One of the edicts of the campaign is for Captains to be a focal point of their team in terms of interacting with the Referee. A key aspect here is that the Captain has no formal responsibilities in the Laws Of The Game but by working together it can really help with control of the match.
However, this really does depend on the just how good the Captain is. In general, I have found that there are two types:
- Will lead by example. Will work with the referee to calm down members of their team as required. Will assist with communicating the referee’s preferences to the team.
- Will have been nominated due to being the loudest member of the team. Most likely to criticise decisions they don’t agree with (loudly). Will be leading by example but the wrong sort of example! Leading the charge for the first caution of the game.
A strong captain is worth their weight in gold. If both teams are blessed in this way then a game will pretty much run itself!
Here is some general advice in handling captains in the best interests of the game:
- Make contact before the coin toss. This doesn’t have to be much. Perhaps just ask who they are during the equipment inspection?
- Get them involved when briefing the Club Assistant Referees. They can raise any queries plus it will help there be no surprises with the way you work with the Assistants.
- Brief the teams on any expected behaviour during the equipment inspection. Explaining it just to the captains prior to the coin toss is okay but… When does the captain have the subsequent chance to tell their team? If everyone knows from the beginning what your views are then the captain will find it easier… and so will you!
- Get the captain involved when disciplining as much as possible. They will be more likely to be able to calm down team-mates than you. Remember the stepped approach: This doesn’t just have to be when showing the cards!
- Keep in touch with the captain during the game even when there is no misconduct. Are they doing a good job? Tell them! Thank them!
- Captain not helping? Stop trying to get them involved. There’s only so much you can do.
I hope you find this useful and please do post any of your own advice with working with Captains in the best interest of having a great game!