A contingent of eighteen referees, fifteen assistant referees, eleven referees’ observers and the physical trainer will be leaving Malta to attend the Elite and Category One Referees’ Pre-Season Seminar and Training Camp which will be held in Sliven, Bulgaria between August 7 and 13.
This is the result of an initiative of the Referees’ Department of the Malta Football Association, in collaboration with the Malta Football Referees Association, meant to continue to improve the level of match officials.
FIFA Lecturer and UEFA Referee Observer Steve Bennett will be the main instructor for this seminar with the other inspectors being Adrian Casha, Saviour Darmanin, Gaetano De Gabriele, Tom Restall, Victor Mintoff and Philip Agius. Ronald Zammit will be leading the practical session and theoretical sessions abiut the physical aspect.
MFA Chief Executive Officer Bjorn Vassallo said that following the election of the new MFA administration, the association wanted to change the perception regarding referees. Better refereeing could be achieved by continued educational development and more investment by the MFA and MFRA.
Vassallo said that referees’ exchanges which were held last year provided more opportunities for referees to improve. He said that referees on the FIFA List were getting more important appointments and for this Head of Refereeing Adrian Casha and the chairman of the Referees Department Charles Agius. The MFA CEO thanked FXDD for their sponsorship, saying the company was an important partner for the association.
Head of Refereeing Adrian Casha said this was the first time, the seminar for Premier League and First Division match officials, tiether with a number of match observers, and which is sanctioned by FIFA, is being held abroad.
Casha announced that three referees on the Malta FIFA List will be controlling three friendly matches on Wednesday 15th August, namely:
Wales vs Bosnia-Herzegovina
Referee: Marco Borg
Assistant Referee: Kontad Borg and Christopher Francalanza
Bulgaria vs Cyprus
Referee: Chris Lautier
Assistant Referees: Mariano Debono and William Debattista
Under-21 Netherlands vs Italy
Referee: Alan Mario Sant
Assitant Referees: Alan Camilleri and Edward Spiteri
Meanwhile FIFA Women Referee Esther Azzopardi Farrugia will be controlling two matches and will act as fourth official in another match in the UEFA Women’s Champions League Qualifying Round Group 7 mini-tournament in Strumica, FYR Macedonia.
On the other hand, Albert Borg Cardona and Karl Frendo Cumbo will be acting as assistant referee and fourth official respectively in three matches from the UEFA Women’s Champions League Qualifying Round Group 3 mini-tournament which will be held in Malta.
Adrian Casha announced that there was an increase of 12% in the number of referees and said that fifteen referees graduated from the MFA Referees’ Academy. He said that nine of these referees will be controlling matches this season as they are aged 16.
The MFA Head of Refereeing announced that the seminar for the other referees will be held later this month. he finally thanked the Malta Football Association and sponsors FXDD and Teamsport for their support.