THE INTRODUCTION OF PROFESSIONAL REFEREES
For a number of years, I was the boss of the Professional Game Match Officials the organisation for managing and appointing all match officials operating at the Professional level
Within days of taking over I appointed a Sports Scientist, Sports Psychologist, Vision Scientist and the Prozone Analysis system,
Within a few weeks, Prof Matt Weston started to affect a Lifestyle change that included a strict four day a week physical training programme.
Nutrition guidance on what to eat and when started to be put into operation, Appropriate liquid intake and Jaffa Cakes and Jelly Babies supplied by us to be eaten very shortly after officiating a game.
The game at the elite level was becoming faster and increased during my period in office by some 40% in a three-year period.
Prozone was used by top clubs, Manchester United, Arsenal and many others around the world. I worked with this company to develop Prozone referee,
AVERAGE DISTANCE IN PREMIER LEAGUE GAMES REFEREES V PLAYERS
When the Sports Science started players were averaging 11,000m and Referees 10,000m
YEAR -SEASON AVGE PREMIER LEAGUE PLAYER (Distance metres) / AVGE PREMIER LEAGUE REFEREE (Distance metres)
2003/2004 11383 11165
2004/2005 11430 11331
2005/2006 11421 11649
2006/2007 11300 11387
I introduced a Sprint Coach to improve running styles and running efficiency we needed to improve sprint speeds to match the players,
A player’s sprint profiling at Professional level is measured at 7 metres per second – that speed is a sprint. Someone like Thierry Henry could sustain that speed in possession of the ball for distances up to 50m
I determined that in order for referees to maintain contact with play this is what they had to achieve – so the fitness programmes were changed from endurance to dynamic
YEAR - Average Sprint Distance SEASON PREMIER LEAGUE - PLAYER PREMIER LEAGUE - REFEREE
2003/2004 32 19
2004/2005 34 23
2005/2006 38 24
2006/2007 36 20
2007/2008 42 40
From the table above, you can see that we began to achieve the results of the group of professional referees becoming fitter and faster. We had moved from perception to reality with the measuring tools that we now had at our disposal
On one occasion Sir Alex Ferguson after his team drew 2-2 with Sunderland made a comment about the fitness of Referee Alan Wiley. He was taken by surprise when accurate statistics were produced by Prpzone on the subject. Manchester United were unhappy that the stats had been put into the public domain showing that Wiley had in fact run further than all but four of Manchester United’s players.
Prozone also enabled me to look closely at offside decisions and referee movement and positioning.
The chart above highlights one game involving Mark Clattenburg and was typical at the time of various stats produced to enhance performance.
What I had introduced became a world standard adopted by many countries involved in referee development and Performance analysis
Can you Hackett?
The goalkeeper on the edge of his area clears the ball well upfield, the ball falls to an opposition forward who strikes a long range shot goalwards. The goalkeeper turns to race back but drops to the floor having pulled a hamstring. Do you blow up and stop play allowing the keeper to receive assistance or allow play to continue and the ball fly into the net and award a goal?
A defender over-hits a pass back to the goalkeeper. The ball hits the inside of the post, does not cross the line and rebounds back to the goalkeeper who catches it and clears upfield. What now?