Indian referee in the FIFA panel, Rowan Arumughan says besides having top fitness and understanding of the laws of the game, a football referee also needs to perform consistently to earn the respect of the players.
Arumughan, who officiated in Lionel Messi's first match as Argentina captain in a FIFA friendly against Venezuela in Kolkata in 2011, said a referee also needs to know "skilful players who can challenge the referees".
"Information about teams and players becomes important... They should know about the players who are skilful. These are the players who can challenge the referees," Arumughan told AIFF TV.
"We need to be consistent. If you do well in one match and not in the next, it doesn't work. You need to perform consistently over time to gain respect. When you gain respect, players understand that this referee minds his own business, so that makes life easier."
The top Indian referee said meditation plays an important part in his pre-match routine.
"Meditation is a part of preparation. It helps the referees focus and improve concentration.
"Fitness is first (part). A Ref has to maintain fitness throughout the year, there is no off season. Any time, he has to be ready for a fitness test. If a person is not fit but has all the knowledge – what is the use of putting him on the field?"
He says knowledge of the laws of the game is of paramount importance.
"If the referee is fit but not aware of laws, then again there's no use of putting him out there.
"Another very important thing is teamwork. When we go to officiate, along with the assistant referees and fourth official, we all work as a team, to come through a situation successfully. Without the team we cannot succeed in any aspect."