Les Arbitres (2009) - The Referees

See what it takes to be a FIFA referee in ‘Les Arbitres’ (2009)

Les Arbitres (The Referees) is a French documentary that follows several referees during Euro 2008. Much like the French movie about Zidane, there is no voice over or commentary to the footage as you watch and listen to the communication headsets of top referees while they work the games.

The camera crew also follows Howard Webb (UK), Roberto Rosetti (Italy), Peter Fröjdfeldt (Sweden), and Massimo Busacca (Switzerland) into their locker rooms, buses, and even some homes to show the backstage of professional refereeing that you never see.

Referees want to work the highest games, and the threat of elimination, making a mistake, and going home early hangs over everyone’s heads. The film crew records assessor meetings, including the one after the controversial game where Webb, in his first major tournament, called a last-minute PK against Poland, and his AR missed an offside against Austria.

The film highlights how referee teams strive to work the final but can be eliminated by a single mistake. In Webb’s case, because of the AR error, he returns home to his family to watch the final, where Rosetti works a flawless game.

Other comments

I’m fortunate to live in the SF Bay area, where I have heard Kari Seitz speak about WC refereeing and the aspects that this movie reveals. If you can’t get to a presentation by a top International referee, then watch this movie.

I actually watched this film via Youtube. It is probably unauthorized, and this version is mostly in English with Polish captions. I’m posting the link because it appears a US-version does not appear to be available. I don’t know how long the link will work.

7 Soccer Movie Mom Rating = 7