Elite Level Referee Assessments

With Hakan Anaz – AFC Assessor and former World Cup Referee

How often are professional referees assessed?
Professional referees exist within their country, or their member associations. Each member association will stipulate the conditions of their contracts along with their roles and responsibilities. As such, each member association will have their own assessment process.

What does the assessment process look like for professional referees?
When I was an active referee, quite often my process was threefold. Firstly, the match assessor would conduct a post-match debriefing where we would discuss the key match incidents. Following this, a report would be completed. I also completed my own post match appraisal where I would watch footage of the game and critically analyse my performance. The focus was on decision making, match management, teamwork and positioning. I personally found that I was my biggest critic and would micro analyse all major match decisions to see what I had done correctly, what I done incorrectly and what I needed to improve. My areas for improvement were incorporated into my weekly training plan and I would focus on these areas prior to my next match. Finally, I often spoke to mentors who were a valuable resource for me to bounce ideas off and see what I needed to do to develop as a referee.

How does the assessment and feedback process work for referees in tournaments such as the World Cup?
At the World Cup, each match has an assigned match assessor. At the conclusion of the match, there is a debriefing where all the referees would be in a large seminar room where the match incidents are viewed, discussed and decided. Following the general debriefing, the FIFA technical instructors would sit down with the respective match official’s one on one and give more specific feedback on their performances. Future appointments were dependent on your performances.

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Do professional referees ever disagree with feedback provided from an assessment?
As a referee, I never disagreed with an assessor. I always felt it was important to respect the match assessor. So if I disagreed with the match assessor, I knew that the key match decisions would be reviewed once the report would be finalised. At AFC level, key match incidents are reviewed by the technical experts who decide whether the referee’s decision was correct or not. Decisions are always checked and reviewed.

Do you have any further tips for communication between assessors and referees?
As an assessor, I always try and coach my referees to see incidents from a different point of view. Maintaining mutual respect is an important part of my role, and I can sometimes agree to disagree. Knowing that my reports are always checked and confirmed, I try to pass on my experience to highlight issues to the referee which will allow them to improve their performances. I’m always available for additional communication and am constantly in contact with referees helping them raise their performance levels. Ultimately, I want to see the best referees shine on the world stage.

Hakan Anaz is a Referee Instructor & Assessor at The Asian Football Confederation. Hakan was an Assistant referee at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, the 2012 Olympics in London and the 2011 Asian Cup in Qatar.

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