My name is Vikki Allan. I am a referee in Scotland and internationally I am a FIFA Assistant Referee. I passed my referee exam in April 2009 so this year is my tenth year refereeing!
Who is in the photos? Where were the photos taken?
These photos were taken at the Women’s League Cup Finals here in Scotland. Within the pictures is the refereeing team prior to the match. We are either warming up or preparing for the match by writing up our books.
What did you try to show with the photos? Was there any wider meaning with the photos?
I just tried to show an angle that not many get to see, I think sometimes people think referees just show up and walk out on the pitch. There are a lot of preparations for referees - these pictures don’t quite show the amount of preparation we do! When teams prepare they watch clips prior to the game, referees do the same. We look at league tables and try to find available clips to watch what teams might do for certain scenarios or ask our colleagues if they have officiated them recently. We then get to the venue 1-1.5 hours prior and start to check the pitch and that the teams are prepared for the match (kits, teams, lines etc.). We then obviously have to get ourselves ready as well if we are using buzzer flags or communications sets and then head out to warm up! It can be very busy for a referee prior to a match kicking off!
What is your favourite photo?
I quite like the warm-up picture, as we don’t usually see that side of us. No one really goes to games to watch a referee so we don’t have many pictures to remember these events.
Are there any good stories connected with the people you photographed?
Emma is a team reporter for the French team at WWC and also is a translator for UEFA. I am associated with Equal Playing Field and have been part of their first two World Records.
What are the opportunities for female footballers/referees in Scotland?
The opportunities are definitely getting better. When I first started refereeing in Scotland women’s football wasn’t very big and there were no visible role models. Now we have Kylie Cockburn who is an Assistant Referee in the Premier League and Lorraine Watson who is now officiating in the men’s Senior Leagues and I really believe she will be the first female in the middle of the men’s Scottish game! The women’s game is getting a much bigger presence now in Scotland and we need to push on the officiating as well to have more than two at the top.
What role does football play in Scottish society?
It’s a massive part of Scottish society; there was a report recently from UEFA that noted football returns £1.25bn to Scottish society. Not only that but that 780,000 people play football, 89% of those are men. We need to grow that 11% of women and really push engagement of women in football across Scotland!
What does football mean to you?
Football is a massive part of my life. I have made so many friends through this sport and it has really developed me as a person. I always say I wouldn’t be where I am in my life today without the things I have learnt through this sport. It brings leadership, teambuilding, communication skills and so many others. I have connections across the globe, which I would never have, if not for football. This is why I always try to give back to the sport that has given me so much. This is through initiatives like Youth Ambassadors of Change in Scotland and Equal Playing Field internationally.
What is the future for Scottish women's football?
The only way is up! The momentum building to this World Cup has been fantastic and I really hope it continues. We have started to see some big sponsors coming on our board with our neighbours (England) and it would be great to see these types of companies sponsoring the teams up in Scotland.
What do you expect to change after the 2019 WWC?
Hopefully there will be increased publicity of the Women’s game. It has changed a lot in the last year and I hope this momentum in the media continues to grow. Who knows what it will be like by the next WWC!!!