Futsal refereeing has been picking up. 20 games under my belt now from the past month and I am far more comfortable managing a game than when I first started. I find that Futsal’s referee system includes the advantages and disadvantages of having a two-man referee system (at the lower levels). Why? Because there are two people with whistles on the court!
My first reaction to refereeing Futsal: “There’s so many things to keep track of!”
I fondly remember my mentor, BG, yelling across the court to me “COUNT!” (not that it’s that long ago!). It was like two fingers clicking in front of me as I snapped out of the other aspect of play I was focusing on and I quickly raise my hand to start a count that probably should have been 3 seconds in. This is now much less of a problem since I am able to better micro-manage the technicalities and know when to count!
One of the biggest difficulties I have been facing is with foul recognition. Given that we need to manage the four-second count, accumulated fouls, ball in and out of play as well as the goalkeeper second pass rule, enforcing fouls has been difficult. Not that they are hard to identify but there are other things to worry about as well. Not to mention that having two referees at opposite ends retracts some focus or lack of responsibility to a foul in some cases. Multi-tasking all these items will be essential to master and succeed in this sport.
Another difficulty is getting used to the different signalling mechanics. Try taking a peek at them here. I’m going to need to go over the mechanics in particular for advantage applied after an accumulated foul. Quite hard to apply in the game without a bit of practice and guidance.
It is also very clear from gameplay and player skill that Futsal is the training ground for the outdoor game. It is shocking how few countries introduce it to the youth at the early stages from what I have heard and seen from other referees around the world. It should be a no-brainer to anyone who experiences it. Futsal for the win! It’s clear seeing that the fever is catching on.