Reffing hell: stuck in the middle of a game gone wrong

For the last six years, Ian Plenderleith has documented his experiences of refereeing amateur football in Germany. He has now collated his reports in the book Reffing Hell“No, he’s a shit ref!” the coach screams. He’s not actually yelling at me this time, he’s screaming at one of his own players, who’s just offered me his hand after the game and said, “Well reffed.” I’d sent the trainer off half an hour earlier for his seemingly addictive hysteria. Even after I’d sent him off, he kept on screaming: “You should fuck off back to England! Go anywhere, as long as it’s far away!” (Oh, my friend, you can’t imagine how far away from here I’d like to be right now.)Now, after the game, he curses at me non-stop until I’ve disappeared into my changing room and shut the door. His team lost 5-1. It’s my fault, obviously. He isn’t the only member of the home side unhappy with my performance. One of his players has a predilection for using his hand to control the ball, which – as many of you will know — is contrary to the Laws of the Game. The first time’s right outside his own penalty area, and when I whistle, he yells, “Why don’t you just give a penalty and be done with it?” A highly curious suggestion, but I stick with the free-kick, which his opponents score from anyway.

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