August 3, 2013

Kevin Blom: "My world collapsed"

Not even two years ago, Bernie Raymond Blom was the name of one of the most promising European international referees for the future. Widely known as "Kevin" Blom, the Dutch FIFA official had been just promoted to Elite Group, the highest formal classification a referee can reach within UEFA officiating. Something far-reaching however happened about which Blom now talked to Algemeen Dagblad, a Netherlandish newspaper.

Former Elite referee Kevin Blom (c) ZIMBIO
In a UEFA Euro 2012 qualifying match on 3 September 2011, Blom awarded a penalty to the Czech Republic in the dying minutes of a game against Scotland. The penalty was given because of an alleged foul on Jan Rezek, but replays showed the "foul" to be simulation on Rezek's part. The penalty was converted, leveling the score at 2:2. Subsequently, Blom booked Scotland's Christophe Berra when the latter was fouled in the Czech penalty box. The penalty was denied, Blom believing Berra to have dived. The result all but ended Scotland's hopes of qualification.


"You got it all wrong" were the first words reported to the officiating team by an official of the Scottish federation having left Hampden Park's pitch on their way into the dressing room, followed by the announcement that the referees' usual post-match dinner in the city of Glasgow should be cancelled. When Blom checked the decisive incidents on DVD in his hotel room, his world collapsed: "It was simulation by this guy. I was terribly fooled.", Blom said.

He unfolded: "I couldn't eat during dinner and didn't even sleep. You're lying there, thinking, sweating. Trying to find solutions. I have also played football myself. I know what a sportsman goes through. It feels like a very tough defeat. At the day after the match, at the airport, there was some bustle with some people. At the douane, we had to wait for an hour, but they felt like ten."

"The feeling that you have denied a country the European Championship exhausts you. [...] It exhausted me for a year. But I had to go on. When you referee a match you need to clear your head. I spent some time in a village for this reason."

Blom also referred to the consequences for his career: "You are thinking about everything. Will I miss the European Championships? What does this mean for my referee career?"
In a phone-call with Italian UEFA refereeing head Pierluigi Collina, Blom got the answer on that. "At first he was the coach, asking how I feel, saying that he also experienced that and that all this would just be human. But then the next message said that I would be replaced for the next Champions League match. [...] The downward spiral started.", he said.
And indeed, that happened. In spring 2012, following another controversial performance in a match of UEFA Europa League (Sporting Braga - Besiktas), Blom was demoted to First Group having been Elite for only one complete season. In addition, it was not Blom but Björn Kuipers who was assigned to handle matches at the European Championship in Poland and the Ukraine in 2012.

Blom added he had closed the subject now and he was still ambitious as a referee, still wanting to get the best appointments. “I’m doing fine now. No strange things during the last season and I can’t wait for the start of next season.”

8 Comments:

  1. Anonymous3/8/13 20:54

    UEFA and Collina are really capricious.

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  2. I admire those referees (Blom, Hansson), they have the courage to go on, always looking for the best.
    It can happen to everybody.

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    1. Anonymous5/8/13 09:22

      I can only confirm this. Know both referees, committed personalities, were however much unlucky.Encouragingly, derive that she will not resign, but still games even if it is not in the elite field.

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    2. Blom wasn't unlucky, he was incompetent. He had two calls of consequence to make in that game and screwed them both up denying Scotland a chance to advance. His reward should have been permanent removal from UEFA's selection list for international duties. It is ridiculous to see him in charge of the Georgia v Ireland game. Just waiting to see what call he's going to blow this tie. He must have got advice from a PR company because immediately after the game he was arrogant and uncaring as to his inability to officiate.

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  3. I tottaly agree one that Chefren!They really do not deserve such a behaviour.They have proven their value over years of refereeing and they just want to do what they love...

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    1. Incompetent people can have passion for something. It doesn't mean they should be put in charge of it at the highest level. I like to drive, but it doesn't mean i should be allowed to drive a bus full of people through the mountains and if I did and crashed I should face the consequences.

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  4. Anonymous6/8/13 14:52

    Well it's allways a shame when a good referee makes one or two faults, and then gets demoted.

    Bas Nijhuis (Dutch also) has been marked as best referee in the Netherlands, but gets demoted by the UEFA after two bad dessisions at EL. (probebly because he refused to act as 5th or 6th official at European games as well)

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  5. Is his demotion sure? He is still listed as an ED official as far as I know.

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