Guest speaker Oct 2013: Stephen Green – Good Cop –Bad Cop

Stephen who is of course our own Senior Training Officer, is an experienced Level 4 referee Tutor who works on the National referee tutors course and has been Chairman and leading light in our Society for many years. The session for the evening was one that he put together for the Berks & Bucks FA Road Show last season and which he originally prepared for presentation to High Wycombe RA.

The session was called Good Cop – Bad Cop. Stephen said that when studying the top referees it was obvious that they are made up of many different types of people. The same sort of thing could be said about policemen and we’ve all heard, the phrase Good cop – Bad Cop, so let start by listing the many attributes that go to make up a good cop and then look at those that are more likely to be accredited to a bad cop.

The list of attributes that members came up with for a good cop were;

Commutative, Calm attitude, Knowledgeable, Practical, Approachable, Firm but fair, Smart, had Integrity.

And for a bad cop they thought he would be;

Arrogant, Aggressive, Complacent, Ignorant, Officious and Dishonest.


If we turn this to refereeing, Stephen said, we can see there are many parallels, for example we should stand firm when we mean business and although we have to boss the situation, are we sometimes too officious?

When we are faced with a foul that involves physical contact, who do we concentrate on, the perpetrator or the victim? Although we need to take action against the perpetrator should we perhaps concentrate on the victim? He might want retaliation, perhaps not immediately but later, something we have all seen, also it may be his team mates that will take retribution. So it’s not only seeing that justice is done, justice has to be seen to be done.

Like policemen, referees are different; some can smooth things over with a joke, whilst others are sterner and attempts at a joke would go down flat. It is important that we develop our own style. Stephen then showed videos of two referees in action and asked members to comment on their different styles.

The meeting was then spilt into groups and each group was given a different scenario. Some of these were a similar episode but a different time in the game. Should there be a different reaction to a foul committed in the first minute of the game to the same foul committed late in a game and what if the game had been up to that time good natured throughout?

What happens if you give a card very early in the game? It spells out you are going to be tough but you are going to have to be consistent. Any other foul at that level will need a similar colour card. Take into consideration the expectations of the clubs. What about a marked player who has his opponent’s queuing up to foul him?

Our thanks to Stephen showing that to get the top speakers we don’t always have to go outside our own Society.


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