Remember ! You have been selected to officiate on your Cup Final because you deserve it !
You will probably know how your season has gone around about now. If it has gone to plan, then you will be in the frame for the plumb appointments around the end of the season and perhaps if you've done well, you may well be in the frame for a Cup Final appointment. This page is designed as a guide to help you plan and prepare for those big games. Your preparation begins the minute you get the appointment.
- Receipt of the Appointment
You've had the email, phone call or letter. You've done it ! You've been selected to officiate on the Cup Final. Congratulations ! You deserve it ! Enjoy the moment but it is here that your preparation begins.
You begin your preparations by confirming the game and putting it in your diary. Close the date with the powers that be.
Contact your assistants. Congratulate them on their appointment and remind them to close their dates like you have.
- Week of Game
Make contact with assistants again. Make match day arrangements. Arrange transport etc. Ideally you want to be at the ground at least 1 hour before kick off. Confirm the dress code with your assistants. A Collar and Tie is a must for Cup Final games. You want to look the part from the outset.
- Day Before Game
Check your kit over. If you're wearing new boots make sure they are worn in. You don't want blisters 10 minutes into your big game. Are you flags clean ? Check the competition rules. How many subs ? How long each half ?
- Day of Game
Check you bag at least twice. Make sure there are no surprises when you open it at the ground. Eat and drink well. Ensure you give yourself plenty of time throughout the day. The last thing you want is to be rushing around.
- Arrival at the Ground
You've arrived nice and early and met your assistants. Unpack your bags and get organised. Set up a timetable. For example - What time are team sheets ? How long do you want your warm up to be ? You want to be ready at least 10 minutes before kick off. Positive body language will help you gain confidence.
- Pitch Inspection
Leave nothing to chance. Check the pitch thoroughly. Have you got penalty spots ? Corner Flags ?
- Pre Match Instructions
Don't leave them to the last minute. Give yourself plenty of time. A good idea is to do them on the pitch during your inspection. This stops any distractions or interruptions in the dressing room. If you've not got much experience working with assistants and giving instructions, write them down or use a card. The West Cheshire League offer an instructions card to their officials. Download it here.
- Warm Up
Nothing stupid but just enough to get you moving and loose. Get out on the pitch and familiarise yourself with the surroundings and atmosphere.
- Ten Mins Before Kick Off
Check your equipment. Check the programme. Which assistant will be using the red flag ? Check the Match Ball.
- Five Minutes Before Kick Off
Get the teams into the tunnel. Assistants to check players equipment. Lead the teams out and enjoy the moment.
- Coin Toss
A Cup Final is all about the players and you are their to ensure fair play. A final should never be about the Match Officials. Ensure the captains are aware of your expectations of them. Before the assistants break to take position all have one last handshake.
- During the Game
Remember that just because it is a Cup Final should not mean you approach incidents differently. If there is a DOGSO in the first minute then it's a DOGSO and must result in the correct punishment, ie Red Card. Do not change your style of refereeing. You've got the game because of your own style. Enjoy it !
- Half Time
Chance to catch your breath. Check both assistants are ok.
- Full Time
Well Done - Everyone is talking about the game and even some are mentioning how well the referee did. If the game requires extra time then remember the protocols. Also if penalties are looming run through the laws regarding Penalties with both assistants.