The Malta FA Referees Department organised another successful Annual Pre-Season Seminar for its referees and observers at the Westin Dragonara Resort with the theme ‘Raising the Bar Together’.
Addressing the media during a press conference after the seminar, MFA General Secretary Dr Angelo Chetcuti said that this was another valid seminar which tackled different aspects of the role of referees. He said those present had the opportunities to share their experiences and expertise. Dr Chetcuti said that he and MFA President Norman Darmanin Demajo wanted to convey a message of thanks due to the fact that their role is crucial to the game. He added that two-way communication between the referees and the association should continue to be encouraged.
Director of Refereeing Kevin Azzopardi said that there was truly never a dull moment on and off the field of play. He said the Referees’ Committee approved the appointments of no less than sixty-four match officials abroad and fifteen referee observers. This included exchange programmes with six football associations, including Kosovo and Albania for the first time.
Azzopardi said that with regards to the top referees, they moved a step forward once again with the appointment of Clayton Pisani for a UEFA Europa League third round second leg match and Alan Mario Sant for a UEFA Europa League third round first leg match and a World Cup qualifier in the coming weeks.
The MFA Director of Refereeing revealed that UEFA will be holding the winter course for top and new referees in Malta in January while in April, UEFA will be holding in Malta a course for assistant referees. These courses lead to the final selection of European match officials for the FIFA World Cup in programme next year in Russia. He stressed that being appointed to host such prestigious events underlines the trust by UEFA in the MFA Referees Department.
Kevin Azzopardi announced that the Talent & Mentor Seminar which was held in Germany last month was a great experience for the participants and managed to open the doors for new opportunities with Germany.
Azzopardi concluded by saying that the Premier League posed a new challenge with the new format which includes fourteen teams as the number of eligible referees had to be increased in order to cater for the seven matches in programme every weekend. He said that two new young match officials were included to complement the experienced referees for the Premier League.
Referees Coach and UEFA Referees Convention specialist Jørn West Larsen from Denmark, who was the keynote speaker for the three day seminar, said that when travelling for such seminars, the main objectives was to deliver technical instructions and check how things are going.
West Larsen said that members of the UEFA Referees Convention had to satisfy certain criteria and it was evident that what Malta was doing and the development of the refereeing sector in Malta definitely met these requirements.