Steve Stewart, 67, has been telling us about his refereeing practices and hopes for the future.
What does your normal ‘day job’ look like?
I'm semi-retired now, but often fill in as a Supply Teacher in Physical Education departments in Secondary Schools. I am also an Examinations Invigilator for internal and external exams.
Do you have any hobbies or interests away from refereeing?
I am an avid reader and have begun writing my first book. I chair a local Referee Society, support Tottenham Hotspur and also enjoy gardening and following Ulster and Ireland Rugby.
Why did you start refereeing?
It was a key part of running my school football teams as a PE Teacher in Belfast in the 1970s.
How does it make you feel if you receive abuse?
I don't take it personally because I have built up a mental resilience. In reacting to, or responding to, any abuse, I always think of how I can help the referee who follows me the next week. That's why I always try and deal with any abuse or dissent early and assertively - using common sense and applying the law - including submitting all discipline reports.
What has been the best part of refereeing so far?
Continuing to improve and have fun - even after 44 years as a successful match official. My model for working with players is about Rapport, Relationships, Respect and Restorative Action.
What are your hopes for refereeing in the future?
That a greater number of older players, coming to the end of their playing days, consider staying in the game as referees because they can see refereeing is a positive, enjoyable and valuable contribution to The Beautiful Game.
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