Author: Dick Sawdon Smith

When should a Referee blow for time?

  Louis van Gaal has plenty else to worry about, but recently he complained that the referee blew for time too early. ‘We were on a counter attack,’ he said, ‘and he whistles, he did it also in the first

Posted in From the middle

Lisa Benn, Berks & Bucks RDO visits Reading RA

Our guest speaker for January was Lisa Benn, the newly appointed Referees’ Development Officer for Berks & Bucks FA. Lisa has been a referee for 10 years and is now a level 4 referee and a Futsal referee. She is

Posted in Guest speakers

Are shoulder charges still allowed?

Football fans often complain that ‘players can’t use the old fashioned shoulder charge these days’. I’m sure that Manchester United supporters were saying something similar when Wayne Rooney heaved Glen Johnson off the ball as they ran towards the Stoke

Posted in From the middle

Tiniest margins count in football

One talking point last week was a question of millimetres. This was the disputed touch line decision by the assistant referee at the Manchester City v Everton League Cup semi-final, second leg. Everton manager, Roberto Martinez, claimed the ball was

Posted in From the middle

Getting the laws in a twist

There are often discussions why rugby players accept the referees’ decisions, whilst footballers constantly argue over them, sometimes belligerently. My theory is simple – The rules of rugby are so complicated that the players admit that they don’t understand them,

Posted in From the middle

Judgement is often a question of angles

It is a few years since we’ve had a Berks & Bucks FA referee on the Premier League, so we were pleased when Graham Scott was promoted at the beginning of this season. However, Graham came in for considerable criticism

Posted in From the middle

Heading the ball in football banned

Heading has long been an important part of football but now there is a medical view that repeated heading of the ball may lead to neuro-degeneration. When former West Bromwich and England centre forward Jeff Astle died of Alzheimers his

Posted in From the middle

Playing the ball does not always constitute a fair tackle

Some years ago, I wrote an article for the Football Referee Magazine in which I explained how I judged if a tackle for the ball was fair. If the tackler played the ball and the opponent then went over his

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Mini Law Quiz – Dec 2015

In one of my games a player kicked the ball directly into the opponent’s goal from kick off. How did I restart the game? Answer: Kick off to the opposing team because Law 8 says; ‘A goal may be scored

Posted in 5 Minute Law Quiz

A Little Sign of Goodwill

A lot of hot air was generated after the Liverpool v West Bromwich Albion Premier clash recently but I spotted one little goodwill gesture. A great fuss was made about Liverpool’s manager Jurgen Klopp’s failure to shake the hand of

Posted in From the middle