Ray Oliver, a former Premier League matchday official, believes the use of goal-line technology has aided the referees in getting right critical decisions on the pitch. He also expected the Professional Game Match Officials Limited (PGMOL) to work closely with the All India Football Federation (AIFF) to boost the performance of the referees in the Indian Super League (ISL).
Oliver was speaking exclusively to Goal on the sidelines of Premier Skills Referee Development Programme organised by the ISL in Mumbai.
1) Do referees' decision get influenced by players' reactions or outbursts? Do you think the standard of refereeing has been helped by the advent of video technology like Goal-decision systems and touchline video referees?
Oliver Ray (OR) - Our referees are very experienced and this resistance to players reactions and outburst is developed over time. The integrity of our referees to be impartial and fair is paramount. However, we do continue to develop their mental toughness skills.
Video technology has been most helpful to our referees. The introduction of goal line technology has been invaluable in removing the critical decision making on whether they ball has crossed the goal line or not particularly due the speed the ball may have crossed the line or not. The additional assistant referees on the goal line is also helpful to support the referee in the judgment of offences particularly when there are a high number of players inside the penalty area.
2) Are you concerned by the loss of referees like Mark Clattenburg etc. who have opted for stints in the Middle East and foreign shores? How does it impact the game in England?
OR - It is a great loss to lose a top referee like Mark. He has had a fantastic and successful career and we wish him well for the future. However, the loss of Mark opens up an opportunity for a referee from our Select Group 2 to be promoted. Our referees are only as strong as the support and development we offer. So the stepping up to process is much less as a major step in performance.
3) How do you think the standard of refereeing in India can be improved? Your thoughts on ISL’s role in seeking helping from professional bodies such as PGMOL?
OR - The standard of refereeing can only be improved by having the appropriate support media in place and regular training and development. The ISL plays an important role in supporting the development of referees through the working partnership with the AIFF. The PGMOL will continue to provide support for both technical and coaching of their Indian match officials.
4) In modern football, are referees under tremendous pressure? If yes, what are the steps taken to ensure that they do not suffer or be nervous ahead of a massive big game?
OR - We work closely with sports psychologists who are employed by PGMOL and they provide the coping strategies and methods to enable the referees to be mentally fit before, during and after the>