Good persons, honesty and sense of justice make the best referees – Interview with Mr. Nemanja Ljumovic, member of WMF Referee Committee
"After the successful start in 2017 and the first World Cup, the referee team is ready for new challenges this year in Australia. Training, test and experience are a guarantee that this team of referees will present this profession in the best possible way and will contribute that this world championship is remembered for a great and fair game, in which wins the best." – the words of Mr. Nemanja Ljumovic before the WMF World Cup 2019, as one of the referees and the Head of EMF Referee Committee.
Through the discussion with Mr. Ljumovic, he shared highlights from his career and what the most important milestones on his path towards success were. Here’s what he said:
“Being a referee gives such a great opportunity – to see great football, great moves, great football players, great teams, great matches, meet great people. I am honored to be a referee on different tournaments, especially the big ones. I became a football referee in 2005 after I finished my professional futsal career. I was playing minifootball a lot before I start to referee minifootball in 2010. Then at minifootball Euro 2012, I started with my international referee career. After 6 years and 6 European Championships and World Cup in Tunisia, I become chairman of the EMF Referee Committee and member of the WMF Referee Committee. I think that doing the good referee job on big, important matches, made a recommendation for my career.”
Important matches and cups for sure elevate the career of referees, but onto the question how important small matches are, Mr. Ljumovic replied:
“Refereeing is a job where you should always be up to the task, no matter if it is a national, regional or world cup. The referee has the same responsibility and dedication no meter the type of events. Each match is difficult, some more, some less. It is up to the referee, that with his refereeing make the match as less difficult as possible.”
Rules, rules, rules… Rules should be respected, but can there be some flexibility, and is it sometimes necessary?
“Clear rules are necessary for every sport, but the flow of the match, the result, the dynamics influence that some rules adjust a little bit during the game. I am sure that everyone knows the rules, but the knowledge of how and when to use them is making a difference between good and excellent referees. It is important that a referee finishes the game with the best performance and in the best way possible for the match, the teams, the audience and finally for the referee himself.”
Besides the education and general organization of some events, do referees have to have certain characteristics (or character) in order to be considered good, or the best?
“Education, good training sessions and preparations for matches are one of the most important things for every referee. The referee committee work a lot of these things before and during the WC. In first place for me, referees have to be good persons, to be honest, to have a sense for justice, to be ready for challenges, ready to always learn, to give maximum and his best in every match.
And at the end, Mr. Ljumovic gave comments onto the WMF World Cup 2019:
“WMF WC 2019 was a great experience for me. A big event such is WMF WC 2019 gave me the opportunity to show the best I know, to use knowledge, but also to learn something new. The tournament was perfect, with an organization, with a place, with people… I was really happy to be part of this event and as a pinnacle came to the role of 1st referee in the final match between Mexico and Brazil. Before the match, we made a meeting where we were talking about teams, players, movements, and way of refereeing. Every match is the story for itself. In the end, the whole tournament went into that one match, everything that we have done until then should be crowned in the final. Important thing is that cooperation with my colleague Pakosta was on the top level from the first seconds of the game and the game went in the direction that we want. When Mexico scored the goal for 2:0 at 48th min, through my head it went that the match was probably over but stayed focused till the end. With the final whistle, I felt relief and happiness, because I knew it was difficult, but job well done for me.”
Mr. Ljumovic brings good vibes and instills confidence that each other generation of referees under his magic wand will be no less than excellent, and that is something to look forward to.