With a lot of interest in my last post, From the Beginning, I’ve decided to continue and elaborate more on my story leading up to the first game.
Now when I had first tried to be an AR, I hadn’t taken a Referee Course yet so I was thrown out to the wolves. My first game was a U15 Boys line so I was briefed by one of my classmates MS, the school’s senior team goalkeeper at the time, on the basic signals. He was a football fanatic so there was credibility on his instructions and I remember them to this day during games.
Game Day: Sunday 19th October 2008; 3:15pm kick-off
Funny I know the exact date/time right? I kept track of all my CAS activities back then in a database so I am able to go back and track the dates I have done anything refereeing related. Pretty handy all-in-all.
One clear moment I remembered during my first game was an offside call I missed. I hadn’t even known that the Laws of the Game existed and I was faced with a tight scenario.
- Two attackers broke away on goal for the home team (EIS-J) with only the goalkeeper to beat. Attacker 2 was ahead of his teammate, Attacker 1, who was in possession of the ball. Attacker 2 was, therefore, in an offside position (ahead of the ball & between the second last defender and the last defender).
- When Attacker 1 had reached the penalty mark, he took a shot on goal but the ball rebounded off the cross bar and his teammate (Attacker 2) slotted it in. Now, at the time, I hadn’t realised that it was an offside offence and the fact that the attackers were only a yard apart didn’t help.
- I continued with the goal signal by running down the touch line but a few seconds later, the referee overruled me because the attacker in an offside position was gaining an advantage by being in that position.
I wasn’t very hurt by this overruling because at the start, everything is a learning process! It was after that game, I realised how hard it was to be an AR and making accurate offside judgements.
At the end of that week and for the rest of the academic year 2008-2009, I attended WB’s ‘Football Refereeing Course’ activity on Thursday afternoons and we spent weekdays after-school doing inter-school games at most twice a week. Refereeing in Dubai was undoubtedly weak at the time. The FA there had no structure or pyramid for refereeing. FIFA Referees just popped out of nowhere! A very frustrating system but I was relieved to find Canada’s far stronger.