Job Market: Referee
What you need to know about becoming a referee
REFEREES are the officials who discipline players during a game.
According to Adeel Carelse, who has been a referee for 17 years, there is much more to being a professional referee.
He works for the South African Football Association (Safa) as a match commissioner - the highest rank for a referee.
Refereeing is a part-time position and referees have full-time professions and can be anything from teachers to lawyers.
A referee officiates a sports match, using a specific set of rules that govern that sport's code of conduct. He ensures that each team is treated equally and fairly, disciplines players who disobey rules and punishes a team when a player commits a foul. A referee is neutral.
The pros and cons
One of the greatest advantages of being a referee is that it is very profitable.
Referees are called to officiate one or two matches a week and are paid per game. Depending on their level of seniority and the importance of the game, this could amount to as much as R3,500 per game. On average, they earn between R15,000 and R25,000 a month.
"The con is the pressure on the field and when outsiders try to influence you to direct the match to favour a specific team," Carelse says.
Required studies and experience
Referees start at district level, where they receive preliminary training. There they are monitored to see whether they may be nominated for further training.
To become a professional referee, there are seven levels in the Safa referee exam to complete. Levels one to five are taught at provincial level and levels six and seven are presented at national level. Each level comprises an academic section and a practical section.
"This is where you are actually placed into a game situation and your big match temperament is tested. This is how they establish what level you can go to or at which point you will crack. You'll need to know the laws of the game and then understand the competition rules, which change with each game," Carelse says.
"We work with the three Cs - cool, calm and collected. You need to be neutral, fair and equitable. You must be able to think on your feet and make unbiased decisions on the spot. You also have to have a high sense of integrity, credibility and objectivity, as well as the highest degree of decision-making," he says.
An average day
Referees are informed of their fixtures at the beginning of each week and put aside at least three hours to officiate each game. They are required to arrive at least 90 minutes before a game starts.
"When you walk out onto the field on Cup Final day, it's the most amazing feeling that gives you a high you can't replicate anywhere," Carelse says.