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Full-time referees are not perfect referees

FFA referees
Chris Beath, Ben Williams and Jarred Gillett at the AIS.

12 Nov 2015

Expect Australia’s new full time football referees to make better decision but don’t expect them to be perfect.

A much improved work-life balance, better physical conditioning and more time for match analysis are the reasons Football Federation Australia’s three full time match officials believe will lead to a better match day performance.

“In a part time set up you potentially would fly back from the Middle East from a Champions League game and get a taxi and go straight to work then work a full week and then fly out for an A-League game a few days later,” said referee Ben Williams.

“Trying to balance refereeing with a full time job and family is a massive challenge.

“Now we are full time I’m sure the performances will improve. You just feel more relaxed. You want the players to be happy on and off the field to help them perform at their best and that’s the same with us.”

Williams, along with fellow full time referees Chris Beath and Jarred Gillett, recently started what will become regular camps at the Referee Headquarters at the AIS in Canberra.

As full time referees, the trio undergo continual assessment of their physical condition with experts from AIS sports science and sports medicine.

They also do extensive “classroom” work reviewing the latest A-League matches looking for patterns in the way teams play.

Gillett said having the time to improve fitness levels would assist his performance.

“If you are feeling better physically, I think it leads to better decision making than having to make the decision when you are under pressure and fatigued,” he said.

“We’re leaving no stone unturned to minimise mistakes and referee as well as we can.

“We don’t like mistakes but there’s no video technology to assist us. We make a decision in a split second.”

FFA Referee Director Ben Wilson also warned people to be realistic about the chances of referees never making mistakes.

“There is an expectation that full time refereeing will equal perfect referees and we know that is not the case,” he said.

“We’ve seen that with other codes and other competitions around the world. Full time refereeing will make our refs better but I don’t belief full time refereeing will make them perfect.”

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