Sunday saw the Welsh Premier Referees meet at Newtown Sports Centre for the first of the mid season fitness tests under the watchful eye of FAW Referees’ Committee Chairman John Phillips, Referees’ Manager Rodger Gifford and National Referees’ Fitness Coach Ray Ellingham.
The Referees undertook the YoYo test which is a series of shuttle 20m sprints against the clock, the longer the shuttles continue the shorter the time allowed becomes before the electronic 'bleep' cuts in. All present reached the standard expected of their counterparts in the Sky Bet Football League, with two reaching the minimum level of the UEFA Elite Referees which is quite pleasing.
The afternoon session was held in the media suite at Newtown Football club and begun with the referees looking at a series of clips taken from Welsh Premier matches which were specifically chosen for the day with the discussion led by Rodger Gifford. There was a complete mix of clips from some very good practice/decisions to some decisions which, in honesty, were not of the expected standard. To be fair to the referees present, there was 'no hiding place' as each clip was analysed in full with the Referees being honest and critical with each other in a constructive way so that they could learn from the situations placed before them. Referees’ Manager Rodger Gifford commented afterwards;
"It was a good day, firstly they have maintained their physical standards since the pre season tests and the clips provided showed some decisions which were analysed so that the same mistakes will not be made again.
"Our Welsh Premier Referees are an honest bunch of lads who take it personally when they make decisions which are not always accurate and they are no different to the player who misses an open goal from close range, which could have won the match in the 90th minute. A mistake is made but we learn from it and move on."
"They will be coming together again December for another fitness test and match day situation analysis as they look to improve their contribution to the game."