Former Mayenne international referee Nicolas Pottier officially took the post of federal amateur referee coordinator to the French Football Federation since Monday, it is he who will oversee recruitment of new referees with the objective of reaching the figure of 25,000 in 2024. A difficult mission but achievable according to him. « It’s a form of recognition of what has been done », believes Nicolas Pottier. Interview.
What is your concrete role in this new role?
I will take care of the structuring part of the development and everything that can be imagined for tomorrow in terms of recruitment, to better help our clubs which are generally all or almost all in difficulty on the subject. Not that being a referee is more difficult, but probably the climates, the periods that we have just gone through mean that today it is still a little more difficult to recruit referees than before.
Far fewer people want to turn to arbitration today, why?
There are certainly plenty of explanations, but overall, there is a crisis of authority in France. The referee represents a bit of authority on the field and therefore in this case, we are confronted today with this same problem of refusal of authority and yet, I think that the function of referee deserves another look than this one because humanly, you learn a lot of things when you are a referee and it allows you to develop a lot of qualities on the side. So it’s not just a question of saying that tomorrow, everything a referee does is perfect, unlike a player, but today everyone has to bear in mind that the referee is essential. and is part of a must-have player like all the others for a match to go smoothly.
How did this recruitment happen?
It is a creation of position, with a budget of one million euros to develop amateur refereeing and it is in this context that I was asked if this position could interest me, which I answered yes. For 25 years, the world of football has been something that drives me, that fascinates me. Arbitration has been a big part of my sporting, extra-sporting and professional life, so it’s an environment in which I think I have a few qualities to be able to bring a stone to the building. It is a matter of adding up all the stones from all the territories so that it can be even more efficient tomorrow and find new ideas that will ensure that tomorrow the referee is even better integrated into football.
Does it make you proud that we’re looking for you for this position?
Probably it is a form of recognition of what has been done. It’s never easy to talk about your own work but overall, the work of technical adviser in arbitration within the Maine League from 2009 to 2017 was more or less recognized throughout France, perhaps also to have been district president for two years may also have given me the opportunity to address certain subjects. Perhaps in the eyes of some people there were doubts and these doubts have been removed and that today it was a form of recognition or reward for a work that has been inscribed for more than 20 years.
It is perhaps also a source of pride for Mayenne to have a representative at the French Football Federation?
The position is not created for me, it is created for the referees. The fact that I occupy it, yes, somewhere is rewarding for the territory, but it proves, once again, that we know how to do things in Mayenne and there again, we do not necessarily need to be a great territory to do beautiful things. So locally, it’s something good but afterwards, I would say that on this side, it’s rather anecdotal and it’s not something that should be the most important. It’s just rewarding for the territory and it’s very good but after that, it shouldn’t become a personal story either because it’s just a small grain of sand in a microcosm which is huge, so it doesn’t doesn’t make much sense, or interest.