Dean Mohareb, who is a Football League referee but more importantly is the FA National Referee Development Manager – Workforce, was our guest speaker for November but it was an evening with a difference. To illustrate his theme of teamwork, Dean showed us a video that he had been responsible for producing for the National RA Conference back in July, in which he also played the leading role as the referee. The video which was used to begin and end the conference, concentrated on two aspects of the match as far as the referee is concerned, the pre-match and the post-match. We all have a responsibility for controlling the game, Dean said, but it is up to the referee to get the best out of his team. In this case the team consisted of the referee, who was looking to make sure the game was free of controversy as he was in need of good marks, an assistant referee officiating at this level for the fist time and an irreverent old timer running the other line. We also saw the assessor before and after the game.
The new assistant referee arrived early and was waiting in the dressing room when the referee appeared talking into his mobile phone, indicating at the same time that the assistant had taken his changing spot in the dressing room. When he came off the phone he complained to his assistant about being given an inexperienced assistant for what was an important game for him and told him to forget making any decisions on the field of play. The second assistant referee arrived some time later in a garish t-shirt and also talking on his mobile phone during the briefing. When the assessor came in the referee tried to butter him up to make sure his markings were what he required.
Dean then split up the meeting into smaller groups to discuss what they had seen and make suggestions how it could have been improved. After everyone had had their say, the second half of the video was shown. This started with the three officials coming off the pitch at the end of play and there were boos from the crowd which seemed to indicate something had gone wrong. The referee had also distanced himself from the inexperienced assistant referee as if to show where the fault had been. Once inside the dressing room, he went off to find the home team manager to make his excuses for what had been an apparent game changing decision. On his return he rounded on the young assistant referee and blamed him for a controversial penalty particularly after he had told him before the game that he didn’t want any decisions from him. When the assessor came in to discuss the game, the referee put the blame on his assistant for making the mistake and then after some criticism of his own part in the affair he accused the assessor of being a hatchet man sent down to ensure he didn’t receive decent marks. The assessor stormed out saying he would report him for his attitude.
This episode was then discussed in the smaller groups before recommendations for improvements were aired to the whole meeting. In this, the discussions were led by Dan Meeson of the FA who had come along to support Dean Mohareb. Our thanks to Dean and his colleague for making this an enjoyable and entertaining evening, something a little out of the ordinary and an excellent use of a resource from the National Conference.