UEFA and our member national associations are looking to recruit thousands of new referees across Europe. Below, we explain how getting involved can enhance your understanding and enjoyment of the game.
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Refereeing can be a challenging task, but there are plenty of benefits for those who take it up.
Roberto Rosetti, UEFA chief refereeing officer, talks us through just a few of the reasons why it can be such a rewarding pursuit.
1 Love of the game
Just like players, referees have a genuine love of football. You are guaranteed to be at the heart of the action. There is no better view of the game than right in the middle of things. And remember, referees make a vital contribution to the overall health of the sport – after all, without a referee there is no game.
Roberto Rosetti: "Being a referee is a real passion and allows you to live football from a different perspective. If you love football, then you will love refereeing."
2 Improved understanding
Referees need to know the Laws of the Game better than anyone, and here is also the added benefit of a front-row seat, which can enrich your tactical and technical knowledge. There is no reason why you cannot combine refereeing with playing or coaching.
Rosetti: "As a referee, you learn to anticipate the next action in a match. Understanding and reading the game is an important factor and seeing it like this can also make you a better player."
3 Personal development
Referees make more than 200 decisions every match, instantly and under pressure. The role also helps you improve real-life skills such as communication, body language and conflict resolution.
Rosetti: "It is not easy for a young person to take decisions in their life, often at 16 or 17, decisions are being taken for you, but as a referee, you have to take control. You need to be strong, to be courageous, but it really is a school of life."
4 Physical fitness and activity
Did you know that an elite-level referee can cover up to 12 kilometres in a match? In fact, referees often run further than players. They are constantly on the move, and the role is the perfect way of keeping fit. Top-level referees are regularly tested on their speed, endurance and agility to ensure that they are able to keep up with the physical demands of the modern game.
Rosetti: "To be a referee is also very good for sporting activity and for your physical condition, particularly when you can officiate several matches each week."
5 Part of the community
As a referee, you’re not on your own. Local and national football associations offer support and organise events for officials, with plenty of networking. The role also brings the opportunity to build contacts within youth and amateur football, contributing to the on-going development of the game.
Rosetti: "Referees are like a family. I entered the community when I was 16 and was on the field of play for 27 years. It's a way for boys and girls to grow up, and it's a good support throughout your life."