Referees primed for new challenges

UEFA has gathered its referees together in Spain for the annual winter refresher courses, with the key message to never stand still and keep up the standards that have made European match officials respected in the world game.

A total of 128 male and female referees from across the continent are enjoying the onset of Mediterranean spring in Malaga at two specific gatherings – an advanced course for elite referees, and an introductory course for newcomers to the FIFA international list.

Training sessions and fitness checks, including visual tests and body fat measuring, are on a packed agenda this week, together with instruction sessions, group discussions and feedback meetings, led by the former international referees that comprise UEFA’s Referees Committee.

The new referees are being introduced to the various facets of being a UEFA match official – what is expected of them in terms of preparation and decision-making consistency, putting over the correct image as UEFA’s representatives on the field, protecting football’s image, and the need to be total professionals and dedicated athletes as they set out on their European careers.

“We want to tell them what being an international referee means, to give them instructions, and highlight the key points that can be important for them,” said UEFA’s chief refereeing officer Pierluigi Collina.

The advanced course referees are reviewing the past few months, and looking ahead to future assignments in major club and national team competitions in the spring.

The elite women referees face an important few months, with many of them looking ahead to taking part in UEFA Women’s EURO 2017 in the Netherlands in June and July.

“We are coming back from the winter break,” said Collina. “We want to check the referees’ fitness, and touch base on what happened in the first part of the season, while giving them input on the matches they are going to referee very soon.”

Course content is mainly based on events in the first part of 2016/17. “Sometimes there are incidents that are becoming a trend, so we want to analyse them quite carefully,” Collina explained. “There are decisions that we want to highlight to the other referees – either positive decisions or mistakes.

“The aim is not to highlight the mistakes themselves, but to look for solutions, to ensure that the same mistakes are not made again in the future.”

The regular praise given to European referees included particular plaudits for excellent displays at UEFA EURO 2016 last summer. “But this is the past,” Collina underlined as the UEFA refereeing community strives to raise the performance bar even higher.

“We can’t continue to look at the successes we had in the past – we need to look forward. We are already in the middle of a new season, and nobody will remember what we did positively in the past; the expectation is for good decisions in the future.”


Women referees training


Referees’ training is being supervised by UEFA specialist expert Werner Helsen (right)


Newcomers to the FIFA list are briefed by UEFA chief refereeing officer Pierluigi Collina


Referees are being given visual tests in Malaga


Stringent medical checks are carried out on the referees


Women referees are given injury prevention exercises


UEFA refereeing officer Hugh Dallas leads an instruction session


Referees are UEFA’s representatives on the pitch


Referees brush up their expertise in a Laws of the Game test

Society Meeting

Dear Colleagues,

On behalf of our Chairman, may I invite you to the next Society meeting which will take place on Monday 30th January 2017 at the Ford Club, Treboeth, Swansea.

We will be holding a youth section at the earlier time of 6:45pm.

Main meeting to commence at 7:30pm.

The Chairman and I look forward to seeing you all.



Happy New Year From The Swansea Referees Society


Next Meeting

Dear Colleagues,

On behalf of the chairman and myself may i invite you to our next society meeting. To take place on Monday 19th December UPSTAIRS at the Ford club, Treboeth, Swansea.
6:45 – Youth section
7:30 – Main meeting
8:00 – Christmas Quiz (buffet).

Please make every effort to attend.
Look forward to seeing you all on the night.




FIFA to use video referee


An important piece of history will be made at the FIFA Club World Cup Japan 2016 (8?18 December in Yokohama and Osaka) with video assistance being used to support referees with “match-changing” decisions for the first time in a FIFA competition.

“This represents a big step forward in terms of testing the technology,” says Marco van Basten, FIFA’s Chief Officer Technical Development.

“We feel well prepared after setting everything up with the support of The IFAB, the host broadcaster Dentsu/NTV and Hawk-Eye – one of a number of providers that offer such technology. At the same time, it’s important to remember that we are entering somewhat unchartered territory here, given that we are going live for the first time. Ultimately, these tests should prove invaluable in terms of determining whether the processes are sound or whether any further refinements are needed.”

This trial will involve video assistant referees (VARs) being given access to all broadcast feeds inside a video operations room, enabling them to provide information to the referee on the field of play in order to correct clear mistakes in “match-changing” situations. These include serious incidents including goals, penalty decisions, direct red cards and cases of mistaken identity. The VARs will play a supporting role along with the assistant referees and the fourth official, but the referee will continue to take the first as well as the final decision on the field of play.

“The VAR system has been developed, just like goal-line technology, to provide additional support for the referee,” says FIFA’s Head of Refereeing Massimo Busacca.

“We want the essential flow of the game to be maintained and, as always, the first and the final decisions lie with the referee. This is our philosophy, and these principles as well as the practical application of the technology have been explained and demonstrated to our match officials as part of an ongoing training programme.”

As usual, the referees and VARs involved in the FIFA Club World Cup Japan 2016 have participated in intensive theoretical and practical training sessions organised by the FIFA Refereeing Department during the week leading up to the competition. The main points of emphasis were on football understanding, reading the game, positioning, teamwork and different football mentalities, with the overall goal of achieving consistency and uniformity. The match officials reviewed video clips of real match situations and participated in practical training sessions with players, which were filmed so that the participants could receive instant feedback from top FIFA refereeing instructors. The final step before the first game included a live training session with players, multiple TV cameras and the Hawk-Eye VAR system at Yokohama Stadium. All of this is building upon the successful trials recently held at international friendly matches in Italy.

By using VARs during the FIFA Club World Cup Japan 2016, FIFA will be putting The IFAB’s VAR protocol through an important test before other competition organisers begin conducting live trials from 2017 onwards. The referee will be able to review footage on a pitchside monitor for certain decisions – a key progression from the “semi-live” tests conducted at recent international friendly matches in Italy (Italy v. France in Bari in September and Italy v. Germany in Milan in November).

With the support of FIFA and The IFAB, competition organisers in 12 countries are already confirmed to participate in the two-year experiments (Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Czech Republic, France, Germany, Italy, Mexico, the Netherlands, Portugal, Qatar.  [Read more…]

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