January 22, 2014

An example of Referee Recruitment: The Belgian RCM Project

Although most of the blog's readers surely agree that football refereeing is one of the most beautiful and challenging hobbies you can have, there are problems to find a sufficient number of up-and-coming referees insisting on the Laws of the Game in plenty of European countries that even count as "referee nations". Belgium has a project that could function as a role model for how national associations should approach this lack of referees by promoting respect for the men and women in black in order to encourage more youngsters to become servants of the game.

The RCM project targets at encouraging new referees to manage the game

Referees are crucial in our football. Without referees we cannot play football. It’s always been this way so nothing has changed about that. It’s a trend in our society that there is little respect for referees and authorities in general. We find it important that those people can shake the hand with players and leave the field satisfied. That is why we would like to enhance Respect for the men/women in black!
According to RCM we have three different groups of referees. The first group is made up of true generations of referees, where many family members like father and son are referees. The second group are people who have chosen to become a referee because they had too many problems with injuries as active players. The third group consist of people who don’t think about refereeing in the first place. This is the group that the RCM project wants to reach. We want to convince people, let them taste refereeing by whistling games in their own club. We call it Conviction!
The recruitment of referees is vital. But even if we have acquired these people, it is very important to keep them motivated and give them the stimulation needed to go on. Furthermore, we will have a referee ambassador. Together with the clubs and the help of another young referee we want to offer young referees support whenever needed. That's why we also have a contact form on your website. Doing so we aim at supporting the officials whenever they need our support. Thus, we guarantee a lot of Motivation for them.
The RCM project has been read by many referees from the Belgian first division. We have received very positive feedback, since the top-class referees absolutely shared our approach and point of view. We are convinced that the cooperation with referees from the highest divisions is vitally helpful to recruit referees and make them stronger to stay a referee for a long time. Sharing experiences and talk about their great hobby is very important for referees. With the help of 14 referees from the first division we opened a platform where young referees and people, who are interested in refereeing, are allowed to ask questions that will be answered by these referees. We hope that the RCM – project will stimulate a lot of people to become a referee in future.

The program is run by Sandra de Kerf, who is regularly blogging on "Hé Scheids!!". The RCM project (Respect, Conviction, Motivation) is furthermore accompanied by FIFA referee and mentor Serge Gumienny.

Are there similar projects in your country? How about referee recruitment in your country? Feel free to discuss it!


  1. An important group is missing: Too bad in playing, but still loving the game and wanting to be a part of it.

  2. Kevin Blom is in charge of the Dutch Cup match between arch rivals Ajax and Feyenoord this evening at 20:45 CET. ARs will be Patrick Langkamp and Hessel Steegstra. Dennis Higler is the 4th official.

    1. Anonymous22/1/14 22:01

      His World Cup colleague Björn Kuipers was faultless in last sunday's top clash between Ajax and PSV. Just one unfortunate error by first assistant referee Angelo Boonman, also the fixedly fourth official in Team Kuipers in Champions- and Europa League. Erwin Zeinstra with one very tight offside call, it was precision work, in the first half.
      Al in all, an outstanding performance of this team.

      Thomas, do you know why Sander van Roekel was not in stock?
      Also this weekend he is not appointed in ADO Den Haag - Feyenoord.

    2. Blom was very good, had a clear foul detection which was well-tuned to the match demands. Also took a lot of risks with advantages, which paid off in the 34th minute, when Ajax scored the equaliser after a brilliant advantage from Blom. He went back to book Mathijsen after the goal, which was also correct. Very good work.

      I agree on Kuipers, he was in supreme control. Also he let the play flow a lot, which added to the match spectacle. Only point about the team's performance was indeed Boonman's error.

      Van Roekel had a minor surgery on his foot. Nothing serious, but it was decided to do it now so that it will not hamper him later in the CL knock-out stages and the World Cup this spring and summer respectively. I fully expect him to return to Team Kuipers in a couple of weeks.

  3. Anonymous23/1/14 07:46

    First of all Thomas, I would like to thank you for this sharp reply.
    I really hope that Van Roekel Will be fit zoon, even Kuipers had a fantastic assisant referee in Angelo Boonman, who still is Netherlands' youngest assisant referee who reached the FIFA list, at a age of 31.

    If we talk about Kevin Blom, there is only one word which comes in my mind
    Namely: brilliant. As you said, he had a very good foul detection. But I would like to notify his advantage skills. What a patience! I think this could be his best performance in times, after soms blatant mistakes he made in soms games.
    This goal, the 0-1 scored by Boetius, really reminds me to the a similar situation last year, in a game of PSV, when he was ready to give Memphis Depay a penalty kick, after a reckless foul by the goalkeeper. But he waited for I think two seconds, and there it was: a goal again. So he might be one of the best referees in the Netherlands with his advantage skills.

    Take for an example Bjorn Kuipers, who almost was faultless (and cardless), who whistled to early in a situation in the 51st minute, when PSV was ready to create an attack. Unfortunate of course, but it is just an example.

    Furthermore I would like to hear your comments about two situations in, one, yesterday's game, and two, in Roda JC - AZ:
    Die something happened between Bojan Krkic and Bruno Martins Indi, in front of assistant referee Hessel Steegstra?

