Robert Peacock – Refereeing in Japan

This feature focuses on Glasgow member Robert Peacock and refereeing life in Japan during his studies. Thank you to Robert for providing all this fantastic information for the website.

Between September and December of 2015, I was given the fantastic opportunity to absorb life living in Tokyo. I flew to Japan as part of a university exchange with the Tokyo Institute of Technology and have completed my Master of Engineering thesis researching The Design and Development of Head Impact Detection Technology in Sport. Having previously refereed in Scotland, I was lucky to enough to be given the opportunity to join the Tokyo Metropolis League (TML). This experience has been a steep learning-curve but has provided a unique opportunity for development as a referee.

Despite previously refereed in the Scottish Women’s Football League, the Greater Glasgow Premier League and various levels of the Scottish Club Academy Leagues, completing 12 games in Japan provided an abundance of new experiences. For example, the Japanese custom of assembling a pregame line-up and bowing to your opponents is completely unheard of in the UK. However, I think referees can embrace this as a useful tool as it provides an ideal opportunity to speak to both teams together prior to kick-off. The pleasant contrast in winter climate was also welcomed. While I was enjoying sunshine and mild temperatures, my colleagues back home were suffering heavy rain, hailstorms and snow! Also, although the Glaswegian accent can sometimes be mistaken for another language, being surrounded by multinational teams every game was another wholly new experience.

Refereeing with a language barrier provided another unique learning opportunity. It forced the development of body language and signalling communication techniques to justify and convey decisions. It also provided the necessity to learn basic Japanese phrases relating to the ‘beautiful game’. An additional benefit of being part of the TML was the opportunity to referee diverse playing-styles across teams of various nationalities. This sharpened my approach to positioning and reading-of-the-game. Refereeing players of different cultures also enhanced my player management skills and refined my ability to assert authority during critical game periods.

Completing 12 games in Tokyo is something I never thought I would be able to add to my refereeing CV. It is my goal to advance through the grades within the Scottish Football Association and I hope this unique opportunity will aid in my future progression. I would like to thank all the players I have refereed in the past three months for making me feel welcome in Japan and within the TML. I would also like to thank James Bates for coordinating this fantastic experience for me. I wish everyone involved in the TML all the best of luck for the rest of the season!

View the PowerPoint Presentation – Robert Peacock – Refereeing in Japan YCAC Smart Gum Guard Saitama Jets v Musketeers Kanto Celts Fuji Fuji 2

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