Latest Footballing Blogs

Latest Blogs

Rookie referee: my first referee course

Rookie referee: my first referee course

A recently-qualified female referee told us exclusively about her experience of being the only female on a refereeing course. As a child I never participated in football however I have a younger brother who plays in a grassroots team and we also started to follow a...

Manager Appointments are Key at Community Clubs

Manager Appointments are Key at Community Clubs

When you watch lots of games of football at all different levels, you see match officials with a different style of refereeing, you have some who you can have a good laugh with and talk to, you have the opposite which just aren’t approachable but you know where you...

Latest UEFA NEWS – VAR

Latest UEFA NEWS – VAR

UEFA will introduce thicker lines for offside decisions reviewed in the Champions League and Europa League by Video Assistant Referees [VARs], in a bid to encourage more goals from next season. The new lines, which may yet be used in this summer's European...

How Referees Can Optimise Preparation

How Referees Can Optimise Preparation

Winter Breaks, Rain and Expert Practice: How Referees Can Optimise Preparation. February saw the first winter break in English football.  While this is common in other European nations, most notably Germany, this novel event saw coaches, players and referees take a...

CHALLENGES ON THE GOALKEEPER – CHALLENGES BY THE GOALKEEPER

CHALLENGES ON THE GOALKEEPER – CHALLENGES BY THE GOALKEEPER

Are Referees over protecting goalkeepers? I often hear shouts from spectators when the referee intervenes and awards a free kick for an offence against the goalkeeper. So, in this article, I thought that I would try to clarify the law and hopefully provide you with a...

FA Cup 5th Round Match Officials

FA Cup 5th Round Match Officials

Monday 2 March  Portsmouth v Arsenal - 7.45pm - Live on BT Sport 1 and BT Sport Ultimate Referee: Michael Dean Assistant Referees: Simon Bennett & Edward Smart Fourth Official: David Coote Tuesday 3 March Chelsea v Liverpool - 7.45pm - Live on BBC One and BBC...

Journey to Professionalism

Journey to Professionalism

During my period as General Manager of the Professional Game Match Officials Limited the organisation responsible for the selection, development of match officials to the Professional game in England. I devised a business plan to deliver a cadre of world-class...

IFAB VAR PROTOCOL (SUMMARY)

IFAB VAR PROTOCOL (SUMMARY)

IFAB PROTOCOL (SUMMARY) Procedures Original decision • The referee and other match officials must always make an initial decision (including any disciplinary action) as if there was no VAR (except for a ‘missed’ incident) • The referee and other match officials are...

VAR Process Flawed and Embarrassing

VAR Process Flawed and Embarrassing

As a grassroots referee you look up to the elite officials to pave the way for you, to make the life of a referee easier by top class performances which can be justified when fans, pundits and others disagree. The processes our PGMOL officials have to follow regards...

Premier League Fitness should Equal FIFA Fitness

Premier League Fitness should Equal FIFA Fitness

Where do you set your bar for achievements, what are your personal standards of acceptance and a minimum requirement for your own satisfaction. I’ve woken up to the fact two of our brightest prospects in refereeing have failed their FIFA fitness tests. Circumstance...

Refereeing in grassroots: Why wouldn’t you do your best?

Refereeing in grassroots: Why wouldn’t you do your best?

I have refereed many games over many years and even though the ball doesn’t always run kindly I try my best to deliver the best I can in that moment. But does every referee think the same? I do wonder if my standards are too high sometimes. Refereeing at grassroots is...

10 Minute Block Refereeing

10 Minute Block Refereeing

‘TEN MINUTE BLOCK REFEREEING’ Several years ago, I was sat with the group of Select Group (Premier League) Referees, many of them also FIFA officials. We listened intently to a presentation by two active referees Graham Barber and Graham Poll who were both at the top...

