As part of an agreement reached a couple of months ago between the Referees’ Departments of the Malta FA and the Northern Ireland FA, the coming weekend will see the first of referees’ exchanges in the control of domestic top level games in the respective countries.
Elite Referee Kevin Azzopardi together with FIFA Assistant Referee Christopher Francalanza, Elite Assistant Referee Mitchell Scerri, and Elite Referee Andre` Arciola as Fourth Official, will be in Dungannon’s Stangmore Park, Northern Ireland, to take charge of the Premiership match Dungannon Swifts FC–Donegal Celtic FC on Saturday 15th October, kick-off at 16:00 (local time).
On Monday 17th in the evening, they are invited to attend the monthly training meeting with Irish referees of the Top Category.
On the other hand, Irish referees will be coming over to Malta to control the BOV Premier League matches Tarxien Rainbows–Marsaxlok and Mosta–Hibernians, to be played on Sunday 16th and Monday 17th, respectively.
This will undoubtedly be an experience for both sets of refereeing teams, which will serve them well personally and also professionally when refereeing international football.
The agreement was reached with the personal intervention of MFA President, Mr Norman Darmanin Demajo, and UEFA’s advice, after which discussions were initiated between local officials Adrian Casha as Director of Refereeing and Charles Agius as Chairman of the Referee’s Committee, with the Head of the Irish referees, Mr Alan Snoddy as one of UEFA’s specialists regarding the implementation of its policies for the organisation of referees’ departments.
The agreement also takes into consideration other aspects – as a matter of fact, last August Mr Snoddy was invited over to Malta as one of the keynote speakers during the annual pre-season Seminar for Elite Match Officials and Category One Referees.
It is envisaged that in the near future, more initiatives such as training camps abroad for our referees, will be organised.
Photos: Copyright © domenic aquilina