Referee Frans Derks bio

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cover of his book: "Frans Derks sees it differently"
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tight shorts


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.

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