Referee Hoàng Ngọc Hà. — Photo VFF
HÀ NỘI — Like footballers, Vietnamese referees have had the beautiful game taken away from them due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but that isn't stopping them from keeping in shape.
“The 2020 football season just started for less than a month but it has been postponed because of the deadly coronavirus.
"This made footballers and referees feel depressed.
"For the players, the season’s pause can bring joy to them because they will be with their families after a long time away from home to train and play, but for the referees, they feel very empty,” said Golden Whistle award-winner Hoàng Ngọc Hà.
“We rarely have to work away from home for one-two months but often are only busy on weekends, so we still have time to take care of our home.
"But the tournament was suddenly suspended and that brought a deep nostalgia to the referees who are away from work,” Hà added.
Although referees don’t have to work any more, they still have plans to maintain their fitness.
“The speed of football matches is getting higher and higher, so the referees need to have good physical strength and stamina to catch up.
"So this time, myself and other referees often practise endurance exercises,” said Việt Nam Golden Flag-winner Phạm Mạnh Long.
Assistant referee Phạm Mạnh Long. — Photo VFF
“In addition to maintaining fitness, Vietnamese referees research videos and situations so they can improve their own skills.
“Every week, the AFC’s referee board sends us its email with situation tests and we have to complete these exercises. This is how we gain experience and raise our skills,” said Long.
Long is considered one of the most successful referees in the country with eight times Golden Flag titles but he said that if he doesn’t train, he will fall behind quickly.
“Our career is rather risky. If we don’t focus for a few seconds, we will make mistakes immediately, even serious mistakes.
"So I must take full advantage of this time to practise, learn from videos and from foreign colleagues,” said Long. — VNS