To Do And Not To Do

While out and about assessing, mentoring and just watching matches these past few months, I have observed instances that should be put on a “To Do and Not To Do” list.

Some of these items have been brought to my attention not only by fellow referees, but by administrators, coaches and parents. Rather than giving a list, I will cover each, giving the “Pros and Cons” of the instances.

Cell Phones

Cell phones are almost a necessity these days, but it is neither proper nor ethical for a referee or an AR to be using the cell phone while they are refereeing a match. The match needs and warrants the referee’s and AR’s undivided attention. While talking on the cell phone, the referee will miss decisions that should have been made based on the action on the pitch. The cell phone should be left in the referee bag, preferably in the car.

If there is something so important that you have to carry the phone with you, maybe you should consider not taking the match. The match should be the most important thing during that time. Also, the cell phone is not a time piece by which referees may keep the match time.

Attire and Appearance

The impression a referee gives affects not only their match, but other referees’ matches. A well-uniformed referee gives the impression that he or she is a professional and is ready to perform as such. When a referee dons the referee uniform shirt, all uniform items should be properly worn. Shoes should be polished, socks should be up, shorts should be worn properly at the waist, shirts should be tucked in, sleeves should be worn at the proper length, and the proper badge should be on the shirt,with all items in good condition. Referees are judged whether they are on the pitch are not. Wear the uniform with pride.

If, after the match, the referee wants to relax and cool down, then remove the referee shirt and pull down the socks – but do so at the referee tent, not on the way there.


Referees need half-time not only to hydrate, but to discuss the first half. They need to leave the pitch together as a team and discuss what went on in the first half. When discussing the events of the first half, the referees should be isolated from players, coaches and spectators. A portion of an overheard conversation can be, and normally will be, taken out of context. The short piece of the overheard conversation most likely will change the actions towards the referee crew and, most of the time, it will not be as congenial as we would like. Referees should not be taking the match ball and playing with it on or off the pitch during half time. They need to be covering the first half together as a team.

Entering the Pitch

Referees should enter the pitch together as a team. ARs should be on either side of the referee, holding the flag to the outside, away from the referee. At the end of each half, the ARs should run to the referee and the referee team should leave the pitch together the same way as they entered. At the end of the match, they should observe the handshake – not too close, but at a reasonable distance to observe. They should then leave as a team.

Thank you for all of your help and support in the referee program, as well as in North Texas Soccer.

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