Name: Rob Stavrevski
Rob has been refereeing with Newcastle Football Association for four years and is also a Mobile Lending Manager for Newcastle Permanent, he and his two children referee on weekends and love it!
What prompted you to become a football referee?
A mate at my club recommended it and my daughter was playing and refereeing small-sided football. There was shortage of referees and I really wanted to help out.
Do you play football?
No, I’m ‘too old’. I do sometimes play socially for work.
If you play football, how has becoming a referee changed the way you approach the game as a player?
While I’ve always had respect for referees and everyone in the game, I have certainly developed further respect for both match official and players.
Particularly having watched my young daughter (16.5yrs) and her friends become referees, I think it’s important to provide a stepping stone for young girls to enter refereeing.
It’s good as it not only encourages more diversity in the game which is extremely important, however it also serves a practical purpose, as the girls currently play on a Sunday, so are available to referee the games on Saturday and vice versa.
At Kotara South, we have a high number of female referees and they are very highly respected and protected by all the referees.
What is it about football and that you love?
I just love it!
What do you most enjoy about refereeing?
The comradery – everyone looks out for each other, there’s real sense of mentorship, the senior referees protecting and nurturing the development of junior referee talent.
This is essential to recruit new referees and close the gap in the shortage of match officials in the game.
Also I get to spend quality time with my kids. Both my daughter (16 years) and my son (19 years) referee and we sometimes get to referee at the same grounds on the same weekend, so we spend the good part of the day there together.
Have you ever experienced negativity as a referee? How did you overcome it?
I usually referee the older grades and every weekend, I unfortunately witness without fault, both disrespectful language and threats towards referees, from both players and the sidelines and with the popularity of social media, it doesn’t get left at the pitch.
Abuse is by far the largest deterrent for new referees. This is unfortunate, because refereeing really is a great and enjoyable way to give back to the game.
What do you think could be done to address this?
Education. People need to understand match officials are only human and while yes, they are reimbursed, it is not ‘part of the role’ to be abused and belittled.
It has already commenced through Referee Associations and the Federations, however continued training for referees on how to deal with this situations is required and should continue.
With refereeing being a family affair for you, with both your son and daughter as referees, what advice or assistance would you offer them, if they experienced this?
I let them know they will overcome it, that they are bigger and stronger than that behaviour and that I’ll attend the next matches with them for support.
Outside of football and refereeing, what are your other extracurricular activities?
I play golf, fortunately, refereeing helps to pay my golf fees!
I’m also a member of the technical committee to assess other referees, which I really enjoy.
Do you follow A-League? If so, which team/s?
Newcastle Jets! I’ve have been a season member for years, dating back to when they were Newcastle United and Breakers.
I also love my home club Kotara South Football Club and of course, Tottenham Hotspurs in the EPL