October 16, 2017

Final Whistle for The3rdTeam

Dear Referees,
Dear Faithful Readers,

This step has been planned for months and we believe the right moment has come to take it.

All things come to an end at certain points of time. After several years of blogging as The3rdTeam, our team has come to the conclusion that it is time to close to the blog.

The last years have been an insightful journey of following and discussing about refereeing together with you as our faithful silent and active readers.

We hope that by following the blog you have learnt a lot about refereeing – either for your own development as a football referee or as a football enthusiast with a deep interest in refereeing. We have done so – and have enjoyed (almost) every discussion on game incidents, theoretical questions related to the Laws of the Game and constructive, independent and fair reflection of a referee performance.

Our ambition – and how it developed

Our ambition has always been to improve refereeing into a direction where each referee is able to get access to learning material (e.g. via articles or videos), where the performance principle counts and where politics play no or hardly any role. Our aim has been encouraging referees and referee departments – and yes, in our keenest dreams maybe also those active at the highest level – to critically reflect themselves and their work to identify development points, considering self-reflection as the basis for success and excellence. Our genuine value standing behind all our work has been passion and love for refereeing the beautiful game.

When we started all this, it was just an idea to share our passion and joy about following top-flight refereeing. Not more. But it became different.

The blog has taken a dimension in the past years we have not been fully aware of. Many international referees and observers have contacted us in that time. They had their reasons to do this. They encouraged us to continue our work – this was really motivating. In addition, they have also shared partly very internal insights into top-class officiating with us – sometimes driven by personal disappointment about certain things at the highest level, mostly driven by a cordial interest in understanding who we are and why we are doing our work or simply in order to improve the site.

Sometimes the information they shared with us have been surprising and stunning, at least they have always been interesting. At the same time, we always felt the huge responsibility connected to this. A daily question we had to answer for ourselves was: “How much can, should and may we say?”. And admittedly, although we only made a small part of the things we got to know public, we have not always managed to maintain the right balance in this weighing-up-process – maybe also because of age-related immaturity.

Our mistakes and apologies

Refereeing is a people business, and people make mistakes. So did those we have often written about, and so did we. During the last months, we have experienced some needed eye-openers, though. What we did online had effects on the life of many international referees and referee managers offline – in both ways, positively and negatively. On the life of a referee (manager) which, at the early phase of our young “blogging careers”, we have maybe not fully understood. We had always slightly supposed it, but we have not been completely aware of the blog’s real impact behind the scenes during the last years. And, in the end, also of the impact of the many thousands of comments you as our faithful readers have shared.

Even if we always acted in good faith to improve referees and refereeing as a whole, we cordially regret our mistakes and sincerely ask everyone – referees and association representatives – who were negatively affected by our work for apology – knowing that this is demanded much. It will not happen again from our side.

Our thanks

They go to you, our readers. Thank you for your yearlong participation. The blog has only survived the many years thanks to you and your contribution. In a business driven by emotions – which football and refereeing both are for sure – it is not always easy to balance the freedom of opinion and the need to ensure the dignity of referees criticized publicly. What you and we have written had effects on certain people. Hopefully we widely succeeded in maintaining the balance mentioned above in the eyes of you, our readers, and the eyes of those concerned by our reports and analyses. We also thank those who supported us on the long way.

We are convinced that the right moment has come to blow the final whistle and close the blog. But this does not mean the journey ends: A new one starts.

On psych-ref.blogspot.com you are going to find purely educational material for your own development as a referee (which are hopefully also interesting as a referee enthusiast), focussing on the psychological side of football officiating including aspects like leadership, game-management or personality (and much more). More on this can be read here.

Our author Chefren has opened a new blog which is called Law 5 - The Referee. On law-5.theref.blogspot.com you will find referee appointments (after they are available on UEFA.com! … :-)) and can continue the many fruitful debates on diverse aspects of refereeing and on referee performances. Chefren will use the opportunity of this re-start to clarify clear values in terms of how to talk about referees and their performances.

Contents will follow in the next weeks and months, and we would be very happy if you offer us the same patience, interest and readership like in the last years!

Many thanks to everyone who accompanied us on this way actively and passively. You made this blog successful and unique!

All the best

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