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Thomas Andersson: not just a referee

Thomas Andersson is one of the best floorball referees in the world. He has led international finals, but also many, many SSL games and tournament. Best part is: he’ll be helping us with a new refereeing series!

Starting now, FloorballToday wants to put more focus on different aspects of the game, such as refereeing. For this series, Thomas Andersson will help us in making articles about rules, interpretations, referee advice and more. To start off, here’s Andersson’s introduction!


– Name: Thomas Andersson
– Age: 41 (born October 1977)
– Player: between 13-20 (Allsvenskan)
– Referee: between 14-now (SSL, international)
– Games: Swedish SSL, World Floorball Championships, WFC’s U19, Euro Floorball Cup, Euro Floorball Tour, Champions Cup, international tournaments

Thomas Andersson is an enthusiastic, talkative man. We speak to him over the phone, but thanks to his enthusiasm it feels like he is in the same room. He has been active at the highest level for years as a floorball referee. It is one of his goals to show the world that referees can be proud of their function.

It all started when Andersson was 13. He started playing and even made it to the Allsvenskan, although he himself says that he was just not good enough for that league. At that time he was already active as a referee, but his focus was still at playing. At the age of twenty, Thomas Andersson stopped playing and this gave space to focus more on refereeing.

With his first referee partner Kalle Fahlander he already reached the highest Swedish level, but in 2009 this collaboration stopped. After this, the collaboration with Rickard Wissman started and this is still going well so far. You can read more about Wissman here. By the way, Andersson is very close with both Fahlander and Wissman, also outside the pitch!

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Rickard Wissman (left) and Thomas Andersson

The first final that Andersson and Wissman led was the women’s final of the SSL. After this, it went fast and they refereed several big games, such as World Cup matches, tournaments, and more SSL finals. Last year they led four finals, this year even five, but Andersson says that every game is beautiful to lead, not only the big, decisive ones, but also the small.

Referee development in Sweden and worldwide

Andersson says that he is not only active as a referee, but is also involved in the development of the referee level in Sweden. When he started it was not yet the norm to run a lot as a referee. There was hardly any communication with the players either. Referees practically stood still in the field, failed in violation, and nothing else. A world of difference compared to the current situation, in which referees often do sprints to be able to assess situations properly and have a lot of consultation with the players.

“I use the 70-20-10 rule.”

Thomas Andersson is proud that the referees are developing worldwide in this way. He specifically mentions the communication: “In basketball, the referees put their whistle in their mouths. The only thing they do is whistle. There is hardly any other form of communication. As a floorball referee, I talk a lot. I use the 70- 20-10 rule. “

70-20-10? Andersson explains. During a specific action – as an example we say that the ball goes into the corner and two players go after it – the referee follows these players and guides them through the action. 70% of the communication happens before a possible duel: ‘pay attention! No stick slashing!’ (etc). “This way, the players know I’m in the area and I keep an eye on them.” The following 20% of the communication happens during the action: ‘fair duel, go on!’, followed by the 10% afterwards (when the ball is gone again): ‘well played, people’.

The idea behind this is that players are more inclined to play fair because they know that the referee is watching them and gives them immediate feedback on what goes well and what goes wrong. In the case of a violation, there will of course be a free hit or advantage.

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Andersson about what referees should focus on during the game

How the series will look like

In his years as a referee, Andersson has learned a lot but also taught a lot. He knows how one can improve as a referee, how the first steps should be like, where you can focus on. In the next weeks, we’ll start off with articles about the basic of floorball refereeing. Andersson will also specify his game preparations.

If you have any questions about the series, or to Thomas Andersson specifically, feel free to contact us via social media, of send a mail to daniel[@]floorballtoday.com.

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