1. Pre-Match

  • Try to start on a positive by meeting with both teams
  • Check their kit colours in case of a possible clash
  • Do your homework to minimise any potential last minute problems
  • Keep your door open to show that you are approachable

2. Walking the Field of Play

  • Meet with the Groundsman
  • Inspect the pitch and check for foreign objects
  • look out for the away team and greet them on arrival
  • Check kits in the dressing rooms

3. Position in Dressing Room

  • Always be the first person players see
  • When receiving the team sheets, being in your kit or smartly dressed is appropriate

4. Pre-Match Brief to Assistant Referee

  • For offside, remind them to wait and see how play develops before signaling
  • Eye contact is an important communication tool
  • Reiterate what their roles are for free kicks, penalties and goal kicks
  • Remind them that they are your extra eyes and ears on the field
  • Keep your brief short and sharp – around 7 minutes is ideal

5. Warming Up

  • Warming up together and as a team is an important demonstration of teamwork
  • It should be done in the correct kit
  • It is also a perfect opportunity to watch the players to check for any warning signs – are there any possible disruptive players?

6. Positioning in Fluid Play

  • Sweep up behind play
  • Try not be in the centre circle on too many occasions
  • Try not to get too ahead of play, kept the ball between yourself and your assistant wherever possible
  • for goal kicks try to anticipate the drop some

7. Advantage

  • Signal first to recognise the infringement but then wait 2-3 seconds to see how play develops
  • consider the skill level of the players and how conditions may impact on effective use of advantage
  • How serious the tackle was should indicate whether or not advantage is played

8. Awareness

  • Try to recognise any players’ persistent infringements
  • Your body language as well as your choice of works must remain appropriate to diffuse difficult situations

9. Attacking Free Kicks

  • Clearly pace out the defensive wall (or utilise markings where you can)
  • Take a moment to see which foot the player will strike the ball as this will determine where you stand

10. Post Match

  • It is important in that you don’t engage with any discussion of incidents from the game
  • When liaising with the Assessor after the game be courteous, but don’t be afraid to clarify any specific feedback from the game


Article taken from York Referees' Society website (