Masterclass for Soccer Officials – Stanley Lover


A former referee, FIFA referees instructor in all six football confederations and chairman of the London Referees Association, Stanley Lover enjoyed the respect of many throughout the latter part of the 20th century. Not least because he also authored many refereeing classics, including Soccer Match Control, an excellent book which not only explains the laws of the game but also gives the reasons and causes underlying the LOTG. The book also offers every referee, from starter to advanced level, a superb guide to improving his control of a match. Unfortunately (for my Dutch readers), it has never been translated into Dutch.

In the later stages of his life, Lover moved to the US, where he continued his teaching career. A fruit of his American labour, the book is an anthology of articles he wrote for Referee, a magazine for sports officials. The first few chapters are a condensation of Soccer Match Control, the later articles addressing more topical subjects and other refereeing-related issues.

Value for active referees


Although I would recommend that all referees, beginners and old hands alike, read Soccer Match Control first, Masterclass is a very good springboard. It explains in clear and easy terms how and why the LOTG are as they are, and how a prudent referee should apply them sensibly. Lover’s love for the game transpires in his writing, his decades of experience lending his words the weight of authority.

In the chapter titled “Thirty Years On: What’s Changed?” Lover dissects the issues behind the changing world of football since the 1960s, giving referees and the associations advice on how to adapt to keep pace, for they have been lacking in that area. This chapter alone makes the book required reading.

Final say

This is a short but well thought out book, which – with the exception of the first few chapters – comprises isolated articles on refereeing issues, with virtually each article containing a wealth of useful information. Any referee honestly dedicated to raising his match control standard would do well to plunge into this book. Anyone with a thirst for deeper knowledge should find a copy of the older, but still highly useful, Soccer Match Control (also known as Association Football Match Control). I will review that book at a later time.



Title Masterclass for Soccer Officials
Author Stanley Lover
Publisher Referee Books
Year 2003
Pages 129
4 / 5     

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