This week we are speaking to local referees from across the county as part of the new Respect the Ref campaign which aims to increase the respect referees receive when officiating. Meet Rowan Clarke.
Why did you become a referee?
I became a referee as it was a way into the game as I wasn’t great at playing. I was offered a course and took the opportunity and haven’t ever looked back.
What does your life involve away from refereeing?
Away from work and refereeing I have plenty of hobbies that keeps me busy. I take my free time seriously to meet with family and friends. I spend large amounts of time in the sea surfing. I also work for Devon and Cornwall police as a Response Officer.
How long have you been a referee?
I completed my referee course when I was 16 in 2015.
What league(s) do you referee in?
Contributory League and National league
What do you feel is the best thing about refereeing/what do you enjoy about refereeing?
I meet with different people that in normal day to day life I wouldn’t come across. I have made it to a high level of football that I would never have reached as a player. Refereeing tests my ability and I always have to ensure my fitness is at a high level.
What are the toughest moments for you when refereeing?
Refereeing always provides challenges that many would not understand. Players and management work in a pressurised environment with a common goal of being the best. What players and management struggle to understand is that referees also have these goals and pressures. Every referee goes out to enjoy a game of football and thrives to make every decision correctly. Unfortunately this isn’t always possible to please all 22 players on the pitch. Swearing and abuse is not tolerated at any official and we shouldn’t be subject to this just behaviour due to a players lack of discipline.
What has being a referee given you?
It has provided me with skills that I can take forward into later life. I have developed my team work skills with working with other officials and club officials. My man management has improved with working from grass roots footballers to professional players. Refereeing has given me opportunities that I would never have had with playing football. I have been involved in the professional game with refereeing and worked with some amazing referees.
If you are interested in finding more about the Respect the Ref campaign, please click here and for more information on how to start your refereeing journey please contact email@example.com