IFFC Referees

History: Back in the Old Days….

In the early IFFC days, the BFA (Beijing Football Association) was in charge of refereeing our matches in which the IFFC (incl. Tian Lin as a player) experienced a stiff, but well organized refereeing system and as soon the IFFC organized their club internal referee system, finally the IFFC Organization was able to decide about which match which referee could referee. In the beginning there was surely the lack of experience. Often referees were exchanged, new referees came and went, new FIFA rules were not checked if been introduced and the gap between referees and, the organizer as well as the teams was rather wide.

Development: Learning through Experience

For more than 10 years the IFFC developed a steady growth of IFFC experienced referees. From few meetings between the IFFC and its officials just before the season, in the break or afterwards in the old days, now the IFFC organizes a weekly sit together which includes a constructive discussion of IFFC match matters regarding the last and the upcoming matches lead by ExCo member Tian Lin. IFFC ExCo chairman Robert Gonnella is taking part at every second meeting (twice a month) and inputs from the teams point of view specific details up ’til the general mood about the matches. Also as we had before the so-called “No.1 referee” (as thought by IFFC and its teams) who refereed too many matches. This resulted in teams rebelling for always getting the same referee.  As we all know, team mostly remember the referee “mistakes” (against the own team) and if just one certain official is constantly in charge for a longer period of time, his calls (right or wrong) are taken personal and (some) teams start seeing the referee as  bias and unfair. Worse, the other referees (some stuck as linesmen) felt “lesser” trusted and could never developed a self confidence or gain experience which is needed to referee the “Laowais” of the IFFC (who know it always better).

Current Situation: Further Development

Every season, the IFFC Organization aims to constantly develop and raise the quality level of the referees. With the full support of the IFFC ExCo behind OUR referees, the main goal for the club is to continue to develop the referees’ self confidence, establish a good cooperation and communication (among the referees themselves and with the ExCo, and teams) and ensure the review and study of the constantly changing rules (FIFA Rules as well as IFFC Rules).  The IFFC set up a following system:

  1. Currently in one season the IFFC uses up to 20 different officials, in which around eight officials share the task of being the main referee throughout a single season.
  2. Before the start of the season and shortly before the start of the second half of the season, the IFFC ExCo organizes the “General Season IFFC Referee meeting” for all the referees. The referee rooster, the IFFC teams and the leagues are introduced. Furthermore, new IFFC Rules and up to date FIFA football rules are reviewed and explained.
  3. For this 08/09 Season the IFFC ExCo will also organize a meeting between main referees and the IFFC Supervising / IFFC Disciplinary Committee members.
  4. The head referee decides for each match the 4 officials (main ref, 2 Linesmen&1 table) of prior informing and consulting with all the ExCo members
  5. The IFFC match official and the teams (by giving grades, comments & complains) supervise the quality of performances.
  6. IFFC’s ExCo supervises the referee’s performances by checking the grades and interviewing the IFFC official about the match as well by receiving written and oral comments or complains of the teams.
  7. In the week IFFC organized referee meetings (internal review with the ExCo of the recent and upcoming matches), performances and situations are discussed. The Exco ensures that team comments and complains reach constructively the referees.
  8. The IFFC ExCo with the IFFC Head Referee can suspend or even remove a referee in case of bad grades or /and complains from different teams continuously appear. Being aware of the fact, each referee is consulted and supported by the colleagues, Head Referee and ExCo after matches with weak performances, major mistakes or improper behavior. The referee then is expected to learn from mistakes and improve in the next match.

IFFC Referee Responsibilities Include

  1. 4 referees are responsible for one match: one main, two linesmen and a 4th table ref.
  2. Minimum 30 minutes arrival prior the kick off time.
  3. Each referee is expected to wear a proper referee outfit.
  4. The main referee has a stop watch, whistle, yellow/red cards, a pen and small notebook to mark players and time for goals, yellow cards, red cards or remarks
  5. Each Lineman has a proper flag and the 4th official has a stop watch
  6. The main referee and the 4th official records the match time, marks the player & time of goals, yellow cards and red cards and after the match confirm each other.
  7. Only when the 4th official receives the match report from the teams properly filled out, the main referee may call in the teams in order to start the match.
  8. Only the 4th official can stop the match for substitution purposes. If a team wants to substitute players it must inform the 4th official and he will call the referee to halt the match for substitution.
  9. During a match, the referee only accepts the team captain when being approached and talked to.
  10. Only the main referee and the IFFC Official can to stop an ongoing match, they can call both team captains to appear at the referee desk and have the right expel players or supporters from the field in case of misbehavior or security reasons. Each team must swiftly follow the orders given and only after the match (after IFFC Official consulted with the referees) a full explanation of the reason will be produced to the team leaders.
  11. If in an ongoing match one of the referees or the IFFC Official notices a player without shin guards or problems with his uniform (socks, number), the main referee will be informed, who will ask the player to leave the field immediately to resolve the issue. If the player does not swiftly leave the field, the match will be stopped until the player finally left the field and only may re-enter when the issue is solved and checked by the 4th official.

Grading Referee

As referees also grade the team’s appearance performance (behavior and manners), each team gives the referee a grade after the match. In order to achieve a better understanding of the grade, each team is encouraged to write comments of the referee performance on the match sheet. When a bad grade is given, explain why, his errors and what he could have done better or instead. The more time you spend on your explanation, the better the chance is, that in the weekly referee meeting, the mistakes are properly reviewed and discussed and a better solution found for next time. Speaking or even yelling at the referee during and after the match does not reach the referee’s mind and soul, especially when you or your team members are in a very excited (angry) mood. It will rather be counter productive and the referee(s) rather believe that the frustration (for example match loss) is fully put on him or linemen to blame. Shouted at, yelled at or constantly being criticized during a match, there would any human being just “shut off the brain” and think “let the complainer just talk and I anyway have no energy to listen whatever” even though there was a rightfully complained mistake which in the end (in a right way expressed like writing it in the report) could be dealt with and corrected among with the other referees. The referee expects to be respected as a human being as well as his decisions, even though human error in refereeing exists everywhere in world including the world cup.