FA Cup Referee Appointments 4th Round 2020

FA Cup Referee Appointments 4th Round 2020

Fourth round fixtures are scheduled to take place between Friday 24 January and Monday 27 January 2020 and here's who is in charge of them:  1 Watford or Tranmere Rovers v Manchester United Referee: Lee Mason Assistant Referees: Simon Bennett & Daniel Robathan...

Matchday 24 – Premier League Review

Matchday 24 – Premier League Review

Manchester Utd 0- Burnley 2 Referee Jon Moss The opening goal was scored by Woods from a free kick taken from the incorrect position. The referee awarded free-kick inside the Burnley half. It was taken ten yards forward. The pre-match instructions of referees regard...

Developing Referees – Using Premier League Footage

Developing Referees – Using Premier League Footage

We've broken this weeks show into a few different areas, with Mike Deans fantastic achievement of reaching 500 games, to looking at Darren Englands 1st game. The Video Below, covers two games, Southampton vs Wolves and Liverpool vs Man Utd, with a few educational...

AOS MATCH REPORT – 20.01.20

AOS MATCH REPORT – 20.01.20

After complaints from captain Danny Bell and manager Luke Barraclough over the decision to move AOS FC 3 leagues above, with no trophy or recognition, there was no luck and AOS FC on their 6th game played their first in the top division. A steady game to begin,...

UK Referee Promotion System- Is it Flawed?

UK Referee Promotion System- Is it Flawed?

I have the opportunity of watching a large number of grassroots games this year and witnessed some excellent displays of officiating. Not every referee takes up the whistle with the intention of wanting to become a professional or refereeing the FA Challenge Cup...

AOS FC MATCH REPORT – 13/01/20

AOS FC MATCH REPORT – 13/01/20

After their back to back victories last week, AOS FC played in the storm. However, strong winds and rain in a dark, gloomy night in Sheffield did not stop their momentum from carrying on. There 4th game of the season in League Two was overshadowed by the possibility...

AOS FC MATCH REPORT – 06/12/19

AOS FC MATCH REPORT – 06/12/19

AOS FC played two games, back to back, on a wet and cold Monday night in Sheffield. The first game saw a solid performance from all involved, after a slow start, AOS started to dominate, causing gaps to appear through slick passing and quick movement. 0-0 in the first...

Official Review – FA Cup

Official Review – FA Cup

The FA Challenge Cup brings back great memories for me having refereed the 100th Final between Manchester City v Liverpool in 1981. I was also senior linesman in the 1979 Cup Final between Arsenal v Manchester United So I have reviewed a number of games providing my...

Stuck in the Middle with You: VAR and the Referee

Stuck in the Middle with You: VAR and the Referee

Stuck in the Middle with You: VAR and the RefereeThe introduction of VAR in the Premier League this season has, without doubt, resulted in the biggest talking points of the season so far.  Are some teams getting more favourable decisions than others?  Has...

AOS FC Match Report – 30.12.19

AOS FC Match Report – 30.12.19

After a week off within the festive period, AOS FC returned to play their second league game of the season. Again, striker Archie Dickens sunning it up in the Dominican, senior figure Graham Bell stepped in to provide depth to the squad. The game was one which saw AOS...

AOS FC MATCH REPORT – 16/12/19

AOS FC MATCH REPORT – 16/12/19

AOS FC played their first game on a cold Monday night in Sheffield. The line-up, missing striker Archie Dickens, saw the side start their campaign 6 points adrift of the leaders, due to joining the league late. Playing the leaders, who were...

VAR IS HERE TO STAY

VAR IS HERE TO STAY

VAR IS HERE TO STAY There is no doubt that the major talking point at the elite end of our great game is the way in which VAR (Video Assistant Referee) is been applied in the Premier League. I need to say from the onset that I am a great believer in the use of...

It’s all about the VAR

It’s all about the VAR

Keith Hackett latest Daily Telegraph article published 28.10.19 I have been officiating for more than 50 years and I have no hesitation in saying that the introduction of the VAR system into the Premier League at the moment is close to a...

USA, BELGIUM AND “SOMETHING”

USA, BELGIUM AND “SOMETHING”

I was talking with a friend of mine, who is very knowledgeable about the history of soccer in this country, about how to make the USMNT one of the best in the World. I told him that “Look at Belgium; they must have done “something” over the years so that they are now...

Developing the game- one step further

Developing the game- one step further

Keys to Football is a platform for everyone developing in our beautiful game.  The platform allows personalised development for any player, coach or referee What’s on offer: Online exam for the laws of the game, testing referees, players and coaches Education:...

Racism in football

Racism in football

If a player, or players, approaches Ivan Bebek, the referee at tonight's match,  and says there is a problem with racist abuse from the crowd, the match official will immediately adopt Uefa's three-step protocol for dealing with such incidents. Although he will have...

Racism – Referee Protocol

Racism – Referee Protocol

If a player, or players, approaches Ivan Bebek, the referee at tonight's match,  and says there is a problem with racist abuse from the crowd, the match official will immediately adopt Uefa's three-step protocol for dealing with such incidents. Although he will have...

HAPPY RETIREMENT – TOP OFFICIALS

HAPPY RETIREMENT – TOP OFFICIALS

Understand that two Referees have retired from officiating at the top level.Both have been excellent servants to the game.Lee Probert And Eddie Ilderton we at Keys to Football wish you a happy retirement Thankyou for all that you've done and no doubt continue to...

PODCAST – Premier League Week 2

PODCAST – Premier League Week 2

Week 2 Premier league review, plus a review of week 3 Hall or Nothing, the two halls, referee vs coach Part 1   Part 2

PODCAST Week 1

PODCAST Week 1

Podcast from week 1 of the Premier League season, we got a bit carried away on this one, even though its a really good listen we appreciate the length. Enjoy : any feedback disagreements contact us on twitter @keystofootball happy to discuss

Development and Change

Development and Change

The end is nearly here for this as the front page of Keys To Football, we have been so busy behind the scenes, talking with leading sports physiologists, FA's, football managers, players, Referees, and so many more people. We've altered a few areas thanks to...

China Visit and Platform Development

China Visit and Platform Development

Our recent visit to China to show off the online training platform which helps with cognitive thinking and development in all players, coaches, referees no matter the sport. We started at football, went to FUTSAL, Basketball and a market we never imagined but we'll...

Lionesses World Cup Journey – Those decisions

Lionesses World Cup Journey – Those decisions

A few big decisions on the game between England vs USA in the FIFA Women's World Cup 2019 Semi-Final. Also discussing the need for investment and the need for PE in schools to be given the backing because it's vitally important.

France vs Nigeria WWC 2019

France vs Nigeria WWC 2019

Women's World cup 17th June saw a penalty retake because of the goalkeeper's feet not being on the line. We see a keeper penalised when players have gotten away with encroachment for years, 2 wrongs don't make a right but would like to see everything being clamped...

Fifa WWC France Vs Norway

Fifa WWC France Vs Norway

There was nothing controversial about the VAR in France depending on who you speak with, the media of course it was controversial, this gets clicks and people saying officials got it wrong. The person who writes for the controversial VAR headline probably hasn't read...

When technology fails us!

When technology fails us!

With so much regards VAR in the press, the debate will continue until it is absolutely the norm, which it will become.  When technology fails us what do we do, stop the game, postpone or get on with the game the same way as we already do and the referee's decision is...

European Finals – Decisions

European Finals – Decisions

Now the dust has settled on the European finals, what decisions were made and why what decisions weren't made and why  

Champions League Final and Handball

Champions League Final and Handball

During my era, neither of Liverpool's goals would have stood but Damir Skomina was spot on with both his major decisions in Madrid - Keith Hackett This was a match that underlined how refereeing has evolved and the transformation in how certain rules are interpreted....

Playoff Finals May 2019

Playoff Finals May 2019

The playoff finals didn't disappoint, still remember the early days when everyone wanted the old way of the 3rd placed team, I was one of them, however, it keeps the season alive for so long and provides brilliant entertainment. The referees were terrific all weekend....

S & H Association Cup Final Tie

S & H Association Cup Final Tie

AFC Penistone Church v Denaby Main - Association Cup Final Tie Saturday, 25 May 2019 at 16:00 Sheffield Wednesday FC in Sheffield

£200 Million Game Match official

£200 Million Game Match official

LEAGUE CHAMPIONSHIP PLAYOFF FINAL REFEREE ASTON VILLA V DERBY COUNTY Monday 27th May   Kick Off 3pm   REFEREE PAUL TIERNEY ASSTS IAN HUSSIN   ADRIAN HOLMES FOURTH OFFICIAL CHRIS KAVANAGH   LEAGUE 2 PLAY OFF FINAL   REFEREE ROSS JOYCE ASSTS NIK BARNARD ...

Premier League Referee Stats

Premier League Referee Stats

Premier League season is coming to an end, whose refereed the most games, most cautions and most sendings off? REFEREE NUMBER PREMIER LEAGUE GAMES YELLOW CARDS ISSUED RED CARDS ISSUED ANTHONY TAYLOR 31 101 1 MICHAEL OLIVER 29 83 7 MARTIN ATKINSON 28 89 1 MIKE DEAN 28...

First Russian Champions League final official

First Russian Champions League final official

Former women’s national football team defender Anastasia Pustovoitova will be the first Russian national to referee a Champions League final after the UEFA selected her to officiate the women’s final later this month. Olympique Lyonnais play FC Barcelona Femenino in...

EFL Play Off Match Officials

EFL Play Off Match Officials

          Thursday, 09 May 2019   Sky Bet League Two Play-Off Semi-Final 1st Leg Newport County v Mansfield Town (19:45) MATTHEW DONOHUE Assistants: Steven Rushton and Darren Wilding Fourth Official: Charles Breakspear Friday, 10 May 2019...

Premiership Referees May 12th

Premiership Referees May 12th

Sunday, 12 May   Brighton v Man City Referee: Michael Oliver Assistants: Stuart Burt, Simon Bennett Fourth official: Paul Tierney Burnley v Arsenal Referee: Mike Dean Assistants: Dan Robathan, Nick Hopton Fourth official: Lee Mason Crystal Palace v AFC...

Onside or Offside? You Decide

Onside or Offside? You Decide

  Add your comments! Be the VAR Referee. Is it Onside or Offside? Also, do not forget to join our membership and discussion for free!

Should Spurs have had a penalty on Saturday at Man City?

Should Spurs have had a penalty on Saturday at Man City?

Should Spurs have had a penalty on Saturday at Man City? Michael Oliver is our leading referee and he’s behind the incident when it happens, a 50-yard pass drops down in the area deflecting from Spurs Dele Ali onto Kyle Walker's arm. As a grassroots referee you look...

Mohamed Salah did take a theatrical tumble against Cardiff –

Mohamed Salah did take a theatrical tumble against Cardiff –

Mohamed Salah did take a theatrical tumble against Cardiff - but a penalty decision was correct  Mohamed Salah will once again be accused of diving after winning another crucial penalty for Liverpool, but referee Martin Atkinson was absolutely correct in awarding a...

Matchweek 35 Officials

Matchweek 35 Officials

The match officials for Matchweek 35 of the 2018/19 season have been appointed.   Saturday, 20 April 12:30 Man City v Spurs Referee: Michael Oliver Assistants: Stuart Burt, Simon Bennett Fourth official: Chris Kavanagh AFC Bournemouth v Fulham Referee: David...

Don’t X The Line Anti-Bullying Approach 2019

Don’t X The Line Anti-Bullying Approach 2019

Don't X The Line Anti-Bullying Approach 2019 The protection of the referee through an anti-bullying policy will be the catalyst for change in your football organisation. It is sometimes very difficult to manage behaviour and to keep emotions under control, however, it...

Champions League Officials

Champions League Officials

CHAMPIONS LEAGUE QUARTER FINALS FIRST LEG LIVERPOOL  V FC PORTO Ref Antonio Miguel Lahoz (ESP) ASST REF 1 Pau Cebrian Devis ASST REF 2 Roberto Diaz Perez del Palomar Fourth Official Ovidiu Alin Hategan Roumania VAR Jesus Gil Manzano   TOTTENHAM V MANCHESTER CITY...

Keith Hackett Column

Keith Hackett Column

Keith Hackett’s Column. In 1960 I stepped onto a school football field at Cadman Road, Intake to referee my first game of football between Sheffield United Juniors v Hillsborough Boys Club.

GRASSROOTS REFEREEING WITHOUT ASSISTANTS

GRASSROOTS REFEREEING WITHOUT ASSISTANTS

When teams play their games sometimes spectators, players or management will say that you need assistants, thinking that the lack of assistants is a situation confined to their own league. What isn’t realised is that a lot of grassroots football is played without assistants,

Referee

Rookie referee: my first referee course

Rookie referee: my first referee course

A recently-qualified female referee told us exclusively about her experience of being the only female on a refereeing course. As a child I never participated in football however I have a younger brother who plays in a grassroots team and we also started to follow a...

Journey to Professionalism

Journey to Professionalism

During my period as General Manager of the Professional Game Match Officials Limited the organisation responsible for the selection, development of match officials to the Professional game in England. I devised a business plan to deliver a cadre of world-class...

IFAB VAR PROTOCOL (SUMMARY)

IFAB VAR PROTOCOL (SUMMARY)

IFAB PROTOCOL (SUMMARY) Procedures Original decision • The referee and other match officials must always make an initial decision (including any disciplinary action) as if there was no VAR (except for a ‘missed’ incident) • The referee and other match officials are...

VAR Process Flawed and Embarrassing

VAR Process Flawed and Embarrassing

As a grassroots referee you look up to the elite officials to pave the way for you, to make the life of a referee easier by top class performances which can be justified when fans, pundits and others disagree. The processes our PGMOL officials have to follow regards...

Coach

USA, BELGIUM AND “SOMETHING”

USA, BELGIUM AND “SOMETHING”

I was talking with a friend of mine, who is very knowledgeable about the history of soccer in this country, about how to make the USMNT one of the best in the World. I told him that “Look at Belgium; they must have done “something” over the years so that they are now...

Coach

Rookie referee: my first referee course

Rookie referee: my first referee course

A recently-qualified female referee told us exclusively about her experience of being the only female on a refereeing course. As a child I never participated in football however I have a younger brother who plays in a grassroots team and we also started to follow a...

FA Cup 5th Round Match Officials

FA Cup 5th Round Match Officials

Monday 2 March  Portsmouth v Arsenal - 7.45pm - Live on BT Sport 1 and BT Sport Ultimate Referee: Michael Dean Assistant Referees: Simon Bennett & Edward Smart Fourth Official: David Coote Tuesday 3 March Chelsea v Liverpool - 7.45pm - Live on BBC One and BBC...

Journey to Professionalism

Journey to Professionalism

During my period as General Manager of the Professional Game Match Officials Limited the organisation responsible for the selection, development of match officials to the Professional game in England. I devised a business plan to deliver a cadre of world-class...

IFAB VAR PROTOCOL (SUMMARY)

IFAB VAR PROTOCOL (SUMMARY)

IFAB PROTOCOL (SUMMARY) Procedures Original decision • The referee and other match officials must always make an initial decision (including any disciplinary action) as if there was no VAR (except for a ‘missed’ incident) • The referee and other match officials are...

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