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


  1. I'm sorry to hear this, but thanks for all your hard work. I am looking forward to future initiaves and will share them on my blog's social channels. Wish you all the best and thanks for all the efford you put into it. Good luck!

    from DutchReferee.com

  2. I hope so this a joke

  3. Sorry to hear this. This place has been a daily stopover for me for a while now, and I've always enjoyed the presentation of materials.

  4. Thank you, Niclas, for creating and supporting this blog during such a long period of time. Thank you for all contributors. I enjoyed all discussions and analysis.

    Best regards,

  5. I would like to thank you for all the work that you have done on this page. It had a huge impact at my view at refereeing in general and I am happy to have discovered it. I learned so much through the massive amount of materials and content that has been shared over here. Really sad to read this, but in any case: a huge thank you for The 3rd Team for everything that has been done!!

  6. I'm really surprised and shocked. This blog became somewhat like a part of time. To imagine that the final whistle has been blown gives a lot of pain. Looking forward to be a part of the new blogs mentioned. Also congratulations and many thanks for all the excellent work you've done till date with this blog till date. With this I also finish my last comment in this blog... Beep, beep, beeeeeeeeeep :)

  7. It` s a real pity for me...I became a reader of this blog in 2012 and after this i`ve been visiting it every day! It is a real shock:(

  8. Sad to hear... Thank to a whole team, you did a great job.

  9. What a blog, what an impact, what a course taken since 2011. Of course you made a rather large impact on top level refereeing as the post says, I think also at the bottom level you inspired the future Webbs, Rizzolis and Çakirs, I know for sure that you made a path for one young referee. Really looking forward to contributing to the new blogs, a new chapter for everyone.

    All the best for the future!

  10. I am very surprised and sad because of this news. As an active referee i enjoyed reading comments, learnig and upgrading my own refereeing capacity. It it was a nice trip, thank you for your work!

  11. Really sad for this news. I have hope, that this wonderful idea will be continue.
    It is very sad that all educational materials and analyzis now is close on the blog.
    It always was perfect possibility to recharge your minde and read and read again.
    Many thanks.

  12. I would really like to thank you all. I'm not a referee, but I have always been interested in refereeing and in the laws of the game. This blog allowed me to learn something and to share ideas, also arguing about some episodes during these years.
    I will surely continue to follow Chefren on his new adventure.


  13. Thank you all for your hard work during these years. I can't remember when I joined this blog, but it has been very fun and useful during this time. I wish you all the best in the future, and I'll see you in Chefren's new blog.

    Good luck and thank you.

  14. What a massive BOOM not only for me but for all other readers and referees.I started to following this blog almost 2 years ago when i was 16 and just started to growing as a referee.Now,after 1 year and 9 months i can say that this blog is a part of me.Visiting it was a daily routine.I just want to thank you Niclas,Chefren and to all other users that contributed to this blog.I will never forget your incredible work.See you on Chefren's new blog.Thank you for all educational materials,games and articles with appointments and good luck in the future!!!
    Kind regards,Cristi.

  15. Thanks for this fantastic blog. Good luck, all the best for you.

  16. I’m also very sad by the news of closing this blog. The articles were of informative and educational nature and sometimes I was also very amused by reading the comments. I checked the blog on a daily basis; it has become a sort of a daily routine for me. Administrators, thank you for all the time, efforts and knowledge that were invested in the management of this blog. It’s a bit of relief that Chefren will continue with a blog in a slightly different form.

  17. I just wanted to say big thank you to both Niclas and Chefren for this journey that lasted 6 years. But life goes on.

  18. Really sad news for me. I already had a feeĺing that the best times of this blog are over, because there had been a really small number of posts apart of the regular appointments, but I never thought that you are going to quit.
    I hope that we can carry on our discussions on Chefren's new blog. See you there!

    Good luck to the authors of this blog! It was always a pleasure to read your articles and opinions!

  19. This blog opened up both incredible and important insights into UEFA and FIFA for many here in the United States. Thank you. I can only hope the new Law 5 blog is just as good.

  20. I am sorry to hear this, but I believe that you have a good reason for this. Please, lets all work together as a team. Thank you guys...

  21. Thank you so much for all!
    You made me better.

  22. Thanks so much for your time and passion in managing this blog! I was really using it a lot to get news, opinions, predictions. I am really sad that this comes to an end, but I am sure you have good reasons for this. Good luck to Chefren for his new blog, you can be sure I will be following ;)

  23. Thank you for all, guys.
    We will continue... to share passion and knowledge.

    Max from https://m.facebook.com/groups/regolamentodelgiuocodelcalcioecasistica

  24. Woooow, what a pity for whole non/refereeing community.
    I am really sad, but still would like to thank you for all of your efforts, time, energy and good intention invested in The 3rd Team blog.
    Wish you best of luck!!!!

  25. UEFA have bought you and the blog?

  26. So sorry! But happy about the 2 new Blogs. Thank you guys for all the Incredible Hard and good work you did here. IT was both helpful for many practicing refs and for the understanding the wonderful game we all love so much. C U in the new blogs...

  27. So we dnt hve any avenue to knw designated officials again until match day? That's boring, I hve been following this platform for long now & is always interesting here.Thanks for everything.

  28. So we dnt hve any avenue to knw designated officials again until match day? That's boring, I hve been following this platform for long now & is always interesting here.Thanks for everything.

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