Wolfgang Kling - from goalie to referee

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It was because of a shoulder injury that Wolfgang once and for all had to set his own football career aside. It turns out, however, that it wasn’t all bad. It was because of that Wolfgang could dedicate himself to being a referee, a profession that had interested him for quite some time. This was back in 1992, it’s now 2020 and Wolfgang is 50 years old, an information security manager and a referee in Schiedsrichtergruppe Bad Tölz. We had the privilege to learn about his experiences, secrets and good advice - enjoy!

Today Wolfgang is situated in Munich with his family. He is a security manager but somehow manages to be an invested and enthoustiastic referee in the german Kreisliga and a part of the organizational team in the referee group Bad Tölz. As for many others in his position his career started as a football player. He was a goalkeeper for TSV Otterfing but unfortunately experienced an injury that would later put an end to his career as a player but also be the start of his career as a referee. 

Photo by: Patrick Staar

A part of Schiedsrichtergruppe Bad Tölz

Most referees have an enormous amount of respect and affection for the sport they represent. Since it’s such a long commitment you could easily imagine that they would have to be passionate about that sport. Wolfgang first became infatuated with the game of football as a child. 

-Honestly, football is fun. You’re out in the open air, there’s fast movements, mental and physical challenges, says Wolfgang. You meet a lot of interesting people and every game is a new exciting task. I’ve loved it as a player and I love it as a referee. 

Wolfgang had always been interested in the referee profession and seized his chance back in 1992 to educate himself. He then quickly progressed to new heights. 

-Just a short while after I started out I became an assistant referee in the Landesliga. I like the responsibility that comes with being a referee. The responsibility to lead the game well and in compliance with the rules. Today I am a part of the referee group Schiedsrichtergruppe Bad Tölz as a referee but also as a part of the organizational team. I’m responsible for designing and maintaining the homepage so that referees can always get all the important information they need as well as test their knowledge of rules with a self-developed online survey system etc., Wolfgang explains. 

“You have to be able to predict the next step”

Part of what makes the referee profession so fascinating is its complexity. As a referee you are supposed to be present in every situation as well as invisible in every situation. 

-The most challenging part is successfully creating a flow throughout the game. Because everyone has to be a part of it for it to be successful. And it’s my job to make sure that happens. Communication is the key. Short, effective communication to players and team officials and a strong teamwork between us referees and assistants, says Wolfgang. 

As the game is running you have to be on your toes all the time. According to Wolfgang there are some extra important things you have to be on top off: 

-You have to simultaneously see the whole game and be able to instantly identify relevant situations where you have to intervene. You have to be able to predict the next step, be correct, determined, engage in dialogue without discussing and act consistently without provoking. 

New times, new tools

As time progresses some of the most common challenges and issues within the referee profession are helped by new inventions and technology. Wolfgang is as mentioned passionate about communication during the game. Which is a part of the game that’s been revolutionized during the last years.

-I use a set of different tech tools to make my job easier. For example I have a mobile phone for my preparations, a tablet for reporting, a headset to communicate with my team during the game, a referee watch which keeps track of the game for me. The headset and watch that I use during the game are both from Spintso. Without them the challenges would be bigger. Now I can be precise and communicate with everyone in no time, Wolfgang explains.

Spintso’s products aim to do just what Wolfgang explains. Lessen the burdens and increase the communication paths. We thank him for sharing his time and advice with us and we look forward to seeing him in action in the future!

Wolfgang Kling - from goalie to referee