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Harm Osmers: Two main characteristics for successful referees

German FIFA and UEFA referee Harm Osmers shared what he felt are the two main characteristics referees must have to be successful. He also shared other tips for referees about refereeing and teamwork in an interview with UEFA ahead of the 2021–22 UEFA Youth League Final.


Osmers put an emphasis on being a team as a referee and that "that it’s not about individuals."

Osmers added that he saw himself as a team-leader and that "we will look to achieve a good performance as a team."

As referees we have to remember it's human nature to be self-centered but our success as a crew depends on how well we work together.

Gradual Progress

Osmers’ journey as a referee started when he was 16 becoming a B-youth referee. He quickly climbed up the ladder becoming a DFB referee in 2009 and in 2016 he was promoted to the Bundesliga. Then in 2020 he became a FIFA referee.

He explained that as a referee you don't learn everything at once you progress gradually doing matches at the next level learning along the way.

"When you reach a higher level, you learn a new environment where there is greater public and media exposure and bigger demands. It’s a step-by-step process of gaining experience along the way" Osmers stated.

Decision Making

Osmers explained the first characteristics he believes for referees to be successful is being a good decision-maker.

This will helps you feel confident and in control as well as allowing you to dictate the flow of the match.

Referees who struggle with decision-making often find themselves over-analyzing situations and dwelling on them which decreases performance.


The second characteristic for successful referees was being able to manage people "especially in conflict situations" Osmers said.

Managing players and not shying away when players react negatively is important for referees to learn.

Although not easy, adapting to the changing conditions of any given match and raising your profile as a referee when the "conflict situations" arise during the match is paramount for successful refereeing.




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