Over 30 of Wales’s young development referees gathered in Newtown on Sunday for their annual seminar, the aim of which was to help them progress in their careers.
As part of the on going development, there were also four young female referees in attendance, Ceri Williams and Rebecca Thomas (WWFA) Elena Charlton-Fleming (NEWFA) and Charlotte Carpenter (SWFA), all of whom will be actively involved with the Welsh Premier Women’s League for the forthcoming season
To kick off proceedings FAW Referees’ Committee Vice Chairman Cliff Evans gave a lively thought provoking session which encouraged those young referees present to think for themselves on what the future may hold for them and also what is expected from them in terms of their commitment and willingness to adapt and learn.
The room was set up in a manner where the young referees were not sitting with people from their own area, which gave them a chance to make new friends and colleagues with Cliff getting each group to give feedback from his questions. This session was well received and participated in by the young referees.
Second up was Ryan Stewart from Cardiff who has just been promoted to the Welsh Premier Talent Referees’ List. Ryan is a success story in that he had come through the Area FA Development scheme in South Wales under the guidance of Ray Ellingham and during his address he highlighted the 'Ups and Downs', as well as the 'Do's and Don’t’s', experienced openly and honestly and gave those present some excellent advice on what it takes to succeed and progress up the ladder. This was Ryan’s first ever public presentation and he did exceptionally well as was recognised by the applause earned when he finished his presentation.
Finally before lunch, Referees’ Manager Rodger Gifford showed twelve different DVD clips, which each group had to discuss and give feedback on what their decision would have been. Lunch was then taken followed by the feedback with the group leaders giving the views of their individual groups. Pleasingly the considerations to be taken into account when judging each situation were well thought out, made well with the majority of decisions arrived at being correct which showed that these young referees had a good eye for an offence with the correct interpretation of Law.
To conclude the day’s proceeding the Keynote Speaker was FA Premier League and FIFA Referee Andre Marriner from Solihull who took charge of this year’s FA Cup Final between Wigan and Manchester City. After a very brief outline of his career to date, Andre gave an insight into how he prepared for games and worked with his colleagues at his level. He went on to give a highly educational session on maintaining concentration and getting the big decisions right, no matter what the time in the game was. By using DVD Material from his own games he encouraged his audience to fully participate in identifying development points which saw an extremely good response from the referees present.
All too soon, it was time to finish the day and Referees’ Committee Chairman John Phillips thanked all for their participation before making a small presentation to Marriner.
Referees’ Manager Rodger Gifford stated afterwards; "Another successful day, where our young referees of the future will have benefitted greatly from what they learnt during all the presentations.
"I am particularly indebted to Andre Marriner, whom I’ve known for many years, for giving up his Sunday to be with us and sharing his experiences.
"He mixed with every one, willingly posed for photographs and set an excellent example of how a top referee should conduct himself. He is not only a top referee but a top guy as well.
"We will now build on this in readiness for the year ahead and strive to ensure that each and every area development group will get the best training and education possible."