EHF Webinar offers unique perspective into minds of elite referees

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EHF / Adrian Costeiu

The EHF Webinar series - online lectures with in-depth presentations on the most requested and interesting topics from the handball courts, followed by a Q&A with the participants - has offered another excellent insight for handball referees, with a lecture on how difficult is it to be a top referee in the world of football.

The panelists were Szymon Marciniak and Tomasz Listkiewicz, who wrote history last season, when Marciniak became only the second referee in football history to officiate the finals of both the FIFA World Cup and the UEFA Champions League in the same season, with Listkiewicz by his side, as an assistant referee.

“I love handball, I used to visit every game in Plock, I always shout very loud to support the team, but always keeping it close to you, the referees, because I know the pressure which is put on you,” said Marciniak, at the start of the webinar, a clear indication of his passion about handball.

Then, one of the best football referees in the world moved on to underline the challenges faced by top referees, both in handball and in football, albeit with the differences between the punishments in the two sports, with handball boasting a more progressive approach to punitive measures than football.

Marciniak and Listkiewicz talked about the body language which referees must put on the court or pitch and in the communication with players during the game, how to handle stress and how a top referee in football prepares for a match.

“If I build a good relationship with players, they can help me on the pitch. I try to be nice when is the moment to be nice, and strong when is the moment to be strong. I try to find leaders in every team and talk to them so I can control the game better,” said Marciniak.

“A good referee must adapt in any situation. A good referee must adapt to any situation, you have to be a step ahead in the situations, this is why we and my colleagues were very good for many years when refereeing the top games in the Champions League.”

With EHF referees Mirza Kurtagic and Tatiana Prastalo moderating the webinar, questions continued to come from the attendees trying to get more and more insights into the minds of successful referees, who wrote history over the last years.

“They must expect us, they have to be afraid of us, if they respect, if they are afraid, we are the top of the top. If you think refereeing is an easy job, as a former troublemaker as a player, I know how to deal with this kind of players, it was not because I am a bad person, I always wanted to win. I was always trying to be alone when I lost a match as a player,” added Marciniak.

The Polish referee, who follows handball closely, then talked about how important it is to build a successful relationship with the members of his team and how crucial is it to have a well-gelled team to be successful, with everything going the right way when the referees are on the same page.

“We win together, we lose together, after the World Cup final between Argentina and France, it was a huge relief, after the final I went on vacation and I left my team to speak to the media, it was my idea to give them the floor,” commented Marciniak.

When it was Listkiewicz’s turn to have the floor in the webinar, the assistant referee confirmed what Marciniak said previously; underlining how important is to have good preparation for referees.

The EHF Webinar series will continue on Monday, 31 July at 18:00 CEST, with Mattias Andersson and Vanja Radic talking about modern goalkeeper training. 

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