    And what is Your opinion about the behaviour of Krisztian Nemeth against FIFA referee Serdar Gözübüyük? I really was suprised about Gözübüyük's calmness.
    He really improved this skill. By the way, he was right to wave that penalty kick decision away. It would be too harsh in my view.

    I look forward to your reply.

    1. No problem!

      I agree on your words about Blom, he seems to have lost the pressure he was under in his Elite years. Good for him.

      About the Bojan-Martins Indi incident, I did not really see anything untoward. It was a quite innocent coming-together, possibly Martins Indi stepped on Bojan's foot, but nothing intentional. Acceptable play-on for me.

      About Nemeth, well what is there to say. It's as if the Respect campaign never existed. A five-match ban is the absolute minimum, if you think about the punishments handed out in amateur football. An amateur would easily be banned for six months after such an incident. The difference of course is that the standard punishments for professional football are determined before the season starts, by representatives of all clubs whereas amateur football has guidelines emerging from the KNVB.

      Gözübüyük stayed very calm throughout the incident, he handled it really well. Also a correct no-penalty as there was no contact inside the penalty area.

      I'm also interested in reading your own take on these situations.


    2. Anonymous23/1/14 18:22

      Like you said, it is unacceptable what Nemeth did, but like you also know, here in the Netaherlands we sometimes are too soft. In my opinion, you have to suspend this action with a minimum of 10 games. It's unbelievable that he only got 5 matches. Especially after his insults after the game.
      But all in all, it's deserved t we will not see him on the pitch until march. I hope that this was a big lesson for him.

  4. Bundesliga's opener match of the 2nd half of the season (M'gladbach - Bayern) will be handled by Peter Gagelmann (Bibi Steinhaus will be the fourth official).

  5. IFFHS has also elected the best female referees of the year...
    1. Bibiana Steinhaus (Deutschland) 112 P.
    2. Jenny Palmqvist (Schweden) 57 P.
    3. Esther Staubli (Schweiz) 55 P.
    4. Carina Vitulano (Italien) 48 P.
    5. Kateryna Monzul (Ukraine) 37 P.
    6. Kirsi Heikkinen (Finnland) 31 P.
    7. Cristina Dorcioman (Rumänien) 30 P.
    8. Teodora Albon (Rumänien) 3 P.
    9. Pernilla Larsson (Schweden) 2 P.
    9. Amy Fearn (England) 2 P.

    Isn't that excellent? Amy Fearn never handled an international match in the last years but is the no.9 of the world.

    1. Is that the first ranking EVER published by IFHHS about female referees?

    2. It is the second one, last year Jenny Palmqvist won.

  6. OT

    Who would you think are the best referees to miss out on a CL final appointment?
    I would go for:
    Bo Larsen, Dallas, De Bleckere, Frisk...

    1. Waiting for his last chance on next May, we can add Wolfgang Stark to this list. His experience and his skills are absolutely high. Sometimes, here and there, very controversial performances, that's true, but at the end he might have handled the CL final in the past years.

    2. Very good question Nur !

      In my opinion for sure Andres FRISK; one of the absoulte referees since 1980 till todfay, who was not recognized with CL final.
      Second I wuould like to out a list of very outstanding referees in teh 1980 decade: Ian Kaizer from Netherland, was very very good in 1980th as well Ioann IGNA from Romania in the 1980th and Joel Quiniou from France. In 1990th I think that Bruno GALLER from Switzerland and Zoran PETROVIC from Serbia deserved a call. More recently scottish H. Dallas and of course german W. Stark

    3. Anonymous28/1/14 21:56

      I have only one name in my mind: Roberto Rosetti.

    4. Yes...Rosetti, both he and Frisk had the small conciliation of overseeing an European Championship final however.

  7. Anonymous24/1/14 12:51

    Dutch FA has suspended Nijhuis for two weeks. The Dutch FA is also not content with Makkelie. See next article;



    1. I really can't believe that referees at this level can act in this way like children.
      One climbing on a balcony, another spraying water from a hose...
      You never stop to wonder in the life...

    2. It happens always and everywhere. If we knew what happened at professional teams' training camps, team hotels at tournaments, Olympic villages etc and so on we would be shocked. In the end I don't endorse what happened, but I believe it's not by any stretch of the imagination the worst prank to have been played in such a camp.

      I understand the FA wants to impose some discipline again, and I understand Nijhuis' suspension in that light. If this went unpunished, younger referees and ARs would see this behaviour as the standard. Having said that, I feel these incidents should have been kept out of the media and I'm sure the Dutch FA agree.

  8. OT
    Ferguson has been appointed as UEFA's coaching ambassador.
    I must say: deserved for his carerr, nevertheless he never respected the referees, especially in the last years.

    Furthermore, it seems that also UEFA is going to introduce the spray for referees. It will be used for the first time at UEFA European U17 Championship in Malta on next May.

    Here the source:

    1. Also, the U21 final tournament will be expanded to 12 teams, from the current 8.
      I wonder what that will mean for the referee selection. Will the referees still have to be from countries that are not involved? Will there be more referees selected than the number last year (6)?

  9. OT

    Capital One Cup final
    Manchester City v Sunderland
    Referee - Martin Atkinson
    Assistants - Steve Child & Simon Long
    Fourth Official - Neil Swarbrick

  10. Such a nice information through this. And i hope this will let the people those who are ready to face the interview. And please keep update like this.

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