Referees ● Sep 07, 2020

Junior referees inspired by former World Cup referee

Class 3 referee Syifa Hannany


SINGAPORE, 7 SEPTEMBER 2020 – For many young referees aspiring to officiate at a higher level, it was a rare opportunity and an honour to hear about FIFA Referee Instructor Subkhiddin Mohd Salleh’s experience on the international stage.


Subkhiddin had achieved many referees’ dream of receiving appointments to the prestigious FIFA World Cup, more than once. In 2007, he officiated in the group stage and quarter-finals of the FIFA U20 World Cup in Canada. He had also been appointed to the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa as the fourth official.


His World Cup journey did not end there. Following his retirement in 2011, he became a Referee Instructor and was appointed to many FIFA youth tournaments and the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia to provide performance analysis and technical assistance to players and officials.


More than 30 selected Class 2 and 3 referees were given the opportunity to learn from Subkhiddin during the FIFA Online Refereeing Course held on 29 and 30 August. Local instructors were also invited to observe the sessions which covered topics such as challenges, tactical fouls and penalty area incidents.


This is the second FIFA online course organised by the Football Association of Singapore (FAS) utilising FIFA’s Referee Online Classroom Tool. The first course, which took place in June, was targeted at elite referees officiating in the SPL.


Subkhiddin, who had previously conducted the FIFA/FAS Referees Seminar for local referees, remarked: “One obvious thing that I can identify throughout this online course is the diverse characters and personalities of the participants, which may influence them when making judgments and decisions.”


“I believe it is the responsibility of the instructor to enrich the character of a referee so that he/she can use it effectively when needed while handling any issues on duty,” he added. “I hope that this two-day course can help participants understand that the rule book is only a small part of the guidelines provided. To manage a match, we need referees who are intelligent and are able to understand and adapt to the needs of football.”


Class 3 referee Darius Lim said: “It has been valuable having Mr Subkhiddin share his experience as a former World Cup referee. I enjoyed having the opportunity to learn from a top referee and to be able to engage in discussion with him on the various topics through the online course.”


“For me personally, the key takeaways from the course include an understanding that the game of football is always evolving and; the need to continually review one’s understanding of the game to keep with the times in order to become a better match official. There is also a need to keep an open mind and have a structured approach in reaching a decision through reasoned considerations,” he added.


His fellow participant Syifa Hannany commented: “Personally, I would like to thank Mr Subkhiddin for being so humble, easy going and patient, as it made it easier for us to relate to what he was saying. Not only was he willing to share his knowledge and experiences with new referees, he also saw things from our point of view, made sure we understood the refereeing concepts and learnt to better analyse situations.”


“I can clearly remember his words to me to when we were analysing various refereeing scenarios. He said ‘No Syifa, be a smart referee… Don’t just call and go for it. Wait first, analyse and then you make the decision.’” she recalled. “This may seem like a piece of simple advice, but for someone who has anxiety attacks and panics easily, it really means a lot as I realise I am able to do things better when I am calm and composed.”


“I really am glad to say I have learnt a lot. The help, guidance and experiences shared by Mr Subkhiddin Salleh has definitely made me understand the Laws of the Game better.”

FIFA Instructor and former World Cup referee Subkhiddin Mohd Salleh


Having been through what the referees are experiencing at this stage, Subkhiddin had a word of advice for all.


“A good referee needs to put in continuous effort in order to improve. You should also be humble enough to acknowledge and correct your weaknesses instead looking for reasons to justify your mistakes. Make football one of the essential elements in your life….and more importantly, make football a part of your family members’ lives,” he advised. “The door will always be open to those who have a strong desire to develop themselves in football or any sport.”


“I would also like to remind our referees that while the development and use of technological equipment in football to aid in the decision-making process is quickly becoming the norm, all referees should always bear in mind that the players will always have a range of diverse emotions during the game. Hence, having some level of emotional intelligence is also a vital part of a referee’s overall skillset.”