The Referee Review

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A fly-on-the-wall documentary following the referees and linesmen at the Euro 2008 tournament.


It’s Euro 2008, and with UEFA’s blessing, a Belgian documentary crew gains access to the tournament referees as they compete (yes, compete) to officiate the final. It is, inevitably, England’s own Howard Webb who paints the biggest target on his chest when a dodgy call leads to death-threats from the Polish prime minister, but the real drama remains on the pitch. Amazingly, the refs agreed to share their mic feeds during the matches and it’s endlessly revealing — when things go bad, they sound like a SWAT team going down. Still, if the film set out to be a sympathy operation for the long-suffering men in black, it gets neutralised by their epic egos. Defining shot: an Italian linesman practising his flag-waving in front of a dressing room mirror. Absolutely priceless.

A lot more interesting than it sounds. The refs are wired for sound and the insults slung in their direction more than earn that 15 rating. One for football fans and fans of bald men with flags.