A group of 32 Elite and Category One referees and assistant referees, their fitness coach, and 11 referee observers and instructors led by the Malta FA Director of Refereeing, Mr Adrian D. Casha, early on Tuesday morning arrived in Sliven, Bulgaria, for a pre-season seminar/training camp.
This first-ever initiative in the history of Maltese refereeing is being undertaken in collaboration with the Malta Football Referees Association with its president, Mr Lawrence Sammut, also forming part of the contingent.
The seminar/training camp is being conducted by the experienced FIFA Lecturer & UEFA Referee Observer Mr Steve Bennett who, as a Referee Instructor, is responsible for training, education and development (RAP) for all FIFA Confederations.
In his introductory address on Tuesday afternoon, Mr Adrian D. Casha, expressed his appreciation and thanks to various who helped out for this venture to materialise, namely Malta FA President Mr Norman Darmanin Demajo and CEO Mr Bjorn Vassallo, the MFRA, and Mr Detelin Baialtzaliev from the Bulgarian Football Union (who was also the main contact way back in 2003 when a group of Maltese referees visited Bulgaria as part of an MFRA exchange visit).
Mr Casha said that this seminar/training camp is a learning experience for all participants, including the administrators; this will surely contribute for the consolidation of growth – the reason for being here – by working together. He concluded that later in the week, he himself and our referee instructors will be covering a number of other topics.
As a start to his lecturing, Mr Steve Bennett dealt with Trivia, Offside and Match Analysis exercises; after which there was group work on Judging Challenges with the aid of dvd clips. (In the days to follow, he will be addressing topics such as Practical Training demonstration, Editing DVDs, Playing Advantage, Positioning and Penalty Kicks).
Mr Detelin Baialtzaliev addressed participants on the subject of Yellow and Red Cards: Cheap or Compulsory?
The first day came to a close with a physical training session for all referees by their coach Mr Ronald Zammit, who later on in the week will be lecturing all participants about Principles of Training and Injury Prevention.
Early on Wednesday morning, the FIFA Fitness Test was held for all referees and assistant referees.