid" (even if done in an apologetic way) is your get-out clause for what they've been warned is to come. They can moan at you for "reffing for the observer" all they like. As with most things, it's all about communication and how you go about it.

In summary, as a referee, I always do the job consistently and to the same standard with the same tolerance and pedant levels week in week out. When I was being observed however, my focus shifted more towards being overly aware of the small and innocuous detail in my performance that nobody would ever notice apart from a observer. As a result, I certainly didn't get as much enjoyment out of refereeing my observed matches. But that's just me - I'm only human ... ;)
Reality is that you're not likely to get observed at Sunday morning Dog and Duck league even at 7-6. The vast majority of observations are going to be based on Saturday football and at a suitable level for the level you are going for.

For example where I live the league structure for observations is as follows;

County Senior Division (Step 7) - 5-4 observations
County Div 1 - 6-5 observations
Local League Premier and Senior Divisions - 6-5 observations
Local League Junior 1 and 2 Divisions - 7-6 observations
Local League Junior 3 and Vets A,B,C - no observations.

We also have a development League that has reserve teams from clubs that are up to and including Step 3 that certain fixtures will be used for 5-4 observations. My final 5-4 observation last year was on a Step 6 game that I got appointed to as they were short of L4's so I picked up a couple of those.
 

Kes

I'll Decide ...
Level 5 Referee
Reality is that you're not likely to get observed at Sunday morning Dog and Duck league even at 7-6. The vast majority of observations are going to be based on Saturday football and at a suitable level for the level you are going for.

For example where I live the league structure for observations is as follows;

County Senior Division (Step 7) - 5-4 observations
County Div 1 - 6-5 observations
Local League Premier and Senior Divisions - 6-5 observations
Local League Junior 1 and 2 Divisions - 7-6 observations
Local League Junior 3 and Vets A,B,C - no observations.

We also have a development League that has reserve teams from clubs that are up to and including Step 3 that certain fixtures will be used for 5-4 observations. My final 5-4 observation last year was on a Step 6 game that I got appointed to as they were short of L4's so I picked up a couple of those.
Agreed. To be honest (rightly or wrongly) I tend to view virtually any match (outside of Step 7) that a level 7/6/5 generally referees in as "Dog & Duck" level. ;) :D
 

lincs22

Supply League Observer
Staff member
Observer/Tutor
Remember that the observer is often getting the same amount of grief on the touchline as you are in the middle, lines like "he's only being like this because you are here". Makes me laugh when they come up to me and say that they hope I end his career, I just say that if I give him a bad report he won't get promoted so he'll still be with them next season and then walk off while their tiny little minds try to process that .... :)
My response as observer was "if you think he is bad, you should have seen me. I would have sent 2 of your team off already...."
 

RustyRef

Administrator
Staff member
Remember that the better observers will be able to tell when a referee isn't refereeing in their normal style. I had one recently where it was very obvious that he was doing things he didn't normally do.
 

RustyRef

Administrator
Staff member
Pray tell Rusty ... :)
He just didn't look comfortable, and that is understandable when you are refereeing outside of your comfort zone to try and please the bloke with the notebook.

Of course there are things you can and should do to gain credit with the observer, but completely changing your game shouldn't be one of them. Incidentally I tried to impress at the start of the second half of a contrib game - I'd noticed from how the team were lining up at kick off that they were going to play long towards the left corner. So I thought "aha, I can show him how alert and aware, and fit, I am here" and as soon as they touched the ball I set off like the clappers to get into the drop zone. Apart from I didn't impress anyone as no sooner had I set off I tore my groin so my second half lasted just seconds before I was carried off. So trying to impress an observer can be painful as well as damaging to your game ... 🤬 (actually, I must have impressed the crowd as they were definitely cheering and laughing ...!)
 

Kes

I'll Decide ...
Level 5 Referee
He just didn't look comfortable, and that is understandable when you are refereeing outside of your comfort zone to try and please the bloke with the notebook.
That just sounds like an assumption on your part to me. He may well have looked/felt "uncomfortable" because he knew he was being observed?

I observe too and in my experience, it's mostly just a case of referees crossing the T's and dotting the I's that they might not be overly concerned with on a normal match day.

Having an observer present when you're going for promotion will (and IMO should) affect your game. As the referee you have to give the observer no excuse whatsoever to underscore you on any of the performance competencies.

I've never said a referee would or should "completely change their game" as you put it, but the notion put forward by some that they should just simply go out there as if it were any old normal Saturday game is a fantasy. :)
 

Big Cat

RefChat Addict
Level 6 Referee
I observe too and in my experience, it's mostly just a case of referees crossing the T's
I don't think observing through a viewfinder is normal practice. I've heard of observers hiding in bushes, but sounds like you're taking things too far!
 
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Kes

I'll Decide ...
Level 5 Referee
I don't think observing through a viewfinder is normal practice. I've heard of observers hiding in bushes, but sounds like you're taking things too far!
I'll thank you not to split crosshairs with me Sir! ;) :D
 

socal lurker

RefChat Addict
While I haven't been assessed at as high of levels as some here, I absolutely refused to do anything different when I was being assessed. IMHO, if it is how it should be done when being assessed, it is how it should be done all the time. And if that isn't true, the assessment system is broken.

(OK there was one exception--call me a hypocrite if you want. Once upon a time, USSF insisted that the R and AR wear the same length of sleeves. They go over it. But there were some of the old guard who continued to insist that is what we were "supposed to" do. So on assessments I would not have the ref team wearing different length sleeves, as that is not an argument I would want to get into.)
 
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