Futsal and the rapidly-developing new career for referees

With the rapid rate by which the local FUTSAL league is continually developing and expanding, it is no wonder that we are unable to find enough referees to be appointed.

The game is increasing in popularity because it is a league where friends can band themselves into a team and apply to take part in the national league which is divided into four divisions. The 1st Division teams play twice weekly at the Corradino Pavilion, with the winner of the league earning the right to play in the European competitions. There are two sections making up the Second and Third Divisions. The biggest number of teams is in the Fourth Division which is split into three sections.

Facilities are a problem, as there is only one covered pavilion available for regular use, while the others – come rain or shine – are exposed to the elements. This does restrict the development of players and upcoming referees, as while the former are unable to really show all their skills on hard pitches, it is difficult to monitor the latter for eventual promotion.

The Malta Football Association is investing heavily in this sport and will continue to upgrade facilities and bring out the talents of the most promising players, which in turn will offer more demanding competition that produces a higher level officials. The appointment of a new national team coach from The Netherlands, Mr Vic Hermans, and Malta’s continued participation in the international field ensures that our officials will keep on gaining the necessary experience.

The problem of lack of referees remains the biggest hurdle. The increasing number of matches calls for more referees. The Malta FA has instituted a recruiting drive in this field and courses are held for prospective referees. Candidates as referees may even be former FUTSAL players or young people who would like to achieve a sense of leadership.

Eventually a referee may even reach the FIFA list. Hard work and determination will see referees reach the top. It is an achievement everyone aspires to.

The Malta Football Association is proud to have produced a number of FIFA Futsal Referees in recent years – Mr Konrad G Borg, Dr Ian Miller, Mr Norman Vella and Mr Franco Cachia. These gentlemen have always attained impressive results in all their appearances.

One must not forget Mr Gjergji Bitri (Albanian FIFA FUTSAL Referee) who, being employed in Malta, spent most of his refereeing career locally. We have also had a number of experienced referees who, having been above the age threshold, could not be considered for the FIFA panel, but nonetheless officiated in some high level matches and UEFA FUTSAL Championships held in Malta on numerous occasions; these included Messrs Alexander Arena and Jurgen Meli. Mixing with other FUTSAL international referees and officiating at international tournaments definitely goes a long way to enable our referees to gain experience and develop their talents even further.

Anyone interested in taking up FUTSAL refereeing should apply by filling in the appropriate form found on the MFA website (www.mfa.com.mt and download an Application to attend a FUTSAL Referee Course) which should be sent either by e-mail to the Head of the Referees Department patrick.fenech@mfa.com.mt or by post addressed to Refereeing Department, Malta Football Association, Millennium Stand, Level 2, National Stadium, Ta’ Qali, ATD 4000. (Malta FA contact details: tel: +356 21222697, +356 21232581; fax: +356 21245136).

As has already been announced a few weeks ago, a course for Trainee FUTSAL Referees starts next week on the 26th January up to the 23rd February 2010, with the following programme:

Tue-26-Jan Law 1 – The Pitch
Law 2 – The Ball
Law 3 – The Number of Players
Law 4 – The Players’ Equipment
Mr Emmanuel Zammit
Thu-28-Jan Law 5 – The Referee & The Second Referee
Law 6 – The Timekeeper & The Third Referee
Mr Gjergji Bitri
Tue-02-Feb Law 7 – The Duration of the Match
Law 8 – The Start and Restart of Play
Law 9 – The Ball in & out of Play
Law 10 – The Method of Scoring
Mr Victor Mintoff
Tue-09-Feb Law 11 – Fouls & Misconduct Mr Patrick Fenech
Thu-11-Feb Law 12 – Free Kicks
Law 13 – Accumulated Fouls
Mr Gjergji Bitri
Thu-18-Feb Law 14 – The Penalty Kick
Law 15 – The Kick-In
Law 16 – The Goal Clearance
Law 17 – The Corner Kick
Mr Vic Hermans
Fri-19-Feb Practical Session Mr Vic Hermans
Mr Alexander Arena
Mr Gjergji Bitri
Tue-23-Feb Written / Oral Examinations Mr Patrick Fenech
Mr Vic Hermans
Mr Gjergji Bitri

All sessions will be between 60 and 90 minutes duration, commencing at 1800hours, and will be held at MFA Headquarters, Millenium Stand, Level 2, National Stadium, Ta’ Qali.

It is important that candidates attend all sessions.