Suffolk FA’s new referee’s chief reveals Premier ambition + You’re the ref ANSWERS!

HAVING been cruelly denied the chance to become a regular top-flight assistant referee, nothing would give Colin Hills more pleasure than seeing a Suffolk official frequently bossing the biggest games in the country.

The new Referee Development Manager at Suffolk FA snapped his Achilles whilst refereeing a local league game in Cambridge, just weeks after running the line at Tottenham during a Carling Cup quarter-final in 2002.

He made a full recovery but never hit those heights again and eventually concentrated on his role as a referees’ assessor – a job he still does for the Football League and occasionally, the Premier League.

His day job – a demanding new role at the local FA’s headquarters – sees him deal with all aspects of refereeing in the county and one of his remits is to propel Suffolk’s finest towards the footballing elite, in the wake of the likes of Kelvin Morton and Mike Thorpe.

Suffolk’s young level three official Carl Fitch was an assistant referee in the Blue Square Premier Play-Off final between Oxford United and York in 2010 and Hills believes he could become a regular Premier League and Championship referee with the right guidance.

“We ideally want to see Suffolk referees get to the top level but it is getting them there,” said Hills, 54.

“Carl Fitch is one of those guys we have that is really committed and at the right age and he is shining through at the moment.

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“With a bit of help and, if he is willing to take it on, I believe he could be one that makes it (the top-level).

“But success is harder to achieve the higher you get and the competition gets harder so these guys really have to be outstanding and we probably need to look at forming a senior development group for level threes and upwards.”

While Hills’ plans are admirable, he accepts that seeing them come to fruition could be challenging and points to Suffolk’s location as one of the bigger sticking points.

“I think it is is easier in some ways if you are living in a bigger county such as Essex or Hertfordshire,” he said.

“There you are in the limelight and if officials are ever needed at Wembley, for instance, they will get the call. In Suffolk, no disrespect, we are a bit out on a limb.”

For more with Colin Hills, read today’s Ipswich Evening Star

You’re the ref:

1. A player takes his shin pad out and throws it at the goal-bound ball in his own area, what do you do?

A: That is classed as handball and a penalty kick as the shin pad would be considered to be an extension of his hand. You would also probably book the player for unsporting behaviour.

2. A defending team are awarded a direct free kick. The ball is passed back to the goalkeeper who is not watching and the ball goes into the goal. What do you give?

A: That is a corner kick as a team can’t be penalised from their own restart.

3. The ball goes out for a throw-in and during the stoppage in play, the goalkeeper and defender swap shirts without asking permission of the referee. The new goakeeper then pulls off a miraculous save to deny your team a goal. What is the decision?

A: The two players can change shirts with permission of the referee, they do not do this but the decision has to be a corner kick. The offence is not handball because the defender now looks like the goalkeeper but you would caution the two players for not asking permission.

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