A Ref’s Perspective
Without qualified Walking Football officials our sport will struggle. One of the first things I say to teams I’m reffing before kick off is. If you only take one thing away from what I’m about to tell you, take this away…Remember that, Walking Football isn’t a WIN AT ALL COSTS SPORT. Whilst we all want to win we all have a duty of care to everyone both on and off the pitch which is why you can’t play with jewellery on. We have a Defibrillator on the pitch and a first aider & CPR qualified personnel in attendance. Obviously we hope we never have to use them but, we provide you the peace of mind knowing that if we do we have those key things covered.
You have to transition from 11 aside & Vets football into WF before you can fully discover and appreciate the subtle differences in the different rules and the sport in general. On a personal level I have a much better understanding and appreciation of WF from being a player who became a Referee and although I play and ref but, not at the same time ;-0. I have a much better appreciation of the rules that I subliminally take into my game when I play.
I’m totally convinced that reffing walking football is harder than reffing 11-a-side or vets football. There’s more to think about, such as, NO contact, 3-touches, tackles from behind, from the side, ball over crossbar height, both feet off the ground, unsporting behaviour, dissent, crabbing, rushing down free kicks, denying a goal or a goal scoring opportunity (DOGSO).
Each element has very fine margins & the refs view is often obscured, but is the only one from their position. Players views are always better (we think) & are often more accurate, but refs have to make a decision from what they see. I blow my whistle for the offence and not the player or the club. Whilst it’s all about angles on the pitch, inevitably players will be in a different position than refs and therefore will be in a different angle but, the only thing that really matters is the angle that the ref is in because that’s the angle that they are blowing their whistle from. One of the key things I bring to reffing is clear, concise communication to my decisions in effect I’m trying to sell the decision by informing the offender what I’ve seen that led to me blowing my whistle. The role of the player at that point is to seek clarification if required but not to enter a debate, accept the decision and move on as quickly as humanly possible so as to avoid any impact to their game and to their team. Pro refs make mistakes so why should we expect amateur stand in WF refs in their latter years to be perfect? Is each decision so important that we are willing to take someone else’s joy of being involved in walking football away? Is winning or losing going to change your life? Probably not, it’s nice to win but not life changing and certainly not at all costs. A huge thanks to everyone that has tried reffing, it’s natural to find it hard & there are so many rules but, similarly to WF itself, unless you try it you will never know if it’s for you or not. Do let the core team at WFC & JRF know if you sre interested to help out & give it a go. If you want to complain to a ref ur taking it too seriously.
And finally, when you establish a relationship with referees and don’t get on their radar by challenging decisions or being angry or aggressive you will be pleasantly surprised that those 50-50 decisions might just go your way.
Ask me when you see me if I have more or less friends from being a referee and I’ll try and sell you my answer.
Enjoy your football. Cheers all the best Gregg
Gregg says 50/50 may be acceptable.
An example of playing the advantage.
Staying within the rules.
FIWFA World Nations Cup Rules – July 2023 Click Here
WFA Laws Of The Game – July 2023 Click Here