Howard Webb and Kill the Referee

The World Cup final on Sunday with Holland and Spain has English Howard Webb as the referee. For doc-foot addicts he is a very well known person as the main character in the brilliant insight to the world of referees in the following film that I saw in Lisbon last year. This is the text that I wrote, and good luck Mr. Webb!:

”Kill the Referee” is a film of Belgian and Swiss nationality, directed by Yves Hiant, a film for football fans like this blog writer – as loyal readers and friends have noticed. And it is amazing because of its unique access to a handful of referees and to the back stage of the Euro08. The film crew follows the referees into the dressing room, at the internal meetings where the selection of the teams take place and through the video evaluation of the matches, and into the hotel rooms, and at the homes where parents and wives follow their heroes in action. And heroes, well this is not what the players consider the referees to be, it is a hell of a job that takes lot of courage. Howard Webb, English referee, was haunted by the whole Polish nation (including death threats againgst him and his family) after his performance in the match Austria against Poland. He gave a penalty to Austria in the last minute of the match – which was absolutely correct and a very brave decision – but had allowed an off side goal to Poland earlier in the match, for which decision he did not go to the knock-out stage of the tournament. Webb is the hero of the film but there are also fine sequences and follow-ups on a Spanish and an Italian referee. What is the most astonishing in the film is actually that you hear the communication that is done between the referee and his linesmen during the match. Wow, for this technology, and bravo UEFA for letting a film like that be made. Good publicity for the job of being a referee – which does not mean that I will not shout the next time I see an unfair decision from one of those in black!

Kill the Referee, 2009, 75 mins., director: Yves Hinant

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Tue Steen Müller
Tue Steen Müller

Müller, Tue Steen
Documentary Consultant and Critic, DENMARK

Worked with documentary films for more than 20 years at the Danish Film Board, as press officer, festival representative and film consultant/commissioner. Co-founder of Balticum Film and TV Festival, Filmkontakt Nord, Documentary of the EU and EDN (European Documentary Network).
Awards: 2004 the Danish Roos Prize for his contribution to the Danish and European documentary culture. 2006 an award for promoting Portuguese documentaries. 2014 he received the EDN Award “for an outstanding contribution to the development of the European documentary culture”. 2016 The Cross of the Knight of the Order for Merits to Lithuania. 2019 a Big Stamp at the 15th edition of ZagrebDox. 2021 receipt of the highest state decoration, Order of the Three Stars, Fourth Class, for the significant contribution to the development and promotion of Latvian documentary cinema outside Latvia. In 2022 he received an honorary award at DocsBarcelona’s 25th edition having served as organizer and programmer since the start of the festival.
From 1996 until 2005 he was the first director of EDN (European Documentary Network). From 2006 a freelance consultant and teacher in workshops like Ex Oriente, DocsBarcelona, Archidoc, Documentary Campus, Storydoc, Baltic Sea Forum, Black Sea DocStories, Caucadoc, CinéDOC Tbilisi, Docudays Kiev, Dealing With the Past Sarajevo FF as well as programme consultant for the festivals Magnificent7 in Belgrade, DOCSBarcelona, Verzio Budapest, Message2Man in St. Petersburg and DOKLeipzig. Teaches at the Zelig Documentary School in Bolzano Italy.

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