Error message

  • Notice: Undefined index: nid in views_handler_field_term_node_tid->pre_render() (line 98 of /var/www/html/docroot/sites/all/modules/views/modules/taxonomy/
  • Notice: Undefined index: nid in views_handler_field_term_node_tid->pre_render() (line 98 of /var/www/html/docroot/sites/all/modules/views/modules/taxonomy/


Must-see video of mic'd up referee from Ligue 1 reminds fans that officials are people too

Early Thursday morning, Amazon Prime Video Sport released a video on social media highlighting the difficulties and intricacies involved in being a top-flight match official. The clip showed Benoît Millot, a French referee taking control of a Ligue 1 match between Olympique Lyonnais and FC Nantes, and gave fans a great insight into what match officials go through over 90 minutes. 

There are a host of things to notice in this relatively short video. Little details that many would not realize go a long way toward maintaining order and respect between officials and players. 

For starters, Millot refers to players by their first names. It’s a bit jarring to hear stars called Mathieu, Florian, and Antoine by the referee, but on the pitch, it helps players feel more comfortable with the official, which in turn calms down the game. 

He also speaks at least two languages, using French with players like Alexandre Lacazette, and English with João Victor to ensure that his message is being received. This knowledge of the players and what language they speak as well as their first names is a minor detail that takes a considerable amount of research and preparation to perfect. 

The Frenchman also does his best to have actual conversations with the players rather than just dish out cards. He explains his decisions and warns players to avoid costly and unnecessary bookings. After Victor threw the ball away in an attempt to waste time, Millot approached him saying, “Mr. João, you have already a yellow card. Don’t take risks with such things. Don’t take risks, be clever.” 

He then has a conversation with Lacazette in which he explains exactly why he did what he did saying, “I totally agree with you on that, but giving him another yellow for that, it’s not fair.” When the Lyon forward protests and insists he should warn the player, Millot actually talks back to the Lacazette, saying, “That’s what I did. Did you see me do it?”

This brilliantly reminds players that he's capable and in control of the match while maintaining camaraderie by not being disrespectful or demeaning. For the moment, it’s two equals having a conversation, one just happens to be holding the cards. 

After the match, players immediately come over and shake Millot’s hand as he offers them congratulations on a match well played. 

“We don’t always agree,” said Millot, “but as long as the exchange is respectful, we are ok.”

He also makes a fascinating point that many fans have echoed as a criticism of some modern officials. 

“Overall, I don’t feel that the officiating was central to the game, and that’s the main thing.”

He’s completely right. Officials should not be the story of the game. While I don’t have statistics to back this up, I’d wager that few people tune in to the Premier League or Serie A in the hope that they’ll get to see the referees overturn a goal for a handball in the build-up using VAR. 

Chants of, “Let them play!” are not completely misguided, but maybe take a second before you boo a referee's decision on matchday, whether that’s in a stadium or Sunday League. Officials have it tough and their job is always much more difficult than it seems. 

Videos you might like