FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup 2018


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  • FIFA Referee Instructor Fatou Gaye keen to bring coaches and match officials together
  • The aim is to improve communication and raise awareness
  • “I’m very pleased with the interaction between me and the coaches”

It is no secret that coaches and referees do not always see eye to eye, and this is frequently apparent on the football pitch. Teams often struggle to understand officials’ decisions, causing emotions to run high – but why?

This was Fatou Gaye’s starting point at a FIFA Regional Women’s Coaching Workshop* as she attempted to give the participants an insight into a referee’s perspective and improve communication. What do coaches think about officiating and how much do they actually know about a referee’s work?

“It was important for me to bring both sides together, as we normally see referees on one side and coaches on the other,” experienced match official Gaye told FIFA.com. “I wanted to seize the moment to give the attendees a better understanding of the work of referees and explain that they are also just people with children and families who lead a normal life, but also that they always work hard to stay at the highest level.”


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In order to improve communication between the two parties, prevent misunderstandings and raise awareness of the work of match officials, it is important to bring everybody’s knowledge to the same level.

“Coaches often aren’t aware of the latest rules,” Senegal-born Gaye explained. “If you manage a team, you react emotionally when you hear the whistle and often don’t understand why it was blown. That’s the main problem: coaches react with their hearts without being fully aware of the rules.

“It’s important to have a meeting between both sides before each season or tournament to explain the latest rules and enable people to get to know each other and learn from each other,” Gaye continued. “What’s important is that we are all on the same page in the end.”

The key to this initiative is the ability and will of all parties to put themselves in each other’s shoes and empathise, while taking the relevant information on board.


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The lively discussions at the end of the event showed that Gaye’s presentation was certainly meaningful.

“I’m very pleased with the interaction between me and the coaches,” she said. “There were plenty of questions and I was able to clarify many issues such as those relating to handball. Sometimes a coach doesn’t know exactly what has happened. The same is true for the offside and advantage rules.”

*Women’s football coaches from various French-speaking regions gathered in Brittany for the ten-day workshop, which includes instructional seminars and practical sessions, as well as analysing matches at the FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup France 2018.

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