Frans Derks
Intl. since:
Country: Netherlands

Frans Derks had to cut off bits of his yellow and red card to make them fit in his tight shorts. This beatnik referee was a bit of a character in Holland, still is.


A match between local businesses, butchers against barkeeps, was his very first match as a referee. When Young Frans happened to come past the field on his way from a hand-ball match and still wearing his kit, he was asked to fill in for the missing referee.

An official saw him and asked him to join the amateur league.

Derks prides himself with never having taken a refereeing course, he just happened to be good at it.

He was a referee in professional football from 1962 until 1978. FIFA ref in the 1970s. 50 or so international matches albeit mostly friendlies and lower leagues.


Derks had been suspended internationally for a year after he had said something against coming executions in Spain where its dictator Franco was able to have people shot and even strangled on a specially constructed pole without much protest from other nations.

Derks says his suspension and his big mouth were the reasons why he never officiated at a big tournament.

There were more suspensions from the national league or times when he was demoted to a lower League, mostly because he had angered the FA bosses or when he was seen drinking with the players or team officials after a match. Something a referee is not supposed to do.

dutch refs

The Netherlands is a small country and the Dutch can be very jealous. Many referees have been fighting each other in the newspapers, writing columns against their colleagues. Not only Derks did so, but Mario van de Ende still blogs too vent his frustrations, and whenever Dik Jol is on tv he rants about the lack of good referees these days.
Many famous Dutch referees are of the I-say-what-I-think kind. They always say what they think (or so they say) and what they think is always something that gets them in trouble with the FA.


And perhaps people like Derks have a point: a lot of referees these days seem to lack the personality we so admire in the famous ones. Derks didn't whistle according to the rules, he had his own rules, and there were at the most 5 official rules he thought made sense.

Derks hardly showed his cards, thought showing cards was a weakness, a good referee should know what's going on in the field and anticipate. In his 22 years as a referee (national and international) he showed yellow 14 times and red only twice. And there were only 27 penalties. (source: Hoogeboom: Op z'n Frans).


After his retirement as a referee Derks has been board member of NAC and chairman of FC Dordrecht, two Dutch teams. Later he was director of the First Division (that's the one under the highest, the Eredivisie) for a long time. He was also a bit of a tv personality, game show host, column writer, recording artist and overall famous Dutchman.
In real live he made a fortune buying, restructuring and selling companies.

Did you know

  • from: Andre Hoogeboom: Op z'n Frans
  • And suddenly Frans Derks appeared in a match wearing a blue one-piece very tight jumpsuit with a leather belt and knitted socks. Designed by then famous Dutch couturier Frans Molenaar. Derks' dressing antics must be seen in the light of the sixties. You can't help laughing at the pictures now, but take a look at pictures of the other guys on a field: they all wore tight shorts and all had long hair, Derks just went a step further. He liked to provoke and to get attention.
  • Frans Derks made a couple of so-called carnaval songs. For years it was a tradition in the Netherlands for (semi) famous people to make a record for the Carnaval season that rages in the southern part of the country every year. The song had to be easily understood, had to have a simple song structure and a chorus that could be sung aloud, often filled with sexual innuendo or just plain stupidity. Frans Derks made a few of these records, mostly about football.
    One of these products went:
    You'll get the yellow card
    You'll get the yellow card
    Because you haven't spared your opponent.
    (In Dutch one gets a yellow, or the ref gives one)
    Derks also recorded a song with famous legend Willem van Hanegem called (in translation) : I am I and you are you.
  • It was during half time in a (lower league) match Dordrecht'90 - Emmen that Derks, then chairman of Dordrecht, entered referee Wout Schaap's dressing room and told him had been whistling like a turd.
    Schaap, who canceled the match, told a radio reporter he felt threatened by Derks. Derks was fined 5000 guilders (about 2000 euro).
  • Once a fan threw a bottle at his head. When Derks heard the man was out of a job, instead of going to the police, he went to the mayor of that town and asked him to find a job for the guy.
  • Derks liked to warn players before they were going to foul. He was proud of the fact that he always knew which players were going to start a fight and that he was able to anticipate on what was going to happen. On the other hand he also seems to be proud of the fact that he never ever prepared for a match, which would mean that internationally he had no idea whom he was going to deal with. (as opposed to Collina, who read as much as he could and watched as many videos as he could before an important match).
  • As said before, many Dutch referees hate each other. Leo Horn hated Derks and Derks hates Jan Keizer and alleges it was Keizer who told the Dutch FA about Derks' statements on Spain and Franco on the radio which caused his suspension and may have cost him a trip to the 1978 World Cup. (This is all according to Frans Derks, of course).
  • Initially your reporter had second thoughts about reading Andre Hoogeboom's book about Frans Derks because of its title. Op z'n Frans not only means doing it Frans' way, but also doing it doggy style. A double meaning Frans Derks may find funny, but I don't. It is not a very good book, little mistakes and hardly any hard facts, just Derks telling his anecdotes for the umpteenth time, still most of the stuff on our site about him is from that book.
Statistics for FRANS DERKS
Totals Home Away Total
Penalties 2 1 3
Fouls 0 0 0
Yellow 0 0 0
YellowRed 0 0 0
Red 0 0 0
Averages Home Away Total
Penalties 0.29 0.14 0.21
Fouls 0 0 0
Yellow 0 0 0
YellowRed 0 0 0
Red 0 0 0

Based on 7 international matches

Date Score Yellow Red Penalties Fouls
European Cup 1977 - 1978
1/4 finalsBenficaLiverpool1978-03-011 - 2 0 (0-0)0 (0-0)0 (0-0)0 (0-0)
UEFA Cup 1977 - 1978
1st roundKBDundee United1977-09-273 - 0 0 (0-0)0 (0-0)0 (0-0)0 (0-0)
European Cup2 1976 - 1977
2nd roundSouthamptonCarrick Rangers1976-11-034 - 1 0 (0-0)0 (0-0)0 (0-0)0 (0-0)
UEFA Cup 1976 - 1977
1st roundTychy 71Köln FC1976-09-291 - 1 0 (0-0)0 (0-0)2 (1-1)0 (0-0)
UEFA Cup 1975 - 1976
1st roundHibernianLiverpool1975-09-171 - 0 0 (0-0)0 (0-0)1 (1-0)0 (0-0)
IsraelRomania1974-12-040 - 1 0 (0-0)0 (0-0)0 (0-0)0 (0-0)
UEFA Cup 1974 - 1975
1st roundDifferdangeLyon1974-10-021 - 4 0 (0-0)0 (0-0)0 (0-0)0 (0-0)