Peter Green has been a Hyundai A-League referee since 2005 (previously an NSL referee) and a FIFA listed referee since 2006. In addition to a host of international matches, Peter has twice refereed the Hyundai A-League Grand Final (2013 and 2014).
He shares some of his insights on being an elite referee in the Hyundai A-League.
How did you become involved in refereeing?
I was playing football at a local club in Brisbane from the age of 8 until I was 16. I was asked to referee a junior game by the club and loved every minute of the experience. I took the referee course shortly after and decided to concentrate on officiating as I was never going to play for the Socceroos anytime soon. After finishing the course I joined the local referee association and worked my through the ranks.
Can you describe a week in the life of an A-League referee?
A typical week during the season for the majority of the referee’s is trying to balance a fulltime job outside of football with the demands of being an A-League match official. Working Monday to Friday, training 3-4 times during the week, teleconferences to analyse match performance, self-analysis and officiating in matches on the weekend. All of this while balancing time with the family and kids.
What do you do to keep a balance between your personal, professional and refereeing life?
Without the support of family, refereeing on the A-League would not be possible. The extra time away from home training and travelling is difficult for the rest of the family and can be especially stressful on home lives. I try to spend as much time at home whenever possible and keep the routines as close to normal as possible, especially for the kids. Getting away from football with the family is a great way not to burn out and keep fresh throughout the season.
How do you keep focused during a match and not let emotions influence decisions?
Football is an emotional game and that is what makes it so exciting for players, fans and officials. As referees we need to try and stay calm no matter what is going on or happening around us. For me I just try to stay focussed on the game and treat each decision on its own merit. Calm decisions are more often than not the better decisions and for us as referees getting the decisions on the park correct is critical.
In your opinion, what has been the biggest change in football in recent years?
Definitely the speed of the game has changed dramatically over the past few years. The transition from defence to attack is now a lot quicker than the NSL or early years of the A-League. The skill level of the teams has definitely increased and this is no doubt the result of players and clubs now being in a fully professional environment. The introduction of many quality foreign players of exceptional skill levels has also added to the level of the game.
What is the key to building positive relationships with players and coaches?
As a referee it is important to be approachable both on and off the field to players, managers and club officials alike. Communication is vitally important for any match official, however also understanding the players / managers perspective on different decisions and situations is just as important. Having a mutual respect for the players and understanding the emotions and stresses on them during a match can assist in building positive relationships both before and during matches.
What do you consider to be the most important characteristic of an elite referee?
Elite referees need to have many characteristics however communication and management skills are vitally important. Managing 22 players on the field in a highly competitive and emotional environment is a challenge. In the modern game and with the speed of the players, fitness if now more than ever a critical aspect to being an elite match official. Being in the right position to make the best decisions is critical.
What match or moment stands out as a highlight in your refereeing career?
Domestically it would have to be Grand Final matches in 12/13 and 13/14 with the match in Brisbane in front of my family and friends as a very special moment. Internationally it would have to be the 2014 World Cup qualifying match between Iran and Bahrain at the Azadi Stadium in Tehran in front of over 100,000 spectators. The atmosphere during the match was unbelievable and the noise is something I will never forget.