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Question Number: 4834


RE: pro College

KevinTaylor of Glasgow, Scotland asks...

What guidelines are used to prevent the injury of officials?

Answer provided by Referee Chuck Fleischer

Kevin I have thought a lot about your question and there are many aspects to it that you do not explain. First, do you mean prevention of injury to the referees from actions of players, be they intentional or accidental? Second, is the injury a result of action of a single spectator or a pitch invasion of biblical proportion? Last is the injury a result of an improperly fit or unprepared referee? ..I will only attempt to address that which the referee can influence, his fitness, acceptance of the pitch and his kit. ..Fitness is his responsibility, he may have assistance but, in the end, it's his body and no one can condition it but him. Fitness requires commitment, desire and a strong body at the outset. Only through time and effort can the referee attain levels of fitness that reduce his chance of injury. ..Given fitness, he must inspect the pitch and ensure that injury producing things like sprinkler heads, small depressions or rises, litter, animal holes and the like are absent; again this is the referee's responsibility. In ensuring his safety he assures the safety of the players, does he not? ..He must look to his kit. Is his footwear correct and in good repair, has he chosen attire for the weather conditions of the match, does he have a change if the weather changes? His bag must have everything needed to repair or replace that which he needs. Should conditions require he must have something to prevent sunburn, chapping lips, insect bites, spare flags, band aids, a towel, water, and on and on. ..The last thing a referee can do to reduce his chance of injury is to know what he is doing, he must study the game. Knowledge and experience lend to the referee?s credibility, in other words, his ability to sell his decision. He must constantly upgrade his knowledge of the Laws and the latest desires of the powers to be. He must keep abreast of the latest tactical efforts of all the teams in all the leagues in which he officiates. ..And this one other thing, luck. All this for a pauper?s wage or a hearty thanks....Regards,

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Answer provided by Referee Dawson

Hi Kevin,.aside from my colleague's great overview I would add that at the elite level special security protocall is followed both on and off the FOP to safeguard the referee from harassment, intimidation or attack. As you know the volitile natures of the idiots that abound at some of these matches can cause serious problems. ..The physcology and mental discipline must be strong to avoid the mental anguish and stress a referee is under being away from the family, adjusting to the pressures of matches and the expectations of nations. Many referees practise concentration and mental discipline activities to withstand the external pressure exerted to calm the internal. ..The character of the quality Referees and ARs exude a sense of purpose and integrity. Injury to reputation, or a mental breakdown is a fact of life. You are as goood as your last match and a crutial error in a high profile game can place a referee in the dog house quickly. Cheers